31 Days of Horror! Day 23 – Female Director special!

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Hello today I’m focusing on horror movies directed by women. As you MAY know, female directors are few and far between in EVERY genre. Horror is no exception. However, there are some solid entries in horror by women. The obvious example is American Psycho, directed by Mary Harron (who also did The Moth Diaries but I didn’t see that and I have heard some pretty bad things about it). American Psycho is one of my favorite movies of all-time, and it’s gory and hilarious and captures the satirical aspect of the book extremely well.

Another example would be Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare which I have not seen. However, it was directed by Rachel Talalay, who also directed cult favorite Tank Girl. I haven’t seen this particular entry in the Elm St. franchise, but I love all of them, even the bad ones. It is my 2nd favorite horror franchise (behind Evil Dead OBVIOUSLY).

So anyway I watched two movies by female directors today, and they were both great, with one of them being potentially added to my Top 10 favorite movies ever! Yeah, it was that good.

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American Mary (2013)
Written and directed by the Soska siters (Jen and Sylvia, twins), who also play the creepy twins in the end of the movie, this is one of the more recent entries into the body horror genre.

Mary (Katherine Isabelle, from Freddy vs. Jason) is in medical school training to become a surgeon. Her teacher is super hard on her. She’s running low on money, so she goes to audition at a strip club. She mentions to the owner that she’s going to be a surgeon, and a few minutes later, she basically has to perform emergency surgery on a guy who got a LITTLE too roughed-up by the strip club bouncer. Somehow, her name and reputation have made it to a woman who wants her nipples and genitals kind of like. Removed? So that she looks like a barbie. Anyway so stuff happens and she drops out and goes full-time black market body mod surgeon.

This movie was really really weird (in a great way). I’m a sucker for body horror, it’s probably my favorite horror genre. David Cronenberg (The Fly, Scanners) is one of my all-time favorite directors. So I saw this and thought “okay cool body horror” but it’s more than that. There’s a great story underneath about desperation, revenge, exploitation, and almost sadistic pleasure. It’s a very creepy movie as well, obviously. Not for the weak of stomach though.

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Near Dark (1987)
Kathryn Bigelow’s Near Dark is, in my opinion, the best movie she’s made (that I have seen…) and I loved The Hurt Locker so that should say something. She’s also famous for the incredibly well-made fictional American propaganda film Zero Dark Thirty. She is very important in the world of film because she’s the first female director to win the Academy Award for Best Director (for The Hurt Locker).

This is about a “cowboy” named Caleb (Adrian Pasdar, from Heroes and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.!) who meets a girl one night named Mae who bites him and turns him into a vampire. He joins up with her little outlaw vampire crew (two of which are played by Lance Henriksen and Bill Paxton, respectively), who are kind of like a posse. Because this film is sort of a western disguised as a horror movie. Anyway so every night they go out killing, but Caleb can’t bring himself to kill, so Mae has to feed, and then feed some of her blood to Caleb (pictured at the VERRRRYY top of the article). This doesn’t sit well with the rest of the crew. After a raid by them on a bar, things get a bit hairier (no I am not implying werewolves).

Okay so this movie, as I mentioned, is actually kind of a western, but it takes place in the 80s southwest. This movie has so much going on, and also it’s one of the earlier vampire love stories (suck it Twilight) but it’s also kind of like Sid and Nancy. Kind of. The vampires themselves are a cool take on the lore too. They feed every night, and if they don’t feed, they become weak, gaunt, eyes sink in, increased mucus production, and basically all the symptoms of a junkie. These aren’t your regal, wealthy, caped vampires of old. They look more like a trashy 80s punk band.

The atmosphere of this movie is almost tangible. Every moment and every visual impressed me. Have you ever watched a movie, and everything that happened from the story to the acting to the atmosphere and setting and style, and you enjoy it so thoroughly and so deeply that you feel like it was made with you in mind? And I obviously don’t mean that literally, but it almost feels like this movie was tailor-made for me. I just deeply enjoyed every moment of it and would recommend to anyone.

Anyway that’s it for today and tonight’s post will be up later.

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