Friday, July 12, 2024

Top 3 movie murderesses viewers hate to love


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Featured graphic by Destiny Mizell

Story by Aiden O’Neill

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Defending a killer is typically frowned upon, except when they’re the leading lady in your favorite movie. Each of these films has iconic murderesses that viewers hate to love yet love to defend. Whether it’s a cult classic or modern horror flick, each character portrays a dark reality about society’s perception of women who kill. 

3. “Jennifer’s Body”

Megan Fox was the early 2000s “it girl” and is still one of the most common celebrity crushes to this day. Even when she played a demonic teen that eats high school boys for breakfast in the 2009 horror-comedy flick “Jennifer’s Body,” the fascination didn’t fade.  

“Hell is a teenage girl.” 

After Fox’s character, Jennifer Check, goes on a ride with a big city punk band, she finds herself in the woods being murdered for a demonic ritual. Instead of creating a guaranteed path to fame like the band intended, the ritual ended up creating a possessed mean girl that thrives on blood and beauty. 

“You’re killing people” 

“No, I’m killing boys.” 

Jennifer becomes an indestructible and unattainably beautiful monster that lures boys in without trying. Once the victims agree to a date, or their death, her mouth transforms into jaws that can rip them to shreds. Jennifer’s vanity may out rank her survival instincts considering she tends to look for a new victim when the beauty begins to fade. 

“Wow. Nice comeback Hannah Montana. Got any more harsh digs?” 

Jennifer’s beauty outranks her murderous nature for viewers as well, considering this character is a favorite for many movie fanatics. The blood, insults and generally evil nature of the character didn’t ruin the obsession over Fox in the slightest. Along with the unrealistic aspect of the storyline, it seems to be easier to forgive killer mindset if it’s put behind a beautiful girl. 

“I am going…to eat your soul…and s–t it out LESNICKI!” 

2. “Pearl”

Mia Goth plays a troubled, fame obsessed girl that is stuck in isolation due to a spreading virus in the 2022 horror film “Pearl.” The deadly combination of psychosis, rejection and lack of social exposure causes Pearl to spiral. 

“You are not well Pearl… Malevolence is festering in you, I see it. And I will not, in good conscience, let you leave this farm again.” 

The movie is set during the early 1900s Spanish flu epidemic at Pearl’s family farm in Texas. Pearl became fascinated with fame after sneaking to the movies in town. 

“I don’t like reality. Where I live, I mean.” 

After she arrived back home, she tells her mother she’d like to audition for a traveling dance group. Her mother rejects the idea aggressively due to Pearl’s psychological issues, but this only made them spin out of control. 

“If you want to leave, go. But if you fail… and YOU will fail, I want you to remember what it feels like because that’s how I feel every time I look at you” 

The fight’s escalation ignited the beginning of Pearl’s killing spree. With each rejection or attempt to contain her to the home…she killed. When the dance company rejected her during the audition, she whaled out in pain. It could be seen in her cries that this moment sent her into complete turmoil. 

“No, I’m a star. Please, I’m a STAR! Please somebody help me!” 

The COVID-19 pandemic happened two years prior to this horror flicks release, giving every viewer personal perspective on how torturous isolation can be. Quarantine didn’t lead to this horrific timeline for most, but the situation was combined with extreme psychosis.  

The character Pearl represents a murderess that is pathologically psychotic and narcissistic. News outlets and society often want to pathologize women who commit these crimes, according to the study “Women Who Kill” by Kate Whitely.

1. The “Kill Bill” Series

The 2003 cult classic “Kill Bill” directed by Quentin Tarantino hosts one of the most popular movie murderesses of all time, the Bride. The Bride, played by Uma Thurman, fell victim to the assassination squad she once belonged to and began a path of revenge. 

“For those regarded as warriors, when engaged in combat the vanquishing of thine enemy can be the warrior’s only concern. Suppress all human emotion and compassion. Kill whoever stands in thy way, even if that be Lord God, or Buddha himself. This truth lies at the heart of the art of combat.” 

After the Deadly Vipers assassination squad shot up the Bride’s wedding and the leader Bill attempted to kill her, she was put into a coma. Bill decides it’s dishonorable to kill her while she can’t defend herself and she remains in the coma for four years.  

The Bride awoke from her coma to find that she is no longer pregnant and that a hospital worker had been selling her body. Her killing spree began along with her search for Bill. 

“When fortune smiles on something as violent and ugly as revenge, it seems proof like no other, that not only does God exist, you’re doing His will.” 

As this skilled samurai hunted down former and current members of the Deadly Vipers, she got closer to her true target. She killed many of the assassins but decided to torture one member Sophie Fatale for information. She only left Sophie behind with an amputated arm to send a message to Bill that she was coming for him. 

“Every time you don’t give me answers, I’m gonna cut something off. And I promise you, they will be things you will miss.” 

This film holds the highest number of kills compared to the others listed, yet the Bride was found the most popular when a random poll of 50 people were asked. When asked, many of the voters credited her skills and the tragic storyline as part of her overwhelming support. 

“She looks good the entire time in the yellow jumpsuit, and you also see her at a really low point,” said movie fanatic Dylan Stovall. “So, even if you don’t know what happened initially, you’re still on her side. You can tell its revenge for something horrible.” 

Out of all votes, 38% stated that the Bride was their favorite movie murderess. The fascination with martial arts and production quality of the film definitely played a role in viewer’s thoughts on this character. Regardless, her attractiveness and revenge arch displayed a similar representation of “acceptable” killers in the public eye.  

Each of these films and the viewers’ reactions to the characters themselves hold parallels to reality. Sally Ann Cruikshank, a true crime docu-series professor at Middle Tennessee State University, has seen from her experience how the major media outlets perceive women who kill. She went into detail about how many cases that are nationally recognized are typically gruesome or extreme in some nature. 

“I think it depends on what the woman looks like who kills,” Cruikshank said. “If she’s white and even remotely attractive, there will be a fascination with her in the media. Definitely socio-economic status has something to do with it as well.” 

Cruikshank described how some people will justify women killing abusive spouses or in the name of vengeance. She added that in her experience there isn’t a large gap between the idolization of real killers in documentaries versus characters in movies, specifically ones that fit into the previously described demographic. 

Due to the perspective of women being too pure or feminine to commit this type of crime, three universal explanations were used in mass media coverage, according to Kate Whitely in the “Women Who Kill” study.  These three explanations include pathologizing the woman, the victimization of the killer and the idea of an inherently “evil” woman.  

Both claims are supported by the characters listed. Each character is an attractive white woman that holds a stable economic standing. The Bride was on the revenge path for a crime that greatly affected her life. Jennifer Check was an evil spawn of a demonic ritual and was shown as heartless. Pearl showed psychotic tendencies through killing animals prior to her murder spree.  

There’s a clear distinction between real murderesses and characters in a movie. That said, these clear ties show that these story lines are closely tied to what society has “accepted” from women who kill in the past. 

To contact Lifestyles Editor Destiny Mizell and Assistant Lifestyles Editor Shamani Salahuddin, email For more news, visit, or follow us on Instagram at MTSUSidelines or on X at @MTSUSidelines.


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