Monday 1 February 2016

How many British horror films are directed by women?

As it’s Women in Horror Month, I thought I’d take a look through my master list of 21st century British horror features and see how many were directed by women. Here’s the full list, in alphabetical order:
  1. Anna: Scream Queen Killer aka Scream Queen Killer (d.Melanie Denholme/The Aquinas) – Wannabe horror actress gets humiliated, abused and raped by director until she flips.
  2. Another Me (d.Isabel Coixet) – Schoolgirl haunted by ghost of dead twin.
  3. Credo aka The Devil’s Curse (d.Toni Harman) – Students in spooky old house battle demons.
  4. The Dead Outside (d.Kerry Anne Mullaney) – Three survivors of zombie apocalypse, one of whom might have a cure.
  5. A Dying Breed (d.Katharine Collins) – Six survivors of apocalypse trapped in a house.
  6. For One Night Only (d.Belinda Greensmith) – Teenagers hold séance in abandoned asylum.
  7. Expiry Date (d.Karen Bird) – Cursed credit card. I’m still desperate to see this!
  8. The Falling (d.Carol Morley) – Fainting sickness in 1960s girls’ school.
  9. The Final Haunting (d.Flaminia Graziadei) – Babysitter accepts job in spooky house.
  10. Jelly Dolly (d.Susannah Gent) – Woman finds ringpull in belly button.
  11. The Hitchhiker’s Project (d.Madeline McQueen) – Three young people go hiking and disappear.
  12. The Holding (d.Susan Jacobson) – Sinister visitor helps out on a farm.
  13. Isle of Dogs (d.Tammi Sutton) – Violent gangland thriller.
  14. The Library (d.Daljinder Singh) - Librarian doesn't realise she has inherited  murder victim's job.
  15. Merry Z-Day (d.Lily Jenkins) – Zombie comedy set at Christmas.
  16. Patient 17 (d.Tuyet Le) – Medical interns investigating patient uncover conspiracy.
  17. Rising Tide (d.Dawn Furness, Philip Shotton) – Students stuck on island, stalked by maniac.
  18. Soulmate (d.Axelle Carolyn) – After unsuccessful suicide bid, woman stays in haunted cottage.
  19. Temptation (d.Catherine Taylor) – Rape victim offered chance of immortality by vampire.
  20. A Vault of Victims (d. Anthony Brems, Maria Lee Metheringham and Will Metheringham) – Anthology: lesbians kill man; woman becomes obsessed with mirror; murderous teddy bear
That’s yer lot. Out of 628 British horror films released since 2000, I could only find 20 directed by women (three of which were shared directorial credits). I found another five which have been screened but not released:
  • Black Lightning Dream (d. Nici Preston)
  • Deadly Waters (d.Tyler James, Catherine Carpenter)
  • Jagoda aka The One (d.Lex Pokane-Hefner)
  • The Lesson (d.Ruth Platt)
  • Whispers (d.Tammi Sutton)
Some of the above 25 movies are fantastic, some are terrible, some are okay, some I haven’t seen. Which is as you would expect. What this means and whether it matters I leave to others to debate (observations/opinions welcome in the comments section). And obviously please let me know if I've missed any.

But for anyone looking for the cold, hard stats about how many horror films in this country are directed by women, the answer is...

Three per cent.

[Update. Thanks to Kulvinder Gill for reminding me that my initial list of 19 missed out Daljinder Singh's The Library. My bad. Post updated - MJS]


  1. To which we can add the award-winning short film Short Lease, directed by Prano Bailey-Bond and Jennifer Eiss, starring Marysia Kay.

    1. Thanks Steve. Probably a fair number of female-directed shorts out there; Mel Light's The Herd is one recent example. My database only covers features - IO can barely keep track of them!

  2. Two years later, Whispers and The Lesson have both been released, and here's another nine to add to the list:
    Deadly Intent (d.Rebekah Fortune)
    Jacob’s Hammer (d.Angie Bojtler)
    Hamlin (d.Rachel Brogan)
    Prevenge (d.Alice Lowe)
    Inside the Dark Room (d. Will and Maria Lee Metheringham)
    The Rizen (d.Matt Mitchell, Taliesyn Mitchell)
    Spidarlings (d.Salem Kapsaski)
    Egomaniac (d.Kate Shenton)
    Retribution (d.Christine Edwards)