The male action status quo is shattered in these five explosive Kathryn Bigelow movies, directed by one of the most talented female filmmakers to ever touch a camera. Cowboy vampires, tough-as-nails-cops, futuristic sex freaks and a thrill seeking bomb technician are just some of the characters that populate this list. There is enough testosterone here to turn any horse into a Kentucky Derby winner. So when thrills are on the menu, go big – as in Bigelow, or go home.

“Near Dark” (1987)

With vampires that have names like Severin and Diamondback, no one will be confusing this film with the "Twilight" movies. This first, in what would become a series of explosive Kathryn Bigelow movies sets a fang gang in the middle on the American southwest. Led by genre heavyweight Lance Henriksen, these vampires pick their “finger-licking good” human delicacies from among the likes of backwoods barflys and unsuspecting bumpkins. Bigelow’s direction is dreamy at times and at others, action-packed; with chases, gunfights, fire balls and of course, bloodletting.

“Blue Steel” (1989)

Silver bullets may be for werewolves but the cold, wet, blue look of this film gives gunshots a new meaning. Jamie Lee Curtis plays a rookie fresh on the force that has to shoot her first suspect. That shot leads to a super sexually charged affair in this explosive Kathryn Bigelow movie. Ron Silver plays the twisted sexual partner with a fetish for guns and sex; who ultimately gets what he wants in the form of a bullet.

Point Break (1991)

Thrill seeker surfers masquerading as the “Dead Presidents” bank robber gang help provid the thrills in this film. Keanu Reeves plays stylistically against type as “F…B…I… agent” Johnny Utah, who infiltrates the Dead Presidents gang. The image of Patrick Swayze shooting a makeshift flame-thrower through a gas pump nozzle via cigarette lighter/igniter is iconic. The ensuing foot chase between Reeves and Swayze, whose face is covered with a Ronald Reagan mask the whole time, is one of the best ever filmed.

“Strange Days” (1995)

The relentlessly kinetic energy of this explosive Kathryn Bigelow movie plays out on the last two days of the year 1999. Proof that a film doesn’t have to be full of explosions to be full of action; science and cyberpunk fuel this plot. The direction is stylistically futuristic even though the stor mirrors a traditional noir murder mystery.

The Hurt Locker (2008)

This is the most significant of the explosive Kathryn Bigelow movies, literally. Jeremy Renner, as a bomb removal expert working in Iraq, leads a stellar cast. Preventing explosions is the order of the day in this cinematic masterpiece that earned Ms. Bigelow the Academy Award for Best Director; the first such accomplishment for a woman.