Why Are Women in Horror Films Victims or Villains?

Extracts from the full text

  • “… if the film’s main appeal is still a sexy girl splattered with blood, is it really fair to call this feminism?”
  • “Megan Fox’s man-cannibalizing character isn’t empowering — she’s just another horror movie chick who’s expected to take off her shirt and die.”

Erik’s Take: HPL doesn’t dabble in the prurient sexuality of the pulp mags in which he published — is that a failure of nerve, or is it an artistic choice for which some female readers are thankful?

Possible tropes for feminist horror stories

The coming-of-age story

“… is the catalyst for classic horror films Carrie and Ginger Snaps. The heroines of these films become psychic killers and werewolves, respectively — but they still wield all the power, and you’re rooting for them the whole way.”

The revenge fantasy

“Women often feel disempowered, so getting revenge on the men who’ve wronged us is a potent fantasy. Carrie is a good one, as are the indie hit Teeth, Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof (one of Diablo Cody’s favorites) and the overlooked low-budget horror film May.”

The feminist allegory

“American Psycho, directed (not incidentally) by a woman, didn’t have any strong female characters per se — but it did make a strong statement about society’s objectification of women. Ring had some interesting things to say about women’s power as mothers. And what’s a better condemnation of men’s control over women’s bodies than Rosemary’s Baby?”

- Erik’s take: most gamers don’t want to play allegorical icons — they want to play characters


XX Horror ErikWeissengruber