Compared to other genres, horror has always been a mecca for fantastic evil and or villainous characters that we cherish or appreciate. We hype up Michael Myers, Leatherface, Ghostface, Freddy Krueger, Chucky etc. And this is certainly true when it comes to women who are allowed to be villains or antagonists. Yes, there are cases where there’s a layer of misogyny woven into the way these characters are depicted. But when executed properly, icons are born. Characters like the ladies who have played Ghostface in the Scream franchise, Sadie (Brianna Hildebrand) and McKayla (Alexandra Shipp) in Tragedy Girls (2017), Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson) in Doctor Sleep (2019) and so on.
Evil Dead Rise (2023) has introduced another hot evil woman for us to praise and appreciate in the horror world. The film is another entry in the Evil Dead franchise, in which up until Evil Dead (2013) has always centered around Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell). And while he serves as a great example of a final boy, it’s nice for the focus to shift again. Just when you think you’re going to be hyped up for the final girl(s), Deadite! Ellie (Alyssa Sutherland) shines the brightest in Evil Dead Rise.
The film at its core is about the disintegration of a family which is run by a single mother. Beth (Lily Sullivan) does kick ass as a character. And she’s our primary final girl, alongside her niece Kassie (Nell Fisher). But without Ellie being the main Deadite, the film wouldn’t be as stellar as it is. As soon as she gets possessed, her character is elevated to a different place. There’s something about women becoming unhinged that sometimes makes them hotter and more interesting. It’s not that Ellie wasn’t a good character prior to her unfortunate possession. But the way Deadite Ellie carried herself made her so much more enticing. She became more confident in everything she was doing. Of course everything means murder and chaos.
Ellie being possessed and the demon indulging in violence against everyone, including Ellie’s kids, was terrifying in the best possible way. We’ve seen men be killers in horror time and time again. So when someone who is woman aligned becomes the killer, it’s a change of pace.
We cherish evil and villainous women/femmes in horror because they are often living by their own rules. Society is bucked and ignored by these characters. Nobody is going to tell them how to be, who they are, and what to do in the world they exist in. Especially when they are possessed and are being controlled by something that makes them very powerful. What’s not to find appealing about that? Unless someone happens to be misogynistic. And for those folks, you’re missing out on some top-tier characters.
There’s not a single thing wrong with loving villains, antagonists, and flat-out evil characters. If you happen to be a marginalized person, then connecting to such characters isn’t unusual. I know that I love Maggot Mama (aka Ellie) and it’s quite a feat to be found hot even when you’re possessed. I’m just saying.