Bridget McManus: My pick is Sarah Polley‘s character, Ana, in Dawn of the Dead. She kicked so much ass in that film. In 30 seconds, she killed a random little girl and her own husband.
And don’t forgot Shelley Duvall in The Shining. A knife and a bath robe — so rad!
Grace Chu: Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling in Silence of the Lambs, because it’s Jodie Foster.
Karman Kregloe: One of my favorite horror hotties isn’t exactly a heroine. She’s more like one of the original Mean Girls. Nancy Allen in Carrie (1976) was a high school nightmare, the hot chick who tormented poor, telekenetic Carrie White. In real life, Allen does good deeds (she’s the program director for the WeSpark Cancer Center) so maybe she’s a heroine after all.
My favorite "scary" movies are creature features, probably because they aren’t really scary (unless you’re talking about the acting, writing or production values). I would like to say that Peta Wilson in Malibu Shark Attack (2009) is my favorite heroine, but the movie is just too terrible to justify it. I guess my ultimate female horror heroine is the unnamed female shark in Jaws (1975). In the book on which the film was based, the killer shark was specifically identified as female. In the movie, the mechanical shark was nicknamed "Bruce" by the cast and crew. But based on her terrifying presence, her hunting prowess, her taste for vengeance and her fondness for the flavors of Amity Island (which bears a striking resemblance to P-town), I’m sticking with female, all the way.
The Linster: I will stick with a classic: Janet Leigh as Marion Crane in Psycho. That movie was brilliantly shot and scary as s–t. I haven’t used an opaque shower curtain since — and I read that Janet Leigh never took a shower again after filming Psycho.
What nobody remembers about Marion is that the reason she ended up in that shower is because she stole $40,000 from her boss and was on the lam. She wasn’t all sweet and innocent — but she sure was sexy.
By the way, Psycho was released in 1960 — 50 years ago — and it’s still scarier than any movie I’ve ever seen.
Jamie Murnane: The older I get, the more freaked out I am by horror movies. The Scream trilogy came out when I was in high school though, and I wasn’t scared then, thanks to Neve Campbell as Sidney Prescott. I loved Campbell since Party of Five, and let’s be honest, probably was way more into her in Scream 3, after seeing Wild Things.
While, these days, I pretty much avoid anything scarier than Criminal Minds, my longtime crush on Campbell might just get me to suck it up and watch the upcoming fourth installment of the Wes Craven film. So I’ll stop being a wuss next Halloween. Maybe.