Is there anything more terrifying than the cold, hard stare—or well-lit rage—of a woman…in a movie? These deranged, and sometimes evil, characters come in many forms, from those possessed by strange entities to those struggling with their own personal demons. And while many of these characters have been featured in horror films, we’ve also ventured outside the genre to bring you the 12 scariest female characters in film history.
In celebration of Kathy Bates’ 71st birthday, join us as we take a look back at 12 of the most terrifying female characters in the history of film. Enjoy!
12. Joan Crawford – Mommie Dearest
Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest is everything. Watching it as an adult, you can appreciate the campy, over-the-top, violent performance by Dunaway; but as child, mistakenly watching this film…? Scarred for life. For those who are unaware, Mommie Dearest was a 1981 film adaptation of Christina Crawford’s memoir of the same name. Christina was an adopted daughter of screen legend Joan Crawford, and according to Christina, living with Joan, and trying to be her daughter, was hell on earth. The book was disputed by Joan’s biggest supporters, but it’s the film that really paints her as being the personification of a manic nightmare. All things considered, the film made $39 million at the box office. In 1981 that equated to big success. One viewing of the film, and you’ll shudder at the sight of a wire hanger. “NO! Wire! Hangers! Ever!”