Horror, thriller and mystery with lesbian - and possibly lesbian - elements

by aecceity | created - 3 weeks ago | updated - 4 days ago | Public

From oldest to newest. This list is made by a woman and consists of a full collection: which means that I wouldn't necessarily recommend every film on the list. My personal favourites are marked **

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1. Dracula's Daughter (1936)

Approved | 71 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

Hungarian countess Marya Zaleska seeks the aid of a noted psychiatrist, hoping to free herself of a mysterious evil influence.

Director: Lambert Hillyer | Stars: Otto Kruger, Gloria Holden, Marguerite Churchill, Edward Van Sloan

Votes: 5,182

Lesbian subtext

2. Rebecca (1940)

Not Rated | 130 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance

A self-conscious woman juggles adjusting to her new role as an aristocrat's wife and avoiding being intimidated by his first wife's spectral presence.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, George Sanders, Judith Anderson

Votes: 112,897 | Gross: $4.36M

**

Lesbian subtext

3. Cat People (1942)

Not Rated | 73 min | Fantasy, Horror, Thriller

An American man marries a Serbian immigrant who fears that she will turn into the cat person of her homeland's fables if they are intimate together.

Director: Jacques Tourneur | Stars: Simone Simon, Tom Conway, Kent Smith, Jane Randolph

Votes: 17,884 | Gross: $4.00M

**

Lesbian subtext. The story of a Serbian immigrant named Irena who must abstain from intimacy, lest she awaken the curse of her descendants, which doomed the women of her tribe to transform into murderous panthers should their desire be awakened. Irena meets and hastily marries an American man, but she fears giving into him physically; her reluctance is broadly read among critics to be coded, repressed lesbian desire. In addition to being an outsider in America with different customs and traditions, Irena is further alienated by her inability to consummate her heteronormative marriage.

4. The Uninvited (1944)

Not Rated | 99 min | Fantasy, Horror, Mystery

A composer and his sister discover that the reason they are able to purchase a beautiful gothic seacoast mansion very cheaply is the house's unsavory past.

Director: Lewis Allen | Stars: Ray Milland, Ruth Hussey, Donald Crisp, Cornelia Otis Skinner

Votes: 8,795

**

Lesbian subtext. A brother and sister move into a seaside mansion haunted by a woman scornfully tethered to this mortal coil by a desire for vengeance and a connection to her implied lesbian lover. The relationship of the protagonist, Stella, with the mysterious ghost she thinks is her mother, begins as an infatuation that’s been interpreted as subtextually queer.

5. Diabolique (1955)

Not Rated | 117 min | Crime, Drama, Horror

The wife and mistress of a loathed school principal hatch a plan to murder him while having the perfect alibi. They carry out the plan...but then his body disappears.

Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot | Stars: Simone Signoret, Véra Clouzot, Paul Meurisse, Charles Vanel

Votes: 57,809

**

Lesbian subtext. Two women working at a boarding school in France conspire to kill their beastly headmaster, who happens to be the husband of one of those ladies. If Les Diaboliques were made today, it would probably more like Bound — but because this was the 1950s, audiences had to pretend these women weren’t closeted lesbians.

6. Blood and Roses (1960)

Not Rated | 74 min | Drama, Horror, Romance

A lonely and bitter young heiress - jealous of her cousin's engagement to another woman - becomes dangerously obsessed with legends surrounding a vampire ancestor, who supposedly murdered the young brides of the man she loved.

Director: Roger Vadim | Stars: Mel Ferrer, Elsa Martinelli, Annette Stroyberg, Alberto Bonucci

Votes: 1,019

Lesbian subtext. This version of the ever-adaptable Carmilla was a catalyst for the lesbian-vampire wave to come. It starred Annette Vadim as an early screen version of the infamous undead character. Carmilla is distraught at the engagement of her cousin, Leopoldo — but his betrothed, Georgia, develops an affection for Carmilla that veers into implicit sexual attraction. On the night of the wedding, the unhappy Carmilla finds her way to the old hidden tomb of her vampiric ancestor and emerges a vampire, killing a woman to feed on her, and generally behaving as though she’s fulfilled the tradition of her bloodline.

