The Horror Honeys: Under-Appreciated Women In Horror...

Under-Appreciated Women In Horror...

A Slasher Honey Retrospective from Chassity

As Women in Horror Month draws to a close, I did a lot of thinking about what it all means, and how to finish it out strong. And the more I thought about it, the more disillusioned and frustrated I got. One singular thought kept coming to mind:

Wouldn’t it be nicer if having women in horror was such a regular, ordinary occurrence that we wouldn’t even need to celebrate it? 

Before anyone gets the wrong idea, let me explain what I mean by this. With the recent news about Jon Stewart leaving The Daily Show, and the controversy that followed with Jessica Williams mentioned as a possible replacement and the reactions to that, everyone’s attention was drawn to the fact that late night television is basically just a boy's club, and that’s a big factor in why the article about Williams’s opinion on being considered to host The Daily Show turned into such a big deal. It got me to thinking about what a shame that is, and how many areas in entertainment are basically a boy's club. Horror absolutely is one of the main ones. 

That’s the reason why things like Women In Horror Month are needed. And while it’s definitely fantastic that we celebrate women in the genre, I feel the need to counter that with how sad it is that it’s such a big deal. How sad it is that the minority of women in horror is so rare and far between that it needs to be celebrated. In 2015. I love the recognition, but the time to celebrate, at least for me, will be when there are so many outstanding, successful, talented women in horror (both behind the camera and onscreen doing more than just screaming and running around half naked) that it’s no big deal anymore. 

On top of that, when women in horror ARE recognized, there seems to be so much focus on the few major Scream Queens and big names that we all know, that others don’t get recognized at all. Yes, we love Jamie Lee Curtis and Danielle Harris and such... but what about other women in horror? 
With that in mind, I wanted to take a second to recognize some of my favorite modern portrayals of women in horror onscreen, that AREN’T Scream Queens but are still pretty worthy of mention and show the potential that women in horror have outside of being stereotypes. 

Trish Jenner from Jeepers Creepers: If you take away Sidney Prescott, she was one of my first exposures to a decent female portrayal in horror. Why do I love her and deem her worthy of this list? She was smarter than her brother, she was aware of what was going on around her and always seemed to say what the audience was thinking. She did not spend the movie crying, screaming, and half dressed. In fact, Trish is rarely emotional at all throughout the entire movie. She holds it together, is the voice of reason as opposed to her hysterical brother Darry, and is not afraid to say exactly what’s on her mind. 

Her most badass moment? Daring the Creeper to take her instead of Darry because she’s stronger than he is. 

Clear Rivers from Final Destinaton and Final Destinaton 2: At first glance, Clear was unassuming and meek. But behind all that, she was the most intelligent and most mature teenager in the movie. She was a source of strength for Alex, who was more like a stereotypical Final Girl than any other Final Boy in horror. While he was the one crying and angst-y, trying to figure out why this was all happening to him, she stayed strong, guided Alex every step of the way, and managed to survive right along with him while helping him piece the puzzle together. 

The fact that she managed to outlive Alex, despite his gift for premonitions that were supposed to keep him alive and protect Clear, is badass enough for me. 

Estelle Collingwood from The Last House On The Left: As you may or may not know by now, this movie still haunts me. And Estelle is one reason for this. She matches her husband in mad, violent acts of revenge. The image of her biting off a man’s genitals is one of the most fascinating things I’ve ever seen. 

Hayley Stark from Hard Candy: What’s better than adorable Ellen Paige as Juno? Ellen Paige as a smart, devious girl seeking revenge on a pedophile who rapes little girls. Talk about images that still haunt me. 

Again, it’s the lack of emotion, and the cold nature in which Hayley does what she does, that make her so powerful to me. Her refusal to give up, her lack of empathy for her victim (despite her young age and his pleas and tactics trying to intimidate her), and her knowledge of what she’s doing actually make me root for her. 

Karla Wilson from I Still Know What You Did Last Summer: A black female character that isn’t JUST the stereotypical best friend? Yes, please. Karla is not loud and angry, nor does she submit herself to the sidelines while Julie shines and uses her as a sounding board. Karla was strong, she was a fighter, and she drove the action just as much as Julie did. She was sexual without being overly so, she spoke her mind without being a black female caricature, and she held her own, never hesitating to challenge Julie for her wrongdoings and never hesitating to fight for her life just as powerfully as the men. 

I loved getting to see a black woman make it all the way to the end and even survive. 

Amanda Young from Saw: I know, I know. But I couldn’t very well NOT put her on the list. Amanda is special because she, a woman, was the first survivor of Jigsaw’s games. And for a while, she was the only true survivor. She had emotions, but didn’t let them make her weak. They made her that much stronger and that much more determined to take down everyone around her she saw as a threat. Despite her many flaws, she had enough strengths to be selected to carry on Jigsaw’s work, and she would’ve done a hell of a job, too, if only she’d listened better. She’s badass to me because she is not afraid of anything, except her own emotions.

Esther, Kate, and Max from Orphan: Why did I pick all three of them, especially when one of them was a little girl? Easy. Because you gotta love three smart chicks in a movie with a dumb man. 

Esther not only tricked “Daddy” time and time again, but got the best of him in the end. She was three steps ahead of him at every turn. And when she finally finishes him off, it’s thrilling because he deserves it for not listening to his intelligent wife, Kate. Kate picked up pretty early on that something terrible was going on, but because John (the husband) was the man of the house and therefore automatically knows best, things got out of control. It is only when the boy is away in the hospital and the stupid man is out of the picture that Kate gets to use what she knows to take control and deal with things in a way only a woman who’s a true fighter could. 

And who gets to be the hero in the end? Max: the sweet, adorable, little girl.