"Get your hands off me, all four of them!"
"You goddamn chauvinist pig ape!"
The phenomenon in B Movies
from the 1950s to early 1960s in which rampaging monsters/serial killers seem to focus their "random" attacks mostly on women. Usually young, innocent, vulnerable women. Although such films may show a man or two as victims, the real focus is on the ladies
. For instance, if the movie includes a montage of attacks, expect every victim shown to be female.
This seems to be a wide-scale application of the Disposable Woman
concept, sans any significant connection to The Hero
; further, the deaths carry no more than the normal dramatic weight, and do not motivate the Hero to action any more than would male deaths. All other things being more or less equal, the director will simply choose
to populate his movie with female victims. And then, of course, there are plots in which the killer will specifically
One would assume, in this age of equal rights and feminism and all, that this would be a Discredited Trope
or even a Dead Horse Trope
. But no, the trope is alive and well. Apparently, the sight of women being terrorized on screen is just more... um... titillating
. Or a good way to show just how evil your monster is by attacking poor defenseless girls
. Also don't forget that Girls Are Really Scared of Horror Movies
. Either that, or it's because this trope is based on reality — real-life serial killers target women much more often than men. Ted Bundy, Ed Kemper, Gary Ridgway, and even Jack the Ripper killed women exclusively, or nearly so.
As a direct result of this trope, many slasher movies
have a Final Girl
(and one with no form of self-defense training at that), since audiences are somehow more likely to root for a young, nubile, defenseless (and most often white
) woman on the run from a psychopath who gutted her friends like fish, as opposed to a man in a similar position.
If the women are abducted rather than killed, it's probably because Mars Needs Women
. See also Distressed Damsel
, Monogender Monsters
, Touch of the Monster
is this as a fetish. Many of this trope's aversions come from the fact that Men Are the Expendable Gender
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- In Fullmetal Alchemist, Barry the Chopper attacked people regardless of gender. In the 2003 anime version, however, he is mentioned as killing only young women.
- In Ranma ½, the monstrous eight-headed Yamata-no-Orochi is an enormous pervert who likes to see women's underwear, naked women, and women in general. It also loves eating them. It even has taste buds for it. Men? They just taste bitter, they piss it off, and it kills them on sight. This is roughly based on the myth of the Yamata-no-Orochi, which demanded maiden sacrifices.
- A Justified Trope in Witchblade. The I-Weapons usually go after women; women who just happen to have the Cloneblades of the Witchblade they are attracted to.
- In Bleach, Ichigo is confronted by a Hollow named Grand Fisher, named for the hook on his head which he can give the appearance of a small child to lure his victims, with Rukia explaining that his favourite prey are women. He is also the hollow that killed Ichigo's mother
- In the first OAV of Vampire Princess Miyu, all of the Shinma of the week's victims were female: two schoolgirls, a college student, an Office Lady and a House Wife. (And we actually witness the poor House Wife's death; she's picking some silks in a store, the glass of the window suddenly cracks a little, and all of a sudden we see her dead on the floor.) Somewhat justified in that Aiko, the girl "commanding" the Shinma, had her life "ended", therefore the Shinma believed it had to finish other female's lives as well since they had the lives that poor Aiko couldn't aspire to anymore.
- Also, more than one Shinma from the TV series and the manga preyed more on women than on men, or only on women. See the Mad Artist Roh-Sa, to start, who captured vain and pretty women via the promise of making their beauty last forever. Literally.
- A staple of Horror Hentai...especially that which involves tentacles.
- While men and women both die plentifully in works by Frank Miller, the fetishistic way that women are killed, often while they're partially or completely naked, has led to accusations of Author Appeal. As an example, Sin City's male villains in particular are nearly always some form of misogynistic scum bastard who murders and/or does truly awful things to women and girls, to the point where in A Dame to Kill For, the second major Sin City story, Ava, the titular Femme Fatale, plays on Dwight's violent protectiveness toward women by casting her perfectly innocent husband, Damien Lord, as one of these in her Wounded Gazelle Gambit.
- The story goes that the memorable attack on the "Hitchcock woman" in The Birds was a result of Alfred Hitchcock's issues with that specific woman.
- This Island Earth. It's right on the poster◊.
- Death Car On The Freeway: a Made-for-TV Movie from the 1970s, in which a serial killer runs lone female motorists off the road and kills them.
- Death Proof, the first feature of Grindhouse, stars Kurt Russell as a Serial Killer named Stuntman Mike who specifically targets women for sexual gratification. And yet Death Proof is also a deeply feminist reinterpretation of the Exploitation Film, as the misogyny of the character is deeply unglamourized, and he is eventually killed by a particularly angry (and not even particularly sexualized, though quite sexy) Rosario Dawson, Tracy Thoms, and Zoe Bell.
- In The Evil Dead (1981), the first to be taken by the monsters are the women in the group. And the scene with the tree. The Final Girl is a man to intentionally invert that trope.
- Dragonslayer, being a troperiffic dragony story, naturally has the whole Virgin Sacrifice thing. Particularly clear when the princess is torn apart and eaten by baby dragons.
