Top 30 Female Horror Directors!

by bampbell2001 | created - 3 months ago | updated - 3 months ago | Public

Cinematic horror for most its history has been a story almost exclusively told by men. After minuscule progress from 1980 to 2010, the door has opened and a stream of great women directors has been arriving on the horror scene. Partly due to social change, partly due to networking and contacts, but this movement is mostly due to pure talent and merit. These ladies are very good at what they do. And with each success story, another door opens.

Here are terrific 30 female horror directors you should know about. We at the Scariest Things have been wanting to do some director profiles on the air. We would feature a chronology of the director’s greatest films, and rank them. When trying to find a woman horror director, it became frighteningly difficult to find one who had done more than three genre features. There is a wave coming of very talented female directors who have released a horror feature in recent years and after this past season of streaming horror film festivals it became clear that there is a movement brewing, with a number of women coming up the ranks in the independent horror circuit.

And really, it’s about time.

PS: This is not a ranked list, but a list of directors whose films YOU should see!

PPS: The Soska sisters count as one, hence 31.

https://scariesthings.com/2020/12/01/dead-list-30-important-women-horror-directors-who-you-should-know/

1. Kathryn Bigelow

Director | The Hurt Locker

A very talented painter, Kathryn spent two years at the San Francisco Art Institute. At 20, she won a scholarship to the Whitney Museum's Independent Study Program. She was given a studio in a former Offtrack Betting building, literally in an old bank vault, where she made art and waited to be ...

2. Antonia Bird

Director | Priest

Antonia Bird was born on May 27, 1951 in London, England. She was a director and producer, known for Priest (1994), Face (1997) and Ravenous (1999). She was married to Ian Ilett. She died on October 24, 2013 in London.

3. Claire Denis

Director | High Life

Claire Denis was born on April 21, 1946 in Paris, France. She is a director and writer, known for High Life (2018), Beau travail (1999) and Nenette and Boni (1996).

4. Mary Harron

Director | American Psycho

Mary Harron (born January 12, 1953) is a Canadian filmmaker and screenwriter. She gained recognition for her role in writing and directing several independent films, including I Shot Andy Warhol (1996), American Psycho (2000), and The Notorious Bettie Page (2005). She co-wrote American Psycho and ...

5. Amy Holden Jones

Writer | The Resident

Amy Holden Jones is a writer and producer, known for The Resident (2018), Mystic Pizza (1988) and Black Box (2014). She was previously married to Michael Chapman.

6. Fran Rubel Kuzui

Producer | Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Fran Rubel Kuzui is a producer and director, known for Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992), Orgazmo (1997) and Angel (1999). She is married to Kaz Kuzui.

7. Mary Lambert

Director | Pet Sematary

Mary Lambert was born in 1951 in Helena, Arkansas, USA. She is a director and writer, known for Pet Sematary (1989), Madonna: Like a Prayer (1989) and The In Crowd (2000). She has been married to Jerome Gary since September 28, 1991. They have one child.

8. Kasi Lemmons

Actress | The Silence of the Lambs

Kasi Lemmons was born on February 24, 1961 in St. Louis, Missouri, USA as Karen Lemmons. She is an actress, known for The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Candyman (1992) and Harriet (2019). She has been married to Vondie Curtis-Hall since August 19, 1995. They have two children.

9. Ida Lupino

Actress | High Sierra

Ida was born in London to a show business family. In 1932, her mother brought Ida with her to an audition and Ida got the part her mother wanted. The picture was Her First Affaire (1932). Ida, a bleached blonde, came to Hollywood in 1934 and played small and insignificant parts. Peter Ibbetson (...

10. Rachel Talalay

Director | Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare

Rachel Talalay was born in Chicago Illinois. Her parents, Paul and Prudence, moved to Baltimore to work/teach at Johns Hopkins when she was 4 years old. After studying Applied Mathematics at Yale University, she worked as a computer programmer at Johns Hopkins University. During this time, she met ...

11. Ana Lily Amirpour

Director | A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

Ana Lily Amirpour was born on July 25, 1976 in Margate, Kent, England. She is a director and writer, known for A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014), The Bad Batch (2016) and A Little Suicide (2012).

12. Zandashé Brown

Producer | Blood Runs Down

Happily based in New Orleans, Zandashé Brown is a writer/director born-and-bred in and inspired by southern Louisiana. Her work raises a Black femme lens to the tradition of southern gothic horror. Brown's directorial debut, "Blood Runs Down", was one of five projects selected for the New Orleans ...

13. Lisa Brühlmann

Director | Blue My Mind

Lisa Brühlmann is a director, writer and actor, best known for Blue My Mind (2017) and Killing Eve (2018). She was born and raised in Zurich, Switzerland. Before becoming a director, she was acting in numerous film and TV productions. Brühlmann has been nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy for her work ...

