The role of women in horror films has always been a hot topic for debate. Some critics argue that horror films marginalize women and paint them as hypersexual beings with no depth. The opposing argument asserts that the existence of a "Final Girl" in most horror films is a testament to female empowerment, and that horror features celebrate women and their role in the cinematic universe. There is merit to both sides of the argument, but rather than debate the issue, we are spotlighting some standout female characters in genre film. These are characters that have stood out to us and proved to be as strong or stronger than their male counterparts. These are characters that challenged some of the stereotypes associated with women in film. We featured ten of our favorites in September, but due to popular demand, we are bringing you a second installment. You can check out part one here.
Laurie Strode from Halloween
The prototype by which all final girls to come after her have been compared; Laurie Strode is a woman to be reckoned with. She can juggle her responsibilities as a babysitter and save her town from the maniacal inclinations of her older brother. Part of what made the character so magical was the casting of Jamie Lee Curtis, who played the role with levelheadedness and courage beyond what anyone would expect from a high school student. Her performance has stood the test of time and years after the films release is still widely celebrated.
Cherry Darling of Planet Terror
Anyone that can pull off a limb that doubles as a weapon is deserving of accolades. Cherry Darling rocks the machine gun leg and somehow even makes it look hot. Rose McGowan who is no stranger to genre filmmaking brilliantly portrays Cherry Darling. McGowan also brilliantly portrayed strong women in The Doom Generation and Scream.
Jennifer from I Spit on Your Grave
Jennifer sliced and diced her victims in the most violent ways possible but she had a reason to strike out and take vigilante justice. She was put through the most horrific ordeal imaginable and lived to tell about it. Rather than letting her tormentors off the hook, she made each of them pay for their transgressions against her. Camille Keaton was the perfect choice to bring Jenifer to life; she played the part with equal amounts of vulnerability and resilience.
Kristy Cotton from Hellraiser
Kristy is a brave and tenacious character that had the guts to stand up to the ultimate evil and save the day in the first two Hellraiser films. She reappeared in some of the later entries in the franchise, but nothing could top her performance in Hellraiser and Hellraiser II. Ashley Laurence was well cast as Kristie; she embodied the character in such a way that we couldn’t imagine anyone else having taken on the role.
Eden Sinclair from Doomsday
Eden Sinclair steps up and kicks ass when shit gets real; Rhona Mitra skillfully plays her with a tough as nails sensibility. If the apocalypse were to strike, we would want her on our team. Sinclair deftly leads a team of Domestic Security officers that are sent to Scotland to try and contain a viral outbreak or find a cure. Part of what makes the character awesome is that Snake Plissken from John Carpenter’s Escape from New York and Escape from L.A was Neil Marshall’s inspiration for the character. The film was a box office failure, but Eden is reason enough to check out the movie.
Rain from Resident Evil
Alice isn’t the only ass-kicking lady in the Resident Evil franchise. Rain is a badass woman with an axe to grind and daggers for eyes. She will cut you now and ask questions later. Michelle Rodriguez brings a very tough quality to the role, as she does with most of the roles she plays. As a member of the Umbrella Corp Special Commando Unit, Rain was sent to the hive to stop the antics of the Red Queen and contain the viral outbreak that is central to the plot of the franchise. In the event of a viral epidemic, she would be on our short list of people we would want in our corner.
Mary Beth from Hatchet
The Mary Beth character was recast for the second and third films, with Danielle Harris taking over for Tamara Feldman in the second installment. No matter who is playing her, Mary Beth is a true badass – Harris is a personal favorite, however. Anyone that can stand up to Victor Crowley and lives to tell about it is deserving of a tremendous amount of respect and should be commended for their bad-assery.
Sidney Prescott from Scream
Neve Campbell’s Sidney Prescott is the Laurie Strode for the new generation of horror fans. She is tough and spirited in the same way as Laurie, but she brings her own flare to the part. She is a brave and independent woman that doesn’t need to be rescued by a man. After going four rounds with Ghostface, however, it’s surprising that she hasn’t experienced a total mental collapse.
Ginny from Friday the 13th Part 2
Ginny possesses an extraordinary ferocity that endeared her to the audience. She’s also inventive: she momentarily convinced Jason that she was his mother during their epic showdown. Amy Steele was outstanding as Ginny; she remains a an favorite for both Friday the 13th Part Two and her turn in the slasher staple April Fool’s Day.
Jannicke from Cold Prey
Jannicke was part of an extremely likable ensemble cast in the 2006 film Cold Prey and its 2008 sequel Cold Prey II. The Jannicke character was almost certainly modeled after Halloween’s Laurie Strode. The first Cold Prey film is like Halloween at an abandoned ski lodge and the second immediately follows the events of the first Cold Prey film and takes place in a hospital - much like the second Halloween film. Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, who also appeared in Hansel & Gretel Witch Hunters, was fantastic in both Cold Prey films; she was brave, cool under pressure, and loyal to her friends.