Bad Girls Deserve Flowers Too
Maybe they're evil. Maybe they're misunderstood. Maybe I'm just simping.
Sometimes the girls are plucky, innocent, hysterical victis of chance and fate as they escape certain death. Although sometimes the girls aren't the heroes, and instead the very thing you ought to run from. Saucy, lovely, nasty, never afraid to get down and dirty for their desires, and most unwilling to let a good deed go unpunished. Fiona Goode from American Horror Story, Amanda from SAW, Nancy from The Craft . . . the list can just go on. All women with a little damage, and a lot of repressed issues, who wear them as proudly as Chanel coats and velvet matte lipsticks.
But you know, I think to immediately label them as evil is a coward's way out of having a deeper discussion on their actions and the events that made them who they are. It won't change the fact that they're villains, certainly, but it makes for some good debate. I mean, there's no bones about it- these ladies are Bad. But . . . they make it look so Good.
1. Jennifer Check - Jennifer's Body
Well, I mean, mainly the succubus that possessed her? Even though it was still mostly Jennifer despite her being murdered. Ooh, like a symbiotic relationship- imagine if they made Venom with Megan Fox instead of Tom Hardy? It would be the least she deserved . . . anyway! She was the victim of assault by some lowbrow asshat indie band (I mean they actually murdered her, she was a victim); kidnapped, scared shitless, and eventually sacrificed for some record deal they didn't even end up getting because they screwed up their own ritual from assuming. Excuse her for trying to process her trauma alongside her new supernatural life.
Yes, she technically is evil for brutally murdering/eating her yearmates. Yes, she totally should have left her high school alone and tried stalking clubs and maybe the neighboring high school for her meals . . . she's obviously dealing with shock! We can't all be at our best when we've gone through something supremely messed up like she did. Like, props to her for loving Needy through it all, enough so that it became her downfall. Jennifer wasn't evil (mostly) she was just a girl, scared and abused horribly on one awful night, who really needed a Guidebook for the Recently Deceased and Possessed, and some hot chocolate, not to be murdered.
For you, our possessed and fierce bad girl, we offer up purple Rhododendrons.
2. Rose - Rabid (1977)
This movie may not be particularly well known, but it's an early Cronenberg work that takes a refreshing new angle to zombie films, and had a remake done in 2019 by the Soska sisters. Rose is technically the antagonist of this film simply for being the "origin point" of the disease that would sweep parts of Canada and create murderous, infested hordes of once-good people. However, Rose was in all actuality the most helpless victim of the entire thing. Accidents can happen to anyone, but what certainly should not be done, is doctors deciding to pull an experimental procedure out of their ass to try on someone without their consent. The procedure literally mutated her, not just physically but mentally! Rose was, from the moment of her awakening, not in control of her thoughts or actions, and I credit that to a mixture of shock and the mutation's hold upon her psyche.
Imagine, if you will, waking from a coma with your last memory being pinned underneath the burning husk of a motorcycle and feeling your body burn too. Upon waking, without so much as a minute to even breathe, you spot a man before you and the new body features that you weren't even aware of activate a foreign, malicious instinct to drink that man's blood. Your every thought is consumed by the desire to drink fresh blood and replenish your strength. You act, move, and speak in a way that you wouldn't normally, but you don't even recognize that because your brain is now rewired to do anything and everything possible to feed. And by God, if that means spreading a pseudo-zombie disease throughout the country on your way home, then that's just what has to happen! Poor Rose was helpless to her body's new instincts, growing more aware the further on in the movie until she had to contend with and try to battle her desire to kill her loved ones. So, yes, technically she is evil for spreading a horrendous zombie-esque disease without pause. The unrelenting need, and the agonizing horror of her new way of life eventually tore her apart, and for that . . . I say this villain deserves a little sympathy.
Poor, sweet, vicious Rose! In an effort not to be a gross cliche, we're giving you De Caen Anemones.
