The Weekend Rent: Sinister Movie Queens

The Weekend Rent: Sinister Movie Queens

Jun 01, 2012

Kristen Stewart steps out of her cinematic vampire-wolf love triangle to team up with some dwarves, Chris Hemsworth and Sam Claflin in Snow White and the Huntsman. This gothic-looking adventure opening in theaters is, like Alice in Wonderland, another attempt to turn a passive female character into an armor-wearing warrior woman. K-Stew reliably brings the same wooden expression to every role, which leaves plenty of room for Charlize Theron to do all the emoting as youth-obsessed Queen Ravenna. Her wild-eyed tantrums filled with magic and fury embody the over-the-top fantasies of every diva and wannabe that you know. Theron's theatrics send the movie hurling into camp territory—expect the character to be a hit in drag circles and this Halloween—but she still makes an unforgettably evil crown wearer. This begs the question: Mirror, mirror on the wall, who are the most malevolent movie queens of all?

One of the most literally cold-hearted movie queens is Jadis, the White Witch played by Tilda Swinton in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Jadis holds the magical kingdom of Narnia under an eternal winter without Christmas, spring or summer. She meets her match in the Pevensie children and, although Jadis has cameos in Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, she never regains her Ice Queen status.

Did someone say malevolent? How about Maleficent in Disney's animated classic Sleeping Beauty? If you forget to invite her to your party, she'll use an enchanted spinning wheel to prick your daughter's finger so she falls into an eternal slumber. Maleficent later transforms into a fire-breathing dragon to take on Prince Phillip—the one man who can awaken the snoozing princess.

In Tim Burton's recent Alice in Wonderland, the director cast Helena Bonham Carter as the evil Red Queen. The red-haired ruler appears with a disproportionately large head that obviously gives her a complex and makes her lash out at her subjects, usually at the expense of their heads. Snow White and the Huntsman producer Joe Roth also produced Alice in Wonderland, which means he thinks wicked women rule.

Theron's scenery-chewing performance in Snow White and the Huntsman will become camp legend, but camp connoisseur John Waters also had an unforgettable mad matriarch in his film Desperate Living. Edith Massey plays the tyrannical Queen Carlotta, who despises the degenerates of the shantytown Mortville that she rules over. Carlotta is carted around town in a wheelbarrow pushed by leather men as she forces her subjects to demean themselves by wearing their clothes backwards and eating roaches. "And when you walk down the streets of Mortville," Carlotta tells the residents, "make sure you dress like what you really are—trash!"

The vampire Lestat's music awakens Akasha (Aaliyah)—the original vampire—in The Queen of the Damned, which is adapted from one of Anne Rice's The Vampire Chronicles. Akasha wants to rule the world with her rock-and-roll vampire stud at her side, and she incinerates any bloodsucker that defies her reign. Akasha was Aaliyah's final film role before she died in a plane crash.

You don't need a mirror on the wall to tell you that the gigantic Queen Alien that Sigourney Weaver's Ripley first encounters in Aliens is the most fearsome queen of all. The Queen Alien lays and protects hundreds of pods, which house the facehuggers that attach themselves to living hosts to incubate acid-blooded xenomorphs. Ripley famously shouts, "Get away from her, you bitch!" before blowing the Queen out the airlock in Aliens, but different Alien queens appear in Alien: Resurrection and AVP: Alien vs. Predator.



Categories: Features, At Home
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