February has been designated as Women in Horror Month, so I thought a great way to celebrate this year is by ranking some of the best female characters in horror movie history.
When most people think of women in horror, they may picture the dumb big-haired bimbo running around screaming being absolutely useless as viewers scream at her common-sense tips for surviving the terror she is in. However, with a closer look, you will realize that horror is filled with a variety of female characters from those completely useless damsels in distress to the badass final girls who dish out as much punishment as the big bad that’s chasing them. Strong, smart, and sexy just barely scratch the surface when describing many of these ladies. Also, we have some stone-cold killers that give Jason, Freddy, and Michael a run for their money as they slash, maim and murder their way through their own victims.
Come and celebrate all sorts of female characters with me as we count down the 100 Greatest Female Characters in Horror history!
* Be cautious of spoilers below
70. Alice (Paula E. Sheppard) | Alice Sweet Alice (1976)
Just look at that face? It is definitely one that is up to no good. Sorry parents but sometimes we can just tell when your sweet angel is plain evil. Alice Spages wasn’t only jealous of her sister but she liked to pull some nasty pranks. She may or may not have been involved in three different murders including her owns sisters, however, after spending some time with this spawn of Satan, you wouldn’t put it past her. One of the OG’s of creepy kids in horror.
69. Santanico Pandemonium (Salma Hayek) | From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
There aren’t enough words to describe this entry so let’s just start with sexy and vicious. An outlaw road trip movie with a lot going on comes to a complete halt the moment Santanico Pandemonium steps on the screen. Her five minutes of screen time from the seductive snake dance to the transformation into a hideous creature was etched into every young man’s mind till the day they die. “Lowly dog. Bow your head. Kneel and worship at the feet of Santanico! Pandemonium!”
68. Mia (Jane Levy) | Evil Dead (2013)
Mia started the film off as a hopeless drug addict who needs her friends to help her kick her addiction, but by the end, she is a chainsaw-wielding badass standing alone. During the chaos and death, she was able to find an inner power that gives us a satisfying transformation from helpless to the savior of the world. She even ends up ripping her own arm off in order to survive before taking down an ultimate evil that would have ruled the world. Character arcs don’t get much better than that.
67. Tree (Jessica Rothe) | Happy Death Day (2017), Happy Death Day 2U (2019)
Tree Gelbman is the modern “final girl” where she isn’t the typical virginal and innocent coed who barely survives. She is the flawed and smart ass chick that usually dies while trying to seduce another girl’s boyfriend. However, Jessica Rothe brings a real likability to the character as she grows throughout her time loop ordeal while dealing with her multiple deaths at the hands of a masked killer. In slasher movies, the killer is usually the selling point but this is Tree’s movie and you buy into her journey.
66. Ginger Fitzgerald (Katharine Isabelle) | Ginger Snaps Series
Ginger, played wonderfully by Katherine Isabelle, is a teenage rebel who likes playing morbid and gruesome pranks on the “mainstream” peeps. After being attacked by what she believed to be a rabid dog, she begins to act even stranger than normal. She becomes more aggressive, animalistic and sexually active as we find out that it was actually a werewolf that bit her. She begins to mutate herself and starts killing. Ginger would appear in two more Ginger Snaps films gaining more and more cult followers to the series.
65. Annabelle (Doll) | The Conjurverse Franchise
“Raggedy Ann from hell” would be the best way to describe this menace. We would first be introduced the possessed doll in The Conjuring when she was haunting some college students. She was so creepy that she would receive a spin-off where we learn of her satanic cult beginnings with more of her evil past being shown in the sequel. When scary dolls are discussed, Annabelle’s name is at the top of the list.
64. La Femme (Béatrice Dalle) | Inside (2007)
One of the most brutal and mysterious ladies of horror. La Femme stalks and preys upon a grieving widow who is also very pregnant. She is a menacing and mysterious woman who will apparently stop at nothing to get what she wants from the poor mother. It just so happens that she wants the baby that is still in the mother’s womb. One of the best from the French Extreme movement of the 2000s, Inside is an extremely tough watch that gives new meaning to the word bleak. Béatrice Dalle plays La Femme as sinister and chilling in a primal performance.
63. Christiane (Edith Scob) | Eyes Without a Face (1960)
The title alone sets an uncomfortable tone in this early French horror film about a surgeon trying to his daughter’s disfigured face after a horrible accident. Imagining a set of eyes that don’t have a face is creepy enough and then we meet those eyes. We don’t get to spend too much time with Christiane before her accident. Therefore, we don’t know if she was always this deranged or did the accident fracture something or was it simply her dads doing by preforming these heinous surgeries.
Christiane’s unsettling look and murderous ways would be one of the most memorable female figures of early horror even influence one of the greatest male villains of all time. John Carpenter once said that Christiane’s blank face was an inspiration for Michael Myers’ famous mask.
62. Jenny (Kelly Reilly) | Eden Lake (2008)
Jenny and Steve set out for a romantic getaway in the beautiful countryside until some unsavory teens decide to spoil their romantic trip as it quickly devolves into a fight for survival. After Steve succumbs to his injuries, Jenny is alone in this fight against these savage teens and fight she does. Jenny is a smart and well-conditioned heroine that does any and everything to try and survive. She is a character you can behind and cheer to safety.
61. Casey (Drew Barrymore) | Scream (1996)
Neve Campbell may have ended as the star of this franchise but in 1996, Drew Barrymore was the star putting butts in the seats for this new slasher film. The impact this character had on the horror genre in the little bit of screen time she had is astounding. This sweet and personable high school chick had everyone thinking she was going to survive this early ordeal and fight the ghost face killer in the climactic battle to cement her place alongside the greatest final girls of all the times! Sadly, that didn’t happen. Spoiler Alert by the way. The Blonde hair, the white sweater, the sweet smile, the popcorn, and her untimely death are all etched in our minds after watching the opening scene of this horror classic.
What do you think of the selection so far? Who are some of your favorite female horror characters? Maybe they will show up further on the list!