Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Female Fiends in Literature

by Deb Baker (aka Hannah Reed)
A lot of our most evil villains are men - Mr. Hyde, Norman Bates, Hannibal Lecter, Count Dracula, Voldemort, Darth Vader, the creepy list goes on and on.

But women have had great moments, too. Fairy tales in particular like to feature scary women - Cruella de Vil, The witch in Snow White, the Queen of Hearts. 

The Wicked Witch of the West scared me silly as a kid. I wasn't too fond of the white witch in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, either.

And remember Mrs. Danvers in Rebecca, how she almost caused the poor girl to commit suicide?

But Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (pictured above) really terrified me. So did Annie Wilkes in Misery.

How about Professor Umbridge? Isn't she a piece of work?

Which female villains make your skin crawl?

13 comments:

An'gel said...

I seriously hate Professor Umbridge!.

Shel said...

Ok, Prof. Umbridge was just creepy. But my all time most impressive female villain has to be Anjelica Huston in The Witches (Roald Dahl). She "impressed" my daughter so much that to this day (and the girl is 21 now), she won't watch Anjelica Huston in anything. And dare I ask what brought it up? (Hoping it's a new villainess in one of your books!)

Maggie Sefton said...

Definitely a toss-up between Nurse Rached & Prof. Umbridge. Ugh!

Kuzlin said...

I think of Bette Davis in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane! Was a child then when I saw that movie and she gave me the creeps!

Erika Chase said...

How about the nurse (played by Cathy Bates) in Misery? Yikes!

Anonymous said...

I always thought Joan Crawford was the true villian in that movie. Bette Davis' character was mentally ill, stuck in time and unable to be 'better.' Crawford's character manipulated events.

~ Babs ~ said...

I would have to go with Cathy Bates in Misery myself. She was just creepy.

But Prof Umbridge was just plan out creepy too.

Aryn said...

I agree with Babs - Annie Wilkes in Misery is scary, scary.

signlady217 said...

Professor Umbridge is just plain evil--treating children like that, even in fiction, really gets me hot under the collar! (I know that type of character was needed for the story, but still!)

Heather Webber said...

Kathy Bates in Misery, definitely! YIKES!

I can't think of too many in the books I read. Hmmm.

Anonymous said...

I cannot remember her name, but the evil wife in "Leave Her to Heaven." She is the villain of all villains.

Harbingerdc said...

I cannot remember the character's name, but she was played by Charlize Theron in Monster.
She chilled me to the bone.

Shushan said...

Prof Umbridge is seriously creepy, and possibly as evil as Jadis, the White Witch from Narnia, though not nearly as powerful.

They have a lot of competition to be the worst bottom feeder. Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty, The original Wicked Witch from the Wizard of Oz, Jezebel from the old movie, and the Evil Stepmother from Cinderella (Disney and Maguire versions) were all pretty rough dames! How about Cruella De Vil from 101 Dalmatians, Snow White's evil Stepmother, Azula of The Last Airbender series, Yzma, Ursula the Sea Witch, or Morgan LaFey? They all did some hefty damage to the heroes/heroines.

& Milady De Winter from the Musketeers books & movies was classically evil. Actually, thinking about it, Mrs Danvers wasn't too sweet to the other Mrs De Winter in Rebecca. Maybe they cancel each other out. ;)

Susan M