In celebration of International Women’s Day, Heaven of Horror is remembering some of the most memorable kick-ass women of the horror and sci-fi genre.

And I am very pleased to say that we have more than an average share of kick-ass women in this genre, so I’ve picked out five of my absolute favorites!

#1 Ellen Ripley from the Alien movies
Ellen Ripley Alien
No list featuring kick-ass women could ever be complete without Ripley. She is nothing short of an iconic female character, still relevant across several Alien movies and the decades that have passed since she first fought her way into movie history with Alien in 1979 – not to mention the hearts and minds of horror fans everywhere. Also, Sigourney Weaver can still boost interest (and ticket sales) whenever she attaches herself to a project. We just cannot get enough of the woman who personified Ellen Ripley.

#2 Sarah Connor from Terminator 1 & 2
Sarah Connor Terminator 1 and 2
Yet another example is that while women may start out as being quite soft and timid, there’s nothing like the sci-fi and horror genre to bring out the be(a)st in her. Linda Hamilton ensured Sarah Connor’s cult status when she returned as the character with added pounds of muscle and did chin-ups in a makeshift gym. Oh yes, Sarah Connor had quite the transformation between the first movie in 1984 and the sequel in 1991.
Also, let’s not forget that two Game of Thrones (a TV show with plenty of kick-ass women) have since played the character of Sarah Connor. First, there was Lena Headey in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and then Emilia Clarke most recently took over the Terminator movie-franchise version in Terminator Genisys.

#3 Alice from the Resident Evil franchise
Alice Resident Evil Milla Jovovich

Across many movies and 15 years – Resident Evil came out in 2002 and Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is set to come out January 27, 2017 – we’ve enjoyed several versions of Alice as she battles various creatures and the Umbrella Corporation. Milla Jovivich has embraced the character and continues to be part of further productions on various levels. Sure, she’s no doubt making good money from it, but it definitely seems like she loves the work as well. And why shouldn’t she? Alice is an awesome character that has earned the label “Kick-ass Woman” more than anyone else on this list.

#4 Furiosa from Mad Max Fury Road
Furiosa Mad Max Fury Road Charlize Theron
I’ll be the first to admit that while Tina Turner was pretty badass in Max Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985), the newest installment of the Mad Max universe gave us the most kick-ass woman when we got Furiosa in Mad Mad Fury Road. With an almost eerie physical resemblance to Ellen Ripley in Alien 3, we see Charlize Theron with very short hair and an almost androgynous look. However, Mad Max Fury Road was very much a female-led movie, leaving no room that this was indeed George Miller’s tribute to female strength where Furiosa was in the lead and gave us an amazing character with iconic strength.

#5 Sidney Prescott from Scream
sidney prescott scream neve campbell
That’s right, I think we have room for a modern-day kick-ass woman, who’s much more along the lines of Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween. It’s all very meta, as they specifically focus on Jamie Lee Curtis’ Halloween character, Laurie Strode, in the very first Scream movie (they even watch the movie and use it to establish the rules of horror). With Scream we saw Neve Campbell portraying a young woman, who was tired of the old horror tropes; Only virgins survive and people keep running up the stairs, when they should be running out the front door [the movie had my heart for all-time the moment those words were spoken], and as the movies progress, Sidney Prescott changes from the reluctantly fighting victim to someone who’s always ready for another psychopath to come her way.
This year marks the 20-year anniversary of Scream and Neve Campbell recently stated that even though the world sadly lost Wes Craven in August 2015, she’s ready to continue with the Scream franchise. However, she has also stated that it depends on who they bring on as director in Craven’s place.

Who’s your favorite kick-ass woman?

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard