Regardless of the abundance of male directors in horror, this genre pretty much belongs to the fairer sex. Think about it – how many time have we watched a film where the majority of men are drooling, sex obsessed morons who spend the best part of the story inebriated or getting violently disposed of by a maniac who often bears the Y chromosome? Whoever said women in horror were just limited to suffering and killing the big bad beastie at the end of yet another formulaic teenie kill flick, are clearly not looking hard enough but that said, the best of the female villains often miss out of the kudos they rightly deserve. This is our brief run-down of just a small gathering some of the greats . (Warning: Spoilers!)
MARGARET WHITE (PIPER LAURIE)
“They're all gonna laugh at you!”
Poor Carrie White never stood a chance. Knocking door to door to invite her neighbours to talk about the word of god, Margaret White pretty much became the catalyst for the climatic telekinetic massacre of Brian De Palma's classic Stephen King adaptation – raising her daughter with strict Catholic values she neglects to educate Carrie on the changes she can expect when entering her first years of womanhood. Cue a bloody mess in the school showers and a pack of cruel classmates swarm in. Most memorable for bubbling down into a psychotic, fanatical rage and lunging at Carrie armed with the biggest kitchen knife you've ever seen. Wins the prize for most religiously ironic death position.
PAMELA VORHEES (BETSY PALMER)
FILM: FRIDAY THE 13TH
“Jason was my son and today is his birthday.”
Deep emotional wounds here. A mother so consumed by the grief of losing her only son she slowly loses her grip on her sanity. While camp staff were away bumping uglies in the trees, Jason, a hydrocephalic , drowned, whilst yelling out for his mother. His memory lived on, sure, but not in any kind of healthy way – she locked her pain away and eventually developed an acute schizophrenic disorder, hearing her dead boy’s voice in her head. “Kill her mommy! KILL HER!”
We spend the entire duration of the original Friday The 13th thinking Jason Vorhees has returned from the grave to exact bloody vengeance – only to find out it was harmless looking camp cook who works in the canteen! The ending of Sean Cunningham’s seminal slasher may have always had a bit of a Psycho feel but that derives none of the shock – final girl Alice finds out that there’s only one way Mrs Vorhees will let the spirit of her supposedly dead son lie – over head dead, decapitated body. Alice swiftly snatches the mad woman’s head from her shoulders with a giant machete. Danny Trejo would be proud. Two other actress would take brief stints in the role for Freddy Vs Jason (Paula Shaw) and later on for the Friday The 13th remake (Nana Vistor).
JULIA COTTON (CLARE HIGGINS)
FILMS: HELLRAISER & HELLRAISER 2:HELLBOUND
“Take your best shot, Snow White!”
Casual genre fans will always deem Pinhead as the main antagonist of Clive Barker’s now legendary original 1987 film but of course we all understood that the real monsters of the story were two people – Frank Cotton and his new sister-in-law Julia Cotton. Most of the murderous evil that is committed within the film’s running time seems to be motivated by Julia’s need to properly satisfy her, ahem, carnal needs. Its seems that her new husband Larry Cotton (Andrew Robinson) Just doesn’t seem to be cutting it. He has to go, it seems and her lovers problem of having no skin or being hunted by a quartet of deformed beings from a realm beyond her understanding dosent seem to phase her in the slightest..
If some of you think her psychotic tendencies or antics with a hammer aren’t enough to secure her the number two spot on this list then you only have to look to sequel Hellbound. Her last shred of humanity purged by the lord of Hell himself, the Leviathan, she is now Julia Cotton, super-bitch, capable of bitch slapping Kirsty Cotton (Ashley Laurence) so hard she passes out and sucking the life straight out of you with should you hang around long enough for a kiss. “Now I’m no longer the wicked stepmother. Now I’m the evil queen!”
ASAMI YAMAZAKI (EIHI SHIINA)
“Words create lies. Pain can be trusted.”
