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A female-driven film to watch every day of the week during Women in Horror Month

Part 2 of 4: Various Fanged Fiends (Read Part 1: Superbly Supernatural)

In order to celebrate Women in Horror Month, I’ve drafted a categorized list of horror films directed (and often written) by women that deserve your attention. These 28 films – one for each day in February –  have been sorted into four categories. This is part two of four. (Read the full intro here).

6. The Velvet Vampire (1971) dir. Stephanie Rothman

Written: Stephanie Rothman, Maurice Jules, and Charles S. Swartz.
Starring: Celeste Yarnall, Michael Blodgett, and Sherry Miles.
CWs: Abuse, rape, prolonged nudity.

The Velvet Vampire, like all good movies about vampires, is abundantly and flagrantly queer. In it, a vampiric seductress (Celeste Yarnall) weasels her way between the married couple Lee (Michael Blodgett) and Susan (Sherry Miles) after inviting them to her lonely desert estate. Our three stars spend a considerable amount of time nude, and the vampire Diane LeFanu ought to be an icon: what other vampire listens to the blues and kills rapists? [Streamable on Shudder]

7. Humanoids From the Deep (1980) dir. Barbara Peeters

Written: William Martin.
Starring: Doug McClure, Ann Turkel, and Vic Morrow.
CWs: Animal death, rape.

Humanoids From the Deep is an extremely low-budget, Roger Corman-produced monster movie with six feet of ambition in two feet of ability. The monsters are long-armed, piranha-jawed fishmen and its (NSFW!) trailer promises “a battle for the survival of the fittest, where man is the endangered species and woman, the ultimate prize.” So, as is implied, be warned that the titular humanoids are out to (forcibly) mate with womanly prey.

8. The Being (1983) dir. Jackie Kong

Written: Jackie Kong.
Starring: Martin Landau, José Ferrer, and Dorothy Malone.
CWs: Rape.

Jackie Kong is a name that deserves to be much better known. She’s the featured image at the top of this article, and her schlocky cannibal slasher Blood Diner is one of the best. Here, though, we’re talking about The Being. In it, a heartland town in Idaho gets terrorized by a nuclear mutant – but won’t someone please think of the potato harvest!? Kong’s monster flick can be called “cheap,” “rushed,” “abysmally shot and edited,” “dark and muddy,” and “unpleasant,” but criticisms like those are a badge of honor in circles like ours. It’s a cheesy 80s monster movie! Besides, those snobby critics wouldn’t know “fun” if it burst out of an irradiated aquifer and attacked them. Bonus: it has Marin Landau in it! Academy Award winning actor Martin Landau! [Watch free on Youtube]

9. Near Dark (1987) dir. Kathyrn Bigelow

Written: Kathryn Bigelow and Eric Red.
Starring: Adrian Pasdar, Jenny Wright, Lance Henriksen, and Bill Paxton.

Kathryn Bigelow’s 2009 Academy Award for The Hurt Locker definitely makes her the most mainstream and recognizable name on this list, but before she was earning an Oscar, she was directing western road movies about vampires. It was only Bigelow’s second feature film as a director, but her raw talent and style is apparent even so early in her career. It’s so fortunate that such skill went to work on such a fun movie: featuring an awesome line-up of character actors, a novel take on the vampire mythos, and a soundtrack by Tangerine Dream, even with Bigelow’s aptitude notwithstanding, Near Dark is one of the straight-up coolest films on this list.

10. Blood and Donuts (1995) dir. Holly Dale

Written: Andrew Rai Berzins.
Starring: Gordon Currie, Justin Louis, Helene Clarkson, and Fiona Reid.

In this Canadian horror-comedy, a shy and benevolent vampire (Gordon Currie) wakes up after twenty-five years of sleep and readjusts to modern life by getting a cheap apartment near an all-night donut shop. He befriends a cab driver (Justin Louis) and falls for a waitress (Helene Clarkson), but as he becomes more involved in their personal lives, they’re drawn into his problems as well – like how his former lover from 1969 never stopped searching for him. My favorite vampire trope is when the undying blood-sucker doesn’t age with their loved ones, and I also love donuts, so I don’t know about you but it seems like this film was made for me.

11. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014) dir. Ana Lily Amirpour