15 of the most interesting female monsters in fiction

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12. The Witch

Throughout film history, the figure of the witch has proven to be a rich figure. Her presence has become grounds for plenty of pearl-clutching and vehement arguments. In many respects, the figure of the witch represents a woman dangerously removed from traditional society. Think about it: a witch often lives on her own in these stories, perhaps in a cottage or cabin deep in the woods. She participates in rituals not exactly sanctioned by the majority of her fellow humans (at least, not if she’s situated in a culture focused on “traditional” values outlined in western societies). She doesn’t especially care if the local priest is horrified by her moonlight rituals.

How much this fictional picture relates to historical reality is debated. However, fiction and folklore have their own power, even for real people. Many have found the witch to be a strong, defiant figure to be emulated.

Scary witches

But, in the world of horror movies, the witch can be a monster just as often as a rebel. Whether you think that’s deserved or not, it makes for a good movie monster. And “monster” can be a deserved title. The Wicked Witch in Snow White physically transforms in a frightening animated sequence. The Blair Witch lurks in the rural Maryland woods. She is all the more frightening because we do not see her. Instead, her presence is felt and seen by the terrified would-be documentarians in The Blair Witch Project.

We do see the witch in Black Sunday: Asa Vajda (Barbara Steele). She is unapologetically evil, even when she is about the be burned at the stake by her own brother. Vajda is so angry about it, though, that she establishes a curse that is still strong centuries after her apparent death. In an interesting development, she drains a young woman’s life force and tries to convince everyone that the dried-out husk is, in fact, Vajda. Poor Vajda — for all her evilness, she still has to deal with unfair cultural themes about women and aging.