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Women have always played a major role in horror films. For years they may have had very limited choices in terms of the types of characters they played (usually either the smart, virginal female – who usually survived, or someone slightly more promiscuous – who tended not to survive) Fortunately things are changing and women are no longer restricted to such stereotypes. However, what about behind the camera? Female film-makers, especially within horror, have historically been virtually non-existant up until about twenty years ago or so. There are a number of reasons for this yet I don't intend to cover them in this article – for it's really about celebrating those women who have made (or are making) the breakthrough and who represent a very real shift in the industry.

We'll start at the beginning and make our way towards present day...


We should probably start with Ida Lupino – an actress who appeared in over 100 films and TV shows who was also an extremely prolific Director too. What's more amazing is that her directing career took off during the end of the 1940's. Whilst there are still rumblings of inequality in the present day within the industry, back in the 40's and 50's the landscape was very different. The attitude towards women and their role within society was obviously very different to today and female Directors were virtually unheard of. Although she went on to direct a lot of features that could never be considered to be horror, her first works were definitely worthy of mentioning. In 1950 she directed 'Outrage' – a film about a newlywed woman whose life is shattered when she is raped on her way home from work. A rather bold and controversial theme for the time. She also directed the 1953 movie 'The Hitch Hiker' – more of a film noir than a horror and not related at all to the Rutger Hauer version, it's nevertheless a dark albeit rather predictable thriller. However, the fact remains that Lupino was one of the early trailblazers and should be remembered.


Amy Holden Jones may be best known for writing family films such as 'Beethoven' and 'Mystic Pizza' – however, she is also worth mentioning for a couple of genre related films that she was involved with. In 1982 she wrote and directed the rather awesomely titled 'The Slumber Party Massacre'. It's 18 rated and rather gory and quite a lot of fun. Fast forward 15 years and she wrote the screenplay to 1997 monster horror 'The Relic' starring Tom Sizemore. We know it's not the greatest horror film in the world but we aren't ashamed to admit we actually quite enjoyed it!


Kathryn Bigelow may have been married to one of the worlds most successful Directors (James Cameron) for a couple of years – but she is undoubtedly a film making giant herself.

She's perhaps best know amongst modern audiences for 'Zero Dark Thirty' and 'The Hurt Locker' (both of which were excellent), however she didn't always opt for military themed projects. She is responsible for one of the best vampire films ever made. 'Near Dark' was released in 1987 and is a film that still stands the test of time and is a great piece of cinema. It was Bigelow's fi