What kind of person deliberately kills a sweet little girl's pet rabbit? Alex Forrest (Glenn Close), the woman scorned in "Fatal Attraction," that's who. And she's not the only fictional villainess who makes our blood run cold. Here, for Ms. Close's birthday, are a dozen of the most frightening females of movies and television.
In 1987's "Fatal Attraction," Glenn Close's character goes off the rails when Dan (Michael Douglas), a married man, tells her that their weekend fling was no more than that. She responds by attempting suicide, stalking Dan's family and breaking into their home, where she kills little Ellen's pet rabbit—and boils it in a soup pot on the stove. Guess the woman meant it when she told Dan, "I'm not going to be ignored."
The main antagonist in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" is heartless from start to finish. Brilliantly played by Louise Fletcher in the 1975 film adaptation of Ken Kesey's novel, Nurse Ratched drives one vulnerable young psychiatric patient to suicide and has another—the flawed hero Randle McMurphy (Jack Nicholson)—lobotomized as retribution for attacking her after that tragedy.
Mrs. Eleanor Iselin
The malevolent character played by Angela Lansbury in the 1962 Cold War thriller "The Manchurian Candidate" is a Communist agent involved in the brainwashing of her own son Raymond (Lawrence Harvey). The goal: a coup d'etat, triggered by an assassination that Raymond will carry out.
For most of the '80s on "Dynasty," Alexis (Joan Collins) made it her mission to ruin the life of her handsome and filthy-rich ex-husband Blake Carrington (John Forsythe). And she often came close to doing just that. It all begins in Season 1 when Blake, who has left Alexis behind, marries his former secretary Krystle (Linda Evans). Hell hath no fury...
The Wicked Witch of the West
A green-skinned witch who gets around on a broom, can throw balls of fire and has an army of evil flying monkeys to do her bidding, she means business when she tells Dorothy, "I'll get you, my pretty—and your little dog, too!"
Baby Jane Hudson
Played by Bette Davis, the title character in "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" is a former child star whose sister Blanche (Joan Crawford) achieved far greater success before becoming paralyzed in a car accident. Now they live together in Blanche's mansion, where Jane tortures her wheelchair-bound sister mercilessly. She even kills Blanche's parakeet—and serves it to her on a dinner plate.
Matriarchs don't get much worse than this. Livia—played by the late, great Nancy Marchand on HBO's "The Sopranos"—conspires with her brother-in-law Junior (Dominic Chianese) to put a hit out on her only son. When Tony (James Gandolfini) gets wind of his mother's plan, he tries to smother her with a pillow.
This SPECTRE agent played by Luciana Paluzzi in 1965's "Thunderball" is a hot assassin determined to kill our favorite James Bond (Sean Connery). To set him up, she chases 007 into the Kiss Kiss Club and dances with him. But the plan fails: When he spies one of Fiona's henchmen pointing a gun, Bond makes her the victim. He then drops Fiona's corpse into a chair and says to those sitting at the table, "Mind if my friend sits this one out? She's just dead."
The mother of the title character in the 1976 horror classic "Carrie," Margaret (Piper Laurie) could be more understanding. When her daughter (Sissy Spacek) gets her first period, Margaret berates her and then locks her in the "prayer closet." Later, mistaking Carrie's telekinetic powers for witchcraft, she stabs her daughter in the back with a carving knife while reciting the Lord's Prayer.
In Alfred Hitchcock's 1940 adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's "Rebecca," Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson) is a housekeeper so devoted to her previous mistress, the late Rebecca de Winter, that she attempts to put a wedge between Maxim de Winter (Laurence Olivier) and his new bride (Joan Fontaine). Mrs. Danvers later tries talk the new Mrs. de Winter into leaping to her own death, and by the end their beloved home, Manderley, is in flames.
The Evil Queen
Snow White's wicked stepmother goes ballistic when faced with the fact that the younger, more beautiful princess is "the fairest in the land." In the original fairy tale, the Queen commands the Huntsman to take Snow White into the woods, murder her and then bring back her lungs and liver to prove she's dead. Jealous much?
Rod Serling's narration at the end of "Living Doll," a 1963 episode of "The Twilight Zone":
"Of course, we all know dolls can't really talk, and they certainly can't commit murder. But to a child caught in the middle of turmoil and conflict, a doll can become many things: friend, defender, guardian. Especially a doll like Talky Tina, who did talk and did commit murder—in the misty region of the Twilight Zone."
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