You know the bummer statistics: In the past five years, only 5 percent of studio releases had a woman behind the camera. But this fall, five female directors are taking a hatchet to the status quo — via the supposedly unladylike horror genre. On Sept. 12 comes Leigh Janiak’s Honeymoon, which stars Rose Leslie (Game of Thrones) as a newlywed whose cabin-in-the-woods vacation changes her for the bloody, terrifying worse. See No Evil 2, the latest freak-out from twin sisters Jen and Sylvia Soska (American Mary), debuts on DVD/Blu-ray on Oct. 21. In November, Ana Lily Amirpour’s vampire Western A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (executive-produced by Elijah Wood) creeps into theaters, along with Australian writer-director Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook (out Nov. 28), about a children’s book that comes to horrifying life.
First-time filmmaker Kent says no one should be surprised that the gory genre is helping women shatter Hollywood’s glass ceiling. ”I know a lot of women who are interested in horror,” she says. In fact, according to the box office reporting service PosTrak, the audience at horror films last year was 51 percent female. Yet sexism persists. When Kent told people about The Babadook, she says, ”their faces would drop. It was like I was saying I was directing a porno.”