The Scariest Female Horror Villains Of All Time

Photo: Dreamworks Llc/Macdonald/Parkes Productions/REX/Shutterstock
At first glance, it can appear that the most iconic horror villains are dudes. Watching Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, and Jason Voorhees terrorize teens made us sleep with the lights on for weeks, while the very same horror flicks each gave us a woman to root for — a Final Girl who took down the often-male embodiment of evil.
However, while the horror genre may be best known for its heroines, we shouldn't forget that women are just as capable of being terrifying villains — and there are a lot more of them than you may expect. Women can be seriously scary — and they've been freaking us out since the early days of horror.
The horror genre boasts female baddies that range from spooky, supernatural entities to deranged (and very human) killers. So which women made the list of the scariest female horror villains? Click through to find out which women are here to haunt your dreams.
(Warning: Major horror movie spoilers and disturbing content ahead.)
1 of 31
Evelyn, Stoker (2013)
This horror is rooted in the very real world. After her husband dies, an emotionally unstable Evelyn (Nicole Kidman) is left alone with their 18-year-old daughter daughter, India (Mia Wasikowska). Evelyn allows Charlie (Matthew Goode), her husband's charming younger brother, to stay with them, even though he's never been a part of their lives. As Evelyn's intimacy with Charlie grows, Evelyn confesses that she wants India to suffer.
2 of 31
Evelyn, Play Misty For Me (1971)
Prepare to see Lucille Bluth in a different light. Evelyn (Jessica Walter) hooks up with radio DJ Dave (Clint Eastwood), but when Dave tries to break things off, Evelyn becomes vengeful... and very knife-happy.
3 of 31
Regan, The Exorcist (1973)
Technically, Regan (Linda Blair) is just a little girl who accidentally summoned the wrong demon via Ouija board. Regan may have little control over her body, but damn, she's terrifying nonetheless. While under possession, Regan curses like a sailor, spews pea-soup vomit, and cruelly taunts anyone who comes into her bedroom. She makes your worst babysitting charges look like a cake walk.
4 of 31
Carrie White, Carrie (1976)
Carrie (Sissy Spacek) didn't start out as the film's villain: She only became one after her telekinetic powers kicked into gear following a cruel prom night prank. When Carrie is doused in pig's blood by the popular clique, she seeks revenge by destroying the school gym, and killing many of the people within it.
5 of 31
Margaret White, Carrie (1976)
While Carrie doesn't get a free pass, there's another woman who is the true villain of this story: Carrie's ultra-religious, abusive mother Margaret (Piper Laurie). In addition to her abuse being a catalyst for Carrie's prom night rage, Mrs. White tries to kill her own daughter for the "sin" of being a young woman.
6 of 31
Pamela Voorhees, Friday The 13th (1980)
Jason may be the face of this horror franchise, but never forget that it's his mother Pamela (Betsy Palmer) who starts the killings at Camp Crystal Lake. The counselors at the camp are too busy hooking up to watch her poor son, who drowns in the lake, so Pamela makes sure all badly behaving teens pay for it with their lives.
7 of 31
Ann, Happy Birthday To Me (1981)
Ann (Tracey E. Bregman) is a popular girl with a killer secret. She's the half-sister of her friend Ginny (Melissa Sue Anderson) and hellbent on setting Ginny up for the murder of half the town. The horrific party scene, complete with Ann's very creepy rendition of "Happy Birthday to You," may put you off of cake forever.
8 of 31
Alex Forrest, Fatal Attraction (1987)
When Alex (Glenn Close) and Dan (Michael Douglas) have a chance encounter at a party, sparks fly — never mind that Dan is already married. When Dan ends their affair, Alex refuses to let go, leading to a series of horrific events — including the boiling of his daughter's pet bunny rabbit.
9 of 31
Annie Wilkes, Misery (1990)
She's Paul Sheldon's (James Caan) biggest fan... and his worst nightmare. This Stephen King adaptation is delightfully creepy, because it shows that the worst humans sometimes come in the sweetest packages.
