Return of the Underrated Horror Heroines

taryn

Yes, I’ve spent a lot of time ogling women in film and pop culture, but I do love strong and independent women who give me a hard time. So for the past years, on every Halloween, I have dug through various horror heroines that I think are completely underrated. This is another edition of ten horror heroines that I think deserve their place in the pantheon of heroines like Ellen Ripley, Laurie Strode, and Nancy Thompson. These are strong, powerful, courageous women, many of whom can run circles around the men in their movies, and I love them.

Denise Russo
Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse

Denise might be the perfect teammate during a zombie apocalypse. We don’t know much about her during “Scout’s Guide…” except that she’s a cocktail waitress, and she has little time to mess around when it comes to surviving the zombie apocalypse. When we meet her, she’s cool enough to help our trio of heroes buy beer at a liquor store. She returns during the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse when the scouts crash a strip club that’s been ravaged by the walking dead. With insane sex appeal and beauty to boot, she’s an ass kicking survivor with a ton of resourcefulness, a lot of guts, and enough bravery to lead her own potential zombie movie spin off. She’s the knight in shining armor for our trio of young squires trying to save their town, and she’s a bad ass until the very end.

Beverly Marsh
Stephen King’s It

beverly-marshBeverly Marsh has no choice but to be heroic. She’s living in a world ruled by men, one of whom dominates and abuses her. She’s a young girl who refuses to be pushed around any longer and thanks to the support of her best friends, she’s able to conquer many of her own personal demons by the time the narrative for “It” ends. Beverly is spunky and very stubborn when she’s at her best, and she manages to become the best shot among her group of male friends. With her sling shot and silver projectiles, she gives the It Clown a hell of a hard time.

Justine
Kristy

justineJustine is all alone in her college on Thanksgiving and is faced off against a cult of serial killers, all of whom delight in tormenting and then mutilating gorgeous young women. When she runs afoul one of their members in a gas station, she inadvertently becomes a target. Soon enough the murderous members of the group begin slipping in an out of the shadows of her deserted college leaving Justine to fend for herself. Alone, and without any chance of survival, Justine uses her wit, her brains and her knowledge of the campus to survive against the relentless killers. She’s not just a final girl, she’s a bad ass, and she doesn’t just survive, but she makes herself known to the world by the time “Kristy’ draws to a close.

Dani
Hocus Pocus

dani-hocus-pocusDani is unlike most little girls. Aside from loving Halloween a great deal, she manages to face off against three very powerful and evil witches, and holds her own quite well. Sure, her brother and his girlfriend are big reasons why she remains alive until the very end, but Dani’s charisma and head strong commitment to battling the villains of “Hocus Pocus” is entertaining to watch. One of the best moments involves Dani pretending to be one of the witches sisters. Rather than shrink and cry, she sells the role as best as she can, trying to escape their wrath and deceive them. It doesn’t work, but it was a great idea, nevertheless.

Elise Rainier
The Insidious Series

elise-rainierElise Rainier is one of the finest aspects of the “Insidious” series, given perhaps one of the most complete storylines since Dr, Loomis in “Halloween.” When we meet her, she’s a ghost hunter who has the ability to connect with the land of the further, and in the remaining sequels, we find out that she still fights evil after her death in the first film, and how she began traveling the country fighting demons and ghosts for other families. Elise is a passionate and eccentric heroine who expels a lot of her energy to help those that need to destroy supernatural forces threatening to ruin their lives, and she’s committed to it right in to death, where she’s more a guardian spirit helping her sidekicks “Specs” and Tucker, rather than embracing what paradise awaits her in the after life. She’s ready to take on anything, even though she’s almost always facing a force more powerful than she can comprehend.

Stevie Wayne
The Fog

thefog-steviewayne“Something came out of the fog and tried to destroy us. In one moment, it vanished. But if this has been anything but a nightmare, and if we don’t wake up to find ourselves safe in our beds, it could come again. To the ships at sea who can hear my voice, look across the water, into the darkness. Look for the fog.” Stevie Wayne is the gorgeous DJ of the town of Antonio Bay who operates out of a light house and broadcasts her show during the night. She’s typically the sultry voice that most sailors and town folks hear while in bars and at home. But when the supernatural fog rolls in to town, and the undead souls of the lepers that were cheated out of their gold by the descendents of the seaside town begin wreaking havoc, Stevie becomes the savior for folks struggling to look for a place to hide. What’s worse is that Stevie is stuck in the light house and risks life and limb to help the people of the town find safety all the while she fights to live and hopes her son is also safe and hidden from the dreaded fog.

 Lorraine Warren
The Conjuring Series

lorraine-warrenThe fictional version of Lorraine Warren is a valiant heroine facing her own personal demons who decides to help families and people being terrorized by spirits and apparitions. When we first see her and her husband Ed on screen, they’re helping a pair of roommates, both of whom are being terrorized by their doll Annabelle. She’s a horrific doll with wide eyes who has been making the pair of girls’ lives a living hell. We then enter in to their epic fight against evil as they struggle to battle the ghost of a massive house terrorizing a large family. The Warrens may very well be the first horror characters with their own cinematic universe, and Lorraine Warren is a noble woman with a great power who fights evil no matter what kind of monster rears its head toward her and her husband. Plus to keep such evil artifacts only inches from where you live is ballsy.

 Margaret “Maggie” Burroughs aka Katherine Anne Krueger
Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare

freddys-deadIt’s not a surprise that the son of a thousand maniacs grew up to be a pretty violent man himself. And when he wasn’t raping and murdering kids, he doted over his daughter and proceeded in murdering her mother. After years repressing her memories of the violent childhood she lived, Maggie Burroughs grew up to be a counselor for mentally distraught teenagers. When Freddy Krueger breaks the barrier from Elm Street and begins terrorizing a new brood of teens, Maggie realizes she’s the offspring of the vicious dream demon and is pretty much the only force of good that can stop his reign of terror once and for all. She’s a tough and relentless heroine who has to fight her own personal demons that happen to have manifested in to the ultimate dream demon.

 Kristen Parker
A Nightmare on Elm Street: Dream Warriors, A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Master

kristen-parkerKristen is the key to the Dream Warriors in the “Nightmare” movie series and ends up becoming just as important as Nancy. Arguably, she’s even more important as her mental illness allows her to gain an insight in to Freddy’s dreamscape. She also discovers the power to pull people in to her dreams, providing her with allies that can also wield their own individual dream powers. In “Dream Warriors” she’s pretty much the central character who helps team up against Krueger and brings him down once and for all with her friends and fellow inmates. It’s a shame “The Dream Master” doesn’t entirely develop her with more depth and complexity, as she’s more of a plot device. That said, she does give Alice her dream powers, allowing her to battle Freddy as best as she can.

Regina and Samantha
Night of the Comet

night-of-the-cometRegina and Samantha are pretty ballsy post-apocalyptic warriors. Considering they had the luck of being in doors during a massive meteor shower that turned most of the world’s humanity in to dust clouds, they also go toe to toe with the elements, alienation, and those nasty flesh eating zombies that are also roaming around. Don’t you hate when that happens. Despite being cautious of the dangerous zombies roaming around and lurking the shadows, they still have enough sense to retreat to the local radio station and attempt to attract other survivors. You definitely want to get on their good sides during the end of the world. Considering I’m terrified of zombies, I’d probably stick close to them like white on rice.