Horror's Top 10 Most Frightening Women

Zelda Goldman (Andrew Hubatsek in Pet Sematary)
Even though she was played by a fella, there is absolutely no way this list goes together without the nightmare that was the spinal meningitis-stricken Zelda from the brutal memories of Rachel Creed in Pet Sematary. She only had about a minute or so of screen time, but it was enough to find her a spot in the dark recesses of our minds for a lifetime. The writhing on the bed in her death throes was bad enough, but when she returned as Rachel's hallucination, rushed the camera and broke into a maniacal laugh while repeatedly screaming "Never get out of bed again!" at the top of her lungs, it was a little more than we could handle. Zelda broke us.

She (Charlotte Gainsbourg in Antichrist)
The unnamed She from Lars von Trier's arthouse film Antichrist crumbled into insanity following the death of her son when she failed to follow one simple rule of parenting…If you're going to be doing the horizontal mambo with Willem Dafoe constantly, make sure you lock all the second-story windows, or Junior might just take a tumble. Well, take a tumble he did, and so does her grip on sanity. As her psychologist husband attempts to repair her shattered psyche, She becomes increasingly deranged and performs some of the most twistedly violent acts on He, and herself, as the film rolls on to its memorable, gritty finale. She has to be one of the more sympathetic characters on this list because of how she was rendered insane, but it's hard to feel too bad for her when she's smashing He's balls with a big block of wood. Ouch.

MORE Top 10 Scariest Women in Horror on the NEXT page!



Cinemascribe's picture

I disagree with the number one choice. I agree the film is terrifying, but it isn't Regan that's scary, it's whatever is in inside of her forcing her to act out. In the instance of the other selections on this list, it's the actual women themselves and not an invading force controlling their body that are the source of the fear. Of course a demon is frightening. If it was the same exact film but the child was a boy instead (as was purportedly the case in the real life incident which inspired William Peter Blatty to write the Exorcist) , it would be just as horrifying. I'd put Carrie White as portrayed by Sissy Spacek in there instead. While the horror surrounding her is also manifested in a supernaturally destructive way, it's the direct result of her own rage.It's actually Carrie herself who's scary at the climax of the film, not some external demonic influence.

Submitted by Cinemascribe on Sun, 11/03/2013 - 6:18pm.
WLKNDED's picture

You forgot the scariest one of all Sarah Palin....just the thought of her in any office gives me nightmares.

Submitted by WLKNDED on Sat, 05/12/2012 - 1:33am.
nonserviam03's picture

I guess the girl from Sleepaway Camp doesn't count :P

Submitted by nonserviam03 on Fri, 05/11/2012 - 7:37pm.
Hakk Wylde's picture

Great List! Only addition I would make would be Carrie...due to the level of intensity for the time it was released...and discovery of hidden female power. Classic.

I first met Regan (Exorcist! Eep.) when I was but six. She was burned into my brain...like some dark warning of adolescence to come! >.<

And May...what A Doll. But indeed, she carries dark potential to match or exceed others. Maybe it's because she'll bite your fingers off with a grin while cooing a loving tune? Oops. She didn't realize you didn't mean for REAL. HAHA!

Submitted by Hakk Wylde on Fri, 05/11/2012 - 4:47pm.
Terminal's picture

No Norma Desmond, Nurse Ratched, Piper Laurie from Carrie, Maria from Metropolis?

Submitted by Terminal on Fri, 05/11/2012 - 1:18pm.
moderator Sunset Boulevard? Cuckoo's
Debi Moore's picture

Sunset Boulevard? Cuckoo's Nest? Metropolis? Aren't you the one who's always giving us shit whenever we stray too far from our horror roots? LOL

Submitted by Debi Moore on Fri, 05/11/2012 - 1:44pm.
Terminal's picture

@WIB: Apples and oranges my dear. You guys sometimes cover movies that aren't horror, but a character in a movie can be very scary and quality for a horror list.

Ever hear of Travis Bickle? Harry Powell? Dwight Hansen?

Submitted by Terminal on Fri, 05/11/2012 - 4:52pm.
moderator But the title of the article
Debi Moore's picture

But the title of the article is HORROR's Top 10 Most Frightening Women, not all of filmdom. Not that I necessarily disagree with your choices, but what you're suggesting is something altogether different than the crux of the story.

Submitted by Debi Moore on Fri, 05/11/2012 - 5:58pm.
Terminal's picture

@Woman in Black: You're right. My mistake. I misread. Apologies.

Submitted by Terminal on Fri, 05/11/2012 - 6:45pm.
Debi Moore's picture

No worries! :) Actually, that might make for an interesting list - the scariest women (or men) NOT in a horror film.

Submitted by Debi Moore on Fri, 05/11/2012 - 7:08pm.
Scott Hallam's picture

Ah, some incredible characters there, Terminal. So many ladies, so little time.

Submitted by Scott Hallam on Fri, 05/11/2012 - 1:25pm.
Sirand's picture

Way too many recent movies on this list.

How could you miss Sissey Spacek and/or Piper Laurie in Carrie?

Submitted by Sirand on Fri, 05/11/2012 - 10:36am.
Scott Hallam's picture

Definitely an argument to be made for either of those characters. They certainly are iconic. I felt the list may have skewed a bit young, but every one of those 10 blew me away. Thanks much for your opinion.

Submitted by Scott Hallam on Fri, 05/11/2012 - 1:23pm.
Scott Hallam's picture

Okay crew, love it or hate it, let's hear your opinion on this Top 10 list. Who's not on there that should be? Who's on there that shouldn't be?

Submitted by Scott Hallam on Fri, 05/11/2012 - 9:49am.

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