22/10/18 Fashionable Female Villains You Can’t Help But Love

Turning to the dark side often comes complete with a killer wardrobe, dramatic beauty looks and a role that steals the show from the heroine.

Defying the stereotypical depiction of women on screen, these female villainesses packed quite a punch and have become icons in their own right, unaided – or perhaps even, unhindered – by men, with their unapologetic agency speaking for itself. Wearing clothes that were both stylish and dominant, each villainess was as assertive as they were powerful. The fact that they were evil was by the by.

Female villains were always the best characters. So, in celebration of spooky season, we’ve picked out our favourites; empowered, ballsy, interesting, stylish women characters, who stole the screen.


Image courtesy: BBC

Villanelle (Jodie Comer) – Killing Eve

Killing Eve, the BBC’s hit assassin-spy drama, Eve (Sandra Oh) is a slightly dappy MI5 officer who becomes obsessed with the mysterious assassin Villanelle; and Villanelle (Jodie Comer), a highly skilled and psychopathic killer, becomes obsessed with Eve in return. Eve often wears baggy trousers, loose and unstructured coats. She loses her luggage. She doesn’t have her shit together. Villanelle, in comparison, has a fancy apartment in Paris and a killer wardrobe that veers from pretty brocade tailoring to pussy bow blouses and that voluminous Molly Goddard dress.

Villanelle is also challenging the queer/straight wardrobe code, flouncing around in traditionally feminine fashions while plotting her daring, cold-hearted kills.



Image courtesy: Rex Features

O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu) – Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2

Female baddies are often the best dressed characters. Sharp, tailored suits, cigarette holders, heels, single-dom. It’s played out again and again in film and TV. One movie franchise that celebrates fearless heroines better than anyone is Quentin Tarantino’s legendary Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2. The director has created some of the most empowered female characters on-screen. Powerful and intimidating women protagonists, they are also styled to perfection.

As the half-Chinese, half-Japanese head of the Tokyo underworld, O-Ren Ishii rules with an iron fist. A ruthless assassin and one of the most challenging nemeses The Bride has to conquer before getting to Bill, their epic showdown at the end of Kill Bill: Vol. 1 is perhaps the best fight sequence in all of Tarantino’s movies and one where she manages to keep her white kimono pristine even after a sword fight.




Image courtesy: Rex Features

Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah) – Kill Bill: Vol. 1 and 2

She may poison her enemies without flinching, but Kill Bill’s Elle Driver does so in the crispest of nurses’s outfits, complete with fine tailoring.




Image courtesy: Rex Features

Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer) – Batman Returns

An awkward introduction of many a teenager to a world of fetish and BDSM, Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman caused a sensation and no small amount of controversy when Tim Burton’s Batman Returns premiered in 1992. While the audience expected another superhero movie, Burton gave them a disturbingly dark gothic fairytale that caused some amount of unease among the viewers.

The same can be said about Catwoman. Michelle Pfeiffer plays Selina Kyle, a frumpy (yet obviously stunning) personal assistant of the ruthless tycoon Max Shreck (Christopher Walken). After she learns about his latest illegal venture, Shreck tries to kill Selina by throwing her from the building. But Selina miraculously survives and vows revenge. Armed with a whip and dressed in a self-made black vinyl catsuit (that looks more haute couture than DIY), Pfeiffer’s Catwoman walks the line between alluring and disturbing. And when she falls in love with the mysterious billionaire Bruce Wayne (Michael Keaton), it’s hard to say which of them seems more broken inside.




Image courtesy: Disney

Maleficent –  Sleeping Beauty

There’s plenty of great villains in Disney’s rogues gallery but of late, one of them has gained more attention than her rivals – the evil sorceress Maleficent from the 1959 Disney animated film Sleeping Beauty. A 2014 live-action film tries to portray her as a misunderstood protagonist with a tragic past, played by Angelina Jolie.

In the 1959 version, Maleficent (voiced by and modelled on actress Eleanor Audley) is unabashedly evil. Building on a witch image established by MGM’s Wizard of Oz, Disney’s animators designed Maleficent as a unnaturally pale woman with a sharp nose dressed entirely in black. But where Evil Witch of the West is cackling menace, Maleficent is regal and vindictive. Oh, and she can turn into a gigantic black dragon! Elegantly evil at its best, and has become recognised as one of the best animated films ever made.




Image courtesy: Source unknown

Mallory Knox (Juliette Lewis) – Natural Born Killers

Co-written by Quentin Tarantino, Oliver Stone’s satirical crime film Natural Born Killers follows Mickey (Woody Harrelson) and Mallory Knox (Juliette Lewis), a pair of psychopathic lovers, as they murder people all over USA. Juliette Lewis’ portrayal is freaky yet electrifying. And, her 90’s ensembles make it all the better!




Image courtesy: Rex Features

Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone) – Basic Instinct

Paul Verhoeven’s Basic Instinct. In it, troubled police detective Nick Curran (Michael Douglas) investigates a murder of a rock star which may have been committed by the smart, sexy, sociopathic and bisexual novelist Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone). Despite all the corpses piling up around Catherine, Curran begins a steamy affair with her, with deadly consequences.

A little white dress, stiletto heels and, famously, nothing else made Stone’s Catherine Tramell go down in history as one of cinema’s most seductive femme fatales.




Image courtesy: Rex Features

Joan Crawford (Faye Dunaway) – Mommie Dearest 

Scandal may be the only thing Hollywood loves almost as much as money. In 1978, Christina Crawford published Mommie Dearest, a scandalous memoir about her childhood as an adopted daughter of the Academy Award-winning actress Joan Crawford.

Naturally, Hollywood jumped on an opportunity to adapt such a juicy narrative into a film. Paramount Pictures found its Joan Crawford in Faye Dunaway, another Academy Award-winning actress. In Mommie Dearest, Dunaway utterly commits to a role of a monstrously egotistical movie star that’s quite possibly insane. Released in 1981, the movie was met with mixed reviews due to its sordid nature. Since then, its over-the-top villainess has turned Mommie Dearest into something of a cult film.