Wednesday, May 1, 2013

BH: 5 Popular Horror Films You Might Not Realize Were Directed by Women

Yet another article rescued from the gaping hole that was once

February is Women in Horror month, so lots of genre fans will be searching for female-led horror projects to sink their teeth into, like THE INVITATION or A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT. But what a lot of people might not realize is that women have been behind the camera in horror for a long time. Obviously, they still aren’t given the reigns of genre films as often as they should be, but let’s take a moment to pay respect to those spooky pioneers who have been giving us nightmares for years without necessarily getting the credit. Here are five popular horror titles you might not know were directed by women.
I genuinely hope you do already know about these awesome ladies, as a lot of hardcore fans will, but these are films whose titles are remembered in the pop culture lexicon that left their directors’ reputations in the dust.
Many critics decried Bret Easton Ellis’ controversial novel as being a blatant misogynist tract, but in the capable hands of Mary Harron, the sparkling satire of the piece is pulled front and center. AMERICAN PSYCHO is a stone cold classic thanks to her edgy, hilarious machinations.
Any talk about the Buffyverse is dominated by the looming specter of Joss Whedon and his TV megahit. So it might come as a surprise that the movie that preceded the show was directed by a woman: Fran Rubel Kuzui. Pretty much everyone (including me) prefers the show to the film, but I urge you to give it a second chance. It’s certainly goofy, but it’s the only Buffy project to truly engage with the absurd premise implied by that title, which is no small achievement.
Not only was TANK GIRL’S Rachel Talalay the only woman to helm a NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET film, she was the only female director on an entry in any of the major slasher franchises (FRIDAY THE 13TH, HALLOWEEN, TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, CHILD’S PLAY, and so forth). That’s monumental and, cartoonish as that film was, she proved that slasher sequels are silly no matter who’s behind the camera.
 Here’s a title that I’ve heard people talk about constantly for years, but until I looked it up myself, I never heard a single person mention that it was directed by a woman, Mary Lambert. This is another case of a female director flying unfairly under the radar, not receiving the reputation that she rightfully earned as the first woman to helm an adaptation of Stephen King. Even better, it’s a good one! There have been a hell of a lot of mediocre King projects over the years, so the fact that Lambert has been left out of the conversation is frankly absurd.
This one is a little more on the obscure side, but it’s more proof that idiosyncratic, intense horror movies can come from anyone, regardless of gender. This late 90’s tale of a wendigo taking hold of a military camp in the Mexican-American War was brought to us by Antonia Bird.

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