13 Horror Movie Heroines That Kick Butt

14 of 14

Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) in Alien (Image via 20th Century Fox)

1.) Ellen Ripley (Alien)

What new thing can you say about Ellen Ripley? She’s one of the most well-known female protagonists in cinema, much less in the horror or sci-fi genres. She’s more than earned the renown.

Starting with 1979’s Alien, Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) debuts as an entirely new female protagonist. She is capable and intelligent, but Ripley is also occasionally tired, irritable, and aggressive. Though that may not sound grand to you, it’s nice to see a female character who does not need to be perfect to survive. Neither do her sins (perceived or not) mark her for certain doom.

Furthermore, despite the fact that she is battling an inhuman monster in the depth of space, her bravery is realistic. Ripley refuses to take stupid risks, teams up when she can, and uses her considerable skills without concern for propriety. Where other horror movie women may seem remarkably unrealistic, Ripley acts like an actual person in extraordinary circumstances.

Next: Scary Women: 13 Female Horror Writers You Should Read

Despite the terror of the alien xenomorphs, she manages to retain her essential humanity throughout the series. In the second film in the franchise, Aliens, Ripley escapes a devastated colony, defeats the Alien Queen, and saves Newt, a young girl from the colony. Ripley is still one of the most realistic, capable, and toughest female horror protagonists around.