Without thinking for too long, write down your top five horror movies. If that’s too difficult, list your top five movies. Or just do it in your head, if you prefer.
Now look back over your list. How many of them were directed by men? Chances are, your answer will be ‘all of them’. Your horror film list might include The Shining, Hallowe’en, Nightmare on Elm Street, Suspiria, Silence of the Lambs, Psycho, Alien, The Thing, The Exorcist… (or, if you’re like me, it might have included some older classics like Bride of Frankenstein, I Walked with a Zombie or Night of the Hunter). Every single one of them directed by a man.
Chances are your list didn’t include Near Dark, Chained, Pet Sematary, Ravenous or American Psycho, all horror films directed by women.
Why is this?
At this point in the discussion, if you’re a man, you might shrug your shoulders and say, “I guess women don’t make horror films.” If I pushed you as to why, you might say, “well, women don’t like horror. They prefer romantic comedies.” And, if you’re a certain kind of man, you’d probably say the last sentence with a bit of a snigger (a lot of women would probably give the same answer, only without the snigger).
If you answered this way, you’d be wrong on several counts. Click ‘Continue reading’ to find out why.