Portrayed By: Eihi Shiina
What Makes Her So Scary?: I have a strong feeling this will be a running theme with this list, but the key to what makes Asami Yamazaki so frightening is just how damned crazy she is. On the surface, Asami is so very delicate, soft-spoken and innocent; however, that facade goes right out the window the moment she feels as if she’s been wronged by the one she loves. And to say the methods she uses to cope with her anger are extreme would be a great understatement. Asami is straight up damaged goods, a nut case that has major possessive issues that stem from a childhood almost as messed up as she is. She is scary because she is unassuming, a non-threat, so to see what she is capable of is a grim reminder that anyone is capable of anything if their mind is damaged enough to propel them to do so.
Kitty Farmer/Mrs. Carmody
Films: Donnie Darko/The Mist
Portrayed By: Beth Grant/Marcia Gay Harden
What Makes Them So Scary?: This twofer could be perceived as a cheat, but both Mrs. Carmody and Kitty Farmer are cinematic extensions of one another, with each character having the same goal: to judge, and possibly save, those who do not follow god’s plan. It is this judgment and the weight that they and their beliefs carry that make them frightening. They have the power to influence those around them, and that influence carries great consequences for those who are not on the same page as they. While these two women come to very different conclusions in their respective character arcs – with Mrs. Carmody going well over the deep end into a place where all rational sanity is lost – you can see where Mrs. Carmody ends up as being a logical path for Kitty if she too were put in a similar situation.
Film: Natural Born Killers
Portrayed By: Juliette Lewis
What Makes Her So Scary?: Much like Asami from Audition, Mallory Knox is shown to have a pretty terrible upbringing, so it’s hard not to feel some level of sympathy for her. On the other hand, she knows full well that what she is doing is wrong, yet, she does it anyway. Mallory takes all of the pent-up anger and the pain she endured from over the years and vents it right back out and onto others who are as undeserving of having their innocence lost as she did when she was a child. She is a cold-blooded killer with no (or very little) regard for human life, and her drive is pushed forward by an immature selfishness to be free from her childhood oppressions. But what makes her really scary is the fact that Mallory Knox is as sexy as she is deadly, and the pure fact that she is so dangerous makes her even sexier in a strange way. It seems as if it would be very easy to fall victim to her much like the gas station attendant who Mallory bones then quickly kills.
Portrayed By: Béatrice Dalle
What Makes Her So Scary?: Seeking to take back what was once accidentally taken from her, La femme is driven by a vengeance to fill the void that was opened when she fell victim to a car accident that caused a miscarriage and the subsequent loss of her child. The idea that she would go after the person that unintentionally caused her loss, with the sole purpose of taking her unborn baby as a replacement, is bonkers, but it is the way in which La femme handles herself that puts her high on the “I just pooped my pants-o-meter.” La femme doesn’t just kill people who get in her way – she devours them with a ferocity that would make Jason, Freddy and Michael (Myers, not Jackson, though he was a creep) take a few steps back to avoid the splatter.
Portrayed By: Kathy Bates
What Makes her So Scary?:
- Mentally Unstable: Check
- Obsessive Stalker: Check
- Strong Like Bull: Check
Everything about Annie Wilkes is terrifying, but what is most unnerving is how she presents herself as this cheery, happy-go-lucky woman who loves nothing more than to read romance novels and chop wood. Annie is clearly living in her own little world, a world where she cannot fully grasp the difference between what is and isn’t real. It is the characters and the stories that Paul Sheldon has created in his Misery novels that Annie loves so dearly, however, Annie becomes so attached to the characters that she believes them to be hers and will do anything to keep them just the way she envisions them. If that means taking the author hostage, beating him, drugging him and maybe even hobbling his feet, well, that’s just what ya have to do, I guess.
That about does it for my list. There are plenty of memorable scary female characters that have been brought to life throughout the history of cinema, and these five ladies (well, six I guess) are but a few of my favorites. Feel free to share your thoughts on my picks and, more importantly, please feel free to share some of your favorite frightening female movie characters!