Deeper Cuts: The Top 10 Women Directed Horror Movies

‘Tis the season for screams and scares! From the curator behind the women-directed film screening series, cELLEuloid, we have a top ten list of some under-appreciated female-directed horror. Everyone loves films like The Babadook and Pet Sematary, but we wanted to spread some love to some other spooky ladies that may not be on your radar.

1. The Love Witch (2017) directed by Anna Biller

The Love Witch
Streaming on YouTube & Shudder

Anna Biller crafts a perfect stylish throwback film in The Love Witch. A luminous Samantha Robinson plays Elaine, a young witch searching for that perfect love only to find that her spells have deadly results. Biller hand-made the sets and costumes creating a visual style that celebrates the technicolour thrillers of the 1960s.

2. Raw (2016) directed by Julia Ducournau

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Raw 2016
Streaming on Netflix

A young woman (Garance Marillier) away from home for the first time at veterinarian school starts to flirt with her shadow side after eating meat. Raw is deliciously gory and intelligently crafted horror, but best viewed by those with a strong stomach!

3. Braid (2018) directed by Mitzi Peirone

Braid Mitzi Peirone
Streaming on Amazon Prime & iTunes

Mitzi Peirone crowdfunded the budget for Braid with cryptocurrency, in an effort to circumvent the patriarchal Hollywood system so that she could maintain complete control of the outcome. The result is a psychedelic candy-coloured crime thriller that examines the darker nature of female dynamics.

4. Organ (1996) directed by Kei Fujiwara

Organ 1996
Not available online currently

One of the most hyper-violent films ever made (by a man or a woman), actress Kei Fujiwara’s first feature Organ is not for the faint of heart. The film follows two detectives who infiltrate a ring of black-market organ dealers.

5. Head Count (2018) directed by Elle Callahan

Head Count
Streaming on Netflix

Head Count follows a group of friends on vacation in California who unwittingly release the Hisji, a demon that possesses people and forces them to take their own lives. Callahan creates a genuinely original monster and sculpts terror out of characters and ambiance rather than schlocky jump scares.

6. Helter Skelter (2012) directed by Mika Ninagawa

Helter Skelter
Not available online currently

Helter Skelter is based on a popular Japanese manga about a pop star who goes to extreme lengths to stay on top. Director Mika Ninagawa started as a photographer and she creates a visually stunning celebration of the grotesque.

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7. Office Killer (1997) directed by Cindy Sherman

Office Killer

Streaming on Shudder

Revered art photographer Cindy Sherman’s only film to date, Office Killer, stars a nutty Carol Kane as a lonely copywriter who discovers she has a talent for killing when the abuse she takes at the hands of her coworkers goes too far. A cult classic that deserves a revisit.

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8. Honeymoon (2014) directed by Leigh Janiak


Streaming on Amazon Prime

Honeymoon stars Rose Leslie (Game of Thrones) as a young newlywed who goes for a walk in the woods and returns somehow disturbingly changed despite her unchanged appearance. Fans of the Twilight Zone will appreciate its understated horror.

9. Amer (2009) directed by Helene Cattet and Bruno Forzani

Amer Marie Bos

Streaming on Shudder

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Arthouse auteurs Helene Cattet and Bruno Forzani create a sumptuous feast for the eyes and ears in Amer, their eroticized Giallo homage.

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10. Silent House (2011) directed by Laura Lau & Chris Kentis

Silent House
Streaming on Itunes

While Silent House is edited to seem like one long cut, there is more genuine terror than gimmicks as Elizabeth Olsen plays a woman terrorized by supernatural forces in her family vacation home.

Do you have any other favourite horror movies directed by women that didn’t make the list? Let us know!

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