So many horror films feature men as psychos, killers and baddies, and women as helpless (and sometimes infuriatingly feeble) victims. But some scary movies turn the stereotype on its head, with female villains as the perpetrators. Here's a list of some of our favourite scary women...
1. Misery, 1990
Based on Stephen King’s psychological thriller, the film features one of the most memorable and creepy female villains ever, Annie Wilkes. When author Paul Sheldon has a car accident near Annie’s home, she rescues him from the wreckage and brings him in, nursing him back to health until the roads are clear enough to go and get help. However, Paul comes to realise that Annie’s intentions aren’t as wholesome as she’d have him believe. She’s actually obsessed with the novelist and his books, and doesn’t want him to leave until he’s written her a sequel… or ever. The scene where Annie hobbles Paul to prevent him from escaping will forever be etched on our eyeballs!
2. Fatal Attraction, 1987
As the title suggests, it’s the story of an attraction that went too far… WAY too far. After married man Dan Gallagher has an affair with a woman called Alex, she starts following him, calling him incessantly and generally obsessing over him. The craziness escalates, until the infamous ‘bunny boiler’ scene, where Alex leaves Dan’s daughter’s pet rabbit simmering in a saucepan in their kitchen. Dan finally confesses to his wife about the affair, but things go from bad to worse when knife-weilding Alex turns up in the couple’s home, manically stalking up to Dan’s wife in the bathroom and scratching her own leg to smithereens with the knife in the process. Gruesome!
3. Single White Female, 1992
Everything seems rosy when Hedy moves in with Allie, after responding to her ad for a spare room. But it’s not long before things get sinister and it turns out Hedy has a screw loose. She becomes insanely jealous when Allie’s ex-boyfriend Sam comes back on the scene, tipping over the edge when the pair get back together. Hedy goes out and has her hair cut to look just like Allie, and ends up tricking Sam into thinking she is Allie before murdering him. She also kills Allie’s friend Graham after hearing him and Allie talking about her. Then, she turns her attention to Allie…
4. Friday the 13th, 1980
Tension mounts as all the camp counsellors at the newly opened Camp Crystal Lake start to disappear and die, until there are only two left, Alice and Bill. Bill goes out to investigate (in the dark, of course), and Alice later finds his body impaled to a door. Luckily, an old friend of the camp’s owner, Pamela Voorhees, turns up to help…except she’s the killer! It turns out she’s the mother of Jason, the young boy who drowned at the camp many years ago, and she’s here to wreak her revenge on the camp counsellors. Alice manages to chop poor Pamela’s head off, but is she out of danger? No less than nine sequels would suggest not.
5. Carrie, 1976
Another one based on a Stephen King novel. Carrie is bullied at school, and has telekinetic powers when she gets angry, enabling her to move things at will. But her mum is the real baddie, emotionally abusing Carrie, telling her lies and locking her in a cupboard. On prom night, two of the school bullies play a prank, covering Carrie in pigs’ blood in front of the whole school. Infuriated, Carrie unleashes her powers, killing many of her classmates. She then goes home, where her psychotic mother stabs her in the back, and Carrie uses her powers to kill her, too, before the house crumbles down on them both.
6. The Grudge, 2004
The noise the ghost of Kayako makes is enough to send shivers down anyone’s spine! After being murdered by her husband in their home near Tokyo, Kayako haunts the house and kills anyone she comes into contact with. When an American family moves in, she makes short work of freaking out and eventually murdering them. Careworker Karen goes to the house to find the ghosts of Kayako’s son and cat, who were also murdered by the husband. Kayako ends up killing Karen’s boyfriend Doug in a horrific scene where she crawls down the stairs and consumes him. Visiting Doug in the morgue, Karen soon realises she’s not alone at the end of the film… So creepy!
7. The Exorcist, 1973
OK, so young Regan isn’t actually the villain here, but she’s still pretty terrifying. After playing with a Ouija board, she starts acting very odd – making weird noises, saying strange things, swearing at everyone. It turns out Regan’s been possessed by an evil spirit and, after her childminder mysteriously gets thrown out of the window, her mother gets the experts in – well, a priest. There follows a lot of disturbing scenes, including her doing some very questionable things with a crucifix. After some gruesome projectile vomiting and terrifying head-twisting, Father Karras gets the spirit to enter him instead. He then throws himself out of the window to his death.
8. The Hole, 2001
Full of twists and turns, the film only reveals the true villain, Liz, at the end. And she gets away with it, too. Obsessed with her schoolmate Mike, she orchestrates a night in an abandoned bunker with Mike and their other classmates Geoff and Frankie. The others think Liz’s friend Martyn has the key and has locked them in, and they end up trapped for 18 days. During that time, Frankie dies of bulimia and Mike kills Geoff in a rage. Mike finally dies when he learns that Liz had the key all along, and he falls off a ladder trying to chase her. Once out of the bunker, Liz kills her friend Martyn and plants the key in his pocket. So he gets the blame for everything and she gets off scot-free!
9. The Loved Ones, 2009
Last on our list of female villains is schoolgirl Lola. She didn’t take kindly to being rejected by Brent when she asked him to the school dance. So, obviously, she whacks him on the head and kidnaps him, so they can have their own ‘dance’ at her house. Her dad’s set the house up for the occasion, and not for the first time… Beneath the floor are all her previous abductees, lobotomised and starving. Brent fights back, killing Lola’s dad. When a policeman arrives, Lola stabs him in the face with a meat cleaver, then leaves to kill Brent’s mum. Brent drives after her, hitting her with his car, and is reunited with his girlfriend who’s come to find him. After the classic “she’s not quite dead” moment, Brent reverses the car back over Lola’s head for good measure. She’s definitely dead now.