Sure, everyone remembers Frankenstein, Dracula and the Werewolf when it comes to classic movie monsters. But there were also an impressive bunch of she monsters too! And in honor of them I’ve complied my Top Ten list of favorite female fiends of classic and cult films. So if you haven’t decided on your Halloween costume yet, perhaps this will inspire you!
1. Bride of Frankenstein
Of course, Elsa Lanchester as the bride in Bride of Frankenstein(1935), has to be my number one choice for horror queen. I mean who can ever forget that fabulous beehive hairdo? They actually had to use a wired horsehair cage to create it. And to give her height, she had to stand on wooden stilts. As the story goes, a mad scientist decides Frankenstein needs a mate, so creates a bride for him. But, her first look at her betrothed sends her into a screaming frenzy. Apparently he wasn’t her type. The ultimate blind date gone horribly wrong.
Elsa Lanchester as Bride of Frankenstein
This glamour ghoul had to be near the top of my list. In the 1950s Maila Nurmi’s character, Vampira, was America’s original campy horror movie TV host. But her most famous film acting role was as a resurrected vampire zombie in Ed Wood’s cult classic, Plan 9 from Outer Space(1959). One of those movies that is so bad, that it’s actually good.
Maila Nurmi a.k.a. Vampira in Plan 9 From Outer Space
3. Princess Asa
What do you get when you cross a vengeful witch and a vampire? Why, Princess Asa of course! Played by the beautiful Barbara Steele in the Italian gothic horror flick, Black Sunday(1960). Russian Princess Asa, condemned by her own family for practicing witchcraft, is executed by having a metal spiked mask driven into her face. So before she becomes a human pin cushion she places a curse on her family and swears she’ll return and take revenge on their descendents. And the way she plans to do that is by sucking human blood to give her resurrected corpse the strength to carry out her vendetta. This bad babe had to make the list because she is a slave of Satan ,with a really bad attitude, and a vampire to boot! Can’t get much more fiendish that that! Tagline- “Stare into these eyes…discover deep within them the unspeakable terrifying secret of BLACK SUNDAY!”
Barbara Steele as Princess Asa in Black Sunday (1960)
Barbara Steele as Vampire Witch-Black Sunday
4. Luna Mora
IMO, one of the best female vampire characters. Luna Mora is played by Carroll Borland in Mark of the Vampire (1935) . Supposedly turned into a vampire by her Daddy, she roams around their castle, terrifies townspeople, sucks the blood of young women and turns into a bat. You know, the usual teenage stuff. The film has a surprise ending. So I won’t spoil it for you, if you haven’t seen it. But I love Luna’s beautifully creepy looks and she makes a fantastic bat! Also rumored to be the inspiration for Morticia Addams’s character.
Carroll Borland as Luna in Mark of the Vampire (1935)
Carroll Borland as bat in Mark of the Vampire
5. The 50 Ft Woman
Allison Hayes plays Nancy Archer in the 1958 sci fi horror film The Attack of the 50Ft Woman. Nancy, a wealthy socialite with mental problems, alcoholism and a no good cheating husband, runs into some aliens who turn her into a giantess with a giant attitude. And what could be scarier than a 50 ft. unbalanced pissed off woman? Her new found stature sends her on a vengeful rampage against the two timing spouse and his girlfriend. Tagline- “A titanic beauty spreads a macabre wave of horror.”
Allison Hayes as the 50ft Woman (1958)
6. Countess Bathory
Classy, elegant, seductive, manipulative and cruel. A winning combination for a vampiress. And actress Delphine Seyrig certainly excels at playing Countess Elizabeth Bathory in “Daughters of Darkness (1971). The Countess is best known for bathing in the blood of young women to retain her youthful appearance. Apparently never heard of botox, juvaderm or cosmetic surgery! In this film she, along with her companion, run into a couple of newlyweds and the games begin! Tagline- “An erotic nightmare of vampire lust.”
Delphine Seyrig as Countess Bathory in Daughters of Darkness (1971)
7. Countess Dracula
Ingrid Pitt also stars as the infamous Elizabeth Bathory, the legendary Blood Countess. The aging countess, when getting splashed by the blood of one of her maids while brutally punishing her, discovers the blood makes her younger. So to stay young, blond and beautiful, she begins killing scads of young woman and washing herself in their blood. What some women won’t do to retain their youth! Ingrid Pitt makes a fine bloodthirsty she monster who definitely deserves a place on this list. Tagline- “Her lustful desire is immortal.”
Ingrid Pitt as Countess Dracula (1971)
8. The Reptile
Jacqueline Pearce as Anna Franklyn in The Reptile (1966). Something strange has happened to Dr. Franklyn’s beautiful daughter after their too close encounter with an Indonesian snake cult. And it certainly doesn’t help her make friends back home in their village in Cornwall. Tag line “What strange power made her half woman, half snake?”
Jacqueline Pearce in The Reptile 1966
9. She Monster
Shirley Kilpatrick plays The Astounding She Monster(1957). You know how those aliens are! Always up to some kind of mischief. This she-creature from outer space kills with just her touch . Love the eyebrows! She also wears a glowing iridescent radioactive bodysuit. A perfect outfit for deterring unwanted advances when out bar hopping with the girls! Tagline- “A creature from beyond the stars, EVIL, BEAUTIFUL and DEADLY!”
Shirley Kilpatrick as the Astounding She Monster 1958
10. Wasp Woman
Something’s really bugging Dr. Janice Starlin in The Wasp Woman (1959). Played by Susan Cabot, this story is all about a woman’s pursuit of youth and scientific experiments gone horribly wrong. Tagline “A beautiful woman by day, a lusting queen wasp by night.”
Susan Cabot as the Wasp Woman 1959
Do you have any favorite female classic movie monsters?
TTFN! Ta Ta for Now!