There is nothing quite like a killer woman. Not “killer” as in “awesome,” and I don’t mean some femme fatale either. I mean ladies who flat out kill. The killer woman is an automatic plus for almost any thriller or horror movie, a story figure with more sex appeal than a male murderer. Call me sexist, but seriously: would you rather get an eyeful of Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lechter or Megan Fox as Jennifer Check in “Jennifer’s Body”? Exactly.
Not having seen “Jennifer’s Body,” I can’t say how Fox's character measures up in cinema’s hall of killer chick fame. Do her demonic deeds measure up with Stephen King’s prodigal daughter Carrie? Is she as blood thirsty in her pursuit of eating high school boys as Natasha Henstridge in “Species”? The trailers just don’t tell me enough to know for sure!
There is, at least, a gold standard for killer chickdom. Five murderous betties do diabolical, that all others must be compared to them. Before hitting the theater this weekend, it would be wise to watch the pictures they appear in, just to see how it’s done properly.
Ma Fratelli from “The Goonies”
You never do see Ma Fratelli (Anne Ramsey) off anybody on screen in “The Goonies”, but everyone knows off screen violence is way scarier and intimidating than what you can actually see in front of you. And you just know she’s the one who killed that dude in the freezer when Chunk finds him. You think her buffoon sons did it? You think Sloth, that lovable freak, has it in him to shoot some poor sap? No way. Ma Fratelli. I still have nightmares about her.
Rose from “So I Married an Axe Murderer”
“So I Married an Axe Murderer” only gets weirder every time I see it, and I’ve been watching that movie twice a year for fifteen freaking years at this point. Watch it again. It descends into complete madness for the last twenty minutes, the tonal reflection of its killer antagonist Rose (Amanda Plummer). Yeah, she’s running around screaming about how she’s going to cut up Mike Meyers with an axe at the end. That’s unsettling enough on its own. But check out her dialogue about breakfast in her first scene:
Rose Michaels: Let me make you some breakfast.
Charlie Mackenzie: Oh, gee, you know, I'd love to. But you know, I'm really running late, but thanks!
Rose Michaels: What would you say to silver-dollar pancakes, fresh-squeezed orange juice, bacon, and Kona coffee?
Charlie Mackenzie: Well, that sounds great!
[Cut to Rose pouring cereal in Charlie's bowl]
Rose Michaels: Sorry. I didn't have those other things.
You can feel the crazy dripping off her there, can't you?
O-Ren Ishii from “Kill Bill”
Beatrix Kiddo (Uma Thurman) is a killer, no doubt. Her being a killer is what the dramatic arc of “Kill Bill” hinges on. But she’s killing, at first to avenge and later to protect, her child. That’s a disqualification from this list, which is more about killing for fun, profit and sheer straight-up madness. O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu) is a perfect fit. She kills just three people on screen in “Kill Bill.” Two of those deaths are animated, but they’re all brutal and terrifying. She is also included here because... well... hey, Lucy Liu is hot.
Annie Wilkes from “Misery”
Yep, she beats out Carrie for the Stephen King slot here. Carrie may incinerate an entire gymnasium of fresh-faced youngsters, but Annie (Kathy Bates) makes up for it by being, like Rose, bats--t insane. It’s the whole "setting up an elaborate trap for a novelist and then breaking his legs with a sledgehammer" thing. It’s scary. When she finally does kill someone, it’s not bloodlust that drives her actions. It’s pragmatism. The cop’s in her house, so what’s a gal to do? Shoot him.
Queen Alien from “Aliens”
She filled an entire colony of people with her terrifying babies that will be tear out of their chests when finally born. Then she ripped Lance Henriksen in half. No one killer woman will ever top this. She may not technically be a woman, but she's definitely female.