10 of 31
Mrs. Loomis, Scream 2 (1997)
The sequel to the original self-referential slasher flick pulls a Friday The 13th by making Billy Loomis' mother (Laurie Metcalf) the one behind the killings on Windsor College's campus. Her motive isn't meta: She simply wants revenge on Sidney (Neve Campbell) for killing her son.
11 of 31
Tiffany, Bride Of Chucky (1998)
Bride of Chucky is not quite a parody, but it is one of sillier offerings in the Chucky franchise, which ultimately stopped taking itself seriously after Child's Play 3. Tiffany, who is played by the inimitable Jennifer Tilly in both human and doll form, is as vicious as her hubby Chucky — just with better style. Anyone with a doll phobia will be freaked by this pint-sized Courtney Love meets baby doll villain.
12 of 31
Asami Yamazaki, Audition (1999)
Hell hath no fury like Asami scorned. The beautiful but secretly deranged woman at the center of this horror flick may turn you off of dating for a very long time.
13 of 31
Grace Stewart, The Others (2001)
Grace (Nicole Kidman) believes that her house is haunted by spirits intent on driving her and her two children mad. It's only in the final minutes of the film that Grace, and the audience, learns the truth: Grace and her kids are actually the ghosts haunting their mansion, as, years earlier, Grace had a breakdown and murdered her children before committing suicide. The "others" haunting the house are the new homeowners. Upon realizing her state of being, Grace tells her children that they won't be leaving their house anytime soon — no matter the nuisance they are to the manor's current residents.
14 of 31
Rachel Newman, American Psycho II: All American Girl (2002)
This sequel to 2000's Bret Easton Ellis adaptation should not exist, as the film itself is a complete misreading of the original movie. Here, Mila Kunis plays Rachel Newman, who, at age 12, offed serial killer Patrick Bateman after he murdered her babysitter. Unfortunately, Rachel has killer tendencies of her own. She's so hellbent on scoring a teaching assistant position in college that she casually murders her competition.
15 of 31
Samara Morgan, The Ring (2002)
Rachel (Naomi Watts) spends the entire movie trying to discover the truth about the videotape that kills the viewer after seven days, only to learn that it was made by the spirit of murdered little girl Samara (Daveigh Chase). Rachel "frees" her spirit, only to realize that Samara was straight-up evil the entire time. Oops.
16 of 31
Baby Firefly, House Of 1000 Corpses (2003)
Sheri Moon Zombie's Baby Firefly is the reason why you don't pick up hitchhikers on the side of the road. In House of 1000 Corpses, she partially scalps her victim for failing to guess that Bette Davis is her favorite movie star. Baby continues her goo-goo talk and bloody mayhem in 2005's The Devil's Rejects.
17 of 31
Amanda Young, Saw II (2005)
Amanda (Shawnee Smith) is revealed as one of serial killer Jigsaw's (Tobin Bell) victims in the first movie, but that wasn't the only role she was slated to play in the franchise. In Saw II, Amanda proved herself a loyal follower of Jigsaw's disturbed methods — despite the fact that he once put a bear trap on her head.
18 of 31
Mandy, All The Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006)
This excellent yet little-seen horror flick subverts the idea of a horror heroine. In the film, Mandy (Amber Heard) is a beautiful, innocent outsider who gradually gets in with the popular crowd. All the boys want to get with Mandy, so she scores an invite to a secluded party. When the bodies start piling up, no one expects sweet Mandy to be behind the killings — which is exactly why she's able to get away with it.
19 of 31
Mary Shaw, Dead Silence (2007)
Mary Shaw (Judith Roberts) is a talented ventriloquist turned pissed off ghost who uses her puppet friends to torture the town that had her killed years ago. "Beware the stare of Mary Shaw / She had no children / Only dolls." The poem doesn't rhyme — a fact that has bothered me since I saw the film in 2007 — but it will still send shivers down your spine.
