In horror, female characters in horror films fall into two main categories: final daughters (aka heroines) and femme fatales (aka villains). And over the past few decades, we’ve seen dozens of amazing actresses take on both of these roles, from ’70s slashers to 2000s torture porn. Take a look at our pick of the best horror maidens and femme fatales. in the gallery below, then let us know your thoughts on our list in the comments section.
Sidney Prescott — Scream (1996)
Neve Campbell owned the role of the Damsel in Distress that became the Girls’ Endgame in Scream, inspiring filmmakers for years to come.
Laurie Strode — Halloween (1978)
This role made actress Jamie Lee Curtis a Hollywood superstar, and her character helped carve out the ultimate girl archetype in the decade of slasher horror.
Clear Rivers — Final Destination (2000)
After her debut in Varsity Blues in 1999, Ali Larter brought eccentric Clear Rivers to life in the Final Destination franchise, and audiences were in awe of Larter’s portrayal of a last girl who possessed some depth.
Nancy Thompson — A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Teenage Nancy Thompson was the first character to survive the clutches of Freddy Krueger, thanks to her insight, intelligence, and survival mindset.
Jennifer Hill — I Spit on Your Grave (2010)
While this movie (both the original, the remake, and subsequent sequels) may be controversial, Jennifer Hills is an undeniable badass.
Ellen Ripley — Alien (1979)
Unlike many female horror protagonists, Ripley questions gender roles in major ways and the role has helped carve a successful career for actress Sigourney Weaver.
Sally Hardesty — The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Often compared to Halloween’s Laurie Strode, Marilyn Burn’s portrayal of Sally Hardesty set the last female trophy in motion.
Jaimie Height — It Follows (2014)
It Follows is one of the most prolific and impactful horror films of the 2010s. Maika Monroe’s portrayal of the character is extremely relevant, showing that not all final girls need to have a change of. full personality of 180 from victim to winner.
Tree Gelbman — Happy Day of the Dead (2017)
While you wanted to hate this protagonist because she’s a blonde, bitchy sorority girl, audiences couldn’t help but fall in love with the latest girl Tree Gelbman, who is both tough and undeniably funny.
Alice Ackerman — Cam (2018)
Actress Madeline Brewer puts a 21st century twist on being a final girl, turning Cam’s protagonist into a cam girl who goes from being a victim of a computer kidnapping to winning back her own self-reliance.
Amanda Young — Saw (2004)
While Amanda Young may have made her debut in the Saw franchise as a victim of the now iconic Reverse Bear Trap, Young ultimately became an apprentice to Jigsaw until her demise in the third film.
Carrie White — Carrie (1976)
Poor Carrie White. Although Carrie is horribly harassed by her classmates, she achieved femme fatale status when she decided to slaughter her entire town.
Asami Yamazaki — Audition (1999)
While this character can be extremely beautiful, she is one of the sickest and twisted women on our list. Actress Eihi Shiina’s portrayal of the character is shocking and disturbing, haunting audiences for over twenty years.
Jennifer Check — Jennifer’s Body (2009)
Megan Fox has thrilled audiences with her portrayal of a cheerleader turned succubus who has turned against men and women around the world even while drinking the blood of innocent teenagers.
Rose Armitage – Get Out (2017)
Actress Allison Williams made us shiver as the cold-blooded Rose in an Oscar nominated film, going from a worried girlfriend to a direct killer in the blink of an eye.
Ginger Fitzgerald — Ginger Snaps (2000)
Ginger is an aggressive teenage werewolf who is obsessed with death, and Katharine Isabelle’s portrayal of the anti-hero helped make the film a cult classic.
Tiffany – Bride of Chucky (1998)
In the 1991 sequel to Child’s Play, actress Jennifer Tilly plays Tiffany, the ex-girlfriend of serial killer Charles Lee Ray who becomes an accomplice in Chucky’s murders throughout the film. Tiffany might be a pretty note when it comes to screaming queens, but she basically invented the “Big Titty Goth GF” archetype.
Mandy Lane — All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006)
Ahead of Johnny Depp’s arrival, actress Amber Heard portrayed the shy but gorgeous Mandy Lane, a high school girl coveted by most of the men in the movie. However, in a shocking twist, this beauty is revealed to be behind the murders of a group of teenagers.
Doll Face — The Strangers (2008)
Of course, her face is obscured by a mask during the film, but this character is played by model Gemma Ward, who has appeared on the covers of Vogue, Teen Vogue and Time Magazine.
Akasha-Queen of the Damned (2002)
In this film, the late Aaliyah plays the vampire queen Akasha, as seductive as she is terrifying.