The characters on this list aren’t necessarily considered “Final Girls” who are the last women alive in horror movies (particularly from slasher films) and who triumph over the killer trying to end their lives. Rather, these are the underrated female supporting characters from a variety of different horror movies who deserve their time in the spotlight, whether it’s because they survived their respective horror movie (or not in some cases), aided the film’s protagonist in some way, or simply stood out from the rest of the cast. Without further ado, and in no particular order of greatness, here are the female characters that deserve to be on more lists celebrating and highlighting the women of horror (although–if they were, they wouldn’t be on this list!)
Abra Stone- Doctor Sleep
Abra Stone, played by newcomer Kyliegh Curran, is a protagonist from Doctor Sleep—the 2019 sequel to The Shining—which features Ewan McGregor as Danny Torrance as he copes with the trauma he endured during the sinister events of the previous film. He begins receiving telepathic communications from Abra, a girl who’s shining is more powerful than his. Although initially reluctant, he teams up with her to track and defeat a cult of nomadic psychic vampires known as the True Knot, led by the seductive and murderous Rose the Hat. Curran gives a compelling performance as Abra, who’s naive and vulnerable in the beginning of the film, but who wields incredible powers and is motivated to use them for good. Despite her horrifying visions of Rose’s evil deeds, her kidnapping at the hands of the True Knot, and her experience at the Overlook Hotel, she’s determined to deliver justice to the child-murdering cult. She has a firm moral compass and overcomes her own fears and doubts to bravely fight evil, and she stands alongside Danny as the film’s hero.
Both Stephen King, who wrote the novel the book is adapted from, and the movie’s director, Mike Flanagan, have expressed interest in a sequel focusing on Abra, who I could easily see as the next film’s heroine as she develops her powers and perhaps seeks out others with similar abilities.
Anna Valerious- Van Helsing
Boasting a killer outfit and immediately commanding respect, Anna Valerious is a female action hero played by horror veteran Kate Beckinsale. Skilled with a blade and driven to save her brother and carry on her family’s mission of killing Dracula, Anna deserved better than the treatment she got at the hands of the film’s writing and of Van Helsing himself. She’s frustratingly fridged in the movie’s conclusion but she’s clearly intelligent and a capable warrior. She also has a great line when she kills one of Dracula’s brides after an extensive fight, saying what moviegoers often think towards any film’s monologuing villain, “I think if you’re going to kill someone, kill them. Don’t stand there talking about it.”
Anna had potential but fell victim to the lazy sexist trope of killing off a hero’s love interest. Despite being relegated to the role of damsel-in-distress, she fights back with passion and fury, and had she survived being killed by Hough Jackman’s Van Helsing in werewolf form, she would have gone on to be an independent and capable leader and a famed monster hunter.
Debie LeCure- Idle Hands
Idle Hands is an abysmal horror comedy film about a lazy stoner’s demonic possessed hand killing his friends and family (although the gore and special effects are fantastic) but one of the bright spots of the movie is Debie LeCure, played by the entertaining and badass Vivica A. Fox. Throughout the movie, she tracks serial murders and suspicious hands, and she reveals she descends from a long line of druidic priestesses sworn to fight a “certain evil force that possesses the laziest f**kup it can find.” Debie takes her duties very seriously; she’s headstrong and unafraid to rush straight into a fight, but it’s a fight she’s prepared to win.
During the final struggle against the evil hand, Debie perfectly throws a knife straight into the disgusting thing, pinning it against a zombified Seth Green. Not only does she survive the film, but she also gets it on punk obsessed Anton. Go get it girl. You deserve some after that killer move.
Kim Hammond- Prom Night
Prom Night is a 1980 Canadian slasher flick about a killer stalking and murdering a group of teens at their high school prom. Scream Queen Jamie Lee Curtis plays Kim Hammond, a young woman whose little sister Robin is accidentally killed by a group of kids during an ill-fated game of hide and seek. Kim is both a free spirit and a tragic figure as she mourns her sister’s death while celebrating her own role as Prom Queen. She’s good humored, sticks up for her friends, and while her life is never truly endangered (after all, it’s her fraternal twin brother Alex carrying out the kills) she rushes into action to save her boyfriend Nick when he’s attacked on the dance floor. She delivers the killing blowing to their attacker curtesy of an axe hit to the hit, and she tearfully holds her brother while he dies.
Kim was an incredibly likable and relatable protagonist, and Jamie Lee Curtis clearly had a blast playing the character during her prom night dance scene on the disco floor.
Casey- Basket Case
Basket Case is a 1982 low budget horror film (we’re talking a budget of $35,000) about a young man named Duane Bradley carrying around a basket containing his formerly conjoined deformed twin brother, Belial, as they seek vengeance against the doctors who separated the two without their consent. Basket Case is a grimy affair with lots of gore (in the uncut version, at least) and questionable acting, until Casey walks in with a smile and a wink. Casey is sex worker and one of Duane’s neighbors in the cheap hotel he’s staying at, and she saves the young man from getting ripped off. The two form a friendship, with Casey being the only bright spot in Duane’s otherwise grim life as he struggles to cope with his bitter and murderous brother. The film became a cult classic and spawned two sequels–both of which Casey appears in–but what’s noteworthy about the character is how well received she was by both fans and critics. Besides Belial, Casey is one of the most memorable characters from the film (“what’s in the basket?”). Beverly Bonner loved the character, and 30 years after the release of Basket Case, she developed a stage play called “Casey—30 Years Later!” which follows Casey as she runs a bar in the East Village and deals with the colorful cast of characters around her, including a basket box serial killer.