7. The Haunting (1963)

G | 112 min | Horror

74 Metascore

A scientist doing research on the paranormal invites two women to a haunted mansion. One of the participants soon starts losing her mind.

Director: Robert Wise | Stars: Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Richard Johnson, Russ Tamblyn

Votes: 31,967 | Gross: $2.62M

**

This adaptation of the book The Haunting of Hill House features something remarkable for its time: a lesbian character who isn’t a predator, is actually out, and is, in fact, a highlight of the story.

Note: A remake was made in 1990 with Catherine Zeta-Jones in the role of Theo but this one is bared of even any lesbian subtext - thus, I have not included it on this list. For a modern remake see The Haunting of Hill House (TV-series, 2018).

8. The Birds (1963)

PG-13 | 119 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

87 Metascore

A wealthy San Francisco socialite pursues a potential boyfriend to a small Northern California town that slowly takes a turn for the bizarre when birds of all kinds suddenly begin to attack people.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren, Jessica Tandy, Suzanne Pleshette

Votes: 157,881 | Gross: $11.40M

Lesbian subtext. Lesbian threat is an important dimension in this work. For queer audiences the character of Annie, the lonely spinster schoolteacher (played with real finesse by Pleshette) is easily read as a closet lesbian—an identification that was made implicit in the thrillingly, emotionally deft theatrical adaptation that local playwright and Hell in a Handbag artistic director David Cerda (in collaboration with co-author Kelly Anchors and Pauline Pang) has successfully mounted twice.

9. Crypt of the Vampire (1964)

Not Rated | 82 min | Horror

Count Karnstein sends for a doctor to help his sick daughter Laura. Her nurse believes she is possessed by the spirit of a dead ancestor, Carmilla. A young woman becomes intrigued by the ... See full summary »

Director: Camillo Mastrocinque | Stars: Christopher Lee, Adriana Ambesi, Ursula Davis, José Campos

Votes: 617

Another adaptation of Carmilla.

10. Orgy of the Dead (1965)

Unrated | 92 min | Fantasy, Horror

Bob and his girlfriend Shirley go in search of a cemetery in order to inspire John for writing his next horror story. After they crash the car, they wander into the graveyard and encounter ... See full summary »

Director: Stephen C. Apostolof | Stars: Criswell, Fawn Silver, Pat Barrington, William Bates

Votes: 2,363

Lesbian subtext. There’s implicit lesbian desire, with one woman undressing another, but its the movie’s whole ethos, informed by writer Ed Wood’s known predilection for cross-dressing, that informs a generally queer reading of the film’s themes.

11. The House That Screamed (1969)

GP | 94 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

A strict headmistress runs a secluded school for wayward girls in 19th century France, whose students are disappearing under mysterious circumstances.

Director: Narciso Ibáñez Serrador | Stars: Lilli Palmer, Cristina Galbó, John Moulder-Brown, Maribel Martín

Votes: 2,499

12. The Vampire Lovers (1970)

R | 91 min | Horror

Seductive vampire Carmilla Karnstein and her family target the beautiful and the rich in a remote area of late eighteenth-century Gemany.

Director: Roy Ward Baker | Stars: Ingrid Pitt, Pippa Steel, Madeline Smith, Peter Cushing

Votes: 4,797

Another adaptation of Carmilla, which focuses on a young female vampire named Mircalla Karnstein. Mircalla goes by the name Carmilla as she seduces young women and kills folks in an 18th-century Eastern European town.

13. Daughters of Darkness (1971)

R | 87 min | Horror

A newlywed couple are passing through a vacation resort. Their paths cross with a mysterious, strikingly beautiful countess and her aide.

Director: Harry Kümel | Stars: Delphine Seyrig, John Karlen, Danielle Ouimet, Andrea Rau

Votes: 4,097

Lesbian subtext. In this Belgian erotic thriller, a newlywed couple on honeymoon has the bad luck of encountering the Countess Elizabeth Báthory (Delphine Seyrig) and the “secretary” she travels with.

