1_asOg3ZIZaILiKffMxHlBFg-danified-enhance-3.6x-exposure-faceai copy-danified-denoise-faceai I’m sure we’ve all heard someone talking about how this movie or that movie doesn’t pass the Bechdel Test. But do you know exactly what the Bechdel Test is? The Bechdel Test, first introduced in a comic strip by cartoonist Alison Bechdel in 1985, is a set of criteria used to evaluate a work of fiction on the basis of its inclusivity of female characters.

There are three criteria used during this evaluation:

 

1. Are there two named female characters? 2. Do they talk to each other? 3. Do they talk about something other than men?
There are a surprising number of films that don’t pass the Bechdel Test (spoiler alert: Lord of the Rings), but the horror genre has always had a long history of incorporating strong, female characters who pass the test. So, for International Women’s Day we’re going to tell you about 5 horror movies that do pass the test and will thrill and chill you at the same time!

5. Hereditary (2018)
Director Ari Aster’s debut film Hereditary shocked and thrilled moviegoers and quickly became a modern-day horror classic. This chilling film follows a grief-stricken family after the recent and unexpected death of a family member.

Toni Collette delivers a starring tour de force performance as Annie, a woman coping with loss and grief while still trying to maintain her responsibilities as a mother and wife. Her delivery of these intense moments of grief are heartbreaking and incredibly believable. These deeply emotional moments are shared both with her daughter, Charlie, played by Milly Shapiro and Joan, played by Ann Dowd, a new friend she made through a grief support group.

Hereditary easily passes the Bechdel Test. Annie and her daughter talk about the death of Annie’s mother, and they discuss how Charlie should go to a party with her brother. And Annie and Joan have even deeper conversations that center on intense loss and grief and even engage in a seance together (this is, after all, a horror movie).

Ari Aster creates a tense and incredibly disturbing atmosphere in Hereditary but one that truly captures how families can be broken after the loss of a family member. With a 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Hereditary is one physiological, supernatural horror film that you won’t want to skip.

4. Suspiria (1977)
When we talk about classic horror movie creators, it is impossible for Dario Argento’s name not to come up. With classic films like Opera and Suspiria, it’s no wonder his name is synonymous with 70s and 80s horror! Suspiria is a bit of a rarity in 1970’s horror as it features a majority female cast with strong characters that exhibit power in the circumstances, they’re in. The film follows Suzy, an American woman who travels to Europe to dance at a prestigious German ballet academy. Amidst a string of grisly murders, she realizes that something the academy may be a front for something more sinister.

As the film features so many female characters, it is evident that the film passes the Bechdel Test. Suzy, played by Jessica Harper, spends the majority of the film talking to her female classmates, namely Sara, played by Stefania Casini. They discuss the school, the missing female students, and the behaviour of the teachers there. The film inspired a 2018 remake that featured even more female characters and less men than the original.
Argento is responsible for many of the classic Giallo horror films that we know and love. “Giallo” is a genre of Italian film that features violent murder mystery plots with extensive gore and creepy visuals that has similarities to the slasher genre (https://www.studiobinder.com/blog/giallo-films-definition/). And while there is some debate whether or not Suspiria fits into the Giallo genre, it checks the gore and creep factor boxes! And it certainly checks the Bechdel Test boxes!

3. Jennifer’s Body (2009)
Diablo Cody, known for Juno and the brand-new film Lisa Frankenstein, wrote one heck of a girl power horror movie when she concocted Jennifer’s Body! Jennifer, played by Megan Fox, is your typical popular high schooler, until a ritual goes wrong and she is possessed by a succubus demon that has a craving for her male classmates.

The film has two leading ladies: Megan Fox (Jennifer) and Amanda Seyfried (Needy). The two are best friends, and while they often talk about men (especially when Jennifer is hungry) they discuss other things too. They often speak about their friendship and its failings, and, of course, Jennifer’s demonic possession.

Jennifer’s Body is a movie both written and directed by women and is a satirical film that cleverly switches the traditional power dynamics in horror films. We see Needy running to the aid of her boyfriend when he’s in grave danger in a twist of the “damsel in distress” trope. And when so many movies have people using virgin sacrifice to gain power (I’m talking to you, Conan the Barbarian), it is refreshing to see the sacrificial “virgin” gain all of the power.

Whether you’re a girl’s girl who loves horror or just someone who loves a good horror comedy with loads of gore, you’ll want to check out Jennifer’s Body.

2. The Uninvited (2009)
The Uninvited, a remake of the 2003 South Korean horror film titled A Tale of Two Sisters, is a psychological and supernatural horror by directors Charles and Thomas Guard.

The film follows Anna as she deals with the death of her mother and the new relationship between her father and her mother’s in-home nurse. As Anna grapples with these difficult changes, she begins to see ghostly entities and finds solace in her sister, Alex.

There are four named female characters in the film: Anna, Alex, Rachel, and Mildred. Anna, played by Emily Browning, interacts with the three other female characters. She speaks freely with her sister Alex, played by Arielle Kebbel, about the death of their mother, their suspicions about their father’s new girlfriend, Rachel, and the events leading up to their mother’s death. Anna and Rachel, played by the fabulous Elizabeth Banks, speak about Anna’s mother’s death, decorating and shopping, and Anna’s suspicions about Rachel, among other things.

The Uninvited is a lesser-known horror movie, but it isn’t one that should be missed! With complex characters, great acting, and a twist you might not see coming, you’ll want to add this movie to your watch list!

1. The Descent (2005)
When we think about horror films that pass the Bechdel Test with flying colours, The Descent quickly comes to mind. This dark and terrifying movie follows six friends as they become trapped in a cave after a spelunking trip goes horribly wrong. As the women try too desperately
find their way out, something is lurking in the dark watching and waiting for them.

How could a movie starring six women not pass the Bechdel test? These women are tough, smart, resourceful, and armed with pickaxes! And while some of their conversations revolve around men, most are focused on the complex relationships within the friend group and the task at hand: escaping the caves alive and in one piece.

The Descent also doesn’t shy away from violence and gore. These women are trapped in a kill or be killed scenario and are pushed to their limits. While there is a fair bit of panicking in the beginning, the women resolve themselves and work together to discover the weaknesses of their assailants and come up with a plan to get out.

While The Descent may not be for the squeamish, it is certainly a must watch for horror fans who love a cast with strong female characters, and tons of blood and gore!

Strong women in horror is not a new phenomena but it is one that should be celebrated. So, grab your girlfriends, some popcorn, and enjoy a Bechdel Test approved spooky night in.

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