Originally, Casey was only going to appear in a few scenes throughout the first film, but director Frank Henenlotter loved the character and Bonner’s performance, so he expanded her role to the film’s secondary lead.
Allison Kerry- Saw Franchise
The Saw franchise mostly focuses on the bad apples who end up in the Jigsaw Killer’s complicated and bloody traps, but Detective Allison Kerry (Dina Meyer) played a pretty significant role in the early films as she investigates the murders and gets roped into Jigsaw’s schemes. She was pretty likable and easily one of the most competent at her job. After Detective Matthews was left to die at the end of Saw II, it seemed that the Jigsaw expert could take more of a lead in the franchise, especially after her expanded role in Saw II. However, Kerry’s abducted in Saw III by Jigsaw apprentice Amanda Young and forced into the iconic Angel Trap. Told by Jigsaw this was because she focused on work to the point where she actually preferred dead bodies to interacting with people (this really seems like a stretch, doesn’t it Jigsaw?) Kerry is forced to dip her hand in acid to retrieve the key to free herself. Being a badass and ignoring the melting skin on her hand, Kerry successfully retrieves the key but the trap activates anyway, ripping out her ribs and leaving her hanging like a lifeless angel.
In a franchise that features mostly unlikable characters, Allison Kerry stood out and the films could’ve benefitted further from her role–but alas, the powers that be, (and Amanda herself) decided otherwise.
Claudia- Interview with a Vampire
Look, kids in horror movies are never really standouts– with a few obvious exceptions including the two on this list–and typically they’re evil annoying little buggers who bring death to everyone around them or are the catalyst for some dark force disturbing the mortal realm. The vampire child Claudia falls into the former, but there’s tragedy and layers to her evilness that make the character memorable and help her stand out from the evil kid trope. When Louis meets her, the little girl’s mother has died from the plague, and unable to resist his hunger, the vampire feeds from her. In a twisted game of control and enticement, Lestat turns the dying Claudia into a vampire, prompting Louis to stay with his sire forever in order to care for the girl. Kirstin Dunst gives a stellar performance as Claudia initially thrives with her eternal life and enjoys the typical vampiric douchebaggery, but soon realizes she’ll never grow to adulthood. Despite becoming highly educated and gifted, Claudia will never mature or break the confines of childhood, and even Lestat and Louis see her as a doll. The realization makes her become even more bitter, dangerous, and detached, and she holds Lestat responsible for her misery. Just like Louis, she’s unsatisfied and wants more from her vampiric existence, but Lestat refuses to provide any information as to the existence of other vampires, leading to Claudia poison him with tainted blood.
Unfortunately, just as she was preparing to face the oncoming millennia with a new companion, Claudia is burned to death in the sunlight for her role in Lestat’s “murder”. She was a memorable character and a young Kirsten Dunst gave a performance beyond her years as Claudia realizes the eternal anguish she must suffer.
Reese Wilson- Urban Legend films
Is there any other campus security guard quite like Reese Wilson? Loretta Devine gives a scene-stealing performance as the kindly but determined Reese (who wields a gold trim gun in honor of Pam Grier) who ends up losing her job at a Pendleton campus for refusing to cover up a series of urban legend-themed murders, which were the subjects of the first film. Characters in horror films aren’t known for their intelligence, but Reese is the exception and she knows it. She’s careful, carries a loaded gun with her at all times and she knows when to fight and when to retreat. She’s the exact opposite of weak or useless, and her humor and good charm help make her a standout in both the Urban Legend films. Reese survives a gunshot wound and helped stop two psychotic killers, and she should be celebrated as the heroine she is. She may be a rent-a-cop, but she’s a damn good one.
A television series following the character as she investigates slasher inspired murders on a college campus is well overdo, and Lorretta Devine has the chops and horror movie experience to pull it off.
Annie Knowbly- Evil Dead II
The Evil Dead franchise will always be about Ash and his eternal fight against the forces darkness, and even though she doesn’t survive the film she appeared in, Annie deserves some love because she was so close to making it out alive. Annie is the daughter of ill-fated archeologist Raymond Knowbly who brought the Necronomicon to the little iconic cabin in the woods. Annie finds the missing pages of the book and brings them to the cabin to help her father, unaware of his grim fate or the forces of evil he unleashed. She forms and alliance with Ash when the deadites continue wrecking havoc, and just as she helps creates a temporal vortex to dispatch the creatures, she’s stabbed by in the back by Ash’s severed hand with the Kandarian dagger.
Despite her death in the film, Annie has her own comic in which she must escape the bowels of Hell armed with the same dagger that killed her. You can read more about her in the comic Evil Dead: Beyond Dead by Dawn.
BY MACK VELTMAN
What did you think about the female characters on this list? Who should be on the next one? Let me know in the comments, and if you enjoy my content, feel free to share and follow along on my Twitter (@mackveltman) or my Facebook page. Stay nerdy!