14. Lust for a Vampire (1971)

R | 91 min | Horror

In 1830, forty years to the day since the last manifestation of their dreaded vampirism, the Karnstein heirs use the blood of an innocent to bring forth the evil that is the beautiful ... See full summary »

Director: Jimmy Sangster | Stars: Barbara Jefford, Ralph Bates, Suzanna Leigh, Yutte Stensgaard

Votes: 2,038

15. The Blood Spattered Bride (1972)

R | 82 min | Horror

Newlywed Susan is haunted by visions of Mircalla Karnstein, a centuries-old bride who murdered her husband on their wedding night.

Director: Vicente Aranda | Stars: Simón Andreu, Maribel Martín, Alexandra Bastedo, Dean Selmier

Votes: 1,443

This take on the story of Carmilla is a Spanish horror classic. This time, though, the Carmilla in this version haunts the dreams of a newly married woman named Susan, whom she seduces by infiltrating her dreams before the two eventually enter into a scandalous affair. Their passion awakens a bloodlust in Susan, who agrees to try and kill her husband, just as Carmilla killed hers centuries ago.

16. Successive Slidings of Pleasure (1974)

Not Rated | 105 min | Fantasy, Horror, Thriller

A young woman is questioned by the police and the judges, suspected of being a modern witch. The girl who shared her apartment has been found dead, and a pair of scissors impaled through ... See full summary »

Director: Alain Robbe-Grillet | Stars: Anicée Alvina, Olga Georges-Picot, Michael Lonsdale, Jean Martin

Votes: 764

17. Symptoms (1974)

R | 92 min | Horror

A young woman is invited by her girlfriend, who lives in an English country mansion, to stay there with her. The estate, however, isn't quite what it seems--and neither is the friend who issued the invitation.

Director: José Ramón Larraz | Stars: Angela Pleasence, Peter Vaughan, Lorna Heilbron, Nancy Nevinson

Votes: 932

**

18. Shivers (1975)

R | 87 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

58 Metascore

The residents of a suburban high-rise apartment building are being infected by a strain of parasites that turn them into mindless, sex-crazed fiends out to infect others by the slightest sexual contact.

Director: David Cronenberg | Stars: Paul Hampton, Joe Silver, Lynn Lowry, Allan Kolman

Votes: 15,953

**

19. Lips of Blood (1975)

Not Rated | 88 min | Horror

Frederick sees a photograph of a ruined seaside castle, which triggers a strange childhood memory. He then goes on a strange quest, aided by four female vampires, to find the castle and the beautiful woman who lives there.

Director: Jean Rollin | Stars: Jean-Loup Philippe, Annie Belle, Natalie Perrey, Martine Grimaud

Votes: 1,230

20. Alucarda (1977)

R | 78 min | Horror, Thriller

After the death of her parents, a young girl arrives at a convent and brings a sinister presence with her. Is it her enigmatic imaginary friend, Alucarda, who is to blame? Or is there a satanic force at work?

Director: Juan López Moctezuma | Stars: Claudio Brook, David Silva, Tina Romero, Susana Kamini

Votes: 2,594

21. Fascination (1979)

Not Rated | 80 min | Horror

A runaway criminal breaks into an eerie chateau, taking its two frightened chambermaids hostage. As night falls, a group of mysterious aristocratic women arrive and the criminal begins to realize the women are hiding a sinister secret.

Director: Jean Rollin | Stars: Franca Maï, Brigitte Lahaie, Jean-Marie Lemaire, Fanny Magier

Votes: 2,249

**

22. The Hunger (1983)

R | 97 min | Drama, Horror

52 Metascore

A love triangle develops between a beautiful yet dangerous vampire, her cellist companion, and a gerontologist.

Director: Tony Scott | Stars: Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie, Susan Sarandon, Cliff De Young

Votes: 21,190 | Gross: $5.98M

**

This cult classic stars Catherine Deneuve as Miriam Blaylock, a vampire who’s losing her companion, John (David Bowie as a goth ’80s dream), as he begins to rapidly deteriorate — and who seeks to replace him with Sarah, a young scientist played by Susan Sarandon. The trailer advertises The Hunger as “a modern classic of perverse fear,” and it remains one of the coolest and damn sexiest queer horror films ever made.

