12 lesbian-leaning horror/dark movies to watch on Halloween
Since the season favors nocturnal explorations, I feel like writing a list of scary movies and dark psychological thrillers influenced by vampires or legendary tales. As these films are both a source of entertainment and a great way to exorcise our collective fears, do not expect me to guide you on a quiet path that leads to happy endings. Most of the works I will mention here are dark, bizarre, horrifics, sometimes heartbreaking, but they also give us a fascinating view on human imagination and fantasized femininity. Personally, I have a preference for movies that depict literary characters and historical figures but since a lot of interesting flicks rely on original screenplay, you’ll find a wide variety of films with a supernatural background.
The Moth Diaries by Mary Harron: Rebecca (Sarah Bolger) is an eleventh grade student who begins a new year in a girls’ boarding school where she hopes to make a fresh start, away from the terrible memory of her father’s suicide. From the first days, her friendship with the cute and innocent Lucy (Sarah Gadon) is tested by the arrival of Ernessa (Lily Cole), a beautiful and mysterious European who fascinates everyone. As Ernessa approaches Lucy, Rebecca is increasingly uncomfortable. She can see her friend’s healthy body being gradually replaced by a pale and sickly silhouette which seems to drain her vital substance. Is Rebecca jealous or a strange case of possession actually consumes Lucy? Nobody understands what is really happening in the school but a lot of strange events have certainly something to do with Ernessa.
Styria is an adaptation of the classic vampire novel Carmilla, made by Karl Bardosh, Mark Devendorf and Mauricio Chernovetzky: Lara and her father decide to temporarily moves into a huge castle of Styria, in order to observe and restore an intriguing mural that greatly interests the Professor Hill. There, both of them will learn more about the house history and the troubling past of its former owners. Besides delving us into the calm and grayish atmosphere of a country village, the film seeks to explore an intense and fractured relationship between a lonely teenager and a beautiful stranger who keeps many secrets.
We Are The Night by Christian Becker and Dennis Gansel: Lena, 20, is a marginal living from petty theft. During one of her nocturnal outings, she enters an underground club and met Louise, the owner. This woman, as beautiful as mysterious, is the head of a vampire trio composed of the dark Nora and the elegant Charlotte. Louise falls instantly in love with Lena and bite her on their first night. The young thief quickly discovers the benefits of an eternal life. In an infinite freedom, luxury and pleasure become her quotidian as she unrestrainedly indulges in a series of satanic celebrations and exceptional parties. But Lena slowly understands that the blood lust she now shares with her new friends has a price…
Eternal by Wilhelm Liebenberg and Federico Sanchez, a dark thriller inspired by the life of Countess de Ecsed. Elizabeth Báthory belonged to the hungarian nobilty of the sixteenth century. She is known as a ruthless serial killer who would have tortured and murdered hundreds of young women in the Čachtice Castle. The film recounts her story while remaining faithful to a legend that fascinates historians because of all the sources relating the facts as true. It is said that she seduced her victims before to literally consume them and bathing in their blood to keep an eternal beauty. Of course the film is dramatized to keep us in suspense, but the simple fact of knowing that Eternal is based on plausible rumors send shivers down your spine.
The Hunger by Ivan Davis, Michael Thomas and Tony Scott, a film based on Whitley Strieber’s eponym novel. Miriam is a female vampire born in Egypt four thousand years ago. She received the gift of immortality and eternal youth in exchange for her soul. Miriam now lives in New York with her companion John, a man she has known for over 300 years. John is sick of an accelerated aging process. In an attempt to save him, Miriam meets Sarah, a doctor specialised in aging mechanisms on which she sets her sights. The Hunger is starring the iconic Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie and Susan Sarandon.
May by Lucky McKee, an horror flick inspired by Amanda Plummer’s comic character in The Fisher King. May (Angela Bettis) works in a veterinary office. She is seriously shy and traumatized by her complexed childhood. This fact makes her socially awkward despite all her efforts to find friends. She becomes increasingly desperate while attempting to connect with the people around her. May shares her apartment with her only true friend, a doll offered by her mother when she was little. One day, she flirts with a young mechanic puzzled by her attitude but their relationship doesn’t last very long. After a few other brief encounters with no tomorrow, May decides to make herself an ideal lover and inevitably falls into a murderous tailspin.
