Top 10 Badass Horror Movie Heroines

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
Everyone loves a good horror heroine! Our list of female heroes in horror movies runs the gamut from classic films like “Psycho” (1960), to indie chillers such as “It Follows” (2014), and long-running franchises like “Halloween” (1978-). Who's YOUR favorite heroine in horror? Let us know in the comments!

Top 10 Badass Horror Movie Heroines

What’s a good horror flick without a heroine to root for? Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 Badass horror movie heroines. These characters are sure to get you excited to watch Haley kick some ass in Crawl. Check out the trailer at the end of the video to see her in action!

For this list, we’ll be looking at the women in horror films that fight on the side of good. They don’t need to survive the film in question, though. With that in mind, a SPOILER ALERT is probably called for.

#10: Theresa ‘Tree’ Gelbman

“Happy Death Day” franchise (2017-)

Dubbed the “coolest girl in horror” by Style Island, Tree Gelbman is a university student and sorority girl who relives the day before her death over and over until she discovers the identity of her murderer. We know what you’re thinking: “Happy Death Day” sounds like “Groundhog Day,” but with a decidedly morbid twist. Of course, the black comedy slasher is all that but also much more, thanks to Jessica Rothe’s performance as Tree. Of course, like most of horror’s final girls, she’s badass; but she also changes as a person throughout both films, learning lessons through the repeated experiences she goes through and subsequently sharing them with others in the process.

#9: Lila Crane

“Psycho” (1960)

When Marion Crane steals forty thousand dollars from the bank she works at, her attempt to get out of dodge amounts to her untimely demise. Determined to find out what happened to her sister, Lila is led to the Bates Motel. Lila not only manages to discover Marion’s fate and have her sister’s killer arrested, but she also keeps us invested when the film’s supposed star dies early on. As shocking as that shower scene was, Lila’s discovery of Mrs. Bates’ body chills us to the core just as much.

#8: Jaimie ‘Jay’ Height

“It Follows” (2014)

Featuring both supernatural and psychological elements, this surprise horror hit arguably serves as a lesson about the dangers of sexually transmitted infections. At its core is the teenaged Jay, who’s chased by an entity after having intercourse with her boyfriend Hugh. Said entity may take the form of anyone and will try to kill you unless you have sex with someone else, who will then become the entity’s new target. Starting off as a relatively timid, young woman, Maika Monroe’s Jay demonstrates determination throughout the film, even learning to shoot a revolver. Jay may be far from perfect, but her sense of self-preservation and the way she works with her friends, make her a relatable and captivating heroine of modern horror.

#7: Rachel Keller

“The Ring” franchise (2002-05)

A horror film this scary needs a hero you can empathize with and Rachel is just that. A mother who already dotes on her son, this single parent encounters troubles in the form of death, psychosis and… a VHS tape. Having unwittingly watched the cursed McGuffin, Rachel must work to solve the mystery of the haunted tape before her 7 days are up. As the days tick by, not only must Rachel work fast to save her own life, but soon that of her son’s as well, pushing her to the limits of her resourcefulness and sanity. Thankfully, Naomi Watts plays this multifaceted and increasingly desperate character with the complexity required to pull it off. And that was just the first time around.

#6: Mia Allen

“Evil Dead” (2013)

When “Evil Dead” was remade/rebooted for a new generation, it was very clear that recasting Ash was a thankless job. So the filmmakers crafted Mia, a new character to serve as the protagonist. An addict who chooses what should be a peaceful cabin retreat to go cold turkey, Mia has much worse things to contend with than mere withdrawal. When a demon begins possessing her and her friends with tongue splitting, blood curdling results, she summons her inner strength and becomes the only character to survive the film. Thus, she confronts her inner demons and actual demons all at once.

#5: Dana Polk

“The Cabin in the Woods” (2012)

What is it with horror movies and virginity? “The Cabin in the Woods” may not be the only horror film to poke fun at the genre’s tropes, but it does it with style as our designated “virgin” serves as the principle heroine. As one member of a group of college students who are tapped to die to ensure the world’s continued existence, Dana is unwilling to play along and all hell breaks loose. Though some may argue that sacrificing yourself is the heroic route, we think that rebelling against a system of torture and death earned her place here.

#4: Laurie Strode

“Halloween” franchise (1978-)

In the history of cinema, there have only been a handful of true scream queens. With her turn in this series of films, Jamie Lee Curtis ensured her inclusion on that list – in fact, she’s practically a founder member. The biological sister of the murderous madman Michael Myers, Laurie Strode is a paragon of virtue standing in defiance of a force of death and destruction. We can only assume that a fragment of what makes her brother such a lethal adversary lives inside of her, allowing Laurie to survive several run-ins with such a savage determination - with her being strong enough to face him even 40 years after his original killing spree.

#3: Nancy Thompson

“A Nightmare on Elm Street” franchise (1984-94)

When Wes craven created Freddy Krueger, one of film’s scariest serial killers was born. And every scary serial killer needs a brave heroine to terrorize. Despite her young age, Nancy uses her intelligence and bravery to seemingly defeat Freddy at his own game, which unfortunately is not always standard for the genre. An important enough figure in the series’ lore that Heather Langenkamp was even tapped to play herself in a meta sequel of sorts, Nancy set the standard for anyone hoping to defy Freddy’s will. She’s the horror heroine of our dreams.

#2: Sidney Prescott

“Scream” franchise (1996-2011)

Created by Kevin Williamson for Wes Craven’s “Scream” series, Sidney again and again finds herself in the crosshairs of the Ghostface killer, but keeps her wits about her, discovers their identity and survives. This is made all the more impressive given the genre-obsessed nature of her assailants, who aren’t likely to fall for the typical scary movie traps that beat so many villains. Consistently tormented by people she’s close to, Sidney outmanoeuvres them all while remaining a kind-hearted person, which may be her most courageous act.

Before we reveal our top pick, just a reminder that if you love the characters on this list, be sure to check out Crawl, where Haley fights off alligators and weathers a deadly storm to save her father!

#1: Ellen Ripley

“Alien” franchise (1979-)

For any of you that think the “Alien” franchise doesn’t count as a horror series, we defy you to watch these films and not be terrified beyond belief. Beginning as a warrant officer, Ellen Ripley becomes a total badass in her own right through her encounters with the eponymous creature. Whether it’s the heart stopping tension of the first film, the high-octane action of the second film, or the insanity of the third and fourth, Ripley is at the heart of it all. Dispatching Xenomorphs left and right, she stands toe to toe with an Alien Queen and comes out on top. If that doesn’t ensure her place atop this list, nothing will


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