Halloween Watchlist: 5 Terrifying Feminist Horror Movies

With Halloween fast approaching, now is the best time to catch up on some great horror movies. There’s nothing like snuggling up on the couch and turning all the lights off to watch a truly scary movie. While we all love getting a fright from this popular genre, many horror movies also reveal some subtle truths about what it’s like to live as a woman. 

While it may not seem obvious at first, the horror genre is a great medium for exploring prejudice, inequity, and the life of certain groups of people. Jordan Peele’s Get Out is a great example of that. In his film, Jordan Peele used horror to encapsulate a metaphor for what life is like for people of color in America. Get Out was a huge success because it merged cultural commentary into a horror movie. 

Two women hiding under a blanket on a couch watching TV

What many horror buffs don’t know is that there are a lot of movies that mimic the commentary in Get Out but instead explore womanhood and feminism. If you’re looking for a new movie to try out or want to watch an old one in a new way, give one of these a try. And don’t worry, we won’t add any spoilers.  

1. I Am the Pretty Little Thing that Lives in the House (2016)

This visually stunning masterpiece is drenched in feminist symbols and undertone. Directed by Oz Perkins, this movie is sure to delight and unsettle viewers this Halloween. The film follows a young live-in hospice nurse as she meets her newest patient, the prolific horror author Iris Blum. Little by little, the young nurse becomes unnerved by the austere house. Shadowy figures and female specters are seen throughout the home. As the spiritual happenings intensify in the house, the nurse must come to terms with what it means to be ‘the pretty little thing that lives in the house’.

2. Rosemarie’s Baby (1968)

What if you were bearing the devil? This horrific notion is considered in Rosemarie’s BabyThis movie starts out optimistically as Rosemary and her husband Guy, a struggling actor, move into a posh apartment in New York City. While the couple set out to make the place home, they are met with creepy occurrences and obscure neighbors. After Rosemary gets pregnant, the story takes a turn for the worst. It appears her neighbors are systematically cutting her off from her friends. Despite her pleas, her husband claims not to notice the strange behavior. This a film that must be watched to the end. The implications of this movie are truly terrifying. 

3. The Babadook (2014)

A mom sitting with her son, reading him a book

The Babadook does more than terrify its viewers, it highlights the struggles and sacrifices of single motherhood. After the death of her husband, Amelia is left to raise their son Samuel on her own. With his irrational fear of monsters lurking and violent outbursts, raising Samuel is not easy. However, things only get worse for them when a feared character from a strange children’s book Amelia read appears in their home. Amelia and Samuel are then forced to reckon with the unwanted guest. The director Jennifer Kent made this movie a masterpiece perfect to watch this Halloween. 

4. Ready or Not (2019)

One look at Grace’s tattered wedding dress sets the tone for this one-of-a-kind horror flick. Following the bizarre pre-wedding ritual of her wealthy fiancé’s family, Grace is forced to make it out alive after a harrowing night. This family believes the bride must earn her place at the altar. The night before the wedding, the bride-to-be is forced to outlast her in-laws as the hunt her. Ready or Not is littered with both feminist and socio-economic commentary. This film forces viewers to reckon with the underlying narrative of marriage and calls for us all to question what we would do to move up in the world. 

5. Halloween (2018)

Halloween (2018) movie poster

No October would be complete without a screening of one of the Halloween movies. This horror movie empire centers around the notorious masked killer, Michael Myers. While it appears to just be a traditional slasher flick, the 2018 movie contains deep commentary on gender politics. In this film, Laurie Strode comes back to confront her tormentor from four decades ago. Laurie finally finds the strength to overcome her trauma and confront Michael. She draws on the strength and solidarity of other women in her life, providing inspiration for all of us. 

What’s your favorite horror movie? Let us know in the comments below!

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