23. Heavenly Creatures (1994)

R | 99 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

Two teenage girls share a unique bond; their parents, concerned that the friendship is too intense, separate them, and the girls take revenge.

Director: Peter Jackson | Stars: Melanie Lynskey, Kate Winslet, Sarah Peirse, Diana Kent

Votes: 56,528 | Gross: $3.05M

**

This early career entry from Peter Jackson features both a queer coming-of-age story and a pair of lethal lesbians. Based on a true crime story out of New Zealand, the movie stars Melanie Lynskey as Pauline and Kate Winslet as Juliet, teen girls who develop an obsession with each other that becomes a sexual relationship, and drives both them to kill Pauline’s mother when she dares to separate them. This model of angry LGBTQ killer is controversial in that it plays into the stereotype of the criminal queer, but also explores a rage that might be viewed as righteously manifested in the face of oppression.

24. Sister My Sister (1994)

R | 86 min | Drama, Thriller

Two sisters separated in childhood reunite years later as servants at a household in France. Their happiness to be reunited spirals into an incestuous relationship.

Director: Nancy Meckler | Stars: Julie Walters, Joely Richardson, Jodhi May, Sophie Thursfield

Votes: 2,969 | Gross: $0.22M

**

Note: Includes incest. I personally enjoyed it and rather than a lesbian film I considered it to be about the intense consequences of class war.

25. Fun (1994)

Unrated | 105 min | Crime, Drama

Hillary and Bonnie meet one morning by the side of the road. They become fast friends, share their secrets, and on a rising wave of frenzy later that afternoon, murder an old woman. They did it, they say later, for fun.

Director: Rafal Zielinski | Stars: Renée Humphrey, Alicia Witt, William R. Moses, Leslie Hope

Votes: 1,177

26. Nadja (1994)

R | 93 min | Drama, Horror

64 Metascore

This ultra-hip, post-modern vampire tale is set in contemporary New York City. Members of a dysfunctional family of vampires are trying to come to terms with each other, in the wake of ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Almereyda | Stars: Elina Löwensohn, Peter Fonda, Nic Ratner, Karl Geary

Votes: 2,796 | Gross: $0.45M

This modern vampire tale is set New York City, and it focuses on the family of Dracula after he’s killed by his famous nemesis, Dr. Van Helsing. Dracula’s daughter is Nadja (Elina Löwensohn), who handles the cremation of her father and, afterwards, ends up going home and having sex with a stranger she meets in a bar — who happens to be Lucy (Galaxy Craze), one of Van Helsing’s in-laws. Lucy ends up in Nadja’s thrall, assisting the vampire in helping hunt her family so she can avenge Dracula.

27. Bound (1996)

R | 109 min | Crime, Romance, Thriller

61 Metascore

Corky, a tough female ex con and her lover Violet concoct a scheme to steal millions of stashed mob money and pin the blame on Violet's crooked boyfriend Caesar.

Directors: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski | Stars: Jennifer Tilly, Gina Gershon, Joe Pantoliano, John P. Ryan

Votes: 47,774 | Gross: $3.80M

**

28. See You in Hell, My Darling (1999)

110 min | Crime, Horror, Thriller

This is the story of Vera, Elsa, a man, and the great love that united them. They started out growing up together but they didn't get very far. Leaving behind a desolate world, full of ... See full summary »

Director: Nikos Nikolaidis | Stars: Vicky Harris, Valeria Hristodoulidou, Paschalis Tsarouhas, Nikos Kordinos

Votes: 300

29. Carmilla (1999)

80 min | Horror

Based loosely upon the classic story by J. Sheridan Le Fanu, this updated vampire soap opera focuses on Laura, who arrives at an isolated town searching for answers to the mysterious death ... See full summary »

Directors: Tom LePine, Denise Templeton | Stars: Stacia Crawford, Marina Morgan, Bootsie Cairns, Dawn Marie Psaltis

Votes: 26

30. Mulholland Drive (2001)

R | 147 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

83 Metascore

After a car wreck on the winding Mulholland Drive renders a woman amnesiac, she and a perky Hollywood-hopeful search for clues and answers across Los Angeles in a twisting venture beyond dreams and reality.

