52 Films by Women: Halloween Special

Every month our writers will be submitting their fave films written and/or directed by women, one for every week of the year – and for October, we’re looking at our favourite horrors! Have any suggestions? Tweet us @The_Nopebook with the hashtag #52FilmsbyWomen or email our Screen Queen at media@thenopebook.com

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992) – Fran Rubel Kuzui

Before she moved to Sunnydale and met Willow and Xander, Buffy was a popular Valley Girl who had never hit anyone before. In the 1992 film, Buffy (Kristy Swanson) learns that she is the slayer, the chosen one destined to fight vampires, and starts training under the guidance of her first watcher Merrick (Donald Sutherland).

Kristy Swanson in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992).

Kristy Swanson in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992).

Soon Buffy is spending her school nights skipping cheerleading practice and sneaking out to defend LA from her first big bad, Lothos the Vampire King (Rutger Hauer). This movie isn’t just for Buffy devotees, it’s a campy delight with all the quips and quotability you’d expect from a teen comedy — except this time with more vampires.

It’s A Wonderful Afterlife (2010) – Gurinder Chadha 

It’s a Wonderful Afterlife is an affectionate, funny, film that just happens to deal with the themes of arranged marriages, the desperation of parents to see their offspring happy, body-shaming and, oh yes – a serial killer who uses the art of cooking on their victims. 

Goldy Notay and Sally Hawkins in It's a Wonderful Afterlife (2010).

Goldy Notay and Sally Hawkins in It’s a Wonderful Afterlife (2010).

Having heard Gurinder Chadha interviewed about the film I dragged my entire family to see it. I’ll admit they really didn’t know why on their way in, but coming out of the cinema was a different story – they all loved it. It’s a great watch, at Halloween or at any time. Oh, and the cast is pretty excellent too! 

The Babadook (2014) – Jennifer Kent

Featuring perhaps one of the creepiest looking illustrated monsters around, The Babadook is the story of a worn-down widow trying to raise her son the best she can. After Sam (Noah Wiseman) asks his mother to read him a popup storybook called Mister Babadook, the titular character begins infiltrating their lives and tormenting them.

Essie Davis and Noah Wiseman in The Babadook (2014)

Essie Davis and Noah Wiseman in The Babadook (2014).

The Babadook became an unlikely, somewhat tongue-in-cheek gay icon after Netflix mistakenly categorised the film under LGBT films back in 2016. Some fans and journalists revisited the film to pull apart its queer subtext, citing the Babadook’s dramatic character and disruption of family life. There was even a screening of the film held in Los Angeles to raise money for LGBTQ charities!

The Voices (2014) – Marjane Satrapi

A psychological black comedy, The Voices is the surreal story of Jerry (Ryan Reynolds), a well-intentioned but delusional man who lives with his dog Bosco, and his cat Mr Whiskers – both of whom talk to him on a regular basis. After an accident with a co-worker, Fiona (Gemma Arterton), Jerry’s grip on reality begins to slip even further until he is caught in a tangled, bloody mess of his own making.

Ryan Reynolds and Gemma Arterton in The Voices (2014)

Featuring a great performances by Reynolds (who also voiced Mr Whiskers, Bosco, and various other talking animals in Jerry’s hallucinations) and Arterton, The Voices is both Jerry’s rose-tinted vision of bachelordom and a tragic, grisly depiction of one man’s downward spiral.

Jennifer’s Body (2009) – Karyn Kusama

Jennifer’s Body is a film about a young woman possessed by a demonic force after a group of desperate men try to sacrifice her as a virgin in order to become a commercially successful rock band. Except Jennifer (Megan Fox) is not a virgin, and so proceeds to wreak havoc on her town and her best friend ‘Needy’ (Amanda Seyfried).

Amanda Seyfried in Jennifer's Body (2009)

Amanda Seyfried in Jennifer’s Body (2009).

Somewhat betrayed by its male-gazey marketing, Jennifer’s Body is a black comedy featuring killer female leads and a plot revolving around dysfunctional teenage girl relationships. With a strong queer subtext and an ending that is satisfying both in terms of story and bloodiness, Jennifer’s Body is a film you definitely shouldn’t dismiss because of its trailer. Oh, and the soundtrack is peak 2000s pop punk.

This month’s contributors in order of appearance: H Beverley, Laura Mullan, Georgia Sanders and Becki Jayne Crossley.

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