A showdown between some of the most memorable and most deadly women in horror history.
Few genres have such an innate and deep connection to femininity as horror. There’s an almost intrinsic tie between the women, both characters and their actors, and the macabre legacy of films they inhabit. Countless essays and deconstructions of this relationship have made the topic so popular that it’s bled into the mainstream consciousness.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a horror fan who isn’t familiar with Carol J. Clover’s Men, Women & Chainsaws, and even more pressed to find one unfamiliar with the trope of the final girl. Hell, it’s almost impossible to find a horror fan that doesn’t HAVE a favorite final girl in mind that springs up when those two words are uttered. Women and horror are inseparable.
And we had so much fun with our last contest, that it seemed only fair we make a sequel instead of making you wait for the next holiday to roll around. So, we ask you, who is the most bad-ass woman in horror in your eyes? For the entirety of March, an open poll will be held here on Horror Press to determine whom you believe that is, and at its end, we’ll compile the results into a top-five list!
But before that…
THE GROUND RULES
#1: THEY MUST BE FROM A FILM OR TELEVISION SERIES
As much as it kills me since I’d love to put in Meg Thomas from Dead By Daylight and June Branch from Basketful of Heads, but the burgeoning horizons of horror media outside of film and television are a little too broad. This would put musicals, videogames, and way too many books up as fair game, and it’s a lot for us to keep track of and decide between. Additionally, only one representative can be nominated from each piece of media, otherwise a good 20% of the list would be Buffy & Yellowjackets characters.
#2: THEY MUST BE A PROTAGONIST OF SOME SORT
Just like our previous contest, we need to have some sort of limitation on who would be allowed on this list. Otherwise, it would be packed to the gills with the best female villains in horror. Many will cry out, “What about Carrie White?” as she is admittedly sympathetic and seeing her rampage is cathartic. But you’ll find MANY female horror antagonists are sympathetic, and without this limitation, cases could be made for a seemingly limitless number of villains.
#3: THEY MUST BE HUMAN (IN SOME CAPACITY)
Again, this is mainly a limiter on monsters. Sorry, Xenomorph Queen. If they were previously human but underwent some transformation, they are fair game if they don’t break the rules set above.
That being said, let’s get to the list. In no particular order, our contestants are…
- Vanita “Stretch” Brock (Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2)
- Lex Woods (Alien VS Predator)
- Jeryline (Tales From The Crypt Presents: Demon Knight)
- Madison Montgomery (American Horror Story)
- Jodie Marken (Cherry Falls)
- Angela Vidal ([REC.] Series)
- Laurie Strode (Halloween Series)
- Deena (Fear Street)
- Ellen Ripley (Alien)
- Erin (You’re Next)
- Grace (Ready or Not)
- Mia (Evil Dead (2013))
- Misty Quigley (Yellowjackets)
- Taylor Gentry (Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon)
- Sidney Prescott (Scream)
- Sarah Carter (The Descent)
- Tina Shepard (Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood)
- Buffy Summers (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
- Needy (Jennifer’s Body)
- Nancy Thompson (A Nightmare on Elm Street Series)
Sweet screams and see you in a few weeks for the results!
Summer Reading: ‘The Ghost’s Grave’ and Gateway Horror
Growing up in the suburbs, most of my summers were spent running around my neighborhood with my childhood best friend. We’d ride our bikes, eat honeysuckle out of our neighbor’s yard, and pretend to be Power Rangers. However, I’d have to find my own fun if my friend wasn’t available. But there’s only so much TV a kid can watch before getting bored, and only so many times I could dress up our elderly family poodle without him getting pissed at me.
One particular summer, I remember reading a book I had picked up from that school year’s scholastic book fair. This book was The Ghost’s Grave by Peg Kehret. It featured Josh, a kid spending the summer at his Aunt’s house in a small mining town where he had no friends (a relatable premise for a little young, bored me). Things get spooky when he discovers a treehouse in the woods, and a one-legged miner’s ghost appears to him, asking the boy to reunite his leg with the rest of his body. Once Josh gets up the courage to dig up the grave, he discovers a box of money buried along with the leg. A conspiracy unravels, and Josh finds that the money was meant for an animal shelter and was stolen by the manager of the town’s bank.
I think the intrigue of the conspiracy was very new and enticing to little Sebastian. As an avid true crime fanatic, I can see the threads of my obsession in The Ghost’s Grave. A decades-old crime solved by an unlikely hero, what could be more captivating for someone who went on to listen to every Buzzfeed Unsolved video ever to be released? The book also sets up the conflict in an easy way for a kid to understand: stealing from cute, defenseless animals is bad.
My memories of reading The Ghost’s Grave are also special because it was an excuse to snuggle with our old poodle. Most days, he slept in the warm sunbeam from our glass front door. I would bring most of the contents of my bed – my comforter, as many blankets as I could find, several pillows, and my favorite stuffed animal – and put them on the tile next to Napoleon to make a little nest to lay in while we hung out together. This was one of the few activities we did together that he tolerated because he was old and crotchety, and I was very annoying.
There is something special about a book you can’t put down, and The Ghost’s Grave is the one that stands out from my childhood. It was probably one of the first horror books I read on my own. I think I appreciated the freedom to read the book at my own pace and imagine what I might do if I had a friendly ghost friend. When I reflect on my younger self, I’m surprised at how much I loved horror books because I was also vehemently afraid of the dark and the concept of monsters in my closet or under my bed. Admittedly, I slept with a nightlight until halfway through high school.
The Ghost’s Grave was undoubtedly a step in turning me into the horror freak I am today. Some other steppingstones for me were R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps, and Neal Shusterman’s Unwind series. As a teenager, some of the first movies I tested my courage with were One Missed Call (yes, it was the shitty American version, and yes, I was still scared by it), Insidious, and whatever Paranormal Activity movie was currently showing at my local theater. As an adult, it’s much harder to find the time to read, and I spend much more time watching horror films than reading. But I envy the summers little Sebastian spent curled up in a nest in a sunbeam.
MEAT the Movie: An Indiegogo Campaign
Filth. Horror. Glamour.
While you might typically associate those trio of words with your favorite drag monsters, they also perfectly encapsulate the upcoming queer-centric horror film by Rising Pulse Productions, MEAT. A blood-soaked whodunit, the film finds a group of queer individuals fighting for their lives against a studded (and studly) masked killer five years after a night of hard partying leaves someone dead and an innocent bystander in prison.
Directed by your friendly neighborhood “Scream Queer” Roger Connors, co-written by Conners and Zach Shildwachter, with cinematography by Mick Kunz, MEAT aims to serve you glitz and gore on a silver platter. The focus here is on true terror and suspense while deliciously draped in a high gloss aesthetic even the most critical of gay men would commend.
It isn’t family-friendly queer storytelling…the team behind MEAT wants you dripping in more ways than one.
If that sounds like your cup of tea, then MEAT needs your help in making your screens explode with visual stimulation and queer representation! Bringing such ambitions to life while looking stunning and fairly compensating the cast and crew isn’t cheap. The film’s producers have formulated a budget to help bring this movie into reality.
Its Indiegogo features a video by the creators, giving you a peek at the film’s package, and includes a tiered list of perks should you choose to contribute – and do make sure to read those perks descriptions for a good chuckle. Queer media often bears the burden of cliché or an obscenely low budget should it circumvent said tropes. MEAT desires to be the brooding and mysterious monster that surpasses expectations and captivates LGBTQ+ audiences and allies alike. The upper echelon of gay canon awaits.
Production is slated to begin in October 2022, so please spread the word about MEAT while the Indiegogo’s still got a heartbeat!