Femme fatales: The five most underrated female horror villains

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Classic Horror – Bad Seed – Courtesy of Warner Brothers

Female horror villains in film history don’t get nearly enough credit for being badass killers or psychos. Here are five of the most underrated.

When thinking of the best villains in horror, certain one named monikers come to mind. But from new horror Ma opening tomorrow to this week’s DVD/Blu Ray release of Greta, strong, female horror villains are dominating lately. On the heels of Octavia Spencer and Isabelle Huppert leading a new pack, let’s explore some of the most underrated female villains in film who don’t get enough credit.

1) Mary Brady – Sleepwalkers

We don’t usually mention Mary from 1992’s Sleepwalkers when noting top, female horror villains. But she’s actually a highly underrated character. For one, she has no issues with her son deflowering and murdering young virgins. Even when he expresses reluctance at the latest would be victim, she desperately tells him, “I’m starving, Charles!” Technically, she’s not killing for sport. Her and Charles are sleepwalkers, or shape shifting vampires, and feasting on virgins is necessary for their survival.

She harbors zero guilt and no regard for human life. Her only goal to ensure that her family continues to thrive. Whether that means stabbing a cop with a corn husk or seducing her own child. We don’t learn much about Mary’s motivations other than surviving, but she’s still an interesting character deserving of a spot in the best female horror villains conversation.

2) Jennifer Check – Jennifer’s Body

A rock band desiring fame tries their hand at black magic and sacrifice, picking supposedly innocent Jennifer as their victim. Of course popular cheerleader Jennifer isn’t a virgin at all, and instead of dying, becomes a flesh eating demon. Similar to Mary Brady, her survival is dependent on devouring, in this case, young, naive boys.

Ruthless, and unapologetically self aware of her seductive beauty she flirts with high school boys, and even her best friend Needy. Managing one liners, and at times the slightest bit of sympathy, she fully transcends from teenager to blood thirsty monster. Though, again, becoming a murderer wasn’t by choice, her slick ways and self involved desires seem natural and ironically close to a version of her real, high school self.

This summer marks the tenth anniversary of the once ignored, now cult classic. Though marketed towards teenage boys, writer Diablo Cody has said that her and director Karen Kusama set out to make a horror movie for women. So it seems like the perfect time to give this character her fair credit as one of the coolest and most badass female horror villains.

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