In horror, there are two major categories that a female characters in horror films fall into: final girls (a.k.a. heroines) and femme fatales (a.k.a. villains). And over the last several decades, we've seen dozens of incredible actresses take on both of these roles—from 70's slashers to 00's torture porn. Take a look at our selection of the top final girls and femme fatales from horror in the gallery below, then let us know your thoughts on our list in the comments section.
Sidney Prescott—Scream (1996)
Neve Campbell owned the role of damsel in distress turned final girl goals in Scream, inspiring film makers for years to come.
Laurie Strode—Halloween (1978)
This role made actress Jamie Lee Curtis a Hollywood superstar and her character helped carve out the final girl archetype during the decade of slasher horror.
Clear Rivers—Final Destination (2000)
Following her debut in 1999's Varsity Blues, Ali Larter brought the quirky Clear Rivers to life in the Final Destination franchise and audiences were impressed by Larter's portrayal of a final girl who possessed some depth.
Nancy Thompson—A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Teen Nancy Thompson was the first character to survive the clutches of Freddy Krueger, thanks to her insight, intelligence and survivalist mindset.
Jennifer Hill—I Spit on Your Grave (2010)
While this film (both the original, remake and subsequent sequels) may be controversial, Jennifer Hills is an undeniable badass.
Ellen Ripley—Alien (1979)
Unlike many female protagnonists in horror, Ripley challenges gender roles in a major way and the role helped carve out a successful career for actress Sigourney Weaver.
Sally Hardesty—The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Often compared to Halloween's Laurie Strode, Marilyn Burn's portrayal of Sally Hardesty set the final girl trophe in motion.
Jaimie Height—It Follows (2014)
It Follows is one of the most prolific and impactful horror movies of the 2010s. Maika Monroe's portrayal of the character is extremely relatable, showing that not every final girl needs to have a complete 180 personality shift from victim to victor.
Tree Gelbman—Happy Death Day (2017)
While you wanted to hate this protagonist, as she's a blonde, bitchy sorority girl, audiences couldn't help but fall in love with final girl Tree Gelbman, who's both tough and undeniably funny.
Alice Ackerman—Cam (2018)
Actress Madeline Brewer puts a 21st century twist on being a final girl, making the protagonist of Cam a cam girl who goes from the victim of cyber abduction to victoriously reclaiming her own autonomy.
Amanda Young—Saw (2004)
While Amanda Young may have made her debut in the Saw franchise as a victim of the now iconic reverse bear trap, Young ultimately became an apprentice of Jigsaw until her demise in the third film.
Carrie White—Carrie (1976)
Poor Carrie White. Although Carrie is horribly bullied by her classmates, she obtained femme fatale status when she decided to massacre her entire town.
Asami Yamazaki—Audition (1999)
While this character may be extremely beautiful, she's one of the most sick and twisted women on our list. Actress Eihi Shiina's portrayal of character is shocking and disturbing, haunting audiences for over twenty years.
Jennifer Check—Jennifer's Body (2009)
Megan Fox sent audiences into a tizzy with her portrayal of cheerleader turned succubus, who turned on both men and women world wide even while drinking the blood of innocent teenage boys.
Rose Armitage—Get Out (2017)
Actress Allison Williams sent shivers up our spines as cold blooded Rose in Academy Award nominated film, going from a concern girlfriend to a straight up killer at the drop of a hat.
Ginger Fitzgerald—Ginger Snaps (2000)
Ginger is an aggressive teenage werewolf who's obsessed with death and Katharine Isabelle's portrayal of the antihero helped make the film a cult classic.
Tiffany—Bride of Chucky (1998)
In the sequel to 1991's Child's Play, actress Jennifer Tilly plays Tiffany, the former girlfriend of serial killer Charles Lee Ray who becomes an accomplice to Chucky's killings throughout the film. Tiffany may be pretty one note as far as scream queens go, but she basically invented the "Big Titty Goth GF" archetype.
Mandy Lane—All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006)
Before Johnny Depp came along, actress Amber Heard portrayed the shy yet stunning Mandy Lane, a high school student that is lusted after by most of the men in the film. However, in a shocking twist, this beauty is revealed to be behind the killings of a group of teens.
Dollface—The Strangers (2008)
Sure, her face is obscured by a mask during the film, but this character is played by supermodel Gemma Ward—who appeared on the covers of Vogue, Teen Vogue and Time Magazine.
Akasha—Queen of the Damned (2002)
In this film, the late Aaliyah plays vampire queen Akasha, who's as seductive as she is terrifying.