Women's History Month: Three women who have made a big splash in horror movies

Barbara Crampton as Anne Fedder-Jakob's Wife_Photo Credit: Shudder
Barbara Crampton as Anne Fedder-Jakob's Wife_Photo Credit: Shudder /

As Women’s History Month winds down, let’s celebrate some women who have made an impact on the horror genre. Although “Scream Queens” are often celebrated in horror, I wanted to focus instead on three women who multi-task in the genre – maybe they have acted, but they also are directors, or producers or what have you.

First, we’ll take a few moments to applaud Barbara Crampton. Her acting resume includes Body Double (her first film), Re-Animator, Chopping Mall, Castle Freak, You’re Next, The Lords of Salem, We Are Still Here, the Castle Freak remake, Jakob’s Wife and Suitable Flesh (among others).

Always a hot commodity for roles in horror movies, Crampton expanded her reach to production with 2015’s Road Games (which she also appeared in). She produced the remake of Castle Freak, and also produced/co-produced Glorious and Beyond the Gates, and produced and acted in Jakob’s Wife and Suitable Flesh.

Most recently, Crampton has been in the news due to her involvement in an upcoming remake of the 1979 film Tourist Trap. She is said to be producing the film.

For those unfamiliar, Tourist Trap is one of the most bizarre horror films of its time. You can currently watch the original on Tubi or Shudder…and you should.

As if producing and acting aren’t enough, she also writes articles for Fangoria, so she is firmly entrenched in the world of horror.

Heather Langenkamp - Behind the Monsters - Photo Credit: Angel Melanson/Shudder /

Another iconic horror actress who has branched out is Heather Langenkamp. Although it wasn’t her first film, she will be forever remembered for her role as Nancy in A Nightmare on Elm Street, a role she beat out over 200 other actresses for.

She reprised the role in A Nightmare on Elm street 3: Dream Warriors, then appeared as herself in Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. Later, she would produce and narrate the documentary Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy, as well as another Elm Street-inspired documentary, I Am Nancy.

More recently, Langenkamp had a sizeable role in Mike Flanagan's Netflix series The Midnight Club.

In addition to dabbling as a producer, she and her husband David Leroy Anderson run AFX Studio. In that capacity, Langenkamp worked as the special make-up effects coordinator for Dawn of the Dead and The Cabin in the Woods.

Once a horror girl, always a horror girl!

Jenn Wexler
Jenn Wexler - Director Headshot - Courtesy Courtesy of Abi Lieff. A Shudder /

Our third woman in horror is Jenn Wexler. Wexler made her directing debut with 2018's The Ranger, which she also wrote. The Ranger premiered at SXSW before releasing on Shudder, so that's not too shabby for a first feature film!

She also directed last year's Shudder Original film The Sacrifice Game, one of my favorite recent Christmas horror movies. Wexler co-wrote the screenplay for The Sacrifice Game with Sean Redlitz, and has produced horror films such as Darling and Depraved.

A true horror fan, Wexler specializes in writing strong women: the main characters in The Ranger and The Sacrifice Game start out as victims, but then fight back to overcome the bad guys. She also has a strong Punk aesthetic, which makes her films stand out.

Of course, there are many, many other women who have proven their importance in the horror genre, in acting, producing, directing and writing. They all deserve recognition, but for now, I just wanted to recognize these three.