As February draws to a close, so does the official Women in Horror Month. Started a few years back, the month of February has been dubbed a special time of year, where horror fans are encouraged reflect on final girls, vixens and villains, and appreciate the evolution of females in the genre. Knowing that, what better time to pay tribute to the unsung heroes of the horror world? Unfortunately, some girls are overlooked either because they aren't the main character, or they just aren't in a movie that became as popular as its predecessors. In my opinion, everyone who helps save lives is warranted some reward. Therefore, I've decided to provide a list of some of my favorite females to spread the word about some contenders that deserve a little more recognition. Without further ado, here are the ten most overlooked horror heroines!
10. Sam - Attack the Block
Sam makes the list because she overcomes her fear of her tormentors for the greater good: saving the world. When aliens attack London, Sam teams up with her co-inhabitants of the block, despite the fact that they robbed her earlier in the same evening. To help the fate of humanity, she puts her preconceived notions aside, and fought alongside the kids she feared the most to kill the aliens, to try and stop them before they spread and take over the planet.
9. Laura - The Orphanage
When a child disappears, most parents could only bear to live with the sorrow and anger for so long before they would have to move on. Although this is completely understandable, what makes Laura so remarkable is her refusal to give up on her son Simon, despite the fact that he's been absent for so long. Even after Laura experiences frightening disruptions in her house, is paid a visit by an old criminal, and her husband moves out to avoid painful memories, she refuses to cave. Instead, she stays in her haunted orphanage-turned-house, and faces the spirits that inhabited its walls. Her bravery and devotion to her offspring makes her an inspiring and hauntingly beautiful character that deserves much praise.
8. Angela Vidal – [Rec]
Angela Vidal is a natural born leader. When she unknowingly enters a contaminated building that is later sealed off from the public, she takes charge the situation, and guides her comrades to safety. She may have started out the night as a news reporter, but by the end, she proves that any woman with a plan and the endurance to execute it can survive a zombie outbreak as long as her male counterparts, and perhaps even longer.
7. Dr. Dakota Block - Planet Terror
In Robert Rodriguez’s hilarious grindhouse spoof Planet Terror, a quiet town quickly becomes overrun by zombies. As the population is picked off one by one, a random group of townsfolk gather their resources and work together to survive the outbreak. Most people remember Rose McGowan's sultry portrayal of Cherry Darling, but what about Marley Shelton's steamy depiction of her "friend?" Dr. Dakota Block is not a woman to be messed with, as she's just as tough as she is smart. Put her in a crisis, and she'll attack it with confidence and precision. And she won't be afraid to break a few bones, either, if it means getting the job done -- or getting the car door open.
6. Ami Hyuga - The Machine Girl
Ami lost her parents, her brother and her arm, but that's not going to stop her from becoming a fierce female warrior. Proving her bravery, Ami seeks vengeance on the same people that took her livelihood -- the Yazuka clan. After she escapes the clan’s hideout, Ami seeks shelter with two strangers who nurse her back to health and replace her amputated arm with a high power machine gun. From then on, it’s a blood-soaked massacre, headed by one of the sweetest faces in horror.
5. Annie - The Pact
After her mother's death and the disappearance of her sister, Annie has no choice but to stay in the home that's filled with so many horrid memories from her youth. Vowing to stay until her sister's whereabouts are revealed, Annie soon finds that facing the rooms that highlight her childhood blunders is the least of her problems. During her investigation, Annie confronts some of the scariest situations I've seen on film in years. Not only is she far braver than I could ever be, but she carries the movie with ease, setting a confident mark for a rare one-woman-show, that will hopefully happen more often in the future.
4. Christine Brown - Drag Me To Hell
When Christine Brown evicted an old woman from her home to get ahead at work, she thought she’d made the right decision. However, as she starts experiencing demonic activity in her home, she soon finds that her job status is the least of her worries. What makes Christine so meaningful amongst the others in her category is her ability to be strong while remaining who she is inside. She'll sacrifice small animals and participate in séances, but she's still a sweet, untainted, morally founded person underneath her questionable actions. Being true to yourself in the face of danger is any hero's biggest challenge, and she executes the task well. Plus, you have to respect any woman who could put up such a fight against a vicious psychotic gypsy.
3. Mercedes - Pan's Labyrinth
When it comes to Pan's Labyrinth, most people think of Ofelia, and rightfully so. However, there is another woman in the background that is just as courageous and morally grounded as the young princess: Mercedes. While Ofelia tends to her atrophied mother and plays out her real life fairytale, Mercedes tiptoes around the man of the house, and the officer in the WWII Spanish army, Captain Vidal. While she attends to every one of the Captain's needs, she uses her free time to sneak supplies to the rebel soldiers waiting nearby in the hills, one of whom is her own brother. While Ofelia faces the challenges of a supernatural world, Mercedes secretly wages an even risker struggle in reality, in the Spanish Civil War.
2. Brigitte Fitzgerald - Ginger Snaps
It's easy to reminisce about the brilliant metaphorical transformation of Ginger Fitzgerald in Ginger Snaps from a shy, adolescent human to a raging hormonal beast, but Ginger's sister Brigitte plays a critical role as well. While Ginger is having mood swings that cause her to eat people, Brigitte goes through changes, too. At the beginning of the story, Brigitte is even more aloof than her older sister, but as the unpleasant high school days roll on, she evolves into a self-sufficient background hero, who cleans up her sister's messes, and searches for a cure for her condition. Brigitte proved that it wasn't her who needed Ginger, but Ginger who needed Brigitte to survive.
1. Taylor Gentry - Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon
Intelligent, driven, and determined; Taylor Gentry represents everything a female lead needs to survive a horror movie. While she believed that she was merely documenting a real life protagonist, she accidentally walked right into his trap. What stacks the odds against her even higher is her knowledge of what's to come. Fighting to survive is difficult no matter what, but knowing what lies ahead can render a scared person paralyzed. How does one endure such torture when one is aware of the entire detailed bloody process that lies ahead? Not Taylor, though. This final girl goes down guns blazing, phallic weapon in hand, ready to send the ghost of Leslie Vernon back to his grave. Even if it means losing everything she holds dear (including her sanity), the thought of running away wouldn't enter her mind. Taylor rests comfortably at the top of the list of horror heroines because she made the choice that all heroes must face: to stay and fight her demon, simply because it was the right thing to do.