Horror might be a male-dominated genre. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
If you’re a female horror fan, you’re almost certainly familiar with the drearily familiar tropes of the genre. Women almost always meet a bloody end, there are frequently scenes of sexual violence, and significant amounts of slut-shaming and objectification. This can make horror – whether it comes in the form of TV shows, books, or films – feel incredibly exclusionary.
But now a new vanguard of women fans are leading the way, making horror the accessible genre it should be. At the fore of this new front of loud and proud horror fans are podcasters – women making shows about real life murders, discussing feminist interpretations of the genre and creating brilliant pieces of audio fiction.
Here’s our pick of the best.
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The Faculty of Horror
Hailing from Toronto, horror journalists Andrea Subissati and Alexandra West take an intellectual and analytical approach towards the genre – often to an academic and sociological degree, as explored in Subissati’s publishings.
Female listeners have found the podcast empowering in the context of feminist critiques to art forms – in this case a fangirl-esque analysis of horror and its contemporary societal impacts.
Women in Caskets
Bloody Disgusting Podcast Network members and Austin Chronicle Award 2016 alumni Jen and Dawn humorously address their listeners as ‘Horror Fans with XX chromosomes’, and are self-proclaimed feminists, as well as strong proponents of queer representation in horror.
Their conversations range from judicious reviews of current goings-on in the world of horror films to the thematic elements of the genre that effect women in wider society. Listeners can expect a medley of extensive knowledge with a warm chatty tone that feels like a movie night in with friends.
Girls in the Back Row
Fangoria Podcast Network graces listeners with this horror-junkie level unpicking of horror films, comparing thematically similar films in a somewhat academic manner.
Tab and Kate have a keen and interactive fan following, attending film festivals such as Mile High Horror Festival and Telluride Horror Show, and have a stellar 4.8 stars on Apple Podcasts, with glowing reviews commending their authentic and enjoyable chemistry as well as their acute appreciation of the genre. The self-declared ‘girls your mother warned you about’ also comedically sign off to their fanbase with ‘unpleasant dreams!’.
Alice Isn’t Dead
Nightvale presents a podcast that dystopian literature enthusiasts and gory horror fans alike will appreciate, with fans on Podbay describing the series as ‘beyond amazing’ and ‘astounding’.
In a post-apocalyptic alternate universe, the heroine and protagonist of the gruesome story is an unnamed woman searching for her wife, Alice, previously presumed to be dead. Listeners commend the scenic features of music and use of background sound such as screaming, among other conventions of graphic horror which successfully contribute to the ‘trippy’ and surreal cinematic tone.
The Apex and the Abyss
The Apex and the Abyss is a true crime podcast launched in 2016 with the purpose of “telling the stories of those we have lost and the missing”, as well as “trying to comprehend the reasons why these crimes happen”.
The show now has 60 episodes, each covering a different crime; from little known cases to the incredibly famous, there’s something new to learn. One listener on Apple Podcasts described it as “totally worthy of bingeing” – so it could be one to save for a long journey.
My Favourite Murder
Hosted by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, My Favourite Murder is one for those who like a side helping of humour with their horror. It’s a huge hit – it’s broken download records and even has its own ‘Murderino’ fanbase who attend live events and host listening parties.
The duo tour, and you can even pay £40 for a yearly subscription to get your hands on more exclusive content.
Presented in a faux-documentary format, Limetown follows Lia Haddock, played by Annie-Sage Whitehurst, as she attempts to uncover why 300 people disappeared from a neuroscience research facility in Tennessee.
It’s completely gripping and brilliantly done – you’d be forgiven for forgetting it wasn’t actually happening, which makes it all the more chilling. It’s very easy to see why it became the number one US podcast on iTunes less than two months after its launch.
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