Horror is certainly one of my favourite genres, over the years it’s changed from ghouls and monsters creeping around in the darkness, to more ferocious Hammer Horror and Universal Monsters thrashing around and breaking new ground, generally women were the victims or just an attractive side kick, slowly through horror and sci fi, action and drama, women started to find a voice and became stronger on the silver screen, some of them even became our saviours and heroines. This is a list of 10 women who displayed their true grit and managed to make it through a horror flick without getting mauled, eaten or kidnapped for alien breeding programmes… Please note that I will be discussing the END of these movies and therefore SPOILERS!
One of Dario Argento’s classic films see’s a young dancer, Suzy Bannion (Jessica Harper) travel from New York to the Tanz Dance Academy in Freiburg, Germany, but on arriving she starts to notice strange events and these escalate into gresome Giallo technicolour murders. Feeling out of place and having to cope with peculiar events and possibly being controlled by mysterious forces she manages to unravel what/who is picking off the lovely girls around her, which makes her a number one target. She’s incredibly brave but it’s fear which really keeps her going! The film is lavish with a neon effect which is something idolised by modern directors who are still highly influenced by Argento’s deep sensual style. 10/10
The 80’s saw a lot of women in horror but only of handful of them were included for other reasons than their boobs… one of my earliest film heronies is Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp). Wes Craven’s cult slasher sees a group of midwestern teenagers fall prey to Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) who is a disfigured stalker and killer who stalks them in their dreams, how to battle him, simple, don’t sleep.. Nancy stands witness to her friends being slaughtered by the midnight mangler but she does her very best to protect them and slowly unravels a strategy to fight back and destroy the monster. She’s pretty epic throughout the film and her bravery was outstanding. 10/10
The only decent Terminator film introduced an amazing idea of an assassin cyborg (Arnold Schwarzenegger) from the future travelling back into the past to abort a potential future threat in the war against the machines. James Cameron crafted a dynamic science fiction story around a tender and gentle waitress who unbeknownst to her is going to be the mother of the leader of the human revolution of the future. Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) became a pretty big iconic figure as she managed to survive a mechanical nightmare, at first she was reluctant and relied entirely on Kyle Reese (Michael Bein) who was sent back in time by Sarah’s son to save her. But Sarah learnt a lot with her time with Reese but she also realised that she really needed to protect herself and her son as they are both very important to the survival of the human race and by the second film she’s a deadly assassin herself but the transformation is here and she stands her ground and survives the first crazy night of her life with fantastic style. 10/10
Ripley is a bit of a serial contender for this list, and I could have chosen any of the Alien films as she strangely survived them all, in a way, for those unaware (shame on you) she does perish in Alien3 but is resurrected in Alien Resurrection, which she also survives.. and dies.. but lives. So I’ve chosen to go back to basics the original alien film open the doors on a brand new creature that actually frightened cinema audiences once again, forget little green men in flying saucers, Ridley Scott crafted a thrilling story and with the illustrative and graphic mind of HR Giger the effect was long lasting and totally mind blowing. The crew of a the Nostromo , a deep space mining ship are awoken prematurely as their ship has detected a homing beacon, they land on LV426 And find an alien ship and lots of eggs, one of these infects a member of the team and they bring on board a devastating beastie. The heroine is Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) who’s just a pilot who has to woman the fuck up to fight this bizarre creature and she adapts as well as it does, eventually she turns into a single woman killing machine but her transformation is impressive in this granddaddy of alien horror films. She manages to battle until the end of the film as this sleek monster slowly picks off her team and finally she comes face to face with this star beast (see what I did there?) She adapts so quickly and is a real hero for any little girl with aspirations to go into space. 10/10
I was reluctant to add this one to the list, as this final girl kinda got there half through fearful mistakes and half through luck rather than being a total badass.. but alas she survives until the end but might be totally fucked up for life so why not give the girl a medal. So in this cult classic a group of young people go out for some adventure in Texas and stumble upon a the home of a family of dysfunctional cannibals. A cult classic video nasty this film has thrilled and shocked audiences and inspired directors for several decades. Sally (Marilyn Burns (RIP)) hears that her grandfather’s grave has been vandalized, so she goes to investigate with her paraplegic brother Franklyn and a couple of friends, but they soon discover that the neighbours are a family of crazed cannibalistic outcasts who stalk them. Sally manages to escape from Leatherface on several occasions, the iconic chainsaw wielding madman who likes to wear a female face for comfort, but from her maniacal screaming at the end of the movie, I don’t think much of her sanity was left intact so at what cost did she survive. The struggle was very real though, as the rest of her friends were dispatched in super quick time mostly with hammers to head and being served up to Grandpa the patriarch of evil. The film was banned for many years as it was considered too violent and while it’s loosely based on true stories there are many other legends which have crept up claiming that it’s based on one true event, but it can’t be denied that it was ground-breaking for it’s time and Sally had a night she’ll never forget.. 10/10
