Horror’s Top 10 Most Frightening Women

With the upcoming release of the creepy Hammer film The Woman in Black on DVD May 22nd, we thought it would be a good time to look back at some of our favorite frightening women from horror films of the past. Believe me; these aren’t your average scream queens. These women bite back…hard!

To prime the proverbial pump, we have some honorable mentions for those who just missed the list. Who wasn’t creeped out by Cécile De France in Haute Tension (High Tension) or Isabelle Fuhrman in Orphan. I remember looking through my fingers at the woman-thing at the end of [REC], and Rebecca De Mornay was simply cold-blooded in The Hand that Rocks the Cradle. Rie Ino’o gave us an iconic image in Ring, which Daveigh Chase duplicated in the American remake. And Lina Leandersson was eerie as Ellie in Lat den ratte komma in (Let the Right One In). Hell, if the films they were in were scarier, we’d love to have put Bellatrix Lestrange and The Wicked Witch of the West on here. They were some nasty ladies as well! And isn’t that just the way we like ’em? Nasty! Read on, for we’ve got them all here, in no particular order – the Top Ten Most Frightening Women in Film.

Horror's Top 10 Most Frightening Women
Lola Stone (Robin McLeavy in The Loved Ones)
You’ve heard us talk about this film, rave about it even. And if you haven’t gotten out to see The Loved Ones yet, you’re doing yourself a disservice as a horror fan. This movie is the real deal and Robin McLeavy as Lola Stone is killer! Actually maybe torturer/killer is a more accurate description, but you get the idea. This is a true case of whatever Lola wants, Lola gets (why can’t I write that without dreaming about Sofia Vergara in that Pepsi commercial?) because when Lola doesn’t get what she wants, bad things happen…real bad. It’s not easy to include a character so new that many of you guys haven’t even heard of her yet, but trust us; when you finally meet Lola Stone, you’ll see what we’re talking about.

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

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Scott Hallam

We all go a little mad sometimes...haven't you?

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  • Cinemascribe

    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.


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

  • nonserviam03

    I guess the girl from Sleepaway Camp doesn’t count 😛

  • Hakk Wylde

    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!

  • Sirand

    Way too many recent movies on this list.

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

    • Doctor Gash

      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.

  • Doctor Gash

    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?

  • Terminal

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

    • Doctor Gash

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

    • The Woman In Black

      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

      • Terminal

        @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?

        • The Woman In Black

          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.

          • Terminal

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

          • The Woman In Black

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