Blumhouse CEO Hasn’t Hired a Female Director Because Most of Them Aren’t ‘Inclined to Do Horror’
Blumhouse Productions is a name you’ve seen in front of numerous recent hit horror films and franchises, including The Purge, Get Out and this year’s Halloween. With over 70 titles released and another handful on the way, Blumhouse has become a genre film powerhouse — one that has yet to release a single horror film directed by a woman. CEO and founder Jason Blum has an explanation for that, and it sounds pretty ridiculous.
While speaking with Polygon, Blum was asked why his company has yet to produce a horror film directed by a woman. “We’re always trying to do that,” the exec explained, adding, “We’re not trying to do it because of recent events. We’ve always been trying.”
It’s only fair to note that Blum has produced projects created and directed by women, including HBO’s Sharp Objects, from acclaimed television writer Marti Noxon; Plush, a little-seen indie thriller from director Catherine Hardwicke; and The Keeping Hours, a straight-to-video supernatural flick from Karen Moncrieff. As Polygon notes in their reporting, Blum also produced the upcoming thriller The Lie, directed by The Killing’s Veena Sud.
Although these titles are all within the realm of “genre,” they aren’t necessarily horror by mainstream standards — you wouldn’t group them together with Blumhouse’s bigger horror hits like Paranormal Activity or Insidious or Happy Death Day. Per Blum, it’s not for lack of trying, though his reasoning is questionable, at best:
There are not a lot of female directors period, and even less who are inclined to do horror. I’m a massive admirer of [The Babadook director] Jennifer Kent. I’ve offered her every movie we’ve had available. She’s turned me down every time.
Polygon was unable to obtain a response from Kent regarding Blum’s comments. After a lengthy struggle to remember another name, Blum also said that he’d tried numerous times to get a project going with Leigh Janiak, the director of 2014 horror indie fave Honeymoon. Janiak confirmed as much in a response to Polygon, noting that scheduling conflicts prevented a potential collaboration.
But clearly those aren’t the only two female directors interested in making horror movies, and while the article mentions a Blumhouse associate listing off several other names, the fact remains: The studio has yet to produce a mainstream horror movie directed by a woman. If you buy into Blum’s line of reasoning, this is because there aren’t a lot of female directors (not true), and of that limited pool, very few of them “are inclined to do horror” (also not true).
It sounds an awful lot like that time Colin Trevorrow claimed that women weren’t really interested in making big blockbuster movies. Or like that time that Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy said they’d hire a woman to direct a Star Wars movie when they found one who was “ready.”
I could easily list plenty of women who are interested in making horror movies… because they’ve already made horror movies, several of which are indie productions — the kind that Blumhouse is fond of distributing: Axelle Carolyn (Soulmate), Roxanne Benjamin (Southbound, XX), Jovanka Vuckovic (XX), Julia Ducournau (Raw), Alice Lowe (Prevenge), Emily Hagins (Grow Up, Tony Phillips), and Ana Lily Amirpour (The Bad Batch) — to name a few. And that’s just a list of women who have recently directed horror features. I could list the thousands of female filmmakers currently working in Hollywood, but there’s a website for that.