This post has been in the works for a while and since it’s Friday the 13th I figured it’s a good time to publish it. The supernatural has always fascinated me, particularly supernatural women; witches, sirens, faeries, vampires, you name it. Cult and horror cinema has always played around with innovative ideas surrounding gender, identity and sexuality, exploring new ways in which they can be represented on screen. As Ruby B. Rich once said; “When gay liberation arrived, it came hand in hand with the movies.” Simultaneously, the women’s liberation movement was taking place resulting in changes in cultural attitudes and our perception and understanding of gender roles, this heavily impacted film-making, particularly in more transgressive genres like horror.
Women in literature and film have often been associated with supernatural elements. For instance, the notion of witchcraft is something that has been present for centuries across a variety of cultures yet it has now become heavily associated with women, especially in pop culture. As much as I’d love to delve into all this, right now I want to celebrate my favourite female supernatural characters from cinema and television. When I began researching this article, all I found was similar lists but with titles like “Sexiest Ever Supernatural Females” etc… Well fuck that, here’s an alternative list based on how badass these characters are!
Carrie White – Carrie (1976)
Carrie is a classic horror movie, based on the 1974 Stephen King Novel. Carrie White never had an easy life. Apart from being bullied at school, Carrie is emotionally abused by her mentally ill, religious fanatic mother. Her mother condemns Carrie’s womanhood, believing her sexuality to be diabolical in nature. Carrie is uneducated about the female body, she gets her first period in the school showers, leading to a panicked reaction and public humiliation. The film is a heart-breaking reminder of the cruelty of teenage girls. However, it’s not long before our girl Carrie exacts her revenge on those who have wronged her with her newly discovered telekinetic powers! The film’s final scene became one of the most prolific in horror cinema history.
Marie Laveau – American Horror Story: Coven (2013)
American Horror Story’s Marie Laveau is based on a real-life New Orleans voodoo queen. In AHS: Coven, Marie is extremely powerful but is faced with many hardships; cursed with immortality, she has her baby taken from her, her husband is murdered by a woman who has a bull’s head attached to his body, she is also a woman of colour in the 1830s, which means that her and her family face racial abuse. Eventually, she loses everyone close to her but that doesn’t stop her from being strong and moving on. What I love about Marie is that she always gets her revenge on those who cross her. Any fans of AHS know that the show always writes kick-ass female and queer characters, that’s one thing I really appreciate about it.
Nancy – The Craft (1996)
Ok, so most fans of The Craft will think I’m crazy for loving Nancy because well, she’s crazy and evil. The thing is, I feel kind of bad for her. She’s basically trailer trash, her mother’s a selfish bitch and she has very little going for her in life so it’s no wonder she let the power go to her head. Anyway, she’s one of those characters that you love to hate. Of course, she’s mean and eventually tried to murder Sarah, but she gets her comeuppance. Nancy’s style was amazing, it was the epitome of 90s alternative fashion. Chockers, studs, crucifixes, lace, leather and lots of black. I aspired to have her wardrobe when I was a teenager and still take style inspiration from this era.
Eleven – Stranger Things (2016)
Everyone who watches Stranger Things knows that Eleven ROCKS! She has psychokinetic abilities and she will take on a monster from another dimension! She’s ridiculously cool, first of all, she’s a kid who has been imprisoned only to be experimented on by a bunch of evil assholes. But she doesn’t let this get to her, she is the bravest, most bad-ass kid in horror and sci-fi and she fucking loves Eggos! Fair play to Millie Bobby Brown for shaving her head for the role. Apparently, she was convinced to do so after being compared to Charlize Theron’s character in the 2015 movie, Mad Max: Fury Road. Stranger Things is one of my favourite TV shows and I really can’t wait for its return later this month to find out what Eleven and the gang are up to now.
Elaine – The Love Witch (2016)
Elaine, The Love Witch has already featured a couple of times on this bl
og, in my Retro Horror Revisited and 14 Great Movies About Witches and Witchcraft posts. In this 1960s style horror, Elaine is a beautiful witch who uses her powers and potions to seduce men. Although Elaine is looking for true love, her magical mischief never seems to go to plan. This movie is a comical take on the Technicolor horrors of the 60s and 70s.
