Leading the Charge: Women in Horror You Should Know

If you’ve ever visited this site before, you know that I am a die-hard horror fan with a deep affinity for the amazing women in horror who have shaped it just as much as any male has.

I was blessed with the opportunity to assist Women in Horror Month founder Hannah Foreman a few years back during the February celebrations and I do my best to support the long list of talents who have kept this genre alive and kicking for so long. Having the opportunity to chat with a number of incredible women in the genre has only strengthened my conviction that ladies are, in fact, what keeps this genre going. The recognition and awareness hasn’t come nearly as swiftly or world-wide as it should have decades earlier, but there are so many enthusiastic people in the horror community today doing everything they can to ensure that is no longer the case. Film festivals light up the night sky from every corner of the globe and blogs, podcasts and social media platforms allow terror enthusiasts to converse, collaborate and create quicker and better than ever before.

With that in mind, I wanted to shine the spotlight on a group of creators who have been, in this writer’s opinion, flying under the radar for far too long. The following list is, of course, in no particular order and these most definitely aren’t the only ladies in the genre turning heads and raising the bar for quality content within the horror community. I will be doing a number of these spotlights, as I always have on Mangled Matters, and I look forward to input from readers!

Perhaps one of the following names is new to you. Maybe you have a few suggestions on other names to keep an eye on. Whatever the case may be, celebrate the amazing creative forces that makes our beloved genre great! After reading through a few quick bios below, make sure to check out the links for each lady and get your hands on some of their work!


Linda Addison is the first African-American winner of the Bram Stoker Award. You know what’s better than winning one Bram Stoker Award? Winning four. Addison has done that and she’s shown no signs of stopping. She’s arguably the best horror poet putting pen to paper these days. Her 20-plus year career has been decorated with a number of awards, including “Poet Guest of Honor” at The World Horror Convention in 2005, and she is currently the poetry editor for Space and Time Magazine.




Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason are the Bram Stoker Award-nominated authors of a stack of excellent horror literature, including Kingdom of Teeth and Those Who Follow. The two aren’t just horror sisters- they’re twin sisters as well, raised on horror goodness.  Their collaborative efforts have earned them a faithful following that simply continues to grow. Their latest, Twin Lakes: Autumn Fireshits bookshelves on September 30th.



Gemma Files is a multiple award-winning horror writer and journalist who has racked up quite a nice resume. She’s seen her work adapted for television in the series The Hunger and Files’ work has been featured in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror collection. Her latest collection, Spectral Evidence, was released on February 16th, 2018.


Izzy Lee is a leading force in the independent horror industry and for good reason. She’s an avid supporter of fellow women in the filmmaking industry and, in my personal opinion, one of the nicest and most encouraging ladies out there today. Lee runs her own production company, Nihil Noctem Films, that currently features four films, including her 2015 short, Innsmouth, a film festival favorite. Lee’s work has been recognized abroad and she’s been nominated for two Rondo Hatton Awards for her filmmaking. She’s also a journalist and a short story author.



Ashlee Blackwell is the founder of the wildly popular (and insanely important) website Graveyard Shift Sisters. The site is an indispensable resource “dedicated to the scholarship surrounding the experiences, representations, achievements, and creative works of Black women and women of color in the horror and science fiction genres”. I had the privilege of interviewing Ashlee for Mangled Matters a while back and the horror community is lucky to have her on our side. Do yourself a favor and check on the site now.



Jennifer Trudrung may just be the coolest woman in horror you’ve ever read about. She’s a writer and an actress- she’s a recurring zombie on The Walking Dead and she also played a lead role as a monster in the Goosebumps movie. When she isn’t working on others’ projects, she’s filming her own work as an award-winning director and writer for her production company, Night Frizz Productions.




Jessica McHugh writes stories. A lot of stories. She’s got nearly twenty novels and just as many short stories on her resume and she’s showing no signs of stopping- which is a really good thing for the world of weird literature. She also wrote a play in 2011 that was named ‘Best New Play of 2011’ by Baltimore Broadway World. Oh yeah, and she’s probably got more stories in the works currently that you can even imagine.


Cina Pelayo is an author, poet and all-around horror enthusiast. Her work speaks for itself, as it has earned recognition in the form of three International Latino Book Award nominations and one win. Cina is the kind of author you simply find yourself falling into her work and loving every second of it. She’s a fiercely determined writer and definitely one you should be reading up on if you don’t already.


Linda Addison

Sisters of Slaughter/ Garza and Lason

Gemma Files

Izzy Lee

Graveyard Shift Sisters/ Ashlee Blackwell

Jennifer Trudrung

Jessica McHugh

Cina Pelayo



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