WICKED : Women in Horror
The best part of Horror besides the ghouls and guts is the girls! Women are vital to the horror genre – they’re running, jumping, surviving making them iconic action heroes. We all like to see a solid Final girl story and oftentimes we’re rooting for the woman whether she’s under the knife or behind it.
Unfortunately Audiences like to believe the myth that horror fans are just a bunch of forty year old men who ride Harleys or the guy who works at your local comic book store. Let’s defy that story, ladies.
Women love a good scare!
As a Horror fan myself, I entered the realm of terror when I first watched Brian De Palma’s 1973 ‘Carrie’. In the pantheon of horror cinema, few characters stand out as vividly as Carrie White, the iconic protagonist from Stephen King’s beloved novel. Carrie’s character elicits an overwhelming sense of sympathy. Her adolescent struggles with bullying, social isolation, and the oppressive control of her mother create a deeply empathetic connection with viewers. We’ve watched ‘Basic Instinct’, we know Women can be cold calculated killers, maybe not always as fit as Sharon Tate – but game is game.
We want to see retribution in horror, we want to see the enemy slaughtered and not feel guilty about it. Inevitably every horror story is just an underdog’s tale that so many of us misfit find a kin to this genre. It’s merely an outlet to escape from the horrors of the real world that many of us sensitive souls feel burdened by. What makes Women stand out
protagonists in this genre? Well for one, Horror doesn’t shy away from sex coupled with most bare minimum clothing you can find on her. Some will find this objectifying, some will find it liberating but I personally find it massively entertaining. I still haven’t quite gotten over Susan Sarandon’s tits in Hunger 1983. There’s a wild rebellion about it that is not just erotic but also honest. Just not as ‘on the nose’ as Paris Hilton’s death scene in House of Wax. The killer records himself pulling out a pole from Paris’s head while simultaneously recording the act… if you know, you know.
As women, we want that kind of freedom, we want to let the crazy out of us and not have to worry about scaring off the men around us. “Horror is a safe space for women to just be whoever the fuck they want to be”. If you’re a man reading this, you know how much your girlfriend loves watching dateline and crime shows. In fact she’s definitely planned the perfect murder. Women are born survivors, we have to be since so many of us live like prey animals – a little blood, seances at midnight and ghost stories don’t phase us. That’s what makes women perfect protagonists in a slasher movie like ‘Scream’. When Sidney Prescott’s on the phone and Ghostface says, “ I want to see what your insides look like…” — are you kidding me? Women don’t want flowers , they want to be wooed like that in the most menacing way. It’s the risk, it’s the endless chase – men of this generation are just nowhere as persistent as Ghostface. Billy Loomus has more fangirls than any boy band we’ve ever known. Who doesn’t want a good thrill?
The dichotomy between the final girl and the damsel in horror is the mirror that raises the question ‘How far will one go for revenge?”… Who cares? I want the bad guys to turn to minced meat and lots of gratuitous nudity– that’s an artform we must not censor to fit the Gen z rule book. So may women continue to be in horror, write for horror and live horrifying lives!