Watchworthy

27 Horror Films You Had No Idea Were Directed By Women 

Lowe Saddler
Updated October 8, 2019 2.1k votes 369 voters 12.1k views 27 items

List Rules Vote up the best women-directed horror films.

Women have directed more than a few genre-defining horror films. And while the Me Too movement has shown how Hollywood marginalizes female-identifying individuals, they contribute greatly to the industry. Indeed, many women directors have created psychological thrillers and gory horror films that win awards and scare viewers senseless.

Some people suggest slasher movies and horror flicks tend to be misogynistic, painting women as passive victims. In truth, the genre can be approached in unique ways, and female directors bring fresh perspectives. Female characters in the horror genre are sometimes more nuanced and interesting. Occasionally, they're even more horrifying. These horror films with female directors explore every type of terror, from body horror to extreme paranoia.

Data-driven recommendations based on voting from over 40 million monthly visits to Ranker. Try the free app
list ordered by
1
Ranker Video
Mary Lambert

Actors: Stephen King, Fred Gwynne, Denise Crosby, Susan Blommaert, Miko Hughes, + more

Released: 1989

Pet Sematary is a 1989 American horror film adaptation of Stephen King's novel of the same name. Directed by Mary Lambert and written by King. Andrew Hubatsek was cast for Zelda's role. Author ...more

More Pet Sematary 

Real Burial Grounds And Locations That Could Have Inspired 'Pet Sematary' #186 of 358 The Best Movies Based On Books #155 of 522 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked

2
Ranker Video
Mary Harron

Actors: Christian Bale, Willem Dafoe, Jared Leto, Josh Lucas, Chloë Sevigny, + more

Released: 2000

Is this one of the best films directed by a woman?

American Psycho is a 2000 American neo-noir satirical psychological horror film directed by Mary Harron, based on the 1991 novel by Bret Easton Ellis. Wealthy New York City investment banking ...more

More American Psycho 

#14 of 239 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #123 of 358 The Best Movies Based On Books #403 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

3
Ranker Video
Jennifer Kent

Actors: Essie Davis, Daniel Henshall, Adam Morgan, Hayley McElhinney, Craig Behenna, + more

Released: 2014

The Babadook is a 2014 Australian psychological horror film, written and directed by Jennifer Kent, in which a woman and her son are tormented by a "boogie-man" type monster. The film ...more

More The Babadook 

#81 of 239 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #143 of 784 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #43 of 114 The Best Intelligent Horror Movies

4
Ranker Video
Kimberly Peirce

Actors: Julianne Moore, Chloë Grace Moretz, Judy Greer, Gabriella Wilde, Ansel Elgort, + more

Released: 2013

Carrie is a 2013 American supernatural horror film. It is the third film adaptation of Stephen King's 1974 novel of the same name, though Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Screen Gems, who produced the ...more

More Carrie 

#1,247 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #8 of 20 Horror Movies That Originally Had Much Darker Endings #46 of 49 The Best Movies Based on Stephen King Books

5
Ranker Video
Kathryn Bigelow

Actors: Bill Paxton, Lance Henriksen, Adrian Pasdar, Tim Thomerson, Jenette Goldstein, + more

Released: 1987

Near Dark is a 1987 American vampire Western horror film directed by Kathryn Bigelow and written by her and Eric Red. The story follows a young man in a small midwestern town who becomes ...more

More Near Dark 

#287 of 522 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #319 of 784 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #16 of 20 Small But Interesting Details From Our Favorite Horror Movies That Made Us Say, 'Whoa'

6
Ranker Video
Raw Julia Ducournau

Actors: Garance Marillier, Ella Rumpf, Laurent Lucas

Released: 2016

Raw is a 2016 French-Belgian horror film directed by Julia Ducournau. When a young vegetarian named Justine (Garance Marillier) undergoes a carnivorous hazing ritual at vet school, an unbidden ...more

