As I’ve previously mentioned, I have an issue with many of the portrayals of women in the horror genre. For every Nancy of Elm Street, with the determination and wits needed to fight back against evil, there are dozens of screaming ninnies whose sole purpose is to look attractive until they are ripped apart by a monster/madman/fill in your ghoul of choice here. And as I made clear in my last post, I just don’t have patience for useless characters in my horror stories.
So here are five ladies who are more than capable of surviving in a zombie-infested world—who are, in fact, even more badass than most of their male counterparts.
05. Helen Robinson (Fido)
The mother Lori Grimes will never be, Helen has perhaps the most interesting character arc in the independent charmer Fido. At first she’s the stereotypical 1950s housewife, concerned about her family’s appearance and status, and she even purchases the undead servant Fido to impress the new neighbors. But by the film’s end, she has begun to question her society’s arbitrary demands, has challenged the status quo by befriending Fido, and doesn’t hesitate to gun down several hungry zombies when they threaten her son’s life. Helen proves that you don’t have to give up your femininity to take names and kick ass.
04. Alice (Resident Evil)
I know, I know: this is approaching dead-horse-beating territory. But Alice is one of the few ladies to carry an entire horror film franchise. Sure, she’s frequently superhuman and has telekinetic abilities and stuff, but she’s also an action hero who shows her emotions and cares about people. She puts herself in danger to save others, and is willing to sacrifice herself if it’ll stop the evil Umbrella Corporation. Also, you’ve gotta love a lady who knows how to handle any number of guns and knives.
03. Cherry Darling (Planet Terror)
When Cherry, a go-go dancer, appears onscreen—dancing in a very skimpy outfit on a stage in front of leering men—you might be predisposed to think she’s nothing more than eye-candy. A damsel in distress in the making. And while Cherry certainly is in distress throughout the film, she rallies admirably in the face of gooey zombies and crazed soldiers gone AWOL. Cherry is a woman who had plenty of dreams and goals, but somehow never found the motivation to make them a reality. Luckily for her, losing a leg and being surrounded by ravenous monsters proves to be just what she needs to find some purpose. By the film’s close, the former dancer is a leader to the survivors of the apocalypse, able to balance motherhood with blowing away monsters with her machine gun leg. Talk about inspirational role models.
02. Michonne (The Walking Dead)
I can’t speak of Michonne in terms of her television counterpart just yet, but the Michonne of the comics remains one of my favorite lady heroes. She’s survived some terrible things, and zombies have hardly been the worst of it. But she’s charged into frays and jumped over hurdles with an impressive amount of resilience and courage, trusty sword at hand. She’s easily one of the most iconic figures of The Walking Dead series, and a very three-dimensional character. Michonne refuses to let anything daunt her, and does what needs to be done to protect herself and her group—I just hope that the show’s writers make her as layered and awesome in the show this upcoming season.
01. Selena (28 Days Later)
28 Days Later is a beautiful, brutal film, which also sums up Selena quite nicely. The month of Rage-fueled horror hardens Selena into a true survivor willing to viciously kill anyone who could even potentially be infected. It’s harsh, but it’s what has kept her alive, and there’s something to be said for a resolve like that. Something I love about 28 Days Later is that it’s a refreshing reversal of traditional gender roles: it is Selena who is the stoic, tough-as-nails figure that has to teach the naïve, more optimistic Jim how to survive in a world of raving maniacs and lawlessness. Way to go, girl. You hold onto that machete and show the terrible new world what’s what.
Angie Barry wrote her thesis on the socio-political commentary in zombie films. Meeting George Romero is high on her bucket list, and she has spent hours putting together her zombie apocalypse survival plan. She also writes horror and fantasy in her spare time, and watches far too much Doctor Who. You can find her at Livejournal.com under the handle “zombres.”
Read all posts by Angie Barry at Criminal Element.