30 Woman-Friendly Horror Movies for the Thrill-Seeking Feminist

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The Hunger

The Hunger, Image via MGM

Sub-Genre: Vampire

What it’s about: Miriam is a centuries-old vampire who lives with her sire and lover John. She had promised him eternal life in exchange for becoming a vampire, but after a while John starts to notice his body deteriorating. He discovers that Miriam misled him and he will not be young forever. He goes to Sarah, a doctor who specializes in rapid aging of primates, hoping to figure out a way to reverse the effects. But when Sarah gets dragged into John and Miriam’s life, she must decide for herself the benefits and detriments of that lifestyle.

What makes it feminist: First of all, Hunger features two major female characters – Miriam and Sarah. Like many movies on this list, Hunger begins by setting them up to resemble recognizable stereotypes. But then, as the movie continues, both of them show elements of the other stereotype, complicating their characterizations in a feminist way.

Miriam is the “bad girl”; the sexy, evil vampire who is consumed by her own self-interest. She lies and manipulates to get what she wants, as most female vampires do in most movies. But she also is shown to have real emotion. Her true feelings for her lovers are revealed when she loses them, and we get the impression that her heartbreak is real. The same can be said for Miriam’s queerness in the movie. Most horror movies use girl-on-girl action to titillate or to insinuate someone’s seduction to the dark side. But Miriam’s evident feelings for her female student indicate that her apparent bisexuality is not a gimmick.

Sarah is likewise set up to meet a stereotype. Initially a doctor, her intelligence and experience are sought out by John. And Sarah, being generally “good,” helps him. But throughout the movie, she is depicted as both compassionate and ruthless. Her ability to embody both at once is a strong argument for the realistic representation of women.