14. Elle Callahan

Editorial_department | Wonder Woman

Elle Callahan is an American genre film director, writer, and sound designer. She is known for directing Witch Hunt (2021) and Head Count (2018). She was born and raised in Westborough, Massachusetts as Elizabeth Wilkinson Callahan. Elle attended the University of Southern California where she ...

15. Axelle Carolyn

Actress | Tales of Halloween

Axelle Carolyn started out as a freelance reporter for some of the world's most prestigious film magazines and websites. Her non-fiction writing career culminated with the 2009 publication of her book 'Horror Movies In The New Millennium'. After a brief stint in front of the camera (most notably in...

16. Nia DaCosta

Writer | Little Woods

Nia DaCosta is known for her work on Little Woods (2018), Candyman (2021) and Ghost Tape (2020).

17. Julia Ducournau

Director | Grave

Julia Ducournau is a French film director and screenwriter. She attended film school at La Fémis in Paris, where she studied screenwriting. In 2011, her short film JUNIOR won the Petit Rail d'Or at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. Her first feature, the horror movie RAW, won the coveted FIPRESCI ...

18. Coralie Fargeat

Director | Revenge

Coralie Fargeat is a director and writer, known for Revenge (2017), Reality+ (2014) and Le télégramme (2003).

19. Veronika Franz

Writer | Ich seh, Ich seh

Veronika Franz was born in 1965 in Vienna, Austria. She is a writer and director, known for Goodnight Mommy (2014), The Lodge (2019) and The Field Guide to Evil (2018).

20. Brea Grant

Writer | 12 Hour Shift

Brea Grant was born in Marshall, Texas and attended high school at Marshall Public High School. She earned an MA at the University of Texas in Austin. Her first television acting job was on Friday Night Lights. She went on to play characters on Dexter and Heroes. She now resides in Los Angeles.

21. Leigh Janiak

Director | Honeymoon

Leigh Janiak is a film director and screenwriter born on February 1, 1980 in Ohio, USA. She is the daughter of Karen L. Janiak and Nestor K. Janiak of Mentor, Ohio, USA. Her feature film directorial debut was horror/mystery Honeymoon (2014) starring Rose Leslie from Game of Thrones (2011), and ...

22. Jennifer Kent

Director | The Babadook

Jennifer Kent was born in 1969 in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. She is an actress and director, known for The Babadook (2014), The Nightingale (2018) and Monster (2005).

23. Karyn Kusama

Director | The Invitation

Karyn Kusama was born on March 21, 1968 in Brooklyn, New York, USA as Karyn K. Kusama. She is a director and producer, known for The Invitation (2015), Girlfight (2000) and Destroyer (2018).

24. Issa Lopez

Actress | Dekada '70

Issa Lopez is an actress and assistant director, known for The Seventies (2002), Niño (2011) and Kimmy Dora and the Temple of Kiyeme (2012).

25. Jen Soska

Actress | American Mary

Identical twins, writers, directors, actors even stunt players, the Soska sisters have always loved twisted film. Even at an early age, they devoured Stephen King novels, one after another as fast as they could read - and snuck into the over 18 sections at video stores, to critique the bloody ...

26. Sylvia Soska

Actress | American Mary

Identical twins, writers, directors, actors, and even stunt players, the Soska sisters have always loved twisted film. Even at an early age, they devoured Stephen King novels, one after another as fast as they could read - and would sneak into the over 18 sections at video stores, to critique the ...

27. Chelsea Stardust

Director | Satanic Panic

Chelsea Stardust is known for her work on Satanic Panic (2019), Into the Dark: All That We Destroy (2019) and Marco Polo (2016).

28. Emma Tammi

Director | The Wind

Emma Tammi is a director and producer, known for The Wind (2018), Fair Chase (2014) and The Left Right Game (2020).

29. Jovanka Vuckovic

Director | XX

Jovanka Vuckovic is an award winning writer and filmmaker. She got her start in broadcasting as a visual effects artist, winning a Gemini Award (Canadian Emmy) for Best Visual Effects, then went on to edit the horror publication Rue Morgue Magazine for six and a half years. Her presence at the helm...

30. Jenn Wexler

Producer | The Ranger

Jenn Wexler is a producer and director, known for The Ranger (2018), Darling (2015) and Like Me (2017).

31. Zoé Wittock

Director | Jumbo

Zoe is an award winning writer and director. Originally hailing from Belgium, Zoé grew up living around the world and trained at the prestigious directing program of the American Film Institute (AFI), in Los Angeles, where she graduated the youngest and top of her class, while being awarded the "...



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