But while we know that Leighton worked extra hard to get this role right, she’s hardly the first to tackle it. In fact, the Psycho Chick—whether she’s an unbalanced flatmate, a scorned ex-girlfriend or the trampy best friend who wants to sleep with your dad (um, what?!)—is an archetypal character in modern cinema. And to celebrate her latest spot on the big screen, we’ve put together a list of our 10 favorite films from the Psycho Chick canon. Which movies get the prize for sweet, sexy gals who are destined for straitjackets? Read on!
“Single White Female”
In which a psychotic, identity-thieving woman tries to steal the boyfriend, life, and (horror of horrors!) haircut of her unsuspecting roommate. Yes, “The Roommate” has been done before… WITH ’80s BANGS.
The definitive film in the psycho-chick canon. Glenn Close’s performance as an obsessed stalker who takes a one-night stand waaaay too seriously not only gave rise to a slew of copycat scripts, but put the term “bunny-boiler” into our lexicon forever.
Yep, that’s 17-year-old Alicia Silverstone, in her very first feature-film performance as the unhinged Darian Forrester. A villainous teenage seductress, she commits murder and makes false rape accusations in an attempt to win the man she loves. (What can we say? The mid-1990s hotness of crush object Cary Elwes was a powerful force!)
Kathy Bates plays Annie Wilkes, a devoted middle-aged fangirl who just loves the work of novelist Paul Sheldon (James Caan). That is, until he kills off her favorite character—and she retaliates by chopping off one of his feet. (Forget penning a best-seller, we’ll stick to blogging, thankyouverymuch.)
Not even the combined hotness of Idris Elba, Beyoncé, and Ali Larter could elevate the tepid temp of this yawn-inducing thriller—in which Ali’s character is driven to madness by the mere presence of her utterly disinterested boss. But she’s nuts! And that’s all that matters.
Oh sure, now we all know Drew Barrymore as the sometime love interest of Justin Long and free-spirited star of quirky romantic comedies. But 20 years ago, she was Ivy—a clothes-stealing, mom-murdering, dad-seducing teenage whore. And it was AWESOME.
“Play Misty for Me”
Recognize anyone? Before Jessica Walter became a fan favorite on “Arrested Development”, she dabbled in The Crazy—appearing as the unhinged Evelyn Draper in Clint Eastwood’s 1971 directorial debut.
Natalie Portman claims the ultimate bugnuts prize for her nervous breakdown in this film, but Mila Kunis’ turn as the seductive, manipulative fellow dancer who tries to take her place as the Swan Queen has all the hallmarks of the insidious female nemesis. Our verdict: they both get crazy-lady credit!
“All About Eve”
This is it: the role that started it all, hailing all the way from 1950. Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter) wangles her way into the life of Margo Channing (Bette Davis), going from fan to friend to Lying, Life-Stealing Blackmail Maven of Doom in her desperate pursuit of on-stage success. This movie won the Oscar for Best Picture and saw practically its entire cast nominated; 60 years later, Eve still wins the award for most ruthless manipulator ever.
Who are your favorite big-screen Psycho Chicks? Tell us in the comments and on Twitter!