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
80. Sylvia Ganush (Lorna Raver) | Drag Me to Hell (2009)
Sylvia Ganush will make you think twice about shaming little old ladies in public. You know, in case you were into that sort of thing. (clears throat) Poor loan officer Christine Brown found this out the hard way when she had an unfortunate run-in with Mrs. Ganush over some financial issues. Christine felt like she was just doing her job as she effectively took away Mrs. Ganush’s home, and embarrassed her as she begged for mercy. “You shamed me.”
What Christine didn’t know was Mrs. Ganush wasn’t some helpless old lady. She was one tough Gypsie who exacted physical and supernatural revenge by placing a curse on the poor girl. Soon Ganush would haunt Christine’s dreams and even her waking moments as her curse begins to come to fruition.
79. The Nun/Valak (Bonnie Aarons) | The Conjuring Universe
The Conjurverse has produced several spinoffs with The Nun being perhaps the most creepy when she appeared in The Conjuring 2. The Nun would torment the Hodgson family as she battled Paranormal Investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. We would find out that The Nun was just a manifestation of the demon Valak, who would take on other forms, but The Nun is the most terrifying. In the prequel, The Nun, we would learn more of the sinister nature of this demonic evil.
78. Linda (Various) | Evil Dead franchise
Poor Ash. All of the women in his life either end up hating him or become a deadite and want to murder him. His girlfriend Linda gets stabbed in the ankle, falls ill and gets possessed. She taunts Ash mercilessly until he finally has to kill and bury her. But like any good psycho ex, she ain’t being left on read and comes back for more making Ash ultimately decapitate her. She would continually appear throughout the Evil Dead series messing with Ash as either just a head or simply dancing with her own head. something tells a restraining order ain’t gonna work here.
77. Beverly (Various) | It (1990), It (2017), It Chapter Two (2019)
Sweet Beverly was the spark plug that held the Losers Club together. Mainly because none of them had talked to a girl before. She was as damaged, if not more than, all of the members of the club as she was from a poor upbringing and abused by her father. She would play the badass with a big heart. The character from Stephen King’s novel would be played by four different actresses with all of them bringing something unique and diverse to the role.
76. Sarah Carter (Shauna Macdonald) | The Descent (2005)
Before The Descent gave way to the terrors of the cave the group of women was spelunking, Sarah was already a strong female badass. She was dealing with the horrific loss of her husband and child just a year before. Now, she was in the midst of a fight for her and her friends lives in an unexplored cave. She would learn heart-wrenching truths and witness friends die but she would battle till the end gaining strength she didn’t even know she had.
75. Mary ( Katharine Isabelle) | American Mary (2012)
Katherine Isabelle is no stranger to the horror genre and delivers her most sinister role. American Mary showcases a deadly and independent medical student who goes from trying to pay bills as a stripper but falls into the underground world of body modification while trying to avoid financial debt. She thrives on being detached and dominant and takes the notion of revenge to a whole new surgical level.
74. The Tragedy Girls (Brianna Hildebrand, Alexandra Shipp) | Tragedy Girls (2017)
This is probably one of the most chilling entries on this list since this is something that could very well be happening at your local school today. It is just a matter of time some teenager figures out the best way to improve their social media status is to become a maniacal murderer because let’s face it, our online identity is what gives validation nowadays, right? Right?!
Sadie and McKayla seem like your typical high school girls. Cheerleaders, pretty, social media obsessed. Scary enough I know. However, these girls are on a mission to hit all-time likes and shares by kidnapping an actual masked serial killer, force him to mentor them in their murderous ways while creating their own brand. These vixens are a joy to watch in this slasher satire.
73. Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy) | The Witch (2015)
The Witch is a simple enough tale about a Puritan family that believes witchcraft is among them. As they are banished from their colony, they try to make it on their own when strange happenings begin to take place. At the center of these happening is the eldest daughter Thomasin played wonderfully by Anya Taylor-Joy in her breakout role. She brought innocence, curiosity, and creepiness to Thomasin that helps make everything seem believable.
72. Edith Brennan (Javier Botet) | Mama (2013)
Two young girls are rescued after spending nearly five years alone in the woods — except they weren’t really alone. The young girls were watched over by a ghostly woman they called “Mama,” the spirit of a woman named Edith Brennan who lost her own child. Alas, while Edith cared for the girls and kept them safe, she’s also a seriously jealous monster who seeks revenge on anyone she perceives as taking her babies away.
71. Selena (Naomie Harris) | 28 Days Later…(2002)
Every few years it seems there is some fresh air breathed into the tired old zombie genre. 28 Days Later was no different as it introduced a new type of outbreak of the traditional zombie apocalypse. Enter Selena a fierce and compassionate badass but at no point would she show you sympathy if you become infected. Friend or foe, she was going to hack an infected person down with her trusty machete without hesitation.
90-81 | 70-61
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!