I’m not an enormous fan of horror movies because they do sometimes scare me a lot and I don’t like crazy gore. But ghost thrillers and stuff like that, if I’m in the mood, watching them is a fun, exhilarating activity.
But whether or not you are a horror movie fan, you are (hopefully!) a supporter of gender equality. Did you know that in the past five years, only five percent of studio releases have been helmed by women? And only four women have ever been nominated for Best Directing Oscars: Lina Wertmüller for Seven Beauties (1976), Jane Campion for The Piano (1993), Sofia Coppola for Lost in Translation (2003), and Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker (2009). Bigelow was the first, and to date the only, female director to ever win the Academy Award for Best Director. Wow.
The puzzle is whether there are way less women studying or interested in directing (to fit with the percentage, it would be one woman directing student out of every twenty students) or if women are prejudiced against when it comes to getting movies made. Hmm.
But this fall, five female directors are releasing movies, all found within the horror genre. If that’s not enough to make you put on your big boy or girl pants and support a movie by paying to see it, or at least watching, I don’t know what is.
Let’s take a quick peek at the four freaky films.
Directed by Leigh Janiak, now in theaters
Young NYC newlyweds Paul (Harry Treadaway) and Bea (Game of Throne’s Rose Leslie) travel to her family’s remote lake/country home for their honeymoon, thinking a private romantic time awaits. Shortly after arriving, Paul finds Bea wandering and disoriented in the middle of the night. They believe she was sleepwalking. Following that night, Bea becomes more and more distant and her behavior increasingly peculiar, leading Paul to suspect something more sinister than sleepwalking took place in the woods. Their sweet getaway turns into a living nightmare, when a mysterious force begins to transform Bea from Paul’s loving wife into a shell of a human being he doesn’t even recognize. The lead actors reportedly give captivating performances as a couple that takes new love to disturbing depths. Romance gives way to terror, and Janiak puts a fascinating spin on this chilling thriller.
Janiak told Complex magazine, “The movie is really about a relationship being destroyed, and how these outside elements can lead to that. The outside element is what it is in our film, but it doesn’t have to be that. It could be anything. At the film’s core, it’s a relationship drama where crazy things happen.”
See No Evil 2
Directed by Jen and Sylvia Soska, out on DVD/Blu-Ray Oct. 21
This sequel, directed by twin sisters, follows a group of friends who take a late-night visit to the city morgue to surprise Amy (horror movie vet Danielle Harris) on her birthday. But, uh oh, the one-eyed corpse of brutal psychopath Jacob Goodnight (Glenn Jacobs), the bad guy from the first movie, has risen from a cold sub-basement slab. I didn’t want to rewrite this sentence because it’s awesome: “Their wild party quickly turns into a terrifying slay-fest as the sadistic mass-murderer resumes his savage rampage complete with hooks, surgical knives and a power saw,” stated IMDB.com. The Soska sisters also directed the 2012 horror movie, American Mary.
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Directed by Ana Lily Amirpour, in theaters this November
Amirpour’s vampire Western takes place in the Iranian ghost-town Bad City, a place infiltrated by death and loneliness. The townspeople don’t know that they are being stalked by a lonesome female vampire (Sheila Vand). The movie, which was executive-produced by actor Elijah Wood, is the first Iranian vampire western. Amirpour made her first film at age 12- a horror movie about a slumber party, and has won multiple directing awards since. She is a fan of both scary movies and epic love stories and calls A Girl a mixture of both, as well as a mixture of her Persian and American background and influences. The director is also a huge music lover, and the movie reportedly has a killer soundtrack.
Directed by Jennifer Kent, in theaters November 28
Six years after the violent death of her husband, Amelia (Essie Davis) is struggling. She is trying to discipline her out of control, frantic 6-year-old son, Samuel (Noah Wiseman), who Amelia finds impossible to love. Samuel’s dreams are plagued by a sinister monster he believes is coming to kill them both. When a disturbing storybook called “Mister Babadook” mysteriously turns up at their house, Samuel is convinced that the Babadook is the creature he’s been dreaming about. His hallucinations start spiraling and he becomes more violent and unpredictable. Amelia eventually begins to see glimpses of a sinister presence all around her and she realizes that what Samuel has been warning her about might be real.
The first-time feature director “vividly captures the vicious turbulence of Samuel’s shrill outbursts, generating a real sense of horror from his aggressive unruliness, all the while subtly hinting at the weary Amelia’s own deeply troubled nature,” as written on the Sundance Film Festival website. The tension of the familial problems build and build until the movie deftly introduces the terrifying possibility that something even more ominous might be stalking the dysfunctional pair.