“Being a woman is full of horror,” Kate Dolan, director of You Are Not My Mother, said. Women have a unique set of fears, and female directors bring those fears to the big screen. Motherhood. Sex. Grief. Religion. Women get a raw deal every time. Here are five of the best horror movies directed by women that explore the unique horror of being born a girl.
Photo by Tasos Mansour on Unsplash
Titane is not for the faint of heart. Alexia, who has been haunted by cars since a traumatic accident she had as a child, has a large titanium plate embedded in her head to allow her to live after the accident. The film follows her through adolescence and young adulthood as she mutilates her body in order to survive and please the people around her. Seen as a metaphor for the trans experience and ode to forced pregnancy, Titane thinks outside the box.
A woman comes home from the hospital with her face swathed in bandages. She’s received cosmetic surgery to improve her looks. Upon her return home, her sons become suspicious of her behavior. They can’t see her face, and she isn’t like she used to be. That woman cannot be their mother. Goodnight Mommy delves into the complexity of female grief and insecurity. And explores how sons treat their mothers.
Amelia’s husband died driving her to the hospital while she was in labor. She blames herself for his untimely passing and believes her son does as well. As her son Sam grows up, he lashes out as a nightmare child. He breaks his cousin’s nose, brings weapons to school, and slams doors in the night to wake his mom. When Amelia confronts him, he says that the babadook, a mysterious creature wearing a top hat, is making him do everything. The Babadook shows the power the grief of a mother has.
Fear Street Trilogy
Unlike the other films on this list, Fear Street embraces the cringey, camp past of slasher films. Bright colors, quick-wit, and outlandish subplots drive the trilogy and make for a great movie marathon. It follows two queer women as they navigate a sexist, homophobic, and classist town that has held their families down for generations. There's also summer camp scares and an epic showdown at the local mall, Fear Street is a must-see.
The Catholic Church doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to treating men and women equally. Saint Maud introduces Katie, a nurse and former atheist who found God and believes it's her mission to convert her dying patient to Catholicism. The film portrays the abuse and neglect women have experienced at the hand of Christian religions and examines the idea of the divine feminine. Katie, who gives herself the Catholic name Maud, manipulates the audience and herself into a false reality and into following a false God.