Women in Horror Films

Topics: Horror film, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Final girl Pages: 8 (2535 words) Published: October 23, 2010

Item 1: Black Christmas (1974)
A sorority house is terrorized by a stranger who makes frightening phone calls and then murders the sorority sisters during Christmas break. A great example for weaker roles for women as every member of the female cast is killed off. I intend to pick out key scenes to use as examples in discussion.

Item 2: Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
A group of friends passing through are stalked and hunted down by a deformed killer with a chainsaw in order to sustain his poor family who can only afford to eat what they kill. This made a great film for discussion as the female lead role survives the entire film and she is different from many other female roles in horror films.

Item 3: The Hitcher (2007)
A road trip takes a deadly turn in this terrifying thriller about a young couple tormented by a psychotic hitchhiker. I believe this film to be a good point for discussion, as the lead female’s role appears to change throughout the duration of the film.

Item 4: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
A group of suburban teenagers share one common bond: Freddy Krueger, a horribly disfigured killer who hunts them in their dreams, is stalking them all. A good example for key scenes as main character Nancy learns to defend herself from the killer and attack back.


Item 5: Men, Women and Chainsaws: Gender in Modern Horror Film. By Carol Clover. My most useful resource, Carol Clover discusses both fact and her own opinion about the use of different genders in horror films and how it has changed over the years. She uses a number of different films as examples, both old and new, and relates her arguments to numerous critics, philosophers and filmmakers themselves.

Item 6: The Heroine's Journey. By Maureen Murdock.
A book about a women’s journey, their reasons for choices and how it affects them. Can be related to films easily and clearly and has helped my research into women in horror films.


Item 7: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art48141.asp
An online article written by Steven Casey Murray, the horror movies editor for BellaOnline. Gives a lot of facts about women in horror and uses A Nightmare on Elm Street as an example, picking out numerous key scenes which I will find helpful, as this is one of my focus films.

Item 8: http://www.cinemademerde.com/Essay-Final_Girl.shtml
An essay on the different types of women in horror, rather than how their representation and roles have changed. The writer of this online essay relates her arguments to one of the books in my resources, ‘Men, Women and Chainsaws’. Useful as all aspects of horrors are discussed here.


Item 9: Horror Films...And the Women Who Love Them! – Entertainment Weekly Article. Discusses women as an audience to horror films as apposed to discussing the cast. Why women would or would not want to watch a female cast. Also discusses how women may be empowered in these films.

Presentation Script

Run Audio:
10 Second Clip from Black Christmas, scene where first girl is murdered, girls are screaming.

For this presentation I have chosen to research and discuss how the roles and representation of women in horror and slasher films has developed since the 1960’s. Horror films are movies that try to provoke the emotions of fear, horror and terror from their viewers.

Show clips of women from 3 films.
(5 second clip of women facing their killer in each of my focus films. Black Christmas, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hitcher.)

In horror films created before the 1980’s, there is a lack of strong female characters, any females that appeared on our screens were seen as weak and quite often ended up being murdered long before the end of the film. When looking for a horror film from this time with a female lead, the only films I managed to find were 70’s films ‘A Nightmare In Elm Street’, ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ and ‘Black...
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