One of my favourite modern Creature Features and introduced a new and unusual bad thing to the world of horror, with all anticipation that this franchise is going to run and run (I hope). Trish (Gina Phillips) and her brother Darry are heading home across middle America when they become a target for an unknown invincible creature who is hell bent on harvesting body parts to keep him going. Using his attuned senses he is only ever one step behind them and even with the help of a local psychic, the entire police force and a crazy old lady with tons of cats and a shot gun one of them still gets nabbed by the Creeper, no prizes for guessing who. Trish is the older sibling and does everything she can in order to protect her wayward little brother, he has been the original target of the comedic beast but in a final act she offers herself up but is never considered to be on the menu in the first place, but still she put herself in harm’s way but it just didn’t pay off, brave girl, great monster and wonderful film. There is a huge bomb at the end of Jeepers Creepers 3 that she might be back for revenge.. It’s probably worth mentioning that the useless psychic also makes it through but she didn’t have to fight as hard. 8/10
Apart from one unfaithful husband and possibly some male creepy cave critters this film is female dominated so it’s no surprise that at least one makes it to the end, but that was pretty ambiguous as far as I am concerned. After a heart-breaking accident t Sarah (Shauna MacDonald) travels to North Carolina with her best friends to explore some caves, something they are all highly experienced in. But soon after descending the women find strange evidence of life underground, they soon learn that they are not alone and the predators that inhabit the unexplored cave system have a taste for human flesh. There had been a line of cave based films for a while and the Descent promised to be different but the only real difference is that it was ALL women but underground creatures is nothing all that new. Sarah’s character is quite fractured at the beginning but she turns into quite a terminator by the end of the film, slashing and killing the creatures with gusto, she even pulls a Rambo mud trick on them and stomachs some vile body fluids.. All in all I thought they were all a bit thick and clumsy at the beginning, but Sarah really did up the ante and it was good to see real bravery and courage. There is a double fuck ending where you see her escape then realise in a cruel twist that she’s hallucinating back in cave. It wasn’t until the release of the sequel that you get real confirmation that she did survive and is asked to return to the cave system but I believe she died in the caves in the first film .. 6/10
A perverted deviant named Frank opens a portal to another universe which we would easily recognise as HELL! After being dragged into this hell, frank does everything he can to escape. When his brother moved into Frank’s old house he manages to utilise a few drops of blood to help drag himself back into our existence but he needs more and rekindles his love affair with his brother’s wife Julia who lures men back to the house and bludgeons them with a hammer and allows frank to devour them as he pieces himself back together, meanwhile his captors, the Cenobites lead by Pinhead are hot on his heels to return Frank to their realm,. Franks last piece of the puzzle is to take his brothers skin, but his niece the lovely Kristy (Ashley Laurence) is determine to protect her father, kick her unfaithful step mothers ass and destroy the box and cenobites, but she has hardly any support and no real understanding of how big a job this is, but she pulls through mentally and physically against some putrid creatures and nightmarish events. Kirsty goes through a lotta shit for her family, literally facing pin head and making a deal with him and then tracking down her psychotic uncle for them. It was an outstanding debut performance for the young actress in one of the most iconic horror films of all time.9/10
One of my favourite cult exploitation films from Sweden, AKA Hookers Revenge and Thriller, this fits neatly into the Rape and Revenge genre. A young girl Madeleine (Christina Lindberg) is sexually abused and the trauma makes her mute, later on she accepts a lift from a man called Tony (Heinz Hopf), who invites her out on a date then roughs her up, turns her into a heroin addict and pimps her out, after writing hateful letters to her parent they commit suicide. She is stabbed in the eye for refusing a customer and for fighting back, but this doesn’t deter her, she saves up any spare money and uses this to take lessons in fighting, shooting and driving, then one day when she’s had enough she goes on a one woman kill spree leaving the most barbaric finale for Tony. It’s a brilliant film, and really kick started Lindberg’s career, her child like features a small frame didn’t look like she could ever be tough but once she’s bouncing around in her black leather coat and shotgun I don’t’ think there were any doubts in her ability to kick ass. Sadly I don’t think she spend enough time destroying Tony after all the years of abuse that she suffered.. but hey ho.. The film is quite porny and managed to get banned in Sweden and a few other countries I believe? 8/10
The film which inspired me to write the list, somehow ends up at the end?! The first and (to date) the only film directed by Tyler Shields is a wonderful story of revenge, a young girl named Veronica loses her parents but gains a mentor who teaches her how to fight after explaining that his wife and child were killed by bad men. Years later in 1960’s America she ravishing blonde Veronica is finishing her training, she discovers that a group of teen boys are luring girls into the woods to toy and destroy, and she’s going to put a stop to it by ending their lives. The films starts out like any normal film but once Veronica gets into the woods it turns into a monochrome Alice in Wonderland play, the scenery is very “stage play” and most colour is totally drained from the film, leaving it mostly black and white, apart from Veronica in her intense red dress and lipstick. Despite being Bo Hess in Signs, Abigale Breslin has grown up to be quite an impressive actress, she does administer some DMT style hallucinogenic on the group before dispatching them but when the odds are against you what’s a girl to do, she still takes the odd beating but while the formula gets a little repetitive each killing is unique and upstages the last. It’s not overly violent and the murky fairy-tale setting hallucinogenic characters creeping around gives a bizarre atmosphere to the film. The ending is quite sweet, when Veronica heads out to eat pancakes after a job well done. 6/10
…Well done ladies..