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20 Most Essential Female-Led Horror Films

Updated 12 Dec 2019 7.3k votes 777 voters 17.8k views21 items

List RulesVote up the female-led movies you think everyone should watch.

When people think of strong female leads, they may recall films such as Lara Croft: Tomb Raider or perhaps The Hunger Games. While those are both great examples of female action heroes, horror films with female leads are also a common thing.

Since the early days of the genre, horror films and women screaming in terror have gone hand in hand. What started with "scream queens" - conventionally beautiful, terrified women who are usually rescued by men before the end of horror films - eventually turned to “final girls” or females who survive horror movie villains and live to tell the story of what happened.

Like scream queens, final girls start out as damsels in distress, but modern final girls are strong enough to survive using their intelligence and brawn instead of by depending on a male to rescue them. More and more of these strong female horror films are making their way to the mainstream and to the horror streaming app Shudder, which you can check out for a free seven-day trial and costs a fraction of a movie ticket ($4.99/month) afterwards. 

The best female-led horror films tend to feature this new breed of final girls, as it's always exciting to see seemingly hopeless victims rescue themselves. 

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