Blumhouse Productions founder Jason Blum stirred up controversy Wednesday when he claimed his studio hasn’t produced a theatrical release by a woman because there weren’t “a lot of female directors period, and even less who are inclined to do horror.” Many people took to Twitter to criticize Blum’s unqualified statement, with one user saying it took just one “quick Google search” to find the plethora of women at the helm of horror films. (Blum did say that he had tried to hire “The Babadook” director Jennifer Kent but she turned him down.)
Later that day, at the premiere for “Halloween,” which he produced, Blum apologized and said “Today was a great day for me because I learned a lot and because there are a lot of women out there that I’m going to meet as a result of today so I’m grateful for it.”
For Blum and anyone else who might not be noticing how many strong female voices are out there, here are 15 directors perfect for the next cannibal, zombie or slasher movie:
Since breaking out with her feature film debut “Girlfight” in 2000, Kusama has proved her versatility with efforts across genres and mediums. Her horror resume is especially impressive, having steered the 2009 horror dark comedy film, “Jennifer’s Body,” which has become a cult hit for its biting dialogue and female-centric perspective, as well as 2015’s “The Invitation” (2015) and the 2017 anthology horror film “XX.”
A lesser filmmaker could have turned the idea of a lifelong vegetarian craving human flesh into a campy, one-note thesis, yet in the deft hands of French writer and director Julia Ducournau, 2016’s “Raw” became a terrifying, beautifully shot, and thoughtful reflection on primal hunger.
It’s hard to tell that 2014’s “Honeymoon” was Janiak’s first feature film, as her confident direction made the intimate horror come alive, letting dread creep into full-blown nightmare as new bride Bea (Rose Leslie) exhibits increasingly erratic behavior. With credits including two episodes of “Scream: The TV Series” and the upcoming TV horror movie “Panic,” Janiak’s talent is bound to alert even Blum’s seemingly dull radar.
2017’s “Revenge” is a horror flick ripe with bloodshed and feminine rage as Matilda Lutz’s Jen goes on a rampage to take down the men who either raped her or ignored her anguish. Fargeat imbued the film with such style and passion, upon finishing the movie, audiences will immediately both want to smash the patriarchy and buy tickets for Fargeat’s next project.
Lopez is a powerhouse in her native Mexico and could easily make a name for herself in American cinema. She wrote and directed the 2017 fantasy horror film “Tigers Are Not Afraid” (“Vuelven” in Spanish), about children orphaned by the drug war in Mexico. The movie has been acclaimed by both Stephen King and Guillermo del Toro, with the latter announcing in March that he would be producing her next films. If the two modern maestros of horror and fantasy are paying attention, surely everyone else will soon be as well.
Hardwicke’s feature film debut “Thirteen” (2003) was a harrowing portrayal of teenage life and nabbed 17 awards and nominations, including a win for dramatic directing at Sundance. Since then, Hardwicke has proved her versatility with blockbusters like 2008’s “Twilight,” romance horror with 2011’s “Red Riding Hood,” and action with the upcoming thriller “Miss Bala” with Gina Rodriguez set for 2019.
Ana Lily Amirpour
Called the first “Iranian feminist vampire romance,” “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night,” is luminous and atmospheric, with Amirpour masterfully blending her own voice with elements of spaghetti Westerns and neo-noir. With the 2014 film, Amirpour established herself as a storyteller tuned to both frights and emotional resonance.
Foster’s lauded acting roles may steal the spotlight, but the Oscar winner is a formidable director as well; her horror training goes as far back as 1985, with a segment in the anthology “Stephen King’s Golden Tales,” and most recently on the “Black Mirror” episode “Arkangel.” She has also collected numerous nominations for her directorial work on “Orange Is the New Black” and “House of Cards,” so if Blum is looking for an actor-director double threat for his apology-tour movie, Foster is the one to call.
Denis should be on every filmmaker and studio’s radar: her works have helped shape European cinema since she broke out in the 1980s and few others directors pay such close attention to landscape and the usage of space and subjects. Denis has also shown incredible thematic range, from tackling existentialism in the 2001 erotic horror film “Trouble Every Day,” to 2018’s “High Life” that explores humanity on the verge of apocalypse.
Harron gets eternal kudos for directing and co-writing the classic 2000 psychological horror film “American Psycho,” an often darkly humorous take-down of materialism, toxic masculinity, and greed. She has also worked on numerous thriller and horror projects since, most recently directing the acclaimed Canadian crime drama series, “Alias Grace.”
Vuckovic has a deep knowledge of the genre unrivaled by most in the industry. She literally wrote the book on horror, publishing a history of zombies in 2011, and serving as the longtime editor in chief of the horror publication Rue Morgue Magazine. Vuckovic has the directing chops too: Her first short was executive produced by del Toro and in 2017, she produced the horror anthology “XX,” which featured a short she also directed.
If studios are looking for a director who can carry big-budget films, Peirce’s work in the stunning 1999 film “Boys Don’t Cry” and 2013’s “Carrie” remake should place her at the top of the shortlist. Peirce is a fearless auteur who is down to tackle any subject from race, class, to violence toward LGBT communities.
Wexler’s list of producing credits on horror projects runs impressively long, and March’s “The Ranger” proved her directing legitimacy There’s plenty of punk rock, spunk, and action to be found in her homage to ‘80s slasher movies, and the film solidifies Wexler as a director to watch in 2019.
A true multi-hyphenate, Biller has acted as director, producer, writer, editor, and even costume designer on all six of her shorts and feature films. Her works, including 2016’s horror comedy film “The Love Witch” always explode with color and camp, while simultaneously telling deceptively dark stories dealing with the male gaze and gender roles.
Hollywood rivalry is at the forefront in Takal’s 2016 “Always Shine.” Jealousy between two friends with competing careers devolves into destruction, and Takal approaches the subject of internalized misogyny with a terrifying, almost claustrophobic intimacy.