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Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Martin F. Norden

Second Advisor

Anne Ciecko

Third Advisor

Shawn Shimpach

Fourth Advisor

Karen Kurczynzki

Subject Categories

Film and Media Studies


Moving away from a discussion of horror films directed by men, “Bitten by the Demon of Cinema” those films—and, where appropriate, works across media, like on television, the Internet, and in the visual arts—created by women. As I explore in this dissertation, women-made horror has narrative, thematic, and stylistic qualities that borrow from the genre at large but are then transformed into a class of films all of their own. While seemingly diverse, they share enough commonalities to constitute a new mode of filmmaking altogether. The films and filmmakers that I have chosen in this dissertation are cases in point for the subversive tendencies of women-made horror—subversive in their reconsideration of common horror tropes, in their inclusion of alternative points of identification, in the flipping or switching of representational strategies, and, most importantly, in their pointed critique of socio-cultural norms otherwise endorsed through mainstream filmmaking practices. Such a discussion of women-made horror films is not limited to constructing an historical timeline of all films directed by women within a period of more than one hundred years. Rather, I combine this historical research with applied theoretical analysis to look at a cross-section of different films within the rich pool of women-made horror. In so doing, I juxtapose different perspectives, representational and aesthetic styles, and ways of manipulating the genre in order to interrogate the commonalities between them. This strategy, in turn, initiates a more thoughtful discussion of women within (and, sometimes, outside of) the industry, serving as an important starting point for understanding women-made horror as a unique phenomenon with lasting implications in the genre.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.