Do you have to be a popular, blonde, young woman around the age of 20 to be killed first in horror films? Well, it certainly seems that way. While this may not be true of every scary movie between 2005-2016, this is true of the popular Prom Night (2008), The Last Exorcism (2010), I Spit on your Grave (2010), and A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010). However, recently, there has been a rebuttal in movies such as Jennifer’s Body (2009), that include a more powerful woman main character.
Some regular horror movie watchers are even starting to notice the “dumb blonde” movement in horror films.
According to Kyle Christensen, there needs to be a stronger model of feminism in slasher horror films. For example, there needs to be more movies with final girl characters. One example of this is in the movie Prom Night. Donna, the pretty, young, blonde, is the final survivor of the movie, as all of her friends are murdered throughout.
Also, the oh-so-recent phenomenon of satanic possession films are including women as the main possessed character. In The Last Exorcism, the main innocent character, Nell, is of course possessed by a devil. Why would a male character be possessed when there is a innocent, young, church-going girl to possess?
In today’s culture, gender roles play a huge part in one of the things that gets people fired up. In the 90’s, the role of women in horror movies improved from the typical first victim. “The ’90s was a banner decade for female empowerment in the movies in many genres. Think of the smart, independent, buff, ready-to-kill-if-necessary women from Silence of the Lambs, Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Thelma and Louise” (Blakeley 1). In the recent times of 2005-2016, however, the trend of undermining women has returned.
Similarly, remakes of movies such as A Nightmare on Elm Street, are starting to re-promote the weak women of horror films that were created in the 1970’s. In the movement of feminism taking place throughout the past ten years, why are horror movies backtracking? One of the only recent movies that defies the antifeminist movement is Jennifer’s Body. In this film, Jennifer is seen not only as the heroine, but the powerful woman of the movie.
The feminist movement is something that is so relevant today. Feminism is starting to take over many famous campaigns of 2015 and 2016. Some include Saturday Night Live hiring their first African-American woman, Goldiebox airing one of the first feminist advertisements in Superbowl history, and Disney pulling t-shirts that suggest that girls cannot be superheroes. Women are taking control in this world, including Hilary Clinton, who is running for president in 2016.
Horror movie film makers need to keep up with the trend today and promote feminism. Maybe they don’t get out much or watch the news at all, but women today are taking over and definitely do not deserve to still be belittled in horror films.