Buffy and Willow – Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997)
Willow was the first openly queer female character I remember seeing on television. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was actually a pretty progressive show. I loved Willow, she was sweet, cute and a white witch who helped save the world vampires and demons of all shapes and sizes. She was also best friends with Buffy, a “teenage” girl who kicked vampires asses! Buffy was a pretty cool role model in comparison to other female characters on TV at the time.
Lydia Deetz – Beetlejuice (1988)
I was debating if Lydia Deetz qualifies as a supernatural female character, while she is certainly “strange and unusual” she doesn’t exactly have superpowers. However, Lydia was the first one to see and communicate with the Maitland’s ghosts and Beetlejuice. Lydia is an aspiring artist goth chick who doesn’t give a shit about what people think. She wears black all the time because normalcy is a bore to her. She doesn’t care for the dull interests of her peers, she is pessimistic, morbid and she’s not afraid to speak her mind. She quickly becomes caught up in the world of the supernatural and must escape her vile would be husband Beetlejuice.
The Countess – American Horror Story: Hotel (2015)
Lady Gaga’s performance as Elizabeth aka The Countess won her a Golden Globe in 2016. The series Hotel was a strange one, even by AHS standards. Elizabeth is an incredibly stylish and powerful vampire who owns and resides in a hotel frequented by the spirits of famous murderers like Aileen Wuornos. The Countess is a promiscuous and deadly, living on a diet of the blood of her victims and taking lovers both male and female. Like many AHS characters, The Countess is based on a real-life person, “Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed” who was one of the most prolific serial killers ever, having murdered hundreds of virginal girls, believing that bathing in their blood would keep her youth intact.
Bridgette and Ginger – Ginger Snaps (2000)
Bridgette and Ginger are fascinated by all things morbid, they spend their free time filming home-made horrors. The girls even make a suicide pact. When Ginger begins her first period, she is bitten by a creature responsible for a spate of dog killings in their neighbourhood. Soon Ginger begins to transform, she grows more hair, becomes aggressive and her menstruation becomes worryingly heavy. Eventually, she becomes a murderous werewolf and it’s up to Bridgette to try to save her and everyone they know. While neither Bridgette or Ginger is particularly likeable, they were pretty cool characters and it was nice seeing two female horror leads where they’re not just playing the victim or the final girl archetype.
Heidi The Lords of Salem (2012)
While I don’t want to give too much away in case anyone’s planning on watching The Lords of Salem, Heidi, played by the beautiful Sherri Moon Zombie, is a pretty cool character. I feel for her a lot, she’s a depressed, ex-drug addict who now works as a radio DJ. As if her life isn’t bad enough, she’s been cursed by a satanic cult who begin tormenting her. Poor Heidi is plagued with unsavoury visions, driven to the point of insanity and it’s all because of a supernatural force.
Sookie Stackhouse – True Blood (2008)
Sookie Stackhouse isn’t your typical Southern belle, she’s a faerie which means she has telepathic abilities and is constantly subjected to hearing the innermost thoughts of everyone around her. While Sookie is incredibly kind and never hesitates to help those in need, she’s also fearless, standing up to anyone who challenges her, even big old nasty vampires.
Elivra – Elvira Mistress of the Dark (1988)
With a twisted sense of humour and a revealing wardrobe, Elivra has become somewhat of a cult pop culture icon over the years. In the ridiculous movie Elvira, Mistress of the dark, she inherits her uncle’s estate, quits her job and tries to lead a “normal” life even though she’s a temptress and of course, a mistress of the dark. Although I was never quite sure of what Elivra’s powers are, she is some sort of supernatural being.
Wednesday Addams – The Addams Family Values (1991)
When I was a kid, I was a pretty full on goth. Fishnet, spikey chokers, black lipstick, the whole aesthetic. Since then, I was always fascinated by goth culture. Anyway, Wednesday Addams was one of the first goths I ever encountered. She taught me that even if you don’t fit in, sometimes it’s more fun to be a weirdo. Wednesday Addams always stands up for herself, she’s smart and a total badass Like when she was forced to attend Summer camp and made to partake in a cheesy and very historically inaccurate Thanksgiving production, she burned the camp down. Go Wednesday.
And finally, some supernatural gals that didn’t make the list but deserve an honourable mention;