Director: David Lynch | Stars: Naomi Watts, Laura Harring, Justin Theroux, Jeanne Bates

Votes: 295,929 | Gross: $7.22M

**

31. Mermaid Chronicles Part 1: She Creature (2001 TV Movie)

R | 91 min | Fantasy, Horror, Thriller

In Ireland, two carnies abduct a mermaid and decide to take her to America. In their sea route, the seductive and mysterious creature reveals an uncontrollable darker side.

Director: Sebastian Gutierrez | Stars: Rufus Sewell, Carla Gugino, Jim Piddock, Reno Wilson

Votes: 3,242

32. Monster (2003)

R | 109 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

74 Metascore

Based on the life of Aileen Wuornos, a Daytona Beach prostitute who became a serial killer.

Director: Patty Jenkins | Stars: Charlize Theron, Christina Ricci, Bruce Dern, Lee Tergesen

Votes: 126,596 | Gross: $34.47M

33. High Tension (2003)

R | 91 min | Horror

42 Metascore

Best friends Marie and Alexia decide to spend a quiet weekend at Alexia's parents' secluded farmhouse. But on the night of their arrival, the girls' idyllic getaway turns into an endless night of horror.

Director: Alexandre Aja | Stars: Cécile de France, Maïwenn, Philippe Nahon, Franck Khalfoun

Votes: 63,918 | Gross: $3.68M

Lesbian subtext. This story of two gal pals taking a holiday at one of their family’s homes is like the New French Extremity version of Single White Female. It’s highly violent. It’s psychosexual. But at the end of the day, it’s a new millennium take on a character being driven to madness by their same-gender sexual obsession.

34. Fingersmith (2005)

Not Rated | 181 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

In Victorian England, Sue, a young thief, participates in a scam to defraud a rich heiress by becoming her maid. Things take an unexpected turn and Sue's plan goes horribly wrong.

Stars: Elaine Cassidy, Sally Hawkins, Imelda Staunton, Rupert Evans

Votes: 7,589

**

Lesbians in Victorian England who plot against each other and fall in love in the process! Based on the book by Sarah Waters.

35. Silent Hill (2006)

R | 125 min | Horror

31 Metascore

A woman, Rose, goes in search for her adopted daughter within the confines of a strange, desolate town called Silent Hill.

Director: Christophe Gans | Stars: Radha Mitchell, Laurie Holden, Sean Bean, Deborah Kara Unger

Votes: 204,918 | Gross: $46.98M

Lesbian subtext. Pretty bad film but I got sort of a vibe between the two main characters Cybil and Rose. According to actress who plays Cybil (Laurie Holden), Cybil always wanted children, but due to her lifestyle, she was unable to have any. This could be referring to her busy, dangerous line of work preventing her from adequately raising a child, or it could allude to the possibility of Cybil being lesbian.

36. Martyrs (2008)

R | 99 min | Horror

A young woman's quest for revenge against the people who kidnapped and tormented her as a child leads her and a friend, who is also a victim of child abuse, on a terrifying journey into a living hell of depravity.

Director: Pascal Laugier | Stars: Morjana Alaoui, Mylène Jampanoï, Catherine Bégin, Robert Toupin

Votes: 76,219

Lesbian subtext

37. Jennifer's Body (2009)

R | 102 min | Comedy, Horror

47 Metascore

A newly possessed high school cheerleader turns into a succubus who specializes in killing her male classmates. Can her best friend put an end to the horror?

Director: Karyn Kusama | Stars: Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, Adam Brody, Johnny Simmons

Votes: 108,073 | Gross: $16.20M

**

38. Cracks (I) (2009)

R | 104 min | Drama, Thriller

54 Metascore

A look at the lives and relationships among girls at an elite boarding school.

