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A Damned Take on Women in Horror Films
The Guy’s Point of View!

In honor of Women in Horror Month 2017, I asked six male horror writers for their top-five favorite horror films staring strong leading ladies and why they loved them so much. So, without further ado…

Day 13 – Dan Dillard:

The Exorcist
Leading Lady: Ellen Burnstyn



When a teenage girl is possessed by a mysterious entity, her mother seeks the help of two priests to save her daughter.

Dan’s opinion:

“For forty plus years, people have been talking about The Exorcist. It’s on a lot of “scariest ever” lists and with good reason. There is a triple-threat of ladies in this film and together, they delivered a powerhouse of a movie. I have to give it to the combination of Linda Blair and Eileen Dietz (and Dick Smith and Mercedes McCambridge) for one of the best monsters ever put on celluloid. They really sold possession in a way that has yet to be improved on, although it is often copied. Some say the effects are a bit dated today, and others claim it isn’t scary, but I say the story is still solid (if the movie didn’t do it for you, read the book!), and whether you believe little Reagan is possessed or just crazy, you have to put yourself in the place of one strong character-Chris McNeil. Ellen Burstyn was the heart and soul of that film. You laugh with her, hurt with her, get pissed off with her, worry with her and you are horrified with her. In a movie filled with great performances, I think hers is most important.”


An additional note from Dan: 

I’d like to say these are my favorites films with strong leading ladies, and they are definitely standouts, but there are so many more. Mostly gone are the days of the virgin final girl, the damsel in distress, the doting and clueless wife, the naked eye candy. As is often the case with these things, the horror genre may be leading the way. So in no real order, my five choices presented throughout the month of February are my absolute favorites. I’m sure most of you will agree, and maybe even say, “Pfft. Those were too easy.” For those people, I threw a fairly obscure film into the mix that I think everyone should watch.

Honorable mentions go out to:  Charlize Theron as Aileen Wournos in Monster, Christina Ricci as Wednesday in The Addams Family films, Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie in Halloween, Leslie Easterbrook as Mother Firefly in The Devil’s Rejects, Gretchen Lodge as Molly in Lovely Molly, Jill Larson as Deborah in The Taking of Deborah Logan, and I could go on and on and on.


About Dan Dillard:

dandillardDan lives in Bloomington, Indiana where it is currently cold and wintry. He is the author of Demons and Other Inconveniences, How to Eat a Human Being, Dig, Light as a Feather and others, Dan has been writing his whole life, but there was always an end goal:  Movies. After the short stories, came novels, then screenplays and finally, at forty-two years old, he went back to school to get his Bachelor of Science in Digital Cinematography and start putting some of those stories on the screen. His first non-student film is a short drama with elements of horror entitled “Anderson Wake” based on the short story from his collection, Down the Psycho Path. Look for the short film, produced by DeadLight Films in early 2017.

Dan is an alumni member of the horror writer’s group Pen of the Damned.

Film contact info:

Author contact info: 



Stop by my other blogs for more Women in Horror Month content!
Sotet Angyal, The Dark Angel – Dark emotive flash fiction written by me.
Spreading the Writer’s Word – A new Horror Flash-Fiction from a different female author daily in February!

And don’t forget to visit the Women in Horror Month official web site
for more great 
WiHM8 events and posts!