Don’t Look Back by William Dickerson: After the death of her grandmother, successful author Nora Clark (Lucy Griffiths) heads home to a small cabin in Idyllwild to settle the estate. At first, the solitude helps in penning the newest book in her popular Veronica series, but returning to her childhood home isn’t an entirely pleasant affair. There are people and memories that Nora was anxious to leave behind when she escaped years ago. As Nora struggles with facing the dark history she tried to forget, she gets a ray of hope in new friend Peyton Lake (Cassidy Freeman), a free-spirited wild woman who finagles renting a room in the cabin. Peyton seems to be trustworthy, but Nora realizes that people from her past are beginning to disappear.
Brides to Be by Kris and Lindy Boustedt, a dark thriller designed as the follow-up of Together Forever. Robin and Jenna are getting married. Robin is excited beyond words; Jenna is plagued by panic attacks and struggles to write her vows. But when they arrive at their secluded fairy-tale venue, sinister forces besiege them, threatening to tear them apart. I would like to give a special mention to this film because Brides to Be has been unfairly ignored by most of the influential media when it was released on VOD in July. This is probably the only work of our list that can easily be labeled as a lesbian movie, with a happy ending.
Mother May I Sleep With Danger? a Lifetime TV movie by Amber Coney, James Franco and Melanie Aitkenhead; composed as a remake of Jorge Montesi’s film released in 1996. A college girl named Leah (Leila George) befriends a fellow student named Pearl (Emily Meade) and falls in love with her much to the dismay of her mother Julie (Tori Spelling). Leah learns that Pearl is a Nightwalker, a human who can assume a vampire appearance at night. Unlike the other Nightwalkers, Pearl only targets abusive males. As Leah and Pearl’s love relationship grows, Pearl must work to keep her safe from a group of other creatures where one of its deceased members was responsible for Pearl’s Nightwalker conversion.
Black Swan, a psychological thriller by Andres Heinz, Mark Heyman, John McLaughlin and Darren Aronofsky. Nina is a ballerina in the prestigious New York City Ballet. Her life, like the one of all her peers, is entirely devoted to dance. When Thomas Leroy, artistic director of the troop, decides to replace the prima ballerina Beth Mcintyre for his new show called Swan Lake, his choice is moving towards Nina. But a newcomer, Lily, also impresses him. Swan Lake requires a dancer able to play the White Swan in all its innocence and grace as well as the Black Swan, who represents guile and sensuality. Nina is perfect for dancing the White Swan, but Lily is better to interpret Black Swan. While the rivalry between Nina and Lily gradually turns into a perverse and fascinating friendship, Nina slowly discovers her dark side. But surrender to this hidden aspect of her personality may well destroy her.
The Roommate is a psychological thriller written by Sonny Mallhi and directed by Christian E. Christiansen. It tells the story of Sarah Matthews, a smart and seductive girl who is studying at university when she meets her roommate, Rebecca Woods. Apparently normal and quite charming, Rebecca slowly begins to act very strangely in the back of her friend. She seems to have difficulty accepting the social life of her roommate. Her behavior start to worry Sarah’s entourage until many of them are assaulted or killed. Later, Sarah learns that Rebecca suffers from bipolarity, a disease that turns her love and jealousy into a psychotic obsession. The female protagonists are portrayed by Minka Kelly and Leighton Meester.
Heavenly Creatures is a dark drama created by Fran Walsh and Peter Jackson. Christchurch, a small town of New Zealand in 1952. Pauline Parker (Melanie Lynskey) grows peacefully thanks to caring parents and smoothly conducted studies in high school, without friend, love or any other relief of this kind, until a new girl arrives in her class. Ardent and exclusive feelings rapidly develops between the introverted Pauline and the extravagant Juliet Hulme (Kate Winslet). The two teenagers invent a dream world where everything becomes possible, they call this place “Borovnia”. Their parents are are anxious to see them drift away from reality, so they decide to separate them when Juliet will exit the sanatorium where she was placed…