What Horror Queens Have Taught Us Over The Years

Halloween is coming up fast and honestly, I couldn’t be more excited! There’s just something about all the gothic clothes and makeup that really gets me thinking about the spooky season. There’s really no better way to prepare for Halloween than watching a ghoulish movie. The Halloween movie genre has been painfully male-dominated for decades. It has become all too common for horror movies to use female characters as shrieking sound effects or a way to add weird sexually violent undertones to a film. When you can find a great female character in a spooky movie, it’s awesome. 


Here are eight women who will help you feel empowered this spooky season. 

  1. 1. Morticia Addams - The Addams’ Family

    I’m normally firmly against remakes on principle. However, every time The Addams’ family is remade, Morticia continues to be one of the best spooky women in media. Ever since Morticia was created as a comic strip character in 1938, she has always been a feminst icon with simple interests in the gothic macabre. If there’s one thing we can all take away from Morticia, it’s the memorable dialogue. In a Bustle article outlining Morticia’s iconic quotes, she had with Wednesday’s teacher it’s okay to run naked through the streets; but at least go to college first. 

  2. 2. Ellen Ripley - Alien Franchise

    According to Vanity Fair, it was a last-minute decision by director Ridley Scott to switch Ripley’s character from male to female, but changing it was a great decision. Ellen Ripley is widely considered to be one of the most significant heroines in cinematic history. What makes Ripley’s character stand out the most is how incredibly human she is. Audiences will immediately notice her intelligence and ability to think logically, even when she is completely terrified. If girls can take one thing away from Ripley, it’s that you can be a million things all all the same time.

  3. 3. Lydia Deetz - Beetlejuice

    Beetlejuice is one of those movies that you can rewatch a million times. The performances by Michael Keaton, Catherine O’Hara, and of course, Winona Ryder, are completely different yet totally iconic. Lydia’s character makes us think of what it truly means to be a misunderstood teenager, and we can’t help but sympathize with her when all she wants is people to relate to. Lydia shows us the importance that family doesn’t end with blood: sometimes the people who really have your back aren’t your relatives. No matter how gothic or stange your parents might think you are, there will always be someone who’s ready to support you no matter what.

  4. 4. Clarice Starling - Silence of the Lambs

    Jodie Foster’s role as Clarice Starling in Silence of the Lambs is so memorable. Throughout the film, she is well-calculated, logical, and level headed when dealing with Hannibal. In fact, it’s through her refusal to acknowledge Hannibal’s sexual remarks towards her that she gains the upper hand towards the end of the film. The movie sees her calm and calculated nature as the men around her give backhanded sexual comments. Girls watching can take inspiration knowing that a goal-oriented woman is a force to be reckoned with.

  5. 5. Maddie Young - Hush

    A movie about an introverted female writer living alone? I couldn’t help but feel like the target audience when this movie came out. I related to Maddie’s character for so many reasons, and the fact that she was deaf made me root for her even more throughout the film. Maddie sees that the killer sees her, a young deaf woman as easy prey, but she proves to be an incredible adversary. She is a character that gives girls and special needs kids inspiration: she proves that no one should be underestimated.

  6. 6. Jeryline - Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight

    As far as I’m concerned, anything from the Tales From The Crypt series is an instant horror-comedy-cult classic. Jada Pinkett Smith stars as Jeryline in this movie, which can only be described as peak 90’s campiness and gore. Jeryline is a character who is truly an unlikely hero. She seems to be one of the few characters who doesn’t fall for any nonsense or demonic tricks. Jeryline shows us that black women in horror don’t have to be the first victims; they can be smart survivors, too. Plus, Jada Pinket Smith rocks a super cool bleached curly buzz cut the whole time.

  7. 7. Eun-Young - Whispering Corridors

    If you’re looking to get into South Korean horror films, Whispering Corridors is a great place to start. The movie follows a haunted girls school with the protagonist Eun-Young forced to deal with the horrors happening behind classroom doors. Eun-Young is a teacher who fights for her students in every way possible. If Miss Honey from Matilda was ever in a paranormal situation, they would be pretty similar. This movie drew so much critical acclaim, it created international buzz. It was one of the first films to come out after South Korea cut their extreme censorship law.

  8. 8. Selena - 28 Days Later

    The zombie horror genre has produced many movies over the decades. Some are great, many are horrible. 28 Days Later is refreshingly spooky, made in part by it’s fast-moving zombies and a great heroine, Selena. Played by Naomie Harris, she is very similar to Ripley in taking a no-nonsense, won’t-hesitate-to-chop-you-with-a-machete-if-you’re-a-zombie type of way. She is a reluctant hero who steps up to care for orphaned teenager Hannah. Selena is one of few black women heroines in zombie movies. One thing to take away from this movie is that you should never underestimate the reluctant hero; they are the most stubborn of survivors.