Women in Horror Month celebrates all of the genre's ladies — the good, the bad, and the downright horrible. We're counting down five of the best sinister, murderous, and terrifying ladies that horror has to offer.
It’s Women in Horror Month and we're here to celebrate horrible women (fictional ones, at least).
Of course, heroines and final girls are great (we count down five of our favorites here). But it would be reductive to suggest that only women who fight on the side of good are worthy of our love and attention. Women can be messy and terrible. They can be murderous and monstrous.
Here are five of the best bad ladies horror has to offer:
5. Akasha, Queen of the Damned
Let’s be honest: Queen of the Damned isn’t a great movie. It’s a ridiculous goth fever dream that truly only has two things going for it: its quintessentially aughts nu-metal soundtrack and enchanting r&b songstress Aaliyah as Akasha, the queen of the damned herself.
Lestat is ostensibly the star of the film, but Akasha steals his thunder the moment she arrives on screen. Aaliyah’s presence is electrifying and you can’t help falling in love with her vicious vampire queen as she slaughters her way through a nightclub and seduces Lestat in a pool of rose petals to the strains of the only Deftones song most people know.
Unfortunately, Akasha is only in about a third of the movie, despite the fact that it’s literally named after her. But in each scene she’s given she manages to briefly turn an otherwise unremarkable trash heap into something spectacular.
4. Pamela Voorhees, Friday the 13th
Though often overshadowed by her much more resilient son, Pamela Voorhees is one bad mother.
To avenge the death of her only child, Pamela slashed her way through the counselors at Camp Crystal Lake and hacked her way into our hearts as one of the first — and still one of the very few — female villains in the slasher subgenre. Her maniacal grin as she mimics her dead son’s voice and chases after final girl Alice is just as frightening as any of Jason’s later escapades.
And if Scream taught us nothing else, it’s that we’ve got to give credit where credit is due. Jason would never have put on the hockey mask if his murderous mom hadn’t paved the way.
3. Lucille Sharpe, Crimson Peak
Being the bad guy isn’t always a bloody good time — sometimes it’s actually pretty miserable. Take Crimson Peak’s Lucille Sharpe, whose villain origin story is full of abuse, isolation, and despair.
Cool motive; still murder. Sure, it’s hard not to feel some measure of pity for Lucille, but she does ruthlessly murder a lot of people. And she’s a con artist. And she sleeps with her brother.
But all of these things just make her a fascinating character, especially in the hands of Jessica Chastain, who flawlessly carries Lucille from icy composure to unhinged rage. Watching the cracks in her carefully constructed demeanor give way to the madness underneath is both horrifying and sad, but Chastain brings Lucille to life with such sincerity that you can’t look away even if you wanted to.
2. Jennifer Check, Jennifer's Body
Everybody’s got an opinion on Jennifer’s Body. Love it or hate, you can’t deny that Megan Fox’s performance as a demonic teenager is badass with a capital B.
The victim of a botched human sacrifice, Jennifer is resurrected as a succubus who feeds on the flesh of teenage boys. In a biting satire on the way young women are preyed upon and viewed as objects to be used and discarded at men’s pleasure, she uses preconceived notions of women’s sexuality and vulnerability to seduce her victims and leaves their mangled corpses to rot without ever batting her pretty eyelashes.
Hell is a teenage girl — literally. But there’s something highly satisfying about watching Jennifer bring a little hell to the hallways of her midwestern high school.
1. Asami Yamazaki, Audition
This chick is legitimately terrifying.
The leading lady of Takashi Miike’s seminal 1999 film Audition has been both criticized as a sexist portrayal of a woman undone by her desire for a man’s love and attention and praised as an avenging angel who delivers just desserts to abusive men in positions of power. Whatever your take, we can all agree on one thing: you do not want to fuck with Asami.
She has a very particular set of skills and she’s not afraid to use them. She’s positively giddy as she shoves needles into her lover’s eyes and saws off his foot with piano wire. He kind of deserves it, but it’s still tough to watch. It stands out as easily one of the most intense scenes in horror history.
Written by Joy Robinson, Morbidly Beautiful