The horror genre is teeming with strong and powerful women who aren’t afraid to face off with whatever threat is thrown at them and come out on top. The genre is famous for the concept of a final girl, who takes on the killer or creature who is after them and kicks their ass like it’s no big deal. Horror movies show that being a woman doesn’t make you inherently weak and that there’s plenty of ways to outsmart the villain in the film’s finale that aren’t tied to being a virgin or avoiding alcohol.
As it’s Women in Horror Month, it’s the perfect time to celebrate some of the most kickass women in horror, who won’t go down without a fight, and prove that no threat is too scary!
10. Anna – Anna and the Apocalypse (2017)
Anna is a regular high school student who has dreams of leaving her hometown and traveling. While her dad is against her plans, everything gets thrown out the window anyway when a zombie apocalypse strikes, leaving Anna and her friends fighting for their lives. Anna and the group need to make their way across town, encountering various zombies and other survivors as they go, to try to make it to the high school to rescue Anna’s dad. Anna arms herself with a giant candy cane from a Christmas display and fights for her life while many of her friends drop around her.
Anna’s final showdown is against the vindictive assistant headteacher, Mr Savage, who is nasty to all the students and tries to take control of the school by weaponizing the zombies. Anna shows that she’s not to be messed with by fighting her way through a slew of zombies and making sure Mr Savage gets the gut-pulling death he deserves.
9. Dawn – Teeth (2007)
Dawn is a shy high school student who is also a spokesperson for a Christian abstinence group. While she seems mostly happy in her life she is confused by her growing feelings for fellow group member Tobey and the fact she has teeth in her vagina.
Dawn’s power comes from within when she realizes she doesn’t need to fear her burgeoning sexuality or her extra set of teeth. In fact, utilizing them both proves extremely beneficial to her, as she ends up fighting off a line of increasingly creepy men. It also allows Dawn to finally remove her toxic stepbrother from her life by giving him what he thinks he’s always wanted, before proving to him how wrong he really was.
8. Crystal – The Hunt (2020)
The Hunt follows a group of captives who are taken hostages by some wealthy friends and have to survive to prevent themselves from being killed for sport. Crystal is one of the victims, however, her captures don’t realize they’ve kidnapped a former army vet who knows her way around a weapon or two.
While most of the other captives are picked off very quickly, Crystal constantly outsmarts her captives and manages to figure out what’s going on along the way. Even after all she’s been through, Crystal still manages to hold her own against the mastermind of the hunters, Athena, when they meet up for the ultimate final fight.
7. Erin – You’re Next (2011)
Much like Crystal, Erin from You’re Next is far more than she seems when her new boyfriend invites her to his family home for the weekend to celebrate his parents’ wedding anniversary. However, not long after everyone has arrived, three animal-masked killers turn up and start picking off the family members one by one.
It seems like the family isn’t going to be much of a struggle for the killers to get rid of, however, it turns out Erin grew up on a survivalist compound. Not only is she great at fighting, but she also knows how to make use of everyday objects around her to create great defense weapons. The killers soon realize the massive mistake they’ve made in assuming Erin was an easy target as she starts turning the tables in her favor.
6. Grace – Ready or Not (2019)
Meeting a whole family of in-laws on your wedding day is probably nobody’s idea of a good time, but Grace takes it like a champ because of how much she loves her new husband, Alex. She also finds out she has to play a game on her wedding night in order to be inducted into the family. Unfortunately for Grace, the game happens to be a deadly game of hide and seek.
Grace initially takes the whole thing as a joke but quickly realizes her in-laws are serious and she has to fight for her life until the morning. With a comfier shoe change courtesy of Alex, Grace adapts pretty well to the situation, arming herself wherever possible and fighting off family members, including super-annoying children, with ease.
5. Mia – Evil Dead (2013)
Mia overcomes so much in Evil Dead that it’s impossible not to consider her one of the greatest final girls of all time. Mia asks her friends and brother to accompany her to a remote family cabin to help her beat her drug addiction cold turkey. However, the woods have other ideas, and soon start bombarding Mia with terrifying visions, causing her friends to believe she’s experiencing extreme withdrawal.
Mia is the first to be overtaken by the evil force in the woods, however, her brother David manages to save her soul from Hell shortly before dying himself. This causes the Abomination to rise to reclaim Mia’s soul. Mere seconds after returning from Hell, Mia is fighting for her life and pulling off her hand to escape the Abomination. She springs into action amazingly fast, showing how hard she’s willing to fight for the life she’s almost lost to her drug addiction multiple times.
4. The Woman – The Woman (2011)
The Woman tells the story of The Woman, a feral woman who lives in the woods and is the last member of her violent clan. When local lawyer Chris Cleek decides it’s his duty to “help” The Woman, he kidnaps her and locks her up in his cellar, making his family help him take care of her.
The Woman spends most of the movie as a captive, trying to convince the family to free her. However, when daughter Peggy finally lets The Woman loose, she gets to take her bloody revenge on all the family members who have mistreated her. She is swift and direct in her justice, showing exactly what she is capable of, and how lucky Chris was to survive capturing her in the first place.
3. Tree – Happy Death Day (2017)
Surviving a horror movie is often about coming to terms with what is happening to you very quickly and working hard to get out of your terrible situation. And that’s exactly what Tree in Happy Death Day does when she finds herself stuck in a time loop that always ends with her getting murdered.
Tree figures out what is going on pretty quickly, and knows that she needs to figure out who is trying to kill her to break the loop. Between having a little fun with the loop by doing things like streaking, Tree is willing to die over and over again, sometimes even killing herself, to reset the time loop and bring her killer to justice.
2. Nancy – A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Nancy ranks so highly among my favorite horror women because she does not mess about when it comes to defeating Freddy. While her friends are also experiencing nightmares, Nancy does all the legwork when it comes to figuring out who Freddy is. She also has to execute her plan pretty much solo when her mother, father, and boyfriend prove quite useless and more of a hindrance to her than anything.
Nancy’s plan to boobytrap the house so she will have the upper hand when she pulls Freddy through from the dream world is sheer perfection. It’s the first time Freddy hasn’t been in complete control and shows that Nancy is not someone to be messed with, gray hairstreak and all.
1. Jen – Revenge (2017)
What starts as a romantic weekend away with her boyfriend quickly turns into a nightmare for Jen when she is assaulted and thrown off a cliff to her death by her lover and his two friends. Impaled on a tree and losing a horrendous amount of blood, it seems Jen is done for. However, she pulls the best comeback of all time, freeing herself from the tree and cauterizing her wound with a heated beer can.
Jen then sets out to get her revenge on the three men, and it does not disappoint. Jen never speaks a word after she’s impaled, but she shows her strength through her quick-thinking, sneaky, and ability to take the men by surprise. They completely underestimated Jen when they pushed her off that cliff, and she makes them pay for their mistake in blood. So much blood.
Who is your favourite Kickass Female Character in Horror? Share your picks with us over on Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, and in the official Nightmare on Film Street Discord. Not a social media fan? Get more horror delivered straight to your inbox by joining the Neighbourhood Watch Newsletter.