3. Marie Laveau - American Horror Story: Coven
Ooh, my Voodoo Queen! American Horror Story is one of my favorite shows, and so many of their characters are as richly complex as they are morally poor . . . but Queen Marie has a special place in my heart. A woman of extraordinary talent and strong resolve, Marie has weathered turbulent times and devastating blows to her heart and soul . . . what little of it she possesses at least. Giving up her newborn daughter to Papa Legba, agonizing over the mutilated corpse of her beloved, and working to keep her followers safe . . . her enduring strength, and her vicious creativity for revenge, is what kept the Voodoo community strong and stable. Living in the times that she did, I don't fault Marie at all for wishing to live freely, even if her short sightedness in blindly agreeing to a deal with Papa was what hurt her deeply. In fact, I applaud her ruthless "eye for an eye" style revenge against LaLaurie when she gathered a mob to brutally murder the family of the woman who killed her lover.
I don't really see Marie as evil so much as sadistic and pragmatic . . . but hey, what do I know? I just happen to think that Voodoo Queens have the express right to murder slave owners . . . yeah, the whole sacrificing babies thing is fucked up and totally on her for not having Papa Legba explain their deal . . . and helping Fiona kill Nan was incredibly screwed up considering Nan was quite honestly the least problematic person on that show . . . also working with that spineless loser Hank Foxx was awful but we've already examined her unfortunate bad habit of having a one-track mind for her goals . . . but hey you know what? Her faults just make her even more interesting, and in this little spot we're only interested in serving flowers to bad girls. And, baby, she's a vicious bitch.
Bunches of Marigolds for my Darling Queen!
4. Ahmanet - The Mummy (2017)
Now this one is cheating a little, because I have written an article about her before (my review of the 2017 disaster of a Mummy remake here), but how can I resist talking about my favorite Mummified girl? Ahmanet is no stranger to evil magics and evil acts, but no one can deny the girl her due credit; trying to stay at the top takes hard work! What's a girl to do when she's raised to control an empire that stretches far beyond the horizon and gleams beneath the glory of Ra, only to be usurped by the baby half-brother that just popped out of her dad's new little sidepiece?
She's got no choice but to do a little slicin'-and-dicin'.
I mean she ends up foiled by priests but her power would from then on be feared as an incredible dark force upon her resurrection. Or, it should have been had the film direction been more . . . but I digress. Ahmanet expected the world, and when that expectation was threatened, she stepped up to get her hands a little dirty and her soul corrupted in exchange for what she was rightfully owed. Whether that means killing her dear father and his new wife, or killing a baby, the world won't grant her any favors for showing mercy and she knows that very well. When your only options are to either be married off to some slob in another country and leave the home she loves forever, or to (Yuck) marry her little brother- well, option C was just looking like the more reasonable option is all. She'll tear apart cities and call upon any dark spirit willing to listen, in order to achieve her goals. Confident, determined, poised, and deliciously devilish- yes she's evil for murdering callously in a bid to rule the world but you certainly can't blame the girl for just trying to keep her piece of the pie can you? You can? Bummer.
Ahmanet, my ruthless girl who should have ruled the world, you'll be given a dozen Fritillaries.
5. Mary - American Mary
The Soska sisters are always doing something great in the horror genre, but American Mary might just be my favorite film from them that I've watched thus far.
Mary was a self-starter, a go-getter, and a steady hand. All excellent and necessary traits to thrive in the underground cosmetics world she found herself in, and the skills that helped keep her in good standing and even better financial success. What makes her technically evil? Well, beyond the no-no of performing surgeries unlicensed, she did kidnap her former mentor and spent nearly the entirety of the movie torturing him with non-consensual body modifications.
Understandable, though, considering that same man betrayed and raped her, destroying her mental health and forcing her to quit medical school. Mary was never the same afterwards, and the ramifications of that horrific event did create ripple effects through her life that likely led her to the bloody ending she faced- but! I still consider her an amazing character, one who took control of her life even when things spun wildly out of control, and fought to survive even until the end. Anybody who can stitch themselves up is a complete badass, and for that, we salute you Mary Mason. Accept this bouquet of Phacelias!
There are plenty more infamous girls I'm missing, I'm sure, and do feel free to remind me of them. For now, this is the small list I've compiled to, honestly, just simp a little over these incredible (and incredibly horrific) women in Horror. Times are changing, and snow white heroes are boring now. We love a good villain! Give them complexity, give them nuance, and give them the flowers they deserve for their incredible journeys in their respective artworks.