There’s been a lot of talk about female directors of horror in recent days, but we’ve been finding a woefully small amount of talk regarding female authors. If you ask someone to name a female horror writer you’re almost certain to get a reference to Mary Shelley, following that you can expect them to draw a blank. This is a complete disgrace given the history of the horror genre and the central role that women have had to play in it. Below we’re going to feature some lesser known women who contributed their works to the horror genre, and we promise we won’t mention Mary Shelley in the process… Well, not mention her again anyway.
Daphne Du Maurier
One of the few things that anyone questions when watching a Hitchcock film is where the ideas for his stories came from. It may come as a surprise for you to learn that at least three of his works were adapted from horror novels, including three by this incredible author. The Birds (1963), Rebecca (1940), and Jamaica Inn (1939) were all originally the work of Daphne Du Maurier. While these were the first of her works to hit the big screen, they wouldn’t be the last. All of her work has eventually been adapted into movie or TV, but it's worth reading the books.
The Victorian Era of authors produced some incredible female writers, including Ms. Charlotte Riddell. Due to her work, she has been referred to as a “Victorian Ghost Novelist Par Excellence”, and was one of the most amazing authors to come out of Ireland. She wrote a great number of stories with a supernatural theme, though the majority of her work was about ghosts. If you love ghost stories in deserted mansions dusty with age, you need to check her out.
This African American writer is best known for her compelling science fiction novels, but she has also written a number of horror-themed works that are well worth a read. Octavia Butler's most well-known horror story is Fledgling, which touches on the life of a girl who discovers that she’s not human but is, in fact, a vampire. Even her works that aren’t explicitly horror touch on subjects that are horrific in their nature and are an excellent read.
These women are just three of the hundreds of incredible female horror authors out there, and every one of them is a gold-mine unto themselves. We never fail to be unpleasantly surprised at how the work of these incredible writers gets overlooked in favor of their male counterparts, or how little credit they're given for the work they have accomplished. If you’re looking for a new horror author to add to your library, we suggest looking up these women and giving them a place on your shelf and in your terrified little heart. Thankfully women in this genre are beginning to get more exposure, but it's coming far far later than it should. The truest horror fans, however, have been inspired by these women's work for years and that inspiration continues to shine in some of our products here, at theHorrorDome.com, such as our Halloween Props, Scary Halloween Costumes and Haunted House Decorations!