Fear in February: Women in horror month, the film files – Part One

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3 minutes

February; the month of romance.

Where young love blossoms over secret messages, where sweethearts grow closer over the exchange of overpriced stuffed bears and cheap chocolate, where true love prevails through the medium of scrawled magical words written in goats’ blood under the full moon. 

I think that’s how it works anyway. 

But more importantly, it’s also Women in Horror month, which is a damn fine time to talk about and celebrate women in horror, across the genre and across the industry. Genuinely, I don’t need much of an excuse to do this, because some of these ladies are stunningly, ferociously awesome. 

And so today is the first instalment of my unofficial list of furiously fantastic fictional ladies from film and television. They kick ass, in varying degrees of sinister manners, and obviously are totally fantastic role models. Characters for every occasion; from pulling a sicky from school (see Regan), to work-based health and safety guidance (see Ellen Ripley). 

Without further ado… and with fair warning, clips might contain spoilers. 

Linda Blair as Regan in The Exorcist 

A classic horror film if ever there was one, I probably watch this at least once every year over the long winter months. It’s a bit like a horrific comfort blanket, with some additional demonic vomit thrown in for good measure. Blair’s portrayal of Regan, not to mention Mercedes McCambridge’s  fantastic demonic voice, make Regan my go-to exorcist girl (is that a thing? That probably shouldn’t be a thing). 

Naomie Harris as Selena in 28 Days Later 

Not only is this film pretty much up there as one of my favourite zombie films of all time (I’m calling it a zombie film, I don’t care about whether they’re technically undead or not, don’t @ me), but Selena is one baddass lady who I for one would absolutely not mess with. Harris plays her to perfection, and honestly, if we’re picking teams for the apocalypse, I’m wanting her on my side. But I’m wearing long sleeves so I can hide all those pesky bite marks, just in case. 

Sissy Spacek as Carrie in, well, Carrie 

Ok so this is a classic, right? You can’t get far into the history of horror films without coming across Carrie. Spacek is excellent as the titular heroine, bringing back all those feelings of how much fun school was. Oh yes, it was great. Loved it. Right. 

Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley from Alien/s/3/Resurrection 

Oh hello, I couldn’t do a list of my favourite females in horror without mentioning Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley. I have probably seen the Alien films a worrying amount of times – I tend to put them on to go to sleep to, regularly startling myself awake to the sounds of screaming over a dinner table. You just can’t get away from the fact that Ripley is one of the most awesome, take no prisoners, blow stuff up (it’s the only way to be sure, after all), women on film I’ve seen. I grew up on the Alien films, I can’t get enough of them, and one of my cats is called Ripley. She’s amazing.  (Ripley the kick ass alien nemesis, and also Ripley the cat).

There’s more to come, with so many excellent ladies gracing the horror scene in movies and TV. Tune in later in February for part two of my women in horror on film list. 

Tamara writes mainly dark, surreal tales with a touch of science fiction. Her novel Grind Spark was longlisted for the Bath Novel Award 2014.

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