More Raw 

#492 of 784 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #95 of 97 The Best Movies of 2017, Ranked #21 of 22 Horror Movies You Can't Even Finish Watching

7
Ranker Video
Karyn Kusama

Actors: Logan Marshall-Green, Tammy Blanchard, Michiel Huisman, Emayatzy Corinealdi

The Invitation is a 2015 American horror-thriller film directed by Karyn Kusama. While attending a dinner party at his former home, a man (Logan Marshall-Green) thinks his ex-wife (Tammy ...more

More The Invitation 

#206 of 239 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #419 of 784 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #13 of 30 The Best Horror Movies on Netflix

8
Ranker Video
Fran Rubel Kuzui

Actors: Ben Affleck, Hilary Swank, Donald Sutherland, Paul Reubens, David Arquette, + more

Released: 1992

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a 1992 American action/comedy horror film about a Valley girl cheerleader named Buffy who learns that it is her fate to hunt vampires. The film starred Kristy ...more

More Buffy the Vampire Slayer 

#482 of 784 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #347 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #155 of 693 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made

9
Ranker Video
Karyn Kusama

Actors: Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, Chris Pratt, J.K. Simmons, Amy Sedaris, + more

Released: 2009

Jennifer's Body is a 2009 black comedy horror film written by Diablo Cody and directed by Karyn Kusama. The film stars Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, Johnny Simmons, and Adam Brody. Fox portrays a ...more

More Jennifer's Body 

#222 of 784 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #455 of 560 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #28 of 70 The Best Teen Slasher Movies

10
Ranker Video
Rachel Talalay

Actors: Johnny Depp, Alice Cooper, Roseanne Barr, Tom Arnold, Robert Englund, + more

Released: 1991

This film is a 1991 American comedy-horror slasher film and the sixth film in the Nightmare on Elm Street series. As the title suggests, it was intended to be the last film in the series and it ...more

More Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare 

#172 of 226 The Worst Sequels Of All Time #5 of 12 12 Horror Films Where You Gleefully Root for the Villain #8 of 9 The Best Nightmare on Elm Street Movies

11
Ranker Video
Ana Lily Amirpour

Actors: Marshall Manesh, Mozhan Marnò, Dominic Rains, Rome Shadanloo, Reza Sixo Safai, + more

Released: 2014

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is a 2014 American vampire western film directed by Ana Lily Amirpour. Arash (Arash Marandi) is caring for his addict father and being harrassed by a drug dealer ...more
12
Ranker Video
Soska sisters, Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska

Actors: Katharine Isabelle, Antonio Cupo, Paul Anthony, David Lovgren, Jen Soska, + more

Released: 2012

American Mary is a 2012 Canadian horror film starring Katharine Isabelle, Antonio Cupo, and Tristan Risk and written and directed by the Soska Sisters. Isabelle plays a medical student desperate ...more
13
Ranker Video
Amy Holden Jones

Actors: Robin Stille, Michael Villella, Debra Deliso, Michele Michaels, Andree Honore

Released: 1982

The Slumber Party Massacre is a 1982 American slasher film directed by Amy Holden Jones and written by Rita Mae Brown. In the film, an 18-year old is left alone by her parents and plans on ...more

More The Slumber Party Massacre 

#40 of 167 The Best Slasher Movies #88 of 161 The Best Horror Movies Of The 1980s #16 of 84 The Best Slasher Movies of the 1980s

14
Ranker Video
Jovanka Vuckovic, Annie Clark, Roxanne Benjamin

Actors: Natalie Brown, Melanie Lynskey, Breeda Wool, Christina Kirk

Released: 2017

XX is a 2017 American anthology horror film directed by Jovanka Vuckovic, Annie Clark, Roxanne Benjamin and Karyn Kusama. The anthology features four short horror films that are directed and ...more
15
Ranker Video
Jackie Kong

Actors: Carl Crew

Released: 1987

Blood Diner is a 1987 black comedy horror film, a loose sequel to the 1963 film Blood Feast. The movie was written by Michael Sonye and directed by Jackie Kong.

