10 Memorable Female Characters from the “Nasty Woman” Horror Canon


By now you’ve seen the clip in which presidential hopeful Donald Trump uttered the words “such a nasty woman” about his opponent, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. It didn’t take long for women watching the third and final presidential debate across the country to respond.

What started as a feminist battle cry has since been turned into a t-shirt — as you do in 2016. Trump’s comment is a reminder that words (from white, wealthy men) have power and have been frequently used to dismiss women and hold them back.

Tis the Halloween season, so we paid tribute to a few “nasty women” in horror cinema — complicated female characters, some legit nastier than others, who have brought something compelling to genre cinema.

Nancy Downs in The Craft

Nancy transforms from a troubled outsider to an empowered witch . . . who eventually abuses her gifts. But she’s wholly unapologetic no matter the magic she possesses. While some of Nancy’s chutzpah was developed due to her abusive upbringing and the bullying she experiences at school, she owns it regardless and becomes a fierce witch bitch.

Angel Blake in The Blood on Satan’s Claw

Angel Blake is the manipulative, provocative ringleader of a group of young Satanic villagers hoping to resurrect the Prince of Darkness. No f***s given by this gal.

Ginger in Ginger Snaps

The death-obsessed Ginger feels like an outcast, but has popular girl potential — which is awakened when she hits puberty and becomes an empowered wolfy woman. Once she sprouts fangs, Ginger becomes unstoppable as the monstrous feminine emerges.

Julia Cotton in Hellraiser

Julia will go to any lengths to get back the man she loves — and he isn’t her husband. After lying, cheating, and killing for her lover Frank, Julia finally gets a taste of the demonic power that the Cenobites bring forth — and she thrives as a gory goddess in that terrifying realm during the film’s sequel.

Chris Hargensen in Carrie

When your bitch powers are strong enough to send an innocent person into a telekinetic meltdown, well . . .

Pamela Voorhees in Friday the 13th

Pamela is just a mother looking out for her son who drowned in a lake. She also happens to be a mother who is very handy with a hunting knife.

Tiffany in Bride of Chucky

Badass Tiffany sacrifices her human life and dispatches with innocent others to resurrect her serial killer lover — and they go on a Bonnie and Clyde-style murder spree as two demented dolls.

Ripley in Alien

Warrant Officer Ripley isn’t treated with the respect she deserves by all her peers on the spacecraft Nostromo. But she commands the ship as soon as the deadly aliens attack the crew and manages to save her own life (and that of the ship’s kitty, Jones). Later, haters.

Nancy Thompson in A Nightmare on Elm Street

Everyone dismisses nerdy Nancy’s claims about a child-murdering madman who attacks teens in their dreams — even her own father, who is happy to leave her locked up in her bedroom. But it turns out that Nancy is the only one smart enough to figure out the monster’s weakness, take control of the nightmarish situation, and save the town by vanquishing the killer.

Laurie Strode in Halloween

Laurie seems like kind of a drag to her peers. She doesn’t want to drink or party with guys. And she has little patience for the boy she babysits and his obsession with the bogeyman. She is, however, the only teen left standing at the end of the film after a harrowing encounter with mute madman Michael Myers (a real bogeyman).