I had very strict criteria for this list. The female villains had to have no hint of sympathetic motive for their actions (so anyone who commits evil for revenge like Mrs Voorhees was out), and they couldn’t be psychologically disturbed to the extent that they were not aware of reality (like Carole Ledoux in Repulsion). The following women are just bad because they want to be.
- Angel Blake (Blood on Satan’s Claw)
Angel quickly transforms from disobedient teenager into the leader of a deadly band of teenage devil worshippers after a satanic relic appears in a nearby field
2. Cleopatra (Freaks)
Cruel and greedy, Cleo marries Hans for his money before attempting to poison him. Fortunately for Hans, his friends are there to avenge him.
3. Mother (Onibaba)
Fighting for survival with her daugher-in-law in war-torn Japan, Mother has devised a trick of luring exhausted soldiers to their death in order to rob them. And she would go to any length to keep her widowed daughter-in-law by her side.
4. The Witch (Viy)
In this wonderflly surreal film, a priest is tormented by a beautiful witch who wages an increasingly deadly infernal attack on him during his nightly vigils in the church which holds her presumably dead body.
5. Minnie Castevet (Rosemary’s Baby)
She is especially awful because she seems so harmless. Rosemary assumes that Minnie is just an annoying new neighbour, unaware that she is being groomed as the mother of the antichrist. The way she infiltrates every part of Rosemary’s life is terrifying.
6. Bathsheba (The Conjuring)
The demonic ghost of a witch who haunts the Perron family after murdering her own baby and then killing herself on their property. A whole world of nope.
7. Rhoda Penmark (The Bad Seed)
Like Minnie Castevet, Rhoda is scary because she looks so innocent. Nobody suspects that the sweet, pigtailed little girl is actually a murderous psychopath until it is far too late.
8. Lady Sylvia Marsh (The Lair of the White Worm)
And ancient snake goddess who murders her way through a small English town while attempting to raise a monstrous serpent, all while impeccably dressed.
9. Lady Van Tassel (Sleepy Hollow)
The witch responsible for raising the infamous horseman, Lady Van Tassel is completely unashamed in her wickedness.
10. Lola (The Loved Ones)
A disturbing relationship with her equally psychotic father and an intense aversion to rejection, Lola is the prom date from hell.