I've been watching horror movies for as long as I can remember. I've seen everything from black and white movies (i.e. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari) to those filled with gore (i.e. Let the Right One In). One of the biggest differences between then and now is who does the saving. Thankfully, it has become more of the norm for a woman to save herself. Even better, to save the day for everyone.
In the days of B&W movies, women were always the ones who either faint, fall, or have the nervous breakdowns. That was our role. We act weak to make the men look stronger. Braver. It was almost like a rule that we aren't allowed to save ourselves. We always had to fall in the arms of a savior in order to survive.
When reality hits, there's no time for that foolishness, which is why the best horror movies today are the ones that chuck those rules. Alien is the best example of that. We have a strong female character who takes charge of the situation and tries her best to ensure everyone's survival. If everyone had listened to what Lt. Ripley said and not deviate from the plan, they might have actually survived. But, that wasn't the case and not her fault. Poltergeist, the Scream franchise, Let the Right One In, etc. All of these movies have strong female characters who broke the rules when it came to us saving ourselves or others. We do what we have to do in order to survive. That's reality.
Another eyeopening movies for me was Alien vs. Predator. My first inclination was the woman would die. She had two things going against her. She was female and African American. It's a well-known fact that minorities (African American or otherwise) are always the first to go. After all, someone has to sacrificed to show the heinousness of the monster, right? Anyway, seeing an African American woman come out on top (and she did because unlike the alien, she didn't die) was a huge awakening for me. That's why it will also go down as a turning point for me in horror films.
Also, don't underestimate women as the villains as I've seen most recently in a movie called Bloodwork. Now, it's not the best horror movie out there, but shockingly enough, it kept me watching because of the evil female doctor. This chick could've been on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. Seriously, she was thatgorgeous. But she was also a monster in her own right because she violated every rule known in drug trials for the sake of her experiment. A pretty face with a heart of volcanic ash. IN the B&W film days, not only was it rare to see a woman so malevolent, but she usually looked like Cruella Deville. You automatically knew she was the bad "guy". Not the case with Bloodwork.
So what does this mean for movies going forward? What changes do I hope to see in future movies? I would like to see more female directors and writers doing horror. If Mary Shelley could do it with such success, I don't see why the next Mary Shelley can't be found in the movies. Not only that, but more diverse females as the heroes wouldn't hurt either.