The representation of women on the big screen has always been a hotly debated topic. In an article that became one of the most influential pieces of film criticism, Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema, Laura Mulvey asserted that classical film positioned women only "to-be-looked-at" with no significance or active role in the story. Some time later, film scholar, Linda Williams subsequently argued that the representation of female desire was often punished in early and classical cinema. "The bold, smoldering dark eyes of the silent screen vamp offer an obvious example of a powerful female look", she noted. But she continues, stating that "the dubious moral status of such heroines" are always punishable by the end. This is perhaps most obvious in the role of the Femme Fatal who, in Film Noir of the 1940's and 50's, used her sexuality to convince otherwise upstanding men to help her commit crimes of murder and betrayal. But of course, she would always be killed for her wrong-doings; think Barbara Stanwyk in Double Indentity.
This insidious behavior can also be found in recent women of horror who are being positioned more and more often as killers who lure in their bait with their sexuality. A tactic referred to by scholar, Barabara Creed as the Monstrous-Feminine. They're beautiful, cunning, and vindictive. Whether they are following in the tradition of the Femme Fatale or are simply out for revenge (or even just a game of cat and mouse), one thing holds true - these ladies are not afraid to pull the trigger. They may not all be killers, but they all have devious intentions. Here are 10 seductresses who won't let anything, or anyone, get in their way.
10 Amanda Seyfried in Chloe
9 Sarah Michelle Gellar in Cruel Intentions
8 Denise Richards in Wild Things
7 Katherine Isabelle in American Mary
6 Nicole Kidman in To Die For
5 Angelina Jolie in Original Sin
4 Jade Dornfeld in Alyce Kills
3 Alicia Silverstone in The Crush
2 Meghan Fox in Jennifer's Body
1 Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct
Despite initial negative reception, this neo-noir became one of the most successful films of the 1990's, raking in over $350 million. Much attention was paid to Stone for her sexy portrayal of the cold-hearted man-killer Catherine. The film was nominated for multiple awards, even though there was controversy over its overt display of sexuality and protests from the LGBTQ community, who felt the film perpetuated homosexual stereotypes. Stone reprised the role in 2006 in Basic Instinct 2, and while she was still sexy and dangerous, this time around, the film was a commercial flop (as many sequels tend to be). Even so, "Catherine" remains one of the sexiest and deadliest women in film.
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