WIHM: Embrace Your Inner Maleficent-You Magnificent Bitch
By Ruschelle Dillon
We’ve all heard the old saying, lose yourself in a good book/movie or Netflix series. And it’s a true, a good book, movie or series can whisk you away and take you places your feet and bank account can’t. But I’m proposing a twist; instead of losing yourself in a good piece of entertainment, how about FINDING yourself in one? Identify with a character, and not the heroine. Oh, hells to the no. This is Women in Horror Month. Let’s find ourselves in the villains, the sex pots, the bitches and, cue Billie Ellish’s “Bad Guy”, duh. And it shall be glorious! Bwahahahaha…<<cough, cough>> (damn hairball spoiling my evil laugh).
Now, I’m not saying that we should fully embrace the big breasted, devil worshipping cannibal who lures victims to their deaths with her sexy twerk of love. Hell, I’d need to order me some breasts from Wal-Mart for that; and I wouldn’t trust them to get my order correct. But an unsavory character does possess fantastic qualities that we can admire and even emulate. There’s more to an evil vixen than just being evil…or a vixen.
I’m going to share with you a few of my top female villains from all realms of entertainment. Although they may be despicable human beings, I can see, or WISH to see, a bit of myself in them.
Medusa– Growing up, I loved reading Mythology. Gods and goddesses; cavorting and canoodling, building and destroying. These stories were perfect for a creative, growing mind and budding author. And the story of the serpent haired Gorgon who turned all those who gazed upon her into a shapely hunk o’ rock was cool as hell. Sure, she had some anger issues, but who doesn’t have a bad day? And come on, in one version of her story, she was raped by Poseidon in Athena’s temple. And to make matters worse, there was victim blaming by Athena herself; who apparently wasn’t ‘woke’ and damned her to a life of monstrosity. Could you blame Medusa for becoming the physical embodiment of rage? Hell, I get it. Instead of hiding from her make-over in a cave somewhere, she embraced her new look. She showed guts, baring her pointy teeth and waving her unruly hair follicles in the face of adversity. She learned to accept who she was. Man, I need to be more like Medusa; especially in the morning…or when I get a giant pimple, or have a bad hair, face and body day. I need to embrace my inner Medusa. She wasn’t afraid to stare people down, looking all scary. Why should I? That reminds me, my snakes are getting a bit rebellious. I do need a trim…
Jadis, the White Witch from The Chronicles of Narnia– I will admit, I have always loved me some evil witches. They are confident and powerful. Even while having their asses handed to them, they coolly stare the hero in the face with an “is that all you got” attitude. That move may not bode well for your defiant child or husband, but for an evil witch, it’s damn near inspirational. Jadis is classy, well-spoken and a risk taker. Like my girl Medusa, she also had a thang for turning living breathing beings into marble countertops if they pissed her off. But unlike Medusa’s murdering ‘Care Bear Stare’, Jadis was more…traditional. She gave em’ the ELO treatment* with a flick of her wand. She was also considered a Daughter of Lilith, which I found fascinating; especially since Lilith falls on my list as well. What does this say about me? Hmm… ah, keep it to yourself. But her witchiness abounds! She has dark and ghastly minions. I want minions! I would love me some monsters and hideous creatures to do my bidding. Okay, ‘my bidding’ might just entail doing my grocery shopping, but you know that they will get everything on my list and fight those that attempt to bogart the last box of Tuna Helper. But I digress… Sure, I wanted to see the White Witch have her face eaten off by Aslan for humiliating and murdering him, but she commanded the situation with such panache and flair. What I admired most about Jadis was her ability to kiss, marry and kill in all white; never fretting over scrubbing a little blood out of her robes. I so aspire to that. Because of her, I just bought a pair of white jeans. Wish me luck.
