Top 7 Must-Watch Horror Movies by Woman Directors

Top 7 Must-Watch Horror Movies by Woman Directors

The American Psycho

The horror movie was released in 2000, co-written and directed by Mary Harron. The movie embraces a darkly satirical adaption of Bret Easton Ellis’ novel from 1991. Harron does a great job with the dark humor throughout the movie and also flips the male gaze in the film. Also Harron ensures that the American Psycho does not objectify women unlike other horror movies throughout history. This is actually one of the reasons she wanted to work on this project.

Near Dark

Kathryn Bigelow co-wrote and directed this movie which was released in 1987. You can consider Bigelow as one of the pioneers for horror movies directed by women. The movie revolves around an exciting and romantic story of a family of specifically nomadic American vampires. Almost like an 80’s ‘Twilight’ Kathryn directs this movie in a unique way without ever mentioning the word ‘vampire’. The movie features amazing actors such as Bill Paxton, Lance Henriksen and Jenette Goldstein who also appeared in James Cameron’s ‘Alien’.


This is one of the recent horror movies written and directed by a woman, Julia Ducournau, who does a stunning job in this cannibal based drama. Raw may be one of the more graphic horror movies on this list, so viewer beware. It even caused a man to faint at a festival viewing. Depending on your stomach this might be a reason to see it or not see it. Julia’s use of bloody violence and shocking imagery is what made it so popular.

The Babadook

The Babadook was released in 2014, written and directed by Jennifer Kent. Although it’s a must-watch movie, it is not for the faint of heart. The Australian writer and director embraces various mechanics of a horror movie to narrate a soul-shaking story. It features main characters such as Essie Davis and Noah Wiseman. Essie Davis plays a young widow who is struggling to raise Noah, her six year old son, who is hyperactive. The movie has virtually no onscreen gore of bloodshed as the director is more interested in preying and exploring upon the most primal fears of the human mind. But still, it's scary.

Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare

For fans of Nightmare on Elm Street, this fan favorite is iconic and directed by a woman. Rachel Talalay, the director, worked on several Elm Street movies but has a breakout role as director in this one. She is one of the most notorious women in the franchise and had been working behind the scenes for years before directing this masterpiece. 

The Hitch-Hiker

Ida Lupino was a popular actress in the early 1950’s. After several successful movies, she made her way into the directing scene. Released in 1953, The Hitch-Hiker is one of the original modern horror movies. It's about two men who pick up an escaped psychotic convict who then tells them he is going to end their lives before the trip is over.

Pet Sematary

After working for several years as a music director for big names like Madonna, Mary Lambert became a household name with her 1989 cult classic ‘Pet Sematary’. This was one of the many horror movies based on the works of Stephen King and her feature movie debut.


While many think that women don’t have much of a presence in the horror movie genre, this list shows that the statement itself could not be more wrong. While women have directed less horror movies than men, the movies directed by women are some of the best horror movies you can see. There are many good reasons to see these movies above, but the fact that women directed them all is another great reason.