Friday, February 1, 2013

Top 10 Scariest Women In Film!

As many of you know, February is Women in Horror Month! La Petite Morgue is proud to be participating in WiHM with our Bloody Gore-geous Monologues event, tomorrow 2/2 at 8PM at Joria Productions Mainstage, 260 W. 36th St. Post Mortem (also known in some circles, as "after party") to follow at nearby Stitch Bar (247 W. 37th Street).
There is a $10 suggested donation- all proceeds will go to two very worthy causes: The Viscera Organization, a 501(c)3 that focuses on expanding opportunities for contemporary female genre filmmakers, and the Fund for Women Artists. In honor of Women in Horror Month, I will be posting a different "Top 10" list each Friday, which focuses on my favorite ladies of horror! To kick off the series, I wanted to focus on the mistresses of the macabre who have most terrified us over the years! That's right, I'm talking about the women who have starred in our nightmares. Move over Freddy and Jason- Hell hath no fury like a woman. These are my Top 10...who are yours?
10. Pamela Voorhees, Friday the 13th (played by Betsy Palmer) - Jason may be the face of the franchise, but it's really Mrs. Voorhees who got things started. There's something disturbingly realistic about the idea of a mother who kills to revenge her young son's death at the hands of negligent counselors. Mrs. Voorhees is the reason I never snuck off to have sex while I was supposed to be watching the kids during my own camp counselor days. Despite minimal screen time, Betsy Palmer gave an extremely memorable performance- I'm sure I'm not the only horror fan who thinks of her and her infamous line every Friday the 13th- "His name was Jason....and today is his birthday!"
9. Hedy Carlson, Single White Female (played by Jennifer Jason Leigh) -  I'm a sucker for a good (or bad) psycho stalker movie, and Single White Female is probably the best example of the genre. There have been countless rip-offs (*cough*The Roommate*cough) but none have been able to capture the magic that is Single White Female - and I believe that is because although the plot and dialogue may be campy, the acting is top-notch and the film is surprisingly relatable. We may have never had a roommate who killed our puppy or seduced our boyfriend, but I for one have had more than one roommate who crossed multiple boundaries with me. And I once had a roommate in college who dyed her hair the same shade as mine while we were living together- I changed dorms the next semester, just in case. Thanks, Jennifer Jason Leigh-you've ensured that I will never trust a random roomie!

8. Nurse Ratched, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (played by Louise Fletcher) - I have a lot of recurring nightmares about being institutionalized, and I really blame One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest - specifically, Louise Fletcher's performance. Her calm demeanor and soft speaking voice makes her sadism even more chilling. To this day I don't trust anyone with a quiet speaking voice. Worst of all, Nurse Ratched feels all too real, and I wouldn't be surprised if there are still Nurse Ratcheds working in the mental health system.
7. Pauline, Excision (played by AnnaLynne McCord) - I just saw "Excision" recently, and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. I don't want to say too much about it because I don't want to spoil it - I knew very little about it going in and it blew my mind. Definitely influenced by films like May and Carrie, Excision is the story of Pauline, an extremely disturbed and unpopular high school student who is fascinated by blood and death, and who dreams of being a surgeon. Did I mention that she's extremely disturbed? AnnaLynne McCord is astonishing as Pauline. I've only seen her on primetime soaps like "Nip/Tuck" and "90210", where she tends to play the fun, sexy bad girl. I had no idea she was capable of giving a performance at the level of what she achieves in Excision. I'm excited to see what she'll do next, and hope she works more in the genre.
6. Sylvia Ganesh, Drag Me To Hell (played by Lorna Raver) - Drag Me To Hell had a positive effect on the way I treat people--I try to be as nice as possible to old ladies, just in case they are Gypsies waiting for an excuse to curse me. Lorna Raver goes from sympathetic old woman who is down on her luck to crazed vengeful witch in just a couple of scenes. I've seen the movie several times, but I still freak out when Sylvia attacks Christine in the car.
5. The Grady Twins, The Shining (played by Lisa and Louise Burns) - Double the terror, double the fun! There's something about twins, man. Something creepy. The Grady Girls are horror icons, and their infamous quote "Come play with us, forever and ever... and ever" is still capable of giving me the willies, despite having seen The Shining more times than I can count.
4. Rhoda Penmark, The Bad Seed (played by Patty McCormack) - A lot of parents dream of an adorable well-mannered angelic looking child like Rhoda who knows what she wants and goes after it! Unfortunately Rhoda takes her drive to succeed a bit too far and has a tendency to murder those who get in her way. Once we realize that Rhoda is a bad seed, her syrupy-sweet attitude towards her father and mother, now recognized as fake, is extremely unsettling. Of course, the idea that a little girl is capable of such acts is even more horrifying. What happened to sugar and spice and everything nice?
3. May Canady, May (played by Angela Bettis) - I have a huge soft spot and affection for the character May, despite the fact that she is really effing creepy. I maintain the belief that a life of loneliness and narcissistic parents is what led to her disturbed mental state, and therefore to her homicidal tendencies (which don't appear until she is pushed past her limits). May's overall M.O. is her heartbreaking desire for a friend in this cruel world, which makes her a most sympathetic monster. She's still cuckoo for cocoa puffs though, and the brilliant Angela Bettis gets me every time with May's insane giggles.
2. Margaret White, Carrie (played by Piper Laurie) - No matter how much you may have been at odds with your mother during your teen years, just look to Mrs. White to know that it could have been INFINITELY worse. With her religious fanaticism and her abusive behavior towards Carrie, Mrs. White is a nightmare played with absolute conviction by the amazingly talented Piper Laurie. Carrie is one of my all-time favorite movies and in my opinion, Mrs. White has all the best lines. I still occasionally refer to my boobs as "dirty pillows" and remind myself that acne is God's way of chastising me!
1. Asami Yamazaki, Audition (played by Eihi Shiina) - I don't want to say much about this movie at all, in case some of you haven't seen it. Just see it. The last 20 minutes is one of the most horrifying scenes I've ever experienced in a film. Oh, and there is one pee-your-pants, scream-like-a-little-girl scare that is sure to turn even the most jaded horror viewer into a quivering scaredy-pants. Eihi Shiina's sweet and youthfully innocent face does not prepare you for the twisted recesses of Asami's mind.


  1. Great list, Chelsea! I haven't seen some of these flicks and will have to check them out. The only one I would have on my list that isn't here would probably be Annie Wilkes from "Misery". Kathy Bates gave me freaking nightmares!

  2. Agreed, awesome list! I loved Excision too, so glad you included Pauline. I've always found Angela from the original Night of the Demons pretty freaky, myself!