We recently brought you our top ten list of inspiring horror heroines. This week, we honor the women in horror who come to ruin your day, not to save it. This is our list of the sickest, most depraved, most dangerous and deadly female psychopaths in horror. These are the performance you can’t get out of your head… the ones that keep you awake at night. Warning: There will be potential spoilers ahead.
1. Asami Yamazaki – Audition (1999)
Directed by Takashi Miike in 1999, actress Eihi Shiina from Tokyo Gore Police portrayed a demure, polite, and incredibly unassuming young lady named Asami Yamazaki. An older gentleman begins holding ‘auditions’ for a new wife after he becomes increasingly lonely and rather sad. Shiina gives one hell of a performance, with such a transformation of character. She is sweet and respectful one moment, then suddenly becomes the orchestrator of one of the sickest scenes I’ve ever witnessed on film. With true depravity — devoid of anything resembling sanity — Asami tortures, mutilates, amputates, and even forces the unfortunate gentleman to consume his own vomit out of a dog bowl. Cheers!
2. Marie – High Tension (2003)
French filmmakers Alexandre Aja and pal Gregory Levasseur teamed up in 2003 to make this surreal and violent journey into the madness of Marie, portrayed excruciatingly well by Cecile de France. Seemingly set into motion by a ferocious bout with unrequited love, Marie spirals out of control, destroying everything the object of her affection Alex (Maiwenn Le Besco) holds dear. Before the haunting conclusion to this film, we see (and hear) limbs being ripped away from bodies, facial lacerations with straight razors, masturbation with severed heads, and a horrendous ax wound to the chest. Fun Fact: Franck Khalfoun, the Director of the successful Maniac remake, is the ax wound victim in the gas station during High Tension.
3. Mitsuko Soma – Battle Royale (2000)
1999 was when the controversial novel Battle Royale by Koushun Takami was first released in Japan, followed the next year by the brutal film adaptation. In a gleefully over-the-top style, the film follows 42 students who are forced to kill one another off on an isolated island. Each is given a pack with a random weapon, map, compass, water, and food. They’re also fitted with a collar that explodes if the rules aren’t adhered to or escape is attempted. Some contestants definitely fared better than others when receiving their weapons (including a pot lid, a crossbow, a taser, and a handgun). As twisted as the whole thing was, one of the female students seemed to enjoy her time on survival island a bit more than the rest. Mitsuko Soma’s (played by Ko Shibasaki) innate talents to destroy quickly come to light, as a trail of bodies lay in her wake. She uses her sex appeal to seduce, then slay, in a very brutal fashion. She seems to enjoy the taunting of a fellow female student and eviscerating the male anatomy of another. Bully is putting it mildly.
4. India Stoker – Stoker (2013)
One of my favorite Directors, Park Chan Wook, took on the script penned by Wentworth Miller (of TV Series Prison Break fame), to create the stunning film Stoker. With an incredible ensemble cast, including Matthew Goode (Downtown Abbey) and Nicole Kidman (Moulin Rouge), this tale is eerie. Stoker didn’t have gore or all out violence. What it did have though was implied malice and psychopathic tendencies. India Stoker, played by the amazing Mia Wazikowski (Crimson Peak), is downright spot on and haunting in her way of displaying the complex elements of those who are truly different and have the capacity for diabolical doings. The ending is priceless, and I refuse to give anything away if you have yet to experience this film for yourself.
5. Baby Firefly – House of 1000 Corpses / The Devil’s Rejects (2003 / 2005)
The entire Firefly Family is incredibly insane. But, in my mind, one of the first and foremost members of that family was Baby, played by the talented and lovely Sheri Moon Zombie (wife of Director Rob Zombie). The immensely attractive, petite and innocent looking Baby would converse seductively with her prey in her awkwardly pitched voice and flirtatious demeanor. It usually proved successful, either as a trap for her fellow family members (played by the legendary Bill Moseley, Sid Haig, and fellow femme fatale, Karen Black), or for her own murderous pleasures. She plays the part of a dangerous but beautiful succubus exceptionally well.
6. Annie Wilkes – Misery (1990)
Director Rob Reiner offered an unforgettable part for the unparalleled talents of Kathy Bates. She played Annie Wilkes, the obsessed fan of popular author Paul Sheldon (James Caan) in Misery. Bates won an Oscar and a Golden Globe for her chilling performance in this film, based upon a Stephen King novel of the same title. The movie follows the forced isolation and torture of Sheldon after a serious car wreck. Super fan Wilkes saves him from the crash, only to make him seriously suffer for his art. The infamous sledgehammer scene, one of the tactics Annie used to ensure her prisoner could not escape, has always been firmly ingrained in my mind. It’s ruthless, cold, and effective — laying superior groundwork for the level of insanity being dealt with. Her cruelty and questionable mental health come in dramatic form, and this is most likely why Annie Wilkes makes many lists featuring dangerously disturbed women.
7. Madam of the House – Imprint (Masters of Horror Volume 1) (2006)
Creator of The Masters Of Horror series, Mick Garris, thought to bring us a compilation of shorts in 2006 from the foremost filmmakers in the genre. One selection was IMPRINT. If you haven’t noticed, I love me some Asian and French gore. They just seem to take the cake on females completely losing their shit. In yet another film from the master Takashi Miike to make my list, Toshie Negishi plays the sadistic House Mother in a Japanese brothel. She is ice cold, uncaring, and selfish, with a penchant for human torture that she directs her violent sidekick (Shimako Iwai to administer. The level of sadism this woman displays is gut wrenching, along with the entire film in general. There’s dead baby fetus’ floating in a river, incest, rape… you name it. But the torture she inflects upon one particular young girl (Youki Kudoh) is staggering. This is definitely not a film for the faint of heart.
8. Lola – The Loved Ones (2009)
The first time I saw this movie, I was stunned with the complete and utter lack of ability to deal with reality Lola presented to the viewer. Robin McLeavy demonstrates, quite effectively, her character’s inability to cope with or accept life on its terms. She is very much enabled by her equally disturbed father, brilliantly played by John Brumpton. Following the decline of her offer to go to Prom with the young man she is obsessed with, Lola and her father take Prom Night home. They abduct the fellow student she is enamored with and force him to attend their twisted affair. Torture is the name of the game, and it doesn’t disappoint with the level of bloodshed.
9. May- May (2002)
My dear May. So awkward, so naive, so fucking insane. You cannot help but feel for Angela Bettis’ character in May, a story of an extremely introverted and socially inept young woman written and directed by Lucky McKee. I really love this film and all it’s unusual glory. It’s extremely well made and co stars Jeremy Sisto (Hideaway) as May’s object of desire, but Bettis’ acting in this particular film blew me away. Her ability to flip a switch, much like those who legitimately suffer from severe mental disorders, was astounding, frighteningly real, and left a bloody trail in her wake.
10. La Femme – Inside (2007)
Another French splatterfest making my list is Inside, from the minds of Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury. In 2007, Beatrice Dalle shocked audiences with her part in this unforgettable film. She was a woman who recently lost her unborn child in a tragic car wreck, and obviously became extremely disillusioned and mentally unstable. Hellbent on still obtaining motherhood, she stalks the unfortunate pregnant widow Sarah (Alysson Paradis), with the intent of taking her child. This is by far probably one of the goriest films I’ve seen, and it’s effectively made me uneasy around large scissors. The absolute destruction Dalle’s character unleashes is something to behold, and you will not soon forget all the blood spilt in this one.