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If you’re unfamiliar with the history of horror films, women have a long-standing reputation for being wrongfully misrepresented, sexually objectified and violently treated. Many times female characters are the victims of brutal murders or graphic crimes, giving the idea that women are unintelligent and weak.

Additionally, some horror films have what’s called a “final girl” trope. It’s common for the last living character to be strong and resourceful, but only because she’s portrayed as innocent or even virginal — which, obviously shouldn’t be a requirement.

There have been and continue to be exceptions to these sort of horror movies, though. And while Halloween’s still quite a few months away, watching any of these spooky stories with major girl vibes is the perfect excuse to make buttery popcorn and pretend your responsibilities don’t exist.

1. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014)

What’s even more fierce than a female vampire who preys on evil men? An female Iranian vampire with blunt bangs who rides a skateboard, listens to indie rock, and preys on evil men.

2. You’re Next (2011)

If you’re looking for a horror film that goes beyond the typical “final girl” trope, You’re Next is the movie to watch. Sharni Vinson’s character takes charge when several masked assailants terrorize her boyfriend’s family during a reunion dinner.

3. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

This psychological horror film, starring Mia Farrow, gets inside the mind of a pregnant woman who believes a Satan-worshipping cult desires her baby for their evil rituals. Its graphic realism prompts questions of a woman’s right over her own body.

4. The Descent (2005)

Imagine you and your best friends becoming trapped inside an uncharted underground cave system then being hunted by carnivorous human-esque monsters. Pretty horrifying, right? Watch the all-female cast(!) in The Descent to find out if you (or anyone) makes it out alive.

5. Alien (1979)

In her breakout lead role, the incomparable Sigourney Weaver battles and outsmarts an alien who takes down every man around her. Alien takes on gender roles and sexual violence — two taboo topics at the time the sci-fi film was released.

6. The Slumber Party Massacre (1982)

Although its plot can be summarized by the simple title, this cult classic is a feminist satire of slasher movies. It was written by activist Rita Mae Brown and was part of the first horror film series to directed by women only. #makinghistory

7. The Witch (2015)

For all of the period film junkies out there, The Witch is a disturbing yet satisfying addition to a rainy Friday night at home. Set in 1630s Puritan New England, it portrays a young woman’s experience as she’s blamed for all of the evil mishappenings in her family.

8. The Babadook (2014)

Writer and director Jennifer Kent made sure her debut film touched on relatable themes like depression and the struggle of being a single mother among. The Babadook deals with both, along with creepy AF elements including imaginary monsters and possessed children.

9. Sugar Hill (1974)

A classic blaxploitation film and throwback to the zombie movies of the 30s and 40s, Sugar Hill tells the story of a black woman who uses voodoo to avenge the mob members who killed her boyfriend.

10. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

There’s nothing more badass than what Heather Langenkamp’s character says to Freddy Krueger at the climax of this 80s classic: “I take back every bit of energy I gave you. You’re nothing. You’re sh*t.”

11. Teeth (2007)

Even if vagina dentata is just folklore, there’s something rather frightening about your vagina suddenly growing teeth. This black comedy is likely to wreck your psyche and leave you cringing for days.

12. May (2002)

While May involves creepy dolls and cannibalism, this limited-release film does tell the story of a lonely young woman who knows what she wants and goes after it without avail.

13. The Hunger (1983)

The Hunger is a British-American erotic horror film that takes the meaning of love triangle to a whole new level. You can’t go wrong with lesbian lovers, vampires and David Bowie.  

Emily Schmidt

Stanford '20

Emily Schmidt is a junior at Stanford University, studying English and Spanish. Originally from the suburbs of Philadelphia, she quickly fell in love with the Californian sunshine and warm winter temperatures. Emily writes a hodgepodge of pieces from satiric articles for The Stanford Daily to free-verse poetry to historical fiction. Just like her writing repertoire, her collection of hobbies are widely scattered from speed-crocheting to Irish dancing to practicing calligraphy. When she is not writing or reading, Emily can also be found jamming out to Phil Collins or watching her favorite film, 'Belle.'
Follow Allison on Twitter @AllisonMCrist.