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Welcome to the Golden Age of Women-Directed Horror

From the murderous cannibalism of 'Raw' to the campy villainy of 'The Love Witch,' there's never been a better time for women in horror—both behind the scenes and onscreen.

by Evelyn Wang
Apr 14 2017, 8:00pm

Women have always been horror's lifeblood. After all, one of our most iconic monsters was created one dark stormy night by a young woman who had (according to legend) grown weary of Lord Byron's threesomes. That monster was, of course, Frankenstein's creature, and our menage a trois-disdaining wunderkind none other than Mary Shelley. Fast forward a few hundred years through the genre, and we've amassed a veritable Lilith's Fair of horror femmes headlined by women like Carrie, Ripley, Regan, and Nancy.

But still, female horror icons largely exist in front of the camera. Even the canon's essentially feminine narratives, like Rosemary's Baby, The Descent, Let the Right One In, and Misery come from the minds of men. But the past few years have brought us a new generation of horror classics about women, by women. As films like Raw , Prevenge , XX , The Lure , and The Love Witch incite critical adoration and medical attention alike, women horror directors are having, as they say, a moment.

"Female horror directors and the things they are making are getting increasingly harder to ignore," says Alexandra West, horror journalist and co-host of horror podcast The Faculty of Horror . "The audience and the fan reception and the industry reception is so strong, that to plug your ears and say 'this is not a thing' automatically makes you a sort of dinosaur. And in the industry, that's something you never want to be."

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