What makes a great horror movie heroine? Is it necessary they be the screaming female character cowering in fear? Not necessarily. In fact, we think it’s a little more fun to be in on the bloody business ourselves. (On screen only, of course.)
Queer women frequently pop up in scary flicks, whether they are playing to tropes (obsessive stalker types, lesbian vampires) or a woman who is trying to outwit and outrun something or someone. We put together this list of 15 of our favorite lesbian and bisexual characters who play the range. Some are villainous, some are vigilantes, and some end up victims. But what we enjoy about all of them is their bad assery, even if we’d never want to meet some of them in a dark alley.
May Dove Canady (May)
A loner who has been forced to overcome her awkwardness and lazy eye, May (Angela Bettis) finds comfort in anyone who will show her affection, and that includes her lesbian co-worker Polly (Anna Faris). But when Polly breaks things off, May murders her now ex-girlfriend on Halloween night, and fashions a new friend of her own–out of pieces of the people she’s killed. We’re inspired by her creativity.
Jennifer Check (Jennifer’s Body)
The protagonist of Diablo Cody‘s 2009 black comedy horror film is a cheerleader-turned-killer when an indie band called Low Shoulder use her to perform a virgin sacrifice as part of a satanic ritual. Jennifer (played by out bisexual actress Megan Fox) exacts revenge on the boys at her high school, and shares a brief but memorable moment with her best friend, Needy (Amanda Seyfried) when they play boyfriend/girlfriend “like they used to.” Jennifer’s sense of humor makes her horrifying crimes somewhat hilarious, and, to be honest, some of her victims deserved their fates.
Gaby Hoffmann plays a pregnant mother who loses her toddler daughter after moving into a new Brooklyn brownstone with her partner, June (Ingrid Jungermann). Leah begins to realize that the tragedy that befell her, along with the bizarre things that have continued to happen since, are not coincidental, but, instead, stem from what she thought was her dream home. Gaby’s performance in this lesbian retelling of Rosemary’s Baby is perfectly creepy and unhinged, making Leah’s story frightfully fun to follow.
Marie (Haute Tension)
Marie joins her best friend, Alex, on a trip to her parents’ farm house in the country, but things turn sour as soon as night falls and a deranged truck driver breaks in to attack them all. In an unexpected twist, it turns out that Marie has imagined the man altogether, and is the very villain she’s been attempting to save Alex from. It’s a gory, grotesque and very gay premise for a terrifying French film, and Cécile de France is undeniably a total babe, even when she’s wielding a chainsaw.
Miriam Blaylock (The Hunger)
Catherine Deneuve is both a classic beauty and ageless vampire in this 1983 film from Tony Scott. Her lovers are played by David Bowie and Susan Sarandon, the latter part of a Sapphic and erotic sex scene set to an operatic aria. But Miriam is ultimately too selfish for her own good, and her lady love is the cause of her demise. Still, while she was alive, she lived deliciously well.
A lesbian fresh out of a break-up is raped by a man at a party and becomes infected with a deadly disease. The only way to rid of it is to pass it on (vaginally, of course), and Samantha (Najarra Townsend) spends most of the film battling herself on if she can go through with it. But as her condition worsens, she’s forced into an ultimatum, and her ex-girlfriend is collateral damage.
Maddy (All Cheerleaders Die)
Lucy McKee (the director of May) does it again with a female-led horror film about deadly cheerleaders. The super queer-film follows out actress Caitlyn Stasey as Maddy, a woman with revenge on her mind, as she takes on her ex-girlfriend, Leena (Sianoa Smit-McPhee), who has magical powers that revives Maddy from the dead. A queer final girl we can literally cheer for!
Ernessa Bloch (The Moth Diaries)
Mary Harron‘s 2011 offering had Lily Cole playing the vampiric new girl at boarding school. Upon Ernessa’s arrival, everything begins to go wrong–like, people-turning-up-dead wrong. But Lucie is infatuated with Ernessa, and the feeling is mutual. This gothic tale is a twisted school girl fantasy gone wrong, and the casting is spot on.
Annabel (Soul Survivors)
Anyone who has ever watched Buffy or Bring it On has dreamt of seeing Eliza Dushku kissing another woman, and Soul Survivors is that opportunity. Annabel (Eliza) and friends are being hunted by Deathmask and Hideous Dancer, but she still has time to flirt with everyone and make out with Raven (Angela Featherstone) at a club. Sadly, this seems to be part of her undoing, as she doesn’t make it through the rest of the night.
Louise (We Are The Night)
Louise (Nina Hoss) is the Head Vampire in Charge of a gaggle of fang-filled women, and she wears them well. When she’s not biting Lena (Karoline Herfurth), she’s killing any one (especially dudes) who get in her way. But because she’s, you know, evil, her gal pal ends up sacrificing her in the sun. Them’s the breaks!
Dr. Dakota Block (Grindhouse/Planet Terror)
An anesthesiologist who has a husband and a mistress, Dr. Black (Marley Shelton) uses her tools to put her enemies to rest. When her husband tries to kill her for her affair with Tammy (Fergie), she manages to escape with Cherry (Rose McGowan) and they kill rapists and zombies with Cherry’s newly fastened grenade-launcher leg. We like to think they lived happily ever after.
Alex (Room of Death)
Melanie Laurent is a cop on the case of a kidnapped girl, and all roads lead to Alex and Annabelle (Laurence Côte and Céline Sallette). The couple are obsessive murders and Alex is ridiculously chilling with her shaved head, trench coat and taxidermy-infatuated intensity.
Carmilla (The Blood Spattered Bride)
The ultimate seductress, Carmilla (Alexandra Bastedo) is the most famous lesbian vampire of all time. In this 1972 Spanish version of her story, she’s going after newlywed Susan (Maribel Martín). Once Carmilla has a taste of Susan’s blood, the two women go after Susan’s husband, but he ends up killing them both in their sleep. It was good while it lasted, ladies!
Rebecca (The Roommate)
Leighton Meester’s Rebecca would do anything for Sara (Minka KellyO in this Single White Female remake, and that includes going to a lesbian bar and coming onto Irene (Danneel Harris) in order to use her as a helpful prop. Leighton is the ultimate Sapphic stalker, and even kills a kitten for her cause. That bitch!
Heather Graham has played queer so many times on screen, it would be shocking had she not been on this list. In Compulsion, Amy (Heather) is certifiably crazy as a chef who finds that her childhood idol, Saffron(Carrie-Anne Moss), is now her neighbor. Their relationship turns sexual, and then it turns deadly. Let’s just say that Amy utilizes her knife wielding skills to cook up something quite unappealing.