By Zombie Grrl
This summer’s box office line up looks promising for women in film of the ass-kicking variety. From Michelle Rodriguez in the Machete trailer (looking how she always has in my fantasies) decked out in heavy artillery, leather and an eye patch, to the next chapter in the Resident Evil series, which is right around the corner and looking to be packed with all manner of badass female action. To Salt, the Angelina Jolie helmed actioner cleaning up at the box office this week, it’s almost too much excitement for my lady brains to take.
So, I thought it was the perfect time to reflect on some of my favorite tough girl moments in horror and horror adjacent genres. Whether is getting justice, revenge, kicking ass or just some good old fashioned daring-do, these are 15 moments of sheer lady baddassery that make you sit up and say, “fuck yeah!” Check out 15 of my favorites after the break.
**Warning lots of major (kick ass) spoilers ahead**
#15 Kelly Goes Upside Some Zombie Dome in Dead Set
British zombie export Dead Set features a scrappy, gravelly voiced Jamie Winstone as Kelly and some of the finest zombie gore in recent memory. Taking place on the set of the Big Brother series, things really heat up when a brains-starved zombie gets on set, and it’s left up to survivor girl Kelly to give us a delightful demonstration of what happens when fire extinguisher meets cranium … repeatedly. Spoiler alert: Brains ‘effing everywhere. Say it with me: Fuck yeah!
#14 Ellen Page Has Steady Hands and a Cold Heart in Hard Candy
Scream all you like baby toucher, Juno ain’t hearing it. Hard Candy is a great little thriller that keeps you on your toes, stellar acting, spot on writing and all that good stuff. Oh and did I mention it has a castration scene? Sure if you’ve seen one dude get the chop you’ve pretty much seen ’em all, am I right? But what makes this such a standout is little Miss Page’s cool as ice demeanor when letting the “could be” pedophile know there’s no way out of getting the snip.
#13 Community Pool Justice in Let the Right One In
Let the Right One In is a fantastic vampire flick from Norway that did two things: reinvigorated the flagging vampire sub-genre and roundly told the Twilight Saga to suck it. (See what I did there? Yep, me clever). But it’s also a beautiful story of loneliness, isolation and finding companionship. Plus, some lovely gore, a pack of seriously pissed-off felines and a singular moment in a community pool. You see, Oskar has been having a rough time, and is the object of ridicule and bullying — that is until the bullies get their comeuppance, courtesy of one powerfully undead munchkin, Eli the transgender vamp. Subtle and vicious, this is one fuck yeah that’s well earned.
#12 Leeloo Takes Out a Pack of Intergalactic Baddies in The Fifth Element
While “love” may officially be the fifth element, as far as were concerned its badassery, Leeloo’s badassery to be precise. When “the perfect being” finds herself surrounded by a pack of revenge driven Mangalores in the divas quarters on the uber luxury Fhloston Paradise cruise ship (yeah, I’ve seen this movie a few times…stop judging me) she has no choice but to go all intergalactic on their asses, the result: lots of beat down and a fuck yeah moment, in space.
#11 Shoshanna’s Reign of Fire in Inglorious Basterds
History revisionist masterpiece Inglorious Basterds’ opening scene leaves little Shoshanna orphaned when Nazi soldiers massacre her family hiding below the floor boards. Escaping with only her life she bides her time until she can seek revenge against the party who wronged her. And wow, has revenge ever tasted sweeter then when Shoshanna exacted her fiery plan setting the theater ablaze with all the Nazi bigwigs trapped inside? Even the Fuhrer himself felt her toasty vengeance. Historically accurate? Not so much, but a fuck yeah moment, you betcha.
#10 Cherry Darling Gets a New Toy in Planet Terror
Rose McGowen may lose a leg in Robert Rodriguez’ zombie grindhouse gorefest, but we gain the most memorable prosthetic limb in movie history. Employing dance movies gained in her former stripper pole laden day job, Ms. Darling stylishly dispatches both undead baddies and some seriously uncool soldiers. It simultaneously stretches the limits of our imagination and of awesomeness in general.
#9 Zoe Bell Plays Chicken with Stuntman Mike
Real life badass stunt woman Zoe Bell struts her stuff as a “ships mast” on the hood of a 1970 Dodge Challenger in a nail biter chase scene in Death Proof. But when psychopath Stuntman Mike shows up and ruins their fun by ramming the car and just generally being a sociopathic douche nozzle that’s when things really get interesting. When Zoe, hanging on to the hood by the skin of her teeth, still has moxie to kick at his car, you just gotta say fuck yeah.
