Women in horror month: Five females who fought back

Photo: Revenge.. Image Courtesy Shudder
Photo: Revenge.. Image Courtesy Shudder /
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1. Terra Newell – Dirty John

Let’s start off with the disclaimer that Dirty John is technically a true crime story. But, really, isn’t violent true crime a sub-genre of horror? Stalking, murder, attempted murder…all of these encompass deep, REAL horror.

Anyone who has listened to the Dirty John podcast or watched the Bravo series knows that it’s a crazy story based on a real event. Even crazier is the fact that very little of the series is made up or altered; nearly everything is presented as it actually happened.

Wealthy, 59-year-old Debra Newell becomes romantically involved with John Meehan (Eric Bana), who turns out to be a sociopathic con-man. Debra is ridiculously naïve and believes his stories far longer than most women would, but as played by Connie Britton, you love her anyway.

Her two daughters distrust him immediately. Sassy Veronica (perfectly played by Juno Temple) is blunt and completely honest about her dislike of the man who would quickly become her stepfather, and he is not her biggest fan either.

Youngest daughter Terra is about a foot shorter than John, very sweet, and speaks in a teeny-tiny, almost babyish voice. Ozark’s Julia Garner (who I now think should be cast in EVERY series) plays Terra and comes across as childish in some moments. She is definitely not the girl you expect to successfully fight off the big, bad monster.

Women in horror
DIRTY JOHN — Episode 101 — Pictured: (l-r) Eric Bana as John Meehan and Connie Britton as Debra Newell — (Photo by: Michael Becker/Bravo) /

John attacks Terra in the parking lot of her apartment building, and she not only fights back, but she also wins. As he slashes her arm with his knife, she falls on her back and kicks the knife out of his hand with her cute, flowered rain boots. Terra (who credits her love of The Walking Dead for teaching her some self-defense skills) grabs the knife and proceeds to stab John 13 times, including a “zombie kill shot” to the eye. Ouch! In my book, this makes Terra the queen among women in horror.

Dirty John is available to stream on Netflix, Vudu and Amazon Prime.

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Which characters do you think deserve to be mentioned for Women in Horror month? Let us know your nominees in the comments section.