More Blood Diner 

#97 of 128 The Best B Movies of All Time #68 of 84 The Best Slasher Movies of the 1980s #133 of 143 The Best Comedy Horror Movies, Ranked

16
Ranker Video
Ida Lupino

Actors: Edmond O'Brien, Frank Lovejoy, José Torvay, Sam Hayes, Wendell Niles

Released: 1953

Two fishermen pick up a psychotic escaped convict who tells them that he intends to murder them when the ride is over.
17
Ranker Video
Ana Lily Amirpour

Actors: Suki Waterhouse, Jason Momoa, Giovanni Ribisi, Keanu Reeves

Released: 2016

The Bad Batch is a 2016 American romantic horror-thriller film directed and written by Ana Lily Amirpour. It is a dystopian love story in a Texas wasteland and set in a community of cannibals.
18
Ranker Video
A Night To Dismember Doris Wishman

Actors: Samantha Fox, Miriam Meth, William Szarka, Saul Meth, Chris Smith, + more

Released: 1983

A Night to Dismember is a 1983 horror film written by Judy J. Kushner and directed by Doris Wishman.
19
Ranker Video
Cindy Sherman

Actors: Ben Affleck, Molly Ringwald, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Carol Kane, Michael Imperioli, + more

Released: 1997

Office Killer is a comedy-horror film directed by Cindy Sherman. It was released in 1997 and stars Carol Kane, Molly Ringwald and David Thornton.
20
Ranker Video
Emily Hagins

Actors: Tiger Darrow

Released: 2006

Pathogen is a 2006 zombie horror independent film written, directed, and produced by Emily Hagins, who was twelve at the time of the film's production. The film was released on March 25, 2006 ...more
21
Ranker Video
Anna Biller

Actors: Elle Evans, Jeffrey Vincent Parise, Kaye L. Morris, Dani Lennon

Released: 2016

The Love Witch is a 2016 American horror comedy film written and directed by Anna Biller. The film is about a modern-day witch (Samantha Robinson) who uses spells and magic to get men to fall in ...more

More The Love Witch 

#19 of 21 Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies #16 of 25 The Scariest Horror Movies About Witches #66 of 357 The Best Movies Directed by Women

22
Ranker Video
Ghostwatch Lesley Manning

Actors: Craig Charles, Michael Parkinson, Sarah Greene

Released: 1992

Ghostwatch is a British reality–horror/mockumentary television movie, first broadcast on BBC1 on 31 October, 1992. Despite having been recorded weeks in advance, the narrative was presented as ...more

More Ghostwatch 

'Ghostwatch' Is The Most Underrated Found Footage Movie You've Never Seen #66 of 86 The Most Horrifying Found-Footage Movies #23 of 68 The Best Found Footage Movies

23
Ranker Video
Holly Dale

Actors: David Cronenberg, Louis Ferreira, Fiona Reid, Hadley Kay, Gordon Currie, + more

Released: 1995

Blood and Donuts is a 1995 Canadian horror comedy film directed by Holly Dale, written by Andrew Rai Berzins, and starring Gordon Currie and Helene Clarkson. David Cronenberg plays a cameo role ...more
24
Ranker Video
Claire Denis

Actors: Vincent Gallo, Béatrice Dalle, Tricia Vessey, Aurore Clément, Alex Descas, + more

Released: 2001

Trouble Every Day is a 2001 French erotic horror film directed by Claire Denis and written by Denis and Jean-Pol Fargeau. It stars Vincent Gallo, Tricia Vessey, Béatrice Dalle and Alex ...more
25
Ranker Video
Marina de Van

Actors: Marina de Van, Laurent Lucas, Dominique Reymond, Léa Drucker, Thibault de Montalembert, + more

Released: 2002

In My Skin is a 2002 New French Extremity film written by, directed by, and starring Marina de Van. It details the downward mental spiral of Esther, a woman who engages in increasingly ...more