Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Nasty Black Orchids: Favorite Female Villains

"I've grown quite weart of the spunky heroines, brave rape victims, soul searching fashionistas that stock so many books. I particularly mourn the lack of female villains- good, potent female villains. Not ill-tempered women who scheme about landing good men and better shoes (as if we had nothing more interesting to war over), not chilly WASP mothers (emotionally distant isn't necessarily evil), not soapy vixens (merely bitchy doesn't qualify either). I'm talking violent, wicked women. Scary women. Don't tell me you don't know some. The point is, women have spent so many years girl-powering ourselves- to the point of almost parodic encouragement- we've left no room to acknowledge our dark side, Dark sides are important. They should be nurtured like nasty black orchids" Gillian Flynn

Some of my favorite villains in film.

Malkina (played by Cameron Diaz)
"Truth has no temperature."

Baby Jane Hudson (played by Bette Davis)
"I didn't bring your breakfast because you didn't eat your din-din!"

Catherine Tramell (played by Sharon Stone)
"Killing isn't like smoking. You can stop."

Annie Wilkes (played by Kathy Bates)

"I'm your number one fan"

O-Ren Ishii (played by Lucy Liu)

"As your leader, I encourage you from time to time, and always in a respectful manner, to question my logic. If you're unconvinced that a particular plan of action I've decided is the wisest, tell me so, but allow me to convince you and I promise you right here now, no subject will ever be taboo. Except, of course, the subject that was just under discussion. The price you pay for bringing up either my Chinese or American heritage as a negative is...I collect your fucking head. Just like this fucker here. Now if any of you sons of bitches got anything else to say. NOW'S THE FUCKING TIME!"

Amy Elliot Dunne (played by Rosamund Pike)
"You think you'd be happy with a nice Midwestern girl? No way, baby. I'm it!"

Asami (played by Eihi Shiina) Audition
"Kiri kiri kiri kiri kiri kiri."

The Wicked Witch of the West (played by Margaret Hamilton)
"Just try and stay out of my way. Just try! I'll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too!"

Nurse Mildred Ratched (played by Louise Fletcher)
"Your hand is staining my window."

Favorite female villain in literature: Cathy Ames in East of Eden

She is cunning. Manipulative. Evil incarnate. From her early years as a child right on through her adulthood, Cathy Ames manages to truly send a chill down my spine whenever I ready Steinbeck's book. 

Jo Van Fleet played the part in the 1955 adaptation. Jane Seymour took a turn in 1981. I still think there is an actress who can truly knock it out of the park with this character. 


  1. Ooh ... I love this list, and the Gillian Flynn quote is magnificent. You have some of my favorite female villains here as well, and I love the fact that you included The Wizard of Oz.Margaret Hamilton was wonderful, and I've read that she and Judy Garland were great friends.

  2. Wizard of Oz is pretty much the definition of a 'timeless classic'. So many generations have grown up with it. A testament to an enduring film and an enduring character like the Wicked Witch.

  3. Great list. So happy to see you include Amazing Amy. I'd like to nominate Mary Lee Johnson, Mo'Nique's character in 'Precious,' and Mrs. Voorhees from the original 'Friday the 13th.'

  4. I haven't seen Precious yet. But Mrs. Voorhees is a great entry. "Kill her mommy. Kill her"