#8 Lisbeth Salander’s Inky Justice in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
If you haven’t seen the Swedish thriller The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, you should — it’s awesome. Also, you shouldn’t watch this video because it’s singularly badass in a revenge driven wraith sort of way, and I don’t want to ruin it for you. However, for those who have seen the movie, they know how brutal the sexual violence is in the film is and how revolting her court appointed perv.. er.. guardian is, and how fantastic it is to see her give him his due at the pointy end of a tattoo gun … and a dildo. Fuck yeah.
#7 The Bride Does Massive Ocular Damage in Kill Bill 2
Even with the Crazy 88 blood bath, the cranial trim she dealt O-Ren Ishii and the smack down she unleashed on Go Go Yubari, nothing can compare to the trailer park sword fight rumble between Beatrix and Elle Driver in Kill Bill Vol 2. Fresh from her premature burial Beatrix goes toe to toe with her old rival in an no holds barred brawl, culminating in the eyeball snatch heard ’round the world. This is a moment in cinema that leaves your jaw on the floor and your blood pumping. Fuck yeah.
#6 Vanessa Lutz Gets Slap Happy in Freeway
Wanna know the quickest way to slapped upside the head? Suggest that Vanessa Lutz (Reese Witherspoon) was born to hook. Officer Douchbag learns this one the hard way when he implies that maybe Vanessa is just doing what “came natural.” I may not be down with the racist language, but you better believe I can get behind this ass kickin’. Bad cop, no doughnut. Fuck yeah.
#5 Alabama Worley vs Tony Soprano in True Romance‘s Battle el Baño
Never underestimate a hooker with a heart of gold and toilet tank lid. Alabama (Patricia Arquette) takes a pummeling from mafia goon James Gandolfini but turns the tables and dishes out a savage beating. Employing everything from shampoo to a corkscrew, it will go down in the annuals of the finest cinematic beat downs. Sure it’s brutal, and a little hard to watch, but Alabama’s such a feisty little scrapper I dare you to try and not cheer her on as she unloads the shotgun into Gandolfini, then goes to work on his corpse. A morbid fuck yeah.
#4 Trinity defies physics in The Matrix
Sure you’ve seen it a billionty times since and it’s been parodied within and inch of its life but think back to the first time that you saw a vinyl clad Trinity open a can of bullet time whoop ass, I’m willing to bet there were two little words screaming in your head, fuck yeah. Forget Neo, Trinity is the one.
#3 Sarah Connor’s One Hand Shotgun Rack in Terminator 2
OK, who didn’t swoon just a little bit when Mz. Connor busted out this über butch one-handed move? How much do I love that the ultimate fuck yeah moment in this series of testosterone-fests comes courtesy of its lady lead? A whole lot. Looks like those prison workouts really did the trick. The T-1000 never stood a chance against this much badassery. Let’s all think about Linda Hamilton’s magnificent biceps while the video rolls.
#2 Ripley Goes Womano-a-Womano with the Queen in Aliens
Intergalactic, inter-species mechanized alien smack down in space? Yes please. It doesn’t get a whole lot more fuck yeah inducing than the final battle between Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) and the big bad mama xenomorph at the end of Aliens. In a movie that’s packed with back to back kick ass lady moments (from both Ripley and colonial marine Vasquez), singling this one out says a lot about its ability to work me up in to fuck yeah frenzy. Viva la Ripley.
#1 Hit Girl Gives a Gunkata Lesson in Kick-Ass
Oh dear, hands to pearls, the controversy, the scandal, a brutally violent child in a hyper violent comic book movie. Yep, that’s right — we’re talking about Hit Girl (played by 11-year-old Chloe Moretz), Kick-Ass’s most lethal-ist kiddo. While her C-bomb dropping, badguy stomping antics may have sent middle aged white men into an uproar (I mean, my goodness, she didn’t even have the courtesy of being nice and safe, a.k.a. sexualized and palatable) but many a feminist hit the ceiling with giddy, blood-soaked glee. Hell, she even managed to make Nicolas Cage cool again — briefly. And while every moment she’s on screen is pretty fantastic, it’s the infamous “Hit Girl and the hallway of death and dismemberment” that takes the fuck yeah cake. This pint sized punisher is a sociopath after my own heart. Take one part feisty femme, add some heavy artillery, plenty of blood and put it to a song by the Runaways and I’m in badass bitch heaven. We need a Hit Girl movie and we need it NOW!