With Halloween well on its way and spooky season flying by, it’s about that time we get into all our favorite horror favorites! But where do we begin? Modern or classic? Animated or live-action remake? So many decisions for a book-loving ghoul to choose! Most of my spine-chilling favorites are centered around a female lead; whether she’s the heroine or the villain (my favorite) it just gives off an incomparable kind of energy. So let’s get into five female-led horror adaptations that are impressive as they are scary. Make sure you have your night light nearby!
This is usually where I’d say ‘I love everything on this list equally‘ or ‘there’s no particular order‘; however, this time is not that. You can’t put female protagonist and horror in the same sentence and not include Carrie. I’m pretty sure that’s a crime. For many generations, the novel and several movie adaptations have reintroduced many young adults to this genre, including myself. I remember reading King’s novel in high school devouring every word and seeing the 2013 remake, it left its mark on me. Carrie White (and her infamous gym massacre) left a mark on pop culture, the woes of bullying and prom is able to transcend generations; as a result, there’s a Carrie for every generation. My recommendations: start with the 1976 classic and finish it off with 2013’s remake!
If you celebrated when you saw this title, congrats we’re meant to be friends! But, if you groaned I’m hoping to convince you otherwise! For those of you who didn’t binge this in one weekend, Ryan Murphy’s Ratched is based upon the infamous Mildred Ratched (yes, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Nurse Ratched). Just like in true Murphy fashion there are numerous twists and turns to set this apart from that classic; not to mention this is supposed to be a prequel to those events. Now I’m aware of the complaints, I have a few myself, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say Sarah Paulson didn’t kill her performance. She took on the hard task to make us feel sympathetic to Mildred. But, Sophie Okonedo? Stole the show. Breaking Netflix’s record for the number of viewers for an original first season of any show in 2020 (48 million viewers in 28 days), this is for sure one to watch. My recommendations: watch Ratched first, then One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
How could I leave off this cult classic? Confession time: when I read Coraline in middle school I wasn’t a huge fan. Please don’t TP my house on Halloween. However, when I saw the movie and revisited it as an adult, I see how ahead of it’s time Coraline was. Coraline’s other mother will forever haunt my nightmares. I think I speak for everyone on Twitter when I say if there’s a live-action ever and Coraline’s mom is available, call Sarah Paulson.
4. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
If you truly know me, you know how much I love this show. What’s more Halloween than witches anyway? Among the many things I love about CAOS, I love the abundance of female characters! As a result, fans are given female heroines, villains, and everyone in between; in other words: it’s nice to finally have options! They all have a special place in my heart, but my top two will always be Sabrina and Prudence. Anyone who dislikes Prudence isn’t your friend!
5. Stranger Things
Stranger Things gets a lot of criticism for its lack of diversity (rightfully so), but the few female characters they have, they ace them. Throughout the three seasons, fans watch as they create a roster of female characters that are strong, funny, opinionated, and unique. They all kick monster butt in their own way; they’re brave, witty and overall just badass. So if you need me I’ll be waiting for season four.
I hope some of my favorites can get you in a spooktacular kind of mood! Happy haunting, happy reading, and happy streaming!