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For Jason Blum: A list of female filmmakers who've been killing it in horror

Contributed by
Oct 17, 2018

Producer Jason Blum has built his empire in horror, churning out such films as Paranormal Activity, Insidious, Sinister, The Purge, and literally dozens of others including the new Halloween. And yet, somehow Blumhouse Productions hasn't had a single theatrical horror release directed by a woman. This is increasingly curious, especially as female voices in genre are getting more and more attention on the festival circuit and in theaters and in the media. But when asked about why Blumhouse has a dearth in female-directed horror, its founder gave an answer that was shockingly poor.

In an interview with Polygon, Blum claimed, "We’re always trying to do that. We’re not trying to do it because of recent events. We’ve always been trying." He went on to say, "I'm a massive admirer of [The Babadook director] Jennifer Kent. I’ve offered her every movie we’ve had available. She’s turned me down every time.” 

See, the problem isn't Blum. The problem is that the one woman he asked to work with him said no. And more importantly, other women are to blame for the lack of female representation behind the camera, because according to Blum, "There are not a lot of female directors period, and even less who are inclined to do horror."

Poor Jason Blum. Despite working in horror movies for years, he is somehow ignorant of all the incredible female filmmakers who are working in the field. It's a shame that he apparently has missed some of the most talked about horror movies of recent years, like Raw, Prevenge and Revenge. But hey, here at SYFY FANGRRLS we're all about spreading the love of great genre movies and kickass women. So just for you, Jason Blum, we've made a list of some directors who should be on your radar.

Ana Lily Amirpour

This genre-bending director burst onto the scene in 2014 with her bold vampire-Western A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. With moody visuals and a wickedly feminist message, this film about a headscarf-sporting, skateboarding vamp won widespread praise and paved the way to Amirpour's cannibal-studded follow-up The Bad Batch.

Karyn Kusama

This indie auteur is known to many horror fans as the mother of the cult classic Jennifer's Body, a horror-comedy about a cheerleader who becomes a literal man-eater. But Kusama returned to terror in 2015 with the heralded cult-horror offering The Invitation, and again in 2017 with a spooky short for XX, an anthology entirely made by female directors, including Roxanne Benjamin, Jovanka Vuckovic, and Annie Clark (A.K.A. St. Vincent).

Coralie Fargeat

On the film festival circuit, this French filmmaker has earned buzz with her savage directorial debut Revenge, which follows a rape survivor who was left for dead through her merciless and very bloody search for vengeance. Fargeat took a dark but familiar setup and brought it new and thrilling vibrancy with bold colors, insanely graphic violence, and some set pieces that were as disturbing as they were imaginative.

Catherine Hardwicke

Most know her as the helmer of the hugely successful Twilight adaptation. But Jason, you should know her as the helmer of the erotic thriller Plush, which Blumhouse productions gave a pitiful one-week release before shuttling it to video.

Emma Tammi

Good news, Jason! You might know Tammi too. She's an executive producer on your upcoming release Bloodline. And she helmed the historically inspired horror-Western called The Wind that had audiences howling at Fantastic Fest.

Mary Harron

This Canadian helmer has been working in film and television since the '80s, and is best-known for directing the sharp slasher/satire American Psycho. She's also featured on an upcoming episode of AMC Visionaries: Eli Roth's History of Horror, discussing the history of feminism in horror. 

Jen and Sylvia Soska

The Soska Sisters are not only the co-helmers of bloody offerings like American Mary and See No Evil 2, but also the hosts of a horror-inspired reality TV series called Hellevator. There, this deranged duo used their knowledge of horror tropes to create deeply scary challenges to test the nerve of contestants.

Mary Lambert

Best-known for directing Pet Sematary, Lambert has built a career helming a slew of horror projects including Pet Sematary II, Urban Legend: Bloody Mary, Mega Python vs. Gatoroid, plus an episode of Tales From The Crypt!

Rachel Talalay

If you grew up watching Freddy Krueger, you've likely seen the wicked work of this British-American director. She worked her way up in that franchise, from assistant production manager on Nightmare on Elm Street to line producer on A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors to producer on A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master. Then in 1991, she made her directorial debut with Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare, and has gone on to helm all kinds of horror on television, from Supernatural, to The Dead Zone, Doctor Who and Riverdale.

Julia Ducournau

This French filmmaker had stomachs churning and critics begging for mercy with her directorial debut, Raw. This 2017 cannibal tale expertly employed gore and gross-out gags to bend the audience to Ducournau's twisted will.

Kimberly Peirce

After making a pair of brutal dramas about real-world horrors like hate crimes and war, this heralded helmer took on the Chloe Grace Moretz-fronted Carrie remake in 2013, exposing a new generation to the terror of being a teen girl.

Agnieszka Smoczynska

This Polish provocateur made a splash in 2015 with her horror-musical The Lure, which followed a pair of man-eating mermaids as they join the house band at a burlesque bar. With untamed gore, brazen sexuality, and haunting song numbers, Smoczynska enchanted critics and horror fans alike. 

Alice Lowe

This Englishwoman is a triple threat: actor, writer, director. In 2012, Lowe co-wrote and co-starred in Ben Wheatley's acclaimed horror-comedy Sightseers. Then 2016, she made her directorial debut Prevenge, using her own impending maternity as inspiration. Eighth-months pregnant, this daring lady directed and starred in her mad and fabulous movie about a woman whose unborn child wills her to kill.

Emily Hagins

This Philadelphia-born horror lover was just 12 years old when she made her directorial debut with the zombie movie Pathogen. Since then, she helmed the vampire comedy My Sucky Teen Romance and creepy ghost story The Retelling. Which means she's helmed more horror movies than Halloween's director, David Gordon Green.

 

And this list just scratches the surface, especially if Blumhouse looks outside of horror for promising female directors, as they have for male ones. If you want another list, Jason, just holler. 

Did we miss your favorite female director? Give her a shout out in comments.

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