When you think of a leading lady in a horror film, sometimes you can’t help but to immediately think of the Damsel in Distress. Unfortunately, horror movies have an awful track record on how they portray women. Most of the time they’re there to undress or be the go-to ticket girl for rampant misogyny. However, there are some female characters who broke conventions and gave the tropes portrayal of women the middle finger.
These characters are well-written, three-dimensional beings with interesting backstories and emotions that don’t stop at just being horny. These girls are badass. These are the girls that you watch on-screen and cannot help but root for them because they’re so badass!! Here’s my list of the most badass babes of horror!
Mandy Lane – All the Boys Love Mandy Lane
Plot: “Beautiful Mandy Lane isn’t a party girl, but when classmate Chloe invites the Texas high school student to a bash in the countryside, she reluctantly accepts. After hitching a ride with a vaguely scary older man, the teens arrive at their destination. Partying ensues, and Mandy’s close pal, Emmet (Michael Welch), keeps a watchful eye on the young males making a play for Mandy. Then two of the students are murdered.”
Mandy Lane has to be one of my favorite badasses of horror films. She completely turns the slasher horror cliche and turns it on its head. Mandy Lane is one of those characters that have such an impact without even lifting a finger. She just puppets the whole crew!! The whole film screams 70’s horror vibe. So, the whole tone of the movie changes once they reveal the ‘final girl’ is the killer themselves.
Ginger Fitzgerald – Ginger Snaps
Plot: “The story of two outcast sisters, Ginger and Brigitte, in the mindless suburban town of Bailey Downs. On the night of Ginger’s first period, she is savagely attacked by a wild creature. Ginger’s wounds miraculously heal, but something is not quite right. Now Brigitte must save her sister and herself.”
This strange Canadian horror uses the traditional werewolf storyline as a metaphor for puberty and transition with her body. Adjusting to her new werewolf qualities, Ginger becomes a badass throughout. Remember the sex scene, anyone? Even though she turns into the villain of the film, you (and when I mean you, I mean us women) can easily sympathize with her since her transition is something she cannot control.
Asami Yamazaki – Audition
Plot: “This disturbing Japanese thriller follows Aoyama, a widower who decides to start dating again. Aided by a film-producer friend, Aoyama uses auditions for a fake production to function as a dating service. When Aoyama becomes intrigued by the withdrawn, gorgeous Asami, they begin a relationship. However, he begins to realize that Asami isn’t as reserved as she appears to be, leading to gradually increased tension and a harrowing climax.”
I couldn’t have been the only woman watching this film and ending up muttering under her breath, “Yeah you severe those bloody legs!” The man was literally holding auditions to find a wife! What a douche and karma is a bitch. At the beginning of the film, she comes across as naive, innocent and pure and then in the last 15 minutes of the movie, BOOM, no more Miss Innocent. I love her!!
Angela Vidal – [REC]
Plot: A reporter and her cameraman record the horrifying outbreak of a disease that turns humans into vicious cannibals.
What I absolutely love about this badass character is the fact she becomes more badass with each film. In the first film of the franchise, she is amazing. She always puts her work first, never forgetting the camera even when hungry cannibals chase her up the stairs. Angela is scared by the fourth film, but she outsmarts all of them and takes even less shit than before. Rather than panicking, her journalistic impulses kick in, and she just carries on with her job. You can’t help but be impressed with her.
Lisa Nolan – Grabbers
Plot: Residents of an island off the coast of Ireland learn that the only way to survive an invasion of blood-sucking aliens is to stay drunk.
The woman defeats a massive tentacle monster using a digger – while completely and utterly drunk. How can you not think that’s badass?! This caper will remind you of Dog Soldiers, which again has another badass female character!! British horror has never let anyone down with their badass female characters, and this film is no different!
Sarah Carter – The Descent
Plot: A year after a severe emotional trauma, Sarah goes to North Carolina to spend some time exploring caves with her friends. After descending underground, the women find strange cave paintings and evidence of an earlier expedition. They learn they are not alone. Underground predators inhabit the crevasses, and they have a taste for human flesh.
Sarah Carter is already a badass at the beginning of the film. She’s dealing with the grief of losing her husband and daughter, so imagine how badass she becomes when she starts fighting mutant cannibals all be herself!! Her finest moment? Emerging from a pool of blood to kill off a crawler with the bones of its former victims.
Erin Harson – You’re Next
Plot: The Davisons, an upper-class family, are extremely wealthy — but also estranged. In an attempt to mend their broken family ties, Aubrey and Paul Davison decide to celebrate their wedding anniversary by inviting their four children and their children’s significant others to their weekend estate. The celebration gets off to a rocky start, but when crossbow-wielding assailants in animal masks suddenly attack, the Davisons must pull together or die.
What makes this little lady, so so so badass, is by the end the killers are more scared of her than she is of them. Instead of running around screaming, she sets booby and pursues these killers. I love her no frills, no bullshit approach to everything and how she doesn’t quite fit into the badass female look. Even though, I know there isn’t a general look to a badass female horror character.
Ellen Ripley – Alien
Plot: In deep space, the crew of the commercial starship Nostromo is awakened from their cryo-sleep capsules halfway through their journey home to investigate a distress call from an alien vessel. The terror begins when the crew encounters a nest of eggs inside the alien ship. An organism from inside an egg leaps out and attaches itself to one of the crew, causing him to fall into a coma.
And, last but not least, we have the baddest babe of horror: Ellen Ripley. You cannot have a ‘Badass Babes of Horror’ list without including the Queen herself. She annihilated space invaders with a child strapped to her hip. Erin comes off capable throughout the entire Alien film and the whole franchise. She can look after herself. We salute you Lieutenant First Class Ellen Louise Ripley!