Heroes of Horror: Leading Ladies

Happy Women in Horror Month, Minions!

This February marks seven years running for the international initiative, dedicated to celebrating fearless, groundbreaking women across the entire Horror Genre.  What better way to honor some of our favorite Leading Ladies and Scream Queens than to showcase them in a sweet Listicle?

Resiliency. Bravery. General bad-assery. That’s what you’ll find below. Are these your stereotypical helpless horror characters, frozen by fear and indecision? Hell no. These are some of the most ferocious final-girls to ever grace the big screen – ladies with indomitable spirits and an aptitude for violent improvisation.

Virginia Madsen: Candyman 

Madsen is a bit of an oddball on this list, as she is the only one to actually die in her role. In my opinion, that’s what makes her so damn perfect; although Madeson’s character – Helen Lyle – successfully fights off the hook-handed Candyman for the majority of the film, he does kill her in the end.

You may be thinking, “That’s a good thing?”

No, you dope. It isn’t. But when Lyle is forced to assume her role as the new Candyman in the afterlife, she starts off her campaign with a bang – gutting her two-timing, no-good bastard of a husband in record time. Bravo!

Lisa Wilcox: A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 & 5

Freddy’s gotta be thinking “Beat me once, shame on you. Beat me twice… maybe it’s time to retire.”

Wilcox, as final girl Alice Johnson, learns to harness the spirits of Freddy’s previous victims to tear him apart from within. In Dream Master and in Dream Child, Alice uses some sweet ninja moves and her noggin to lay the smack down on the iconic villain. Gotta love brains and brawn in your leading ladies.

Shawnee Smith: The Blob 

In the 1988 Blob reboot, Shawnee Smith plays cheerleader-turned-hero Meg Penny. Poor Smith is forced to watch as her friends, her neighbors, and her feather-haired boyfriend are brutally devoured by the Gooey Goopster.

By then, she’s had enough; the once-bubbly high school student goes all YOLO and starts pulverizing the Blob with liquid nitrogen bombs, a fire extinguisher, and a machine gun. Even Joss Whedon loves her. Good on ya, Meg!

Bonus Fact: Smith went on to become the sadistic Amanda Young in Saw!

Jessica Biel: Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Just let me fanboy for a minute. Biel is one of my all-time favorite leading ladies, regardless of what she’s in. Is her inclusion in this list a bit biased? Perhaps.

But then again, perhaps not. Biel, playing Erin Hardesty in 2003’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, was a total BAMF. All of her friends get sliced-n-diced like a bunch of fresh herbs, but Biel is having none of it. Not only does she chop off one of Leatherface’s arms with a machete (I told you I LOVE limb-lopping!), but she goes two-for-two and runs over Ol’ Sheriff A-Hole with his own car.

Double Points!

Milla Jovovich: Resident Evil Franchise

Alice. My dear, dear Alice. What would my life be without you? Sure, the Resident Evil film franchise is maybe a tad repetitive, but so what? Jovovich kicks so much tail throughout every movie that it would be impossible to leave her off this list.

Look at that casual shotgun flip. Look at that hair! Also, what is that pile of gore behind her? It’s freaking me out.

Patricia Tallman: Light of the Living Dead

Did you guys see the original Night of the Living Dead? Do you remember how back in 1968, Barbara was kind of a wet blanket who couldn’t really defend herself in any way? Not so in Romero’s 1990 remake. Suck on that, zombie nerds!

Twenty-two years later, Barbara – played by Patricia Tallman – is back with a vengeance. By the film’s end, she’s a bandolier-wearing, pistol-toting undead killer with precisely negative one fucks to give.

Shauna Macdonald: The Descent

The Descent is terrifying. Honest to God, it scared me. A lot. Trapped miles underground in unexplored caves with cannibal things? Nope, I’m good.

Macdonald plays Sarah, a particularly passive spelunker who lost her family in a tragic accident. While underground, she learns that her ‘best friend’ Juno was doing the dirty with her late husband. You wanna see character progression? Watch this movie. Sarah loses her shit, transforming into a vicious whirlwind of claws, teeth, and pickaxes.

Those creepy humanoid cave dwellers are no match for the Wrath of a Sarah Scorned, and she shreds them without blinking an eye. The coup de grâce comes when Sarah confronts her backstabbing BIFFLE, cutting Juno’s legs out and leaving her as a tasty treat for the pack of flesh eaters closing in. Guess who’s the sole survivor?

Neve Campbell: Scream Franchise

Sidney Prescott: Human Cockroach. Seriously though, you just can’t kill this woman. Four films? Six killers? You’re gonna need a better mask, bro.

Forget all the dark, twisty family drama that Campbell’s character works through over the course of four Scream films. Focus on the fact that she’s hunted by stab-happy psychopaths for like 10 years and comes out on top every time. Look up the word indefatigable in the dictionary. You’ll see a picture of Sidney Prescott, one of Horror’s most unstoppable leading ladies.

Sigourney Weaver: Alien Franchise

You knew it was coming. You knew it was coming and you’re STILL EXCITED.

Ghouls and Gals, I’m proud to introduce the Duchess of Disaster, the Damsel of Destruction, the Yoncé of Outer Space… Miss Ellen Ripley.

< Mic Drop >


About MDR, Ultimate Supreme Overlord of the Gore Corps

MDR is, most importantly, an Italian-American. As such, all of his posts should be read with a variety of hand gestures and exaggerated facial expressions. A self-proclaimed horror aficionado (afficcionado? afixionado? Whatever, he's a tale-teller not a damn Speak-N-Spell), MDR doesn't love anything nearly as much as he loves zombies, limb-lopping, and a good Kale salad.

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