Morticia Addams- From the strange 1930’s comic strips of Charles Addams to the delightful television program of the 60’s and the more recent movies which really aren’t so recent anymore, (I was in college when the first movie came out. Holy hell I’m old), Morticia Addams was and still is my role model. She is always so poised and composed. She never lets anything get the better of her. She loves all the weird and strange in life; from her carnivorous plant, Cleopatra, to the two headed turtle and medieval torture nick-knacks dotted throughout her home. Morticia was never one to follow the popular trends of Martha Stewart. Yes, I know Martha wasn’t a trend setter back then but just eat the slop I’m dishing out, okay? Another admirable quality Morticia exhibits is her loyalty and devotion to her family. She nurtures her equally strange children; cheering on her daughter’s frequent decapitations of her dolly ‘Marie Antoinette’ and encouraging her son’s hobby that he shares with his father. That’s right, the father-son rite of passage… explosives. And don’t even get me started on her love affair with Gomez. I’m sorry ‘Twilight’, but THIS is the storybook romance of the ages. I attempted to speak French to my own husband, but unfortunately the only words I know are croissant and escargot; oh, and omelet. My husband got all excited! He thought I was making dinner. Oh well, excitement is excitement.
My last offering today is, as mentioned earlier, Lilith, from The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina– Yeah, I binge watch Netflix tweener crap, and I’m not apologizing! Lilith may have had shitty taste in men, but let’s face it, she was one of only 3 people originally existing on Earth. ‘Swiping right’ on Tinder would have been pointless; Adam ((swipe)) Lucifer. DONE. In the Netflix series, Lilith is the epitome of the Chaka Khan song, “I’m Every Woman”. She who wants it all: love, family, a legion of demons at her behest, so she can rule Hell… y’know, a CAREER! Lilith-the original modern woman. In the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Lilith is awarded the opportunity to become Queen of Hell, since Satan has been… shall we say, ‘imprisoned’ by those meddling kids. (Not the ones from Scooby-Doo. These are different meddling kids) But alas, her reign is short-lived, and she is forced to give up the crown. Lilith is always getting boned, and not in a good way. For eons, Lucifer promised to make her his queen so she would rule Hell at his side. But there’s one big problem… he’s the Prince of Lies! Hellooooo! She did his dirty work, the 3 big M’s: Murder, Manipulation and Manicures (The Dark Lord needs his hooves buffed and moisturized). But he reneged, offering the position up to… someone else! (I’m trying to avoid spoilers here…) Instead of going on a rampage (understandable) each-and-every time she got hosed, Lilith bit her forked tongue; personifying tact, dignity and restraint. She stepped back and devised a new plan. That’s what a woman does! When shit doesn’t go the way she wants, she does her hair toss, checks her nails and devises plan B (feeling good as hell)! AND, yes there’s an and, although she’s salty (I mean, who wouldn’t be), she offers up assistance and guidance and wisdom to those meddling kids. “A queen doesn’t cry.” Words to live by. I’ll add my own little piece of wisdom here: if you DO cry, it’s okay. Just do it behind closed doors. Don’t let people mistake your tears, which are valid, for weakness. Lilith is really rubbing off on me… and I like it.
Let’s face it, we may have a lot more in common with the villain than we’d like. And depending on the traits we decide to practice and model, it’s okay! But if you have trouble deciding which behaviors buried in your favorite ‘bad bitch’ are worth replicating, here’s a tip: if you don’t have an airtight alibi, or money for bail, and you look like hell in an orange prison jumpsuit, plunge that knife a little deeper into the muscle and viscera of your ‘It Girl’ and carve out a less messy piece of yourself.
Celebrate yourselves ladies, it’s Women In Horror Month.
*Song from the band ELO, Electric Light Orchestra-TURN TO STONE. A heads-up for all you Millennials out there. Now, should I explain the ‘Care Bear Stare’? Nah… Google it or ask that slutty voiced know-it-all, Alexa.
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Ruschelle Dillon is a freelance writer whose efforts focus on the dark humor and the horror genres. Ms. Dillon’s brand of humor has been incorporated in a wide variety of projects, including the irreverent blog Puppets Don’t Wear Pants and novelette “Bone-sai”, published through Black Bed Sheet Books as well as the live-action video shorts “Don’t Punch the Corpse” and “Mothman”. She also interviews authors for the Horror Tree website.
Her short stories have appeared in various anthologies and online zines such as Strangely Funny III, Story Shack, Siren’s Call, Weird Ales- Another Round and Women in Horror Anthology Vol. 2, Sanitarium Magazine, Dark Voices and Fear and Fables. Her collection of short stories, Arithmophobia published by Mystery and Horror LLC, is available through Amazon & Barnes and Noble. Summer 2020, Black Bed Sheet Publishing will release her dark Novella, The Stain.