20 of 31
Esther, Orphan (2009)
Okay, so Orphan paints a pretty problematic view of adoption, but that doesn't make Esther's (Isabelle Fuhrman) manipulation of the people around her and penchant for violence any less terrifying. The twist — which reveals Esther is actually an adult woman posing as a little girl — makes her every action a lot more disturbing.
21 of 31
Jennifer Check, Jennifer's Body (2009)
Nothing is more frightening than a teenage mean girl, and Megan Fox kills it as the prom queen whose job it is to make her best friend Needy (Amanda Seyfried) wildly insecure. Things only get worse when Jennifer's body is possessed by a demon.
22 of 31
Lola Stone, The Loved Ones (2009)
The Loved Ones is your classic prom night tale — with a seriously dark twist. That "dark twist" is named Lola Stone (Robin McLeavy), a teen who refuses to take Brent's (Xavier Samuel) gentle rejection of her prom offer lightly. Instead, Lola kidnaps Brent and exacts her revenge alongside her equally evil dad (John Brumpton). This movie is so not for the faint of heart.
23 of 31
Jill Roberts, Scream 4 (2011)
Jill (Emma Roberts) is initially introduced as the "new Sidney" — a.k.a. the franchise's newly minted Final Girl. Alas, Jill is hardly what she appears to be. It turns out that Sidney's successor is actually a cold-blooded killer looking for 15 minutes of fame.
24 of 31
Jennet Humfrye, The Woman In Black (2012)
The titular, terrifying "woman in black," Jennet (Liz White), is a demon who makes her victims — mostly young children — commit suicide as revenge for a child she lost. Given that the film was Daniel Radcliffe's first big movie post Harry Potter, it certainly makes you wonder: Is the woman in black a match for Voldemort?
25 of 31
Edith Brennan, Mama (2013)
Two young girls are rescued after spending nearly five years alone in the woods — except they weren't really alone. The young girls were watched over by a ghostly woman they called "Mama," the spirit of a woman named Edith Brennan (Hannah Cheesman) who lost her own child. Alas, while Edith cared for the girls and kept them safe, she's also a seriously jealous monster who seeks revenge on anyone she perceives as taking her babies away.
26 of 31
Lady Lucille Sharpe, Crimson Peak (2015)
The ghosts aren't the ones to fear in this gothic tale. Jessica Chastain is as icy as ever as the murderous Lucille, who will stop at nothing to protect her family's manor and her incestuous relationship with her brother Thomas (Tom Hiddleston).
27 of 31
The Girl, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (2014)
This Iranian vampire film stars Sheila Vand as a beautiful vamp who seduces the men in her town with no more than a hypnotizing look. Though she's a sympathetic character — and clearly extraordinarily lonely in her supernatural existence — she has little qualms about feeding off the blood of her neighbors.
28 of 31
Annabelle, Annabelle (2014)
"Raggedy Ann From Hell" makes a brief appearance in The Conjuring, and is so damn creepy that she scored her very own spin-off. In 2014, Annabelle revealed the toy's satanic cult beginnings that led to all the horror — which we'll see more of in the 2017 sequel.
29 of 31
Emelie, Emelie (2015)
The titular character in this horror flick, played by Sarah Bolger, is the babysitter of your nightmares. In one particularly disturbing scene, she has one of her charge's feed his sister's pet hamster to the family snake — all in the name of good fun.
30 of 31
The Nun/"Valak," The Conjuring 2 (2016)
Annabelle isn't the only Conjuring alum to receive a spin-off: the demonic nun (Bonnie Aarons) who tortured Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) in the The Conjuring 2 already has a standalone flick in the works. Oddly, the Nun was never supposed to appear in the film at all: according to The Hollywood Reporter, the addition was a last-minute decision director James Wan made a mere three months before the film's release.
31 of 31
Diana, Lights Out (2016)
One of the newer villainesses on this list, Diana hails from the kind of horror that made The Ring so frightening. The mysterious little girl turned demon (portrayed by both Alicia Vela-Bailey and Ava Cantrell) hates the light but will wreak serious havoc in the dark — and she's very good at making sure you drop your flashlight at the perfect moment.

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