Perhaps one of Takashi Miike's signature films, making him a household name with western genre lovers, this one left some of the more granite stomached extreme cinema fans reeling with its sick centre piece of a woman scorned. Seemingly meek Asami has a dark past of abuse from by the hands of her perverted Ballet tutor resulting in serious untended psychological problems. Paralyzing her her once beloved new love, feeling his face with needles and crudely removing his feet with a wire saw, giggling as she goes.. It's always the quiet ones, aint it? Glenn Close suddenly seems like a pussy cat ...
VERA-ELLEN “BABY” FIREFLY (SHERI MOON ZOMBIE)
FILMS: HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES, THE DEVIL’S REJECTS
“These are my dolls. I used to like to chop their heads off and their arms and stick ‘em on the wall.”
Rob Zombie’s Psychedelic début film House Of 1000 Corpses introduced audiences to an entire circus of desert dwelling sadists and freaks but arguably the most dangerous of the entire Firefly family is Baby – horror has yet to see a deadlier, more off the wall femme fatale. A disturbingly seductive walking cocktail of sex and death, Sheri Moon Zombie's creation is part Texas Chain Saw redneck part Manson family. She'll screw your boyfriend then wear your skin – and who can forget that maddeningly grating machine-gun laugh? Deservedly won a 'Scream award' in 2006 for 'most vile villain'.
LA FEMME (THE WOMAN) (BEATRICE DALLE)
Another maniac driven by the sheer anguish of a child – remaining nameless throughout the film Beatrice Dalle’s genuinely creep villain is prepared to forcibly remove Sarah Scarangelo’s unborn infant from the womb itself – cutting a claret soaked path of victims on the way. With a bare minimum of dialogue and a talent for ominously lurking unseen in the background, she could very nearly put Michael Myers to shame. Even taking a short, sharp blast of flame to the face dosent deter her from her mission, preforming a little impromptu caesarian on Sarah for the film's stomach churning climax.
FILMS: ALIENS,ALIEN 3, ALIEN RESSURECTION, ALIEN V PREDATOR
You can forgive us in thinking James Cameron may have been showing off a little here – not only does he go bigger, with his new xenomorph design, he goes scarier and helped bag the film an Oscar for Visual Effects. In our opinion, the Queen deserves to uttered in the same breath as King Kong or Godzilla as far as movie monster history goes. Still looks way more threatening in Aliens than she has anywhere else. This hulking 15ft tall battle tank of a monster haunted Ellen Ripley over the course of three films and was even there in newborn form for her firey death at the climax of Alien 3. Best forget Alien Vs Predator and AVP: Requiem – we all know she would win in a scrap with a Predator.
TIFFANY (JENNIFER TILLY)
FILMS: BRIDE OF CHUCKY, SEED OF CHUCKY
“You know me, I'll kill anybody but I'll only sleep with somebody I love.”
It's not very often that a sequel births an additional character as popular as the original that started things rolling but that's exactly what Ronnie Yu's Bride of Chucky did, pairing up the iconic killer doll with his long time girlfriend from his former life who may very well give him a run for his money as far as his evil doing goes. The duo proved a pretty enjoyable double act as the dysfunctional duo make life hell for Katherine Heigel and her beau. Tiffany's lines playfully delivered by Jennifer Tilly in a career highlight. “Barbie, eat your heart out.”
FILMS: RING TRILOGY
The Eastern equivalent of a ghost – a Yurei. Those of you lucky enough to have seen this without the climactic scare being ruined for you beforehand would have had your socks knocked up by Saduko climbing out of a well and crawling towards the screen – towards you. What happened next would go down into horror cinema history and resulting in an equally impressive Gore Verbinski directed remake.
CHENG LAI-SHEUNG (JOSIE HO)
FILM: DREAM HOME
Simply HAS to make the list for the orgy of carnage she leaves in her wake – and all in the name of her perfect house. Cheng is the first horror villain to suffer the current turblent economic climate. It seems that gaining her dream home by honest means is not on the cards, proceeding to tear a path of splatter through numerous homes in her apartment complex, including the disturbing murder of a pregnant woman.
The role was a complete deviation for star Josie Ho , whose film company funded the production. The billionaires daughter made the transition well to psychotic murderess.