- Some might consider The Hills Have Eyes 2 to be an excuse for this...
- Inverted in the spoof Monster in the Closet, in which the eponymous beast is smitten by and kidnaps the film's hero. (The monster's sex, if any, is never revealed...)
- Humanoids From The Deep takes everything the 1950s horror movie monsters hinted at when monsters kidnapped young women, and updated it for 1980s exploitation sensibilities by showing monster-on-girl rape scenes. Quite infamous for its misogyny, despite being directed by a woman (though she claims producer Roger Corman added more explicit rape footage later — which, knowing Corman, is probably true).
- The Jurassic Park films invert this. Dinosaurs are all too happy to wolf down some tasty Y chromosomes, but are apparently just too chivalrous to eat a woman on screen. Although that never stops them from trying.
- Galaxy of Terror. The maggot scene. We shall speak no more of it.
- In the Dean Koontz novel, Shadowfires, a Mad Scientist-turned-monster stalks his ex-wife out of (at first) murderous intentions. But after slowly becoming more animalistic, and raping and killing and eating an innocent bystander, his desires towards his ex-wife turn more amorous and cannibalistic.
- Koontz does this a lot. Dark Rivers of the Heart was a particularly graphic example.
- In the Hannibal Lecter series, all non-Lecter killers (Jacob Garrett Hobbes, Frances Dolarhyde, and Jame Gumb) specifically targeted women - Dolarhyde killed whole families, but it was the mothers that interested him. Lecter himself was far too much of a Magnificent Bastard to particularly care whom he killed, and it's implied that he had a fairly even split in terms of victims.
- Dracula: the title monster feeds on men to survive, but the only new vampires he creates are women. Many critics note the sexualized nature of the violence between men and women throughout the story, with blood-sucking and stalking being seen as metaphors for sex.
- Played straight with the Hunter in the Coldfire Trilogy, but justified—he's made a study of human behavior and decided that targeting women is the most effective way to terrorize a society, and since he feeds on fear...
Live Action TV
- Prominently featured on the backglass art for Attack from Mars. In-game, all of the sound clips of Martian attacks on humans feature female victims.
- In the Ravenloft campaign, the vampire Strahd von Zarovich, Darklord of Barovia, feeds on victims of both genders, but rarely ever creates male vampires. This has a lot to do with his eternal pining for Tatyana, his brother's betrothed who he desired, who he made a pact with some dark entity I hopes to possess, only to be cursed with vampirism forever.
- Inversion: Zoo Tycoon 2 has a dinosaur expansion, and the dinosaurs are the only animals that will attack guests. The only guests they'll harm, however, are adult males.
- The monsters in the Torna Canal section of Final Fantasy V only target females. If you pay attention, their attacks hint at The Reveal of Faris' gender in the next chapter.
- The Orthros in Final Fantasy XII will only appear if your party consists of Fran, Ashe, and Penelo - all of whom are female. Granted, it will still attack male characters if they are switched out, but the monster seems to prefer attacking females.
- Pyramid Head from Silent Hill 2. He is, among other things, a representation of the main character's masculinity issues, and is only seen to harm a single creature (excluding the protagonist) that isn't obviously female.
- Amped to 11 thousand in The Suffering. The Creeper in the second game is the incarnation of a pimp who abused, murdered, raped, and did all sorts of unspeakable things to his hoes. One line cut from the game was his: "Blood makes the best lubricant."
- Justified in Dragon Age; the darkspawn reproduce by abducting humanoid women, gang-raping them and force-feeding them darkspawn flesh and their own relatives, and gradually transforming them into Broodmothers - towering, multi-breasted, betentacled horrors with nightmare faces who give birth to thousands more darkspawn.
- In some Might and Magic games, there are monsters that attack the female members of your party in preference to others. (And a few that attack males in preference to others, a few that prefer to attack certain races or classes; the point is to encourage players to use a variety of characters.)
- Following the Real Life examples below, Wrecking Paul from Everyday Heroes is a serial killer who targets women. Including, if no one else is available, his own partners.
- Shredded Moose was particularly horrible about this - Brew, the "hero", killed or abused women as a matter of fact; we were supposed to laugh at and approve his acts.
- Web OriginalNeopets once had something called the "Terror Mountain Ski Lodge", where members of the staff were picked off by the Ski Lodge Killer. The first victim was a male, but then the killer killed 8 female staff members in a row. Eventually the killer went back to male victims (as there were only two women left).
- The SCP Foundation has SCP-847. Usually a normal seeming (if damaged) female mannequin, it comes to life if a woman approaches within 100 meters of it, with a single minded determination to murder the woman and [DATA EXPUNGED]. It's only known weakness is electricity, which will temporarily render it dormant.
- In 2007 it was reported that a troop of monkeys was raiding a Kenyan village and terrorising the women guarding the crops. The monkeys feared the men, but had little fear of the women even when they dressed as men, and reportedly even subjected the women to sexual harassment.