Director: Jordan Scott | Stars: Eva Green, Juno Temple, María Valverde, Imogen Poots

Votes: 18,245 | Gross: $0.02M

39. Black Swan (2010)

R | 108 min | Drama, Thriller

79 Metascore

A committed dancer struggles to maintain her sanity after winning the lead role in a production of Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake".

Director: Darren Aronofsky | Stars: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Winona Ryder

Votes: 659,052 | Gross: $106.95M

40. Todd and the Book of Pure Evil (2010–2012)
Episode: Terrible Twin Turf Tussle (2010)

TV-MA | 23 min | Comedy, Horror, Sci-Fi

Jenny begins a lesbian relationship, causing the girl's jealous twin sister to use the book, creating clones armies of the sisters who battle it out in the school hallways. Hannah creates Todd a special suit so he can sense Pure Evil.

Director: James Dunnison | Stars: Alex House, Maggie Castle, Bill Turnbull, Melanie Leishman

Votes: 64

41. We Are the Night (2010)

Not Rated | 99 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

In Berlin, a cop closes in on an all-female vampire trio who just took in a new member, Lena.

Director: Dennis Gansel | Stars: Karoline Herfurth, Nina Hoss, Jennifer Ulrich, Anna Fischer

Votes: 7,409

42. The Moth Diaries (2011)

R | 82 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

38 Metascore

Rebecca is suspicious of Ernessa, the new arrival at her boarding school. But is Rebecca just jealous of Ernessa's bond with Lucie, or does the new girl truly possess a dark secret?

Director: Mary Harron | Stars: Sarah Bolger, Sarah Gadon, Lily Cole, Anne Day-Jones

Votes: 6,061 | Gross: $0.00M

Lesbian subtext. Not a great film but it was written and directed by a woman which in itself makes it somewhat worthy of recommendation.

43. Kill for Me (2013 Video)

R | 95 min | Drama, Thriller

Two roommates with abusive men in their pasts consider murder as an option to help settle each other's problems.

Director: Michael Greenspan | Stars: Leah Gibson, Torrance Coombs, Shannon Chan-Kent, Tracy Spiridakos

Votes: 3,277

44. Lyle (2014)

Not Rated | 62 min | Drama, Horror

A mother's grief over the death of her toddler leads to horror.

Director: Stewart Thorndike | Stars: Gaby Hoffmann, Ingrid Jungermann, Eleanor Hopkins, Rebecca Street

Votes: 229

**

45. The Duke of Burgundy (2014)

Not Rated | 104 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance

87 Metascore

A woman who studies butterflies and moths tests the limits of her relationship with her lesbian lover.

Director: Peter Strickland | Stars: Sidse Babett Knudsen, Monica Swinn, Chiara D'Anna, Kata Bartsch

Votes: 10,688 | Gross: $0.03M

**

46. The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014)

R | 90 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

An elderly woman battling Alzheimer's disease agrees to let a film crew document her condition, but what they discover is something far more sinister going on.

Director: Adam Robitel | Stars: Jill Larson, Anne Ramsay, Michelle Ang, Brett Gentile

Votes: 22,627

**

47. The Handmaiden (2016)

Not Rated | 145 min | Drama, Romance, Thriller

84 Metascore

A woman is hired as a handmaiden to a Japanese heiress, but secretly she is involved in a plot to defraud her.

Director: Chan-wook Park | Stars: Min-hee Kim, Jung-woo Ha, Jin-woong Cho, So-Ri Moon

Votes: 84,736 | Gross: $2.01M

**

South Korean take on the book Fingersmith by Sarah Waters.

48. The Eyes of My Mother (2016)

R | 76 min | Drama, Horror

63 Metascore

A young, lonely woman is consumed by her deepest and darkest desires after tragedy strikes her quiet country life.

Director: Nicolas Pesce | Stars: Kika Magalhães, Will Brill, Olivia Bond, Paul Nazak

Votes: 9,886 | Gross: $0.03M

49. Women Who Kill (2016)

93 min | Comedy, Crime, Mystery

5.5