Measuring how evil a character is can be a difficult task. It's both subjective and relative to the universe the character exists within. We can look at the actions of a character, their motivations and how powerful they are, but at the end of the day, it's our word against yours. But we're going to try and approach this as objectively as we possibly can, so don't start yelling just yet.
Harley Quinn is about as unstable as they come. She has no regard for human life and won't hesitate to get rid of anyone standing in her way. She, like many villains, does have one weakness. Her weakness is The Joker. If it weren't for him, Harley Quinn might be the most evil of them all. But, alas, she is not.
It's no secret that the vast majority of the most popular villains are male. Villainesses haven't been nearly as well represented as their male counterparts in film, but that doesn't mean there haven't been some all-time greats. It would be easy to pick a number of females from horror movies, but where's the fun in that? We'll try to include villains from a variety of genres so that everyone has a shot at the evil crown.
We should also mention upfront that there are some notable exclusions for specific reasons. The major omission in the list is Reagan from The Exorcist. While she is easily one of the evillest characters in the history of film, Reagan, the little girl, is not the villain. Pazuzu, a male demon, is the possessor and the villain. There are also some characters that were too close to other characters on the list, such as Evelyn Draper (Jessica Walter) from Play Misty for Me. Even though some great female villains had to be cut, this list still represents the most horrifying female antagonists in cinematic history.
Let's begin with the least evil and work our way toward the worst of them all. Here are 15 female villains more evil than Harley Quinn.
15 Catherine Tramell – Basic Instinct
14 Dolores Umbridge - Harry Potter Franchise
13 The Evil Queen/Queen Ravenna – Snow White Films
12 Joan Crawford – Mommie Dearest
11 Bellatrix Lestrange – Harry Potter Franchise
10 Alex Forrest – Fatal Attraction
9 Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson) – Rebecca
8 Pamela Voorhees – Friday the 13th
7 Samara Morgan – The Ring
6 Xenomorph Queen – Alien Franchise
5 Yamazaki Asami – Audition
4 Dark Phoenix – X-Men Comics
3 Annie Wilkes – Misery
2 Wicked Witch of the West – The Wizard of Oz
1 Nurse Ratched – One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Easily the most terrifying nurse in the history of film, Nurse Ratched is the worst kind of person. Solely responsible for the popularizing vision of the Battleaxe Nurse, Ratched was the tyrannical authority in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and one of the main reasons we seem to have an innate fear of nurses in mental institutions. Like Kathy Bates playing Annie Wilkes, Louise Fletcher won an Academy Award for her performance as Nurse Ratched. She was so convincing and evil in the film that she has become a stand-in as the prototypical villainess: calm and domineering. This woman is evil at its very worst.
Sources: Screenrant; Ranker; IMDB
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