Picture a horror movie villain, and you probably think of someone obviously terrifying. Freddy Krueger. Michael Myers. Macaulay Culkin. But sometimes the deadly force is not so obvious. For example, this weekend it’s hottie Leighton Meester stalking hottie Minka Kelly in The Roommate. Which makes this the perfect time to round up the cinema’s cutest killers.
10. Esther in Orphan
It’s nice to see a movie that wants to teach the world a lesson. For instance, In the Heat of the Night showed that whites and blacks could learn to respect one another. Orphan, on the other hand, demonstrated that adopting a child will almost certainly lead to the deaths of you and everyone you love.
9. The Bride of Chucky
Because a demonic doll has needs. With the immortal tagline, “This Halloween Chucky gets lucky”, the film featured Jennifer Tilly voicing Chucky’s intended in the phase of her career that came after “Oscar nominee for Bullets Over Broadway” but before “professional poker player.”
8. Zhang Ziyi
She was an international celebrity by 21 with the back-to-back blockbusters Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Rush Hour 2, which revealed her to be impossibly beautiful, incredibly petite, and filled with a strange need to kick the crap out of pretty much everyone she encountered. Here she faces off with the equally ethereal Michelle Yeoh.
7. Rebecca Woods in The Roommate
What happens when a freshman played by a hot TV star (Minka Kelly) moves in with another freshman played by a hot TV star (Leighton Meester)? Based on the Single White Female-esque trailer, gonna go with “bloodbath.” (Eh, pretty sure their RA can get it sorted.)
6. Regan in The Exorcist
Little girls go through difficult phases, like when they’re always jabbering on the phone or when they’re possessed by the devil. The film traumatized everyone but Linda Blair herself, as the role nabbed her a Best Actress nod at 15. Post-Satan, things have gone less well, with her career featuring projects like Zapped Again! and her personal life including a relationship with Rick James (bitch). For old time’s sake, watch that head spin one more time.
5. Charlie McGee in Firestarter
Drew Barrymore’s childhood was rough. She had notorious substance abuse problems, plus the frickin’ secret government agencies just wouldn’t leave her alone, first in E.T. and then in this Stephen King adaptation, in which she played a little girl who can start fires with her brain. Behold a film starring no fewer than three Oscar winners, plus Heather Locklear for good measure.
Yep, Stephen King just has a thing for the gals with telekinetic powers. This time it’s a young lady who just wants to have a nice prom but, alas, a bucket of pig’s blood makes that impossible. Really puts that time you vomited on your girlfriend’s bridesmaid’s dress in perspective.
3. Samara Morgan in The Ring
Okay, The Ring’s become kind of a punchline now, but this movie was the final nail in VHS’s coffin. (Ever hear of a killer DVD? Exactly.) Even better is the Japanese original that started the phenomenon.
2. Ruby Thewes in Cold Mountain
Renee Zellweger was well into maturity by the time she made this film, but she’s been so girlish in everything else she that it’s only appropriate to salute her Oscar-winning turn as a mountain woman who seems like she could have single-handedly won the Civil War for the Confederacy. Here she goes to town on a rooster.
1. This gal
Okay, the clip’s in Japanese and technically the woman’s hair extensions are the killer, but murderous tresses speak a universal language. Discover luscious locks that come at a horrible, horrible price.
(Sean Cunningham has written for and served as an editor for a variety of publications and websites. He is also a screenwriter and playwright of works including the Drama Desk-nominated musical God Hates the Irish, described by one critic as the “most foul-mouthed play ever staged Off-Broadway.”)