Female horror villains are unfortunately not as common as their male counterparts. That doesn’t mean that they can’t pack a punch in the horror side of things. Female villains can just be as ferocious, terrifying and bloodthirsty as the rest of them. So in an effort to highlight how dastardly female villains can be, and to also maybe one day can the horror franchise female villain we have all dreamed about – read on for 5 of the most devilish female villains in horror.
Be warned this list will contain spoilers for all the horror films listed.
Mrs Pamela Voorhees – Friday the 13th (1980)
“I’m the messenger of God! You’re doomed if you stay here! This place is cursed. Cursed!! It’s got a death curse.” – Crazy Ralph
Mrs Voorhees was only in the first film of the Friday the 13th franchise, which to me is a damn shame. Not only was she truly disturbed, but she could have been a force unto the horror world, if given a chance.
Not only was she truly terrifying but in the twist of the movie, she was the one that was killing all the unsuspecting counsellors at Camp Crystal Lake. A mother’s vengeance for how her son was mistreated, is possibly the most powerful destructive force that you could imagine.
And just like Jason, who was believed to be dead, I think this particular murderess could have survived a decapitation to haunt us in other films in the franchise.
Annie Wilkes – Misery (1990)
“Nobody knows you’re here. And you better hope nothing happens to me. Because if I die… you die.” – Annie Wilkes
Such a sweet side to her, when you first encounter Annie Wilkes. Maybe just a bit obsessive about her favourite author, you are just happy that she managed to save him. But as always, things take a sinister turn and it isn’t long before the number 1 fan is turning against him.
Kathy Bates is perfect for this role, being able to be the docile fan that switches in the raging torturer once things don’t go her way. Many of us can imagine being let down by our idols, but hopefully have never tapped into that uncontrollable murderous rage that Annie displays.
And the scene where she further traps her idol by smashing both of his ankles with a sledgehammer is rather infamous in its blind rage and cruelty.
I would never want to cross paths with Annie Wilkes, that’s for sure.
Miss Eva Ernst – The Witches (1990)
“Witches of England… you are a disgrace! Miserable witches… you are good-for-nothing worms! Everywhere I look, I see the repulsive sight of hundreds, thousands of revolting little children…” – Grand High Witch
Miss Eva Ernst or the Grand High Witch in this particular children’s tale is one that terrified me as a kid and still haunts me to this day. Not only was she beautiful when in costume in the film, but she had such malice and hatred for children which for many people is something that is unthinkable.
When her synthetic face is removed, you see the real ugly side to this beautiful woman, who wants to rid the world of children, by poisoning candies and chocolates to turn them all into mice, leaving them to be exterminated by their own parents.
Her depth of cruelty is only compounded by being a sexual sadist, who gets almost orgasmic pleasure from torturing innocent children. Fear is all around her, not only from the children, but she keeps a tight rein on her fellow witches, even exterminating them to invoke terror into her subjects. Now that’s what I call devilish cruelty.
Lady Van Tassel – Sleepy Hollow (1999)
“The easiest part was the first. To enter your home as your mother’s sick-nurse and put her body into the grave and mine into the marriage bed.” – Lady Van Tassel
You can’t get any worse than a stepmother in most fantasy tales, often being the cruel wife who wants to abuse their husband’s children at best because they see them as a threat to their life. You only have to look at many disney films like Snow White and various others, to see that the stepmother has a long history of being portrayed as evil.
However Lady Van Tassel in Sleepy Hollow, takes it to a whole other level. Consumed wholeheartedly by his materialistic desires, she uses the Headless Horseman for her own means to ensure that she is the sole inheritor of her husband’s estate. She ends up killing not only witnesses to her crimes, but her sister, her maid and Katrina’s mother.
Not only that, she is the one responsible for the Headless Horseman death when he was human. Known as Hessian, he was a bloodthirsty mercenary fighting in the American revolutionary war. When hiding from American soldiers, he ran into our antagonist as a child and she revealed his position. At his death, she made a pact with the devil which forced Hessian to kill on her behalf.
Nothing more evil than a child that makes a pact with a devil to wreck destruction years later.
Sil – Species (1995)
“We decided to make it female so it would be more docile and controllable.” – Dr. Xavier Fitch
Sil is the definition of femme fatale in sci-fi horror villians. Played by Natasha Hendrige, she is an experiment of merging human and alien DNA together that becomes very dangerous for humanity. In the mistaken assumption that females would be more passive and easier to control, Sil ends up making Dr Xavier Fitch regret ever uttering those words.
However, as a female villain, she is perhaps more sympathetic than the rest on this list. Having quite a childlike nature and biological need to mate, it is almost not her fault. But it is her methods that turn her into the villain, as she has no concern for human life. Killing not only those who stand in her way, such as unfortunate train attendants and passerbys, but also her would be mates that are genetically undesirable in her eyes.
Well that’s it so far for female horror villains! What’s your favourite female horror villains? Don’t forget to watch this space for part 2 of best female horror villains.