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7 Feminist Horror Movies That You Can Stream *Right Now*

odds & ends


5 min read

Thinx - Periodical - 7 Feminist Horror Movies That You Can Stream *Right Now*

by Toni Brannagan | 10/25/2018

The horror genre doesn’t exactly have a great track record when it comes to female empowerment, or portrayals of women. Between gratuitous scenes of violence and punishing sexually active women (and rewarding virginity with survival… or dying last), it can be difficult to find scary movies that do ladies justice.

Also, just saying, “feminist” is a totally arbitrary label. There are no perfect feminist movies, tv shows, books, or people (except for Roxane Gay), but I think it’s a safe assertion that October movie nights have gotten a li’l more female-friendly since more women directors, writers, producers, and other important roles have been stepping behind the camera.

So, in case you’re unable to go out and see the new Halloween movie right freakin’ now (why? I’ll let Jamie Lee Curtis herself convince you: "Biggest horror movie opening with a female lead. Biggest movie opening with a female lead over 55. Second biggest October movie opening ever. Biggest Halloween opening ever #womengettingthingsdone."), I’ve rounded up a few movies available to stream that I’ve decided deserve the feminist label. Text the ‘rents for those passwords now, y’all.

Feel free, nay, I *encourage* you to argue with my interpretations in the comments.

1. Hush (2016)

Hush follows a deaf author who resourcefully evades a home invader, and is a 10 in my book because it acknowledges the very real fear that is writer’s block.

You’ve probably scrolled by at least one headline when it was ~trending~, because the author’s hearing device is very artistically portrayed, and, as a result, sound plays a very cool part of your watching experience.

Stream it on Netflix.

2. Under the Shadow (2016)

Set in Tehran during the Iraq-Iran war (the movie is in Farsi), a mother and daughter are haunted by a mysterious evil, sexism, and male privilege. It’s a really unique look at what feminism and feminist values look like from a non-American perspective — and it’s creepy AF.

Stream it on Netflix.

...Real quick tho, while we’re talking about Iranian filmmakers, I’m going to use this excuse to tell you to also go find A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014), another fantastic feminist film that was ruthlessly removed from Netflix, so idk, rent it on Amazon or something.

3. Jennifer’s Body (2009)

This movie came before it’s time, y’all. You’ve probably already seen it (in case you haven’t, they take the line “Hell is a teenage girl,” and RUN with it), but I’m here to make a case for it’s feminist cred.

Jennifer’s Body is a celebration of unbridled female rage over being wronged, and what it looks like when women not only refuse to allow their trauma to destroy them, but also refuse to be told to “get over it.” In a way, the film also subverts the trope of punishing sexually active women, because Jennifer is technically “saved” by her non-virgin status.

...Plus, Megan Fox just deserves a general apology, doesn’t she?

Stream it on HBOGO.

4. Verónica (2017)

This movie is pretty frustrating because it’s TERRIFYING, but also in Spanish, so I can’t cover my eyes and still read the subtitles. The terror of what it is to be a teenage girl is really captured, and, guess what, menstruation is a plot point.

Stream it on Netflix.

5. The Girl with All the Gifts (2017)

(Quickly saying the book was better, and moving on.) It’s essentially a post-apocalyptic zombie road trip movie that explores the question, “So, what if women of color actually *don’t* have to sacrifice themselves for society?”

Stream it on Amazon Prime.

6. The Craft (1996)

Witchy, girl power vibez? Check. ‘90s fashion? CHECK. A unique exploration of the nuances of female friendship? Check, check, check.

While definitely not the gold standard of feminist film—it was the ‘90s, after all—The Craft came at a time where “the outsider” trope was owned wholly by adolescent boys (see: The Goonies, Stand By Me, and… uh, The Outsiders), and paved the way for more movies encouraging women to not just be different, but *own* what makes us all unique.

Snaps for acknowledging imperfect and sometimes messy women.

Stream it on STARZ.

7. The Handmaiden (2016)

A South Korean ~erotic~ psychological thriller, The Handmaiden takes place in 1930s Japanese-occupied Korea. The narrative focus is pretty much “down with the patriarchy!” but the film also explores relationships between women, and depicts queer sex in a nuanced way.

Stream it on Amazon Prime.

What are your favorite horror movies? Do you consider them feminist? What do you think constitutes a *feminist* movie, in general? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.

Toni Brannagan is a writer and was the former Copy and Content Manager at Thinx.

by Toni Brannagan

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