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Top 10 Stephen King Movie Heroines

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Script written by Trevor Fonvergne These are the queens of Stephen King’s horror universe! We;ve included Amber Mendez from The Running Man, Wendy Torrance from The Shining, Jane Coslaw from Silver Bullet, Fran Goldsmith from The Stand, Donna Trenton from Cujo, Carrie White from Carrie and more!
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Top 10 Stephen King Movie Heroines



The King of horror has created some fantastic scream queens. Welcome to MsMojo and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Stephen King Movie Heroines.

For this list, we’re looking at female protagonists in adaptations of Stephen King novels and short stories. We won’t be considering characters from works that have yet to be adapted or original screenplays.



#10: Amber Mendez


“The Running Man” (1987)


Amber begins as a composer for ICS, a totalitarian conglomerate that broadcasts “The Running Man,” in which convicted criminals run for their lives from dangerous “stalkers.” As she begins to reveal the truth of her workplace, she joins forces with Ben to stop the network’s their evil ways. The two make a badass duo, taking down the powerful corporation despite all odds. Amber does not appear in the novel, and seems to be most closely based off of a character named Amelia Williams – who he also meets when he tries to take her hostage. All the same, Amber displays intelligence and fighting skills in the epic final act, and we couldn’t leave her out.



#9: Dolores Claiborne

“Dolores Claiborne” (1995)




Veteran actress Kathy Bates is no stranger to Stephen King adaptations, having scored an Oscar for her villainous performance in “Misery.” However, she takes on a more heroic role here, portraying a woman accused of murdering both her elderly client and her late husband twenty years earlier. Focusing on both these mysteries and the fraught relationship between Dolores and her daughter, she anchors this tense whodunit. Deftly portraying the complexity of a woman whom death seems to follow everywhere, Bates is at the top of her game. In fact, she would later state that this was her favourite performance ever, and it’s not hard to understand why.



#8: Jane Coslaw

“Silver Bullet” (1985)




This lesser-known adaptation, based on “The Cycle of the Werewolf” novella, sees Jane and her wheelchair-bound younger brother, Marty, dealing with a werewolf that’s been terrorizing their town. Though she begins resentful of her brother, she steps up in the film’s second half to keep him safe and uncover the truth behind the murderous creature. She anchors the film by narrating it in the future and showing the most character development, coming to see her brother as family rather than a burden.



#7: Wendy Torrance

“The Shining” (1980) & “The Shining” (1997)




There’s no doubt that Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of “The Shining” is a horror classic. However, King has spoken out about how it misrepresented Wendy’s character, and we can’t help but agree. This was rectified in the 1997 miniseries adaptation, which shows Wendy as the strong maternal figure present in the novel. Trapped in an unhappy marriage, she is forced to watch as her husband Jack begins to lose his mind thanks to the supernatural presences at the Overlook Hotel. In the face of unspeakably personal horror, her bravery contributes to the survival of herself and her son, Danny.



#6: Frannie Goldsmith

“The Stand” (1994)



Frannie is a young college student with family troubles and an unplanned pregnancy...and that’s all before the outbreak of a superflu that takes out the majority of society. She is forced to go through the death of her family and the apparent end of the world, which is more than any person should have to deal with, but she remains resolute throughout. Mother Abagail, an elderly psychic woman who aids the survivors, is yet another marvelous female character, but Fran’s story manages to be both personal and horrific as she fights for her life in a new and treacherous world.



#5: Donna Trenton

“Cujo” (1983)




Who doesn’t love dogs? Well, after the events of “Cujo,” Donna Trenton probably isn’t too fond of them. In a perfect storm of terror, she and her son, Tad, become trapped in her broken down car as Cujo, a Saint Bernard infected with rabies, stalks them from the outside. She risks her life multiple times to save herself and her son, sustaining major injuries from the canine. When push comes to shove, though, her maternal instinct helps her kill the beast and save her son, despite its clear physical advantages. It just goes to show that King has an aptitude for creating courageous mother figures.



#4: Beverly “Bev” Marsh

“It” (1990) & “It” (2017)




Beverly is the only girl in the Losers’ Club, and – along with her friends – faces the shape-shifting cosmic entity known as Pennywise. She also proves her strength when she faces her violent father, and later an abusive husband. The bond she shares with her friends, as well as her sharp shooting, are vital in the group’s survival. Just as complex, brave, and loyal as her counterparts, she never fades into the background and is always standing strong on her own.



#3: Charlene “Charlie” McGee

“Firestarter” (1984)




Before “Stranger Things” had Eleven, Stephen King created Charlie, a young girl with a variety of powers, primarily that of igniting fires. After the murder of her mother, she and her father begin to be pursued by a mysterious government organization known as the Shop, which wants to weaponize her power. Throughout the film her powers grow, and she proves how dangerous a little girl can really be. Still, as she faces incredible trauma, she learns to control her powers and be a force for good. It’s also safe to say that without Charlie, we wouldn’t have our new favourite telepath.



#2: Jessie Burlingame

“Gerald’s Game” (2017)




King’s wide array of tales aren’t limited to haunted hotels and scary clowns: some of his best stories find horror everyday situations. Jessie and Gerald try to spice up their sex life with a trip to a vacation house and some handcuffs, but things go awry when Gerald drops dead, leaving Jessie handcuffed to a bedpost. Trapped, she faces the demons of her past as well as the horrific reality of her present situation. Despite the film taking place mostly in one bedroom, it spins a character-driven story of an complex woman, aided by Carla Gugino’s impeccable performance.



#1: Carrie White

“Carrie” (1976) & “Carrie” (2013)




The protagonist of Stephen King’s first published novel has stood the test of time as one of horror’s most iconic heroes...who may not actually be a hero, depending on how you look at her. After a lifetime of abuse from her religious fanatic of a mother and school bullying, this telekinetic teen is pushed over the edge by a cruel prank, which results in one of horror’s most enduring scenes. Another central character, Sue Snell, also makes a phenomenal heroine, but Carrie’s name is synonymous with the work of this horror master. King created Carrie as a response to those who challenged him to write about women, and as this list shows, she was just the beginning of an excellent catalogue of female characters.
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