Horror movies are popular with all audiences, both male and female, so it doesn't make a whole lot of sense that most of the horror films we see at the box office have male leads. From Freddie Krueger to Leatherface to Pennywise to Michael Meyers, so many of the main characters of classic scary movies have been men. Thankfully, in the last several years, some horror films have finally started featuring female villains. Sometimes, these evil ladies are filled with stereotype and cliche, but other times, they're truly scary villains, like Hela in Thor: Ragnarok or Doctor Poision in Wonder Woman. As the 19 vicious female horror villains on the list below show, on-screen women can be just as evil and terrifying as men.
Women should get to play all kinds of roles, of course, but it's especially great to see female actors play evil slayers, crazy monsters, and deranged killers, just like men have for so many years. Seeing these women lash out at society and hurt those closest to them, like men so often do in movies, can be thrilling, and the growing number of female roles on-screen is so worth celebrating. If you want to feel empowered and terrified at the same time, revisit these 19 female horror villains who knew how to shake things in the movies.
1. Regan, The Exorcist
Regan (Linda Blair) is a curious little girl who accidentally summons a demon via an Ouija board and gets possessed. She curses like a sailor, uncontrollably vomits, and terrorizes anyone who comes into her bedroom. She is not the little girl you would like to babysit.
2. Rose Armitage, Get Out
Spoilers ahead! Rose Armitage (Allison Williams) doesn't start off as the movie's villain. Yet the sweet, yet naive character we all see in the beginning turns out to be pretty much evil, as she helps her family lure one Black man after the other (and at least one woman) to be imprisoned and body-snatched for the benefit of older, rich, white clients.
3. Carrie White, Carrie
Carrie (Sissy Spacek) is just like Rose from Get Out in that she doesn't start out as an evil threat. She only becomes the villain when her telekinetic powers kick in after her classmates pull a prank on her at prom night. Doused in pig's blood, Carrie seeks revenge by destroying her high school's gym and killing the majority of the people in it.
4. Pamela Voorhees, Friday The 13th
Jason's mother Pamela (Betsy Palmer) is the major influence behind the killings at Camp Crystal Lake. All the counselors are too busy trying to keep up with Jason, who eventually drowns in the lake, and Pam makes sure that all the bad teens at the camp pay for their behavior — by killing them.
5. Tiffany, Bride Of Chucky
Tiffany (Jennifer Tilly) is as vicious as her husband Chucky. Anyone who gets creeped out by realistic-looking dolls will be freaked by this pint-sized villain.
6. Lisa Sheridan, Obsessed
Lisa (Ali Larter) is a temp who works at Derek's (Idris Elba) office, who falls quickly and deeply in love with him. She begins to stalk him and jeopardizes his well-being, as well as that of his wife Sharon (Beyoncé Knowles).
7. Queen Akasha, Queen Of The Damned
The late Aaliyah stars in this 2002 horror film, in which she plays a vampire queen alongside her vampire rock star lover. Later, there's major trouble when she is awakened from decades of sleep, ready to feast on any new blood.
8. Grace Stewart, The Others
Grace (Nicole Kidman) believes that her house is haunted by spirits trying to drive her and her two children mad. It's only in the final minutes of the film that (spoiler alert!) Grace, and the audience, finds out the truth: she and her kids are actually the ghosts haunting the mansion, because years earlier, she had a breakdown and murdered her children before committing suicide.
9. Samara Morgan, The Ring
The spirit of murdered little girl Samara (Daveigh Chase) makes a videotape that kills its viewer after seven days, but Rachel (Naomi Watts) doesn't know that and frees Samara's spirit. Rachel then spends the entire movie trying to discover the truth about the videotape, and the terrifying little girl.
10. Jennifer Check, Jennifer's Body
Megan Fox plays Jennifer, a teen who always makes her best friend Needy (Amanda Seyfried) feel insecure. But, as time progresses, things get, um, a bit worse when Jennifer becomes possessed by a demon.
11. Annabelle, Annabelle
It's always a damn doll that scares you completely in horror movies. Just remember to remove all the toys from your shelves after watching this.
12. Diana "Sugar" Hill, Sugar Hill
In this film, Diana's (Marki Key) boyfriend is murdered and she gets her revenge on the all-White gangsters terrorizing her neighborhood by getting help from a voodoo queen Mama Maitresse (Zara Cully) and The Dark Master Baron Zamedi (Don Pedro Colley) — in exchange for her soul. It may feel dated now, but the movie is right up the alley with Get Out's message of racism and microaggressions.
13. Queen Katrina, Vamp
Three men go to a strip club that they don't realize is full of vampires. The head vampire is Queen Katrina (Grace Jones), who murders one of the men and turns him into a vampire. The other two men are left trying to escape the queen and the town filled with vampires.
14. Ginger, Ginger Snaps
Ginger (Katharine Isabelle) starts off sweet, but she soon learns to embrace her werewolf-like fate by enjoying the act of killing people.
15. Asami Yamazaki, Audition
Audition is about Asami (Eihi Shiina) who becomes jealous when she sees a picture of her ex-boyfriend’s new love and decides to torture him. Carrying out sick acts of violence against animals and humans with a smile, Asami is determined to show her ex that she will not be ignored.
16. Evelyn, Stoker
After her husband dies, Evelyn (Nicole Kidman) is left alone with their 18-year-old daughter India (Mia Wasikowska) and allows her former brother-in-law Charlie (Matthew Goode) to stay with them. As one might expect, things don't exactly go smoothy, and intense jealousy arises.
17. Alex Forrest, Fatal Attraction
When Alex (Glenn Close) and Dan (Michael Douglas), who's married, have an encounter at a party, sexual sparks begin to fly. But when Dan ends their affair, Alex refuses to let go and a series of horrific events follow.
18. Brandi Web, A Thin Line Between Love And Hate
Darnell (Martin Lawrence) is used to getting his way with women, and although he has a girlfriend (Regina King), he goes after another woman, Brandi (Lynn Whitfield). But when Darnell tries to end things, Brandi sets out to get revenge.
19. Sil, Species
Sil's (Natasha Henstridge) alien-human hybrid personality leads to many men becoming her victims. She feasts on every prey she can get.
If things ever get too scary for you after watching this list of movies, just remember how awesome it is to see so many badass, terrifying female leads in a male-dominated genre.