These 12 Films Feature Absolutely Unhinged Female Characters

Are you looking for movies that feature female characters becoming unhinged? One moviegoer is. In a recent online discussion, they're asking for characters that are “full on lipstick-gun, crash a car, lighter to the tongue, cackle-giggles, lana del rey/billie eilish/taylor swift/melanie martinez, black swan, carrie insane.” Here are the 12 best examples.

1. Fatal Attraction

Fatal Attraction
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

The 1987 thriller starring Michael Douglas, Glenn Close, and Anne Archer may be the best example of female characters that become unhinged.

“Top-tier crazy right there,” says one movie fan.

2. Batman Returns 

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Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Many agreed that Michelle Pfeiffer’s Selina Kyle/Catwoman in Tim Burton’s Batman Returns was a perfect fit for the criteria. One user called her a “Chaotic feminist icon” while another called her transformation from sheepish secretary to the feral feline persona Catwoman “glorious.”

3. Possession

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Image Credit: Gaumont.

Possession may offer the most iconic scene of a woman’s madness in film when Isabel Adjani’s character wails and contorts her body in a subway. It’s an incredible scene that captures a wildly committed performance, and that’s just one scene in a movie about a woman demonstrating increasingly dangerous and, well, unhinged behavior after asking her husband for a divorce. 

4. Misery

Image Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

Several fans suggested Misery and Kathy Bates's Oscar-winning performance as Annie Wilkes. The film centers on an author whose car breaks down and is cared for by Annie, a woman one respondent described as “an extreme psycho fan girl.”

5. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? 

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Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Multiple fans recommended What Ever Happened to Baby Jane which centers on the titular Baby Jane (Bette Davis) as an adult who psychologically tortures her older paraplegic sister. One person even noted that “Half the movies mentioned here don't exist without this movie.”

6. X/Pearl

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Image Credit: A24.

I’m cheating a bit here by including two films, but the same actress (Mia Goth) plays the same character in both of them so we’re going to go with it. In Pearl and X, Goth plays Pearl at different stages in her life. In Pearl we see the bright-eyed and hopeful young sociopath’s dreams of stardom dashed, and in X we see the consequences of her being forced to live an ordinary life.  

7. Infinity Pool

Infinity Pool Mia Goth
Image Credit: Elevation Pictures.

A very recent film also starring Mia Goth, Infinity Pool shows that she may be the current queen of crazy. As one person who recommended Infinity Pool said “anything starring Mia Goth” would be a good fit for what the original poster was looking for. The film centers on a man who falls in with a group of people who have discovered a way to live without consequences on vacation and take that as a license to do whatever they want. Goth’s Gabi is an absolute delight to behold on screen, but not someone you’d ever want to meet in person. 

8. Natural Born Killers

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Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Multiple people suggested Natural Born Killers for Juliette Lewis’s portrayal of spree killer Mallory Knox who goes on a journey through the American southwest with her husband, killing people at every stop. As with the best unhinged women, Lewis makes Mallory lovable and even cute at moments between violence. 

9. Death Becomes Her

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Image Credit: Universal.

Some film buffs called out Death Becomes Her in which arrogant star Madeline Ashton (Meryl Streep) discovers a magical potion that can grant her everlasting youth and immortality. That seems like a blessing at first, but as the film unfolds it turns into a curse. As one commenter said, Madeline “is literally unhinged, like on a ‘skeletally and muscularly coming apart’ level.”

10. Jennifer’s Body

Jennifer's Body
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Several moviegoers suggested Jennifer’s Body for the titular Jennifer (Megan Fox) who becomes a succubus after a band attempts and fails to sacrifice her for rock stardom. Her transformation leads her to alternately uncaringly and delightedly devour the young men at her high school to sustain herself while also toying with her friend Needy (Amanda Seyfried) who is in love with her. 

11. Gone Girl

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Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Many critics recommended David Fincher’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl was among the best movies featuring unhinged women for the central Amy (Rosamund Pike) who goes missing at the start of the film. It’s a difficult movie to describe without spoiling so suffice to say that her going missing is just the beginning of this wonderfully twisty story centered on a woman willing to do whatever she must to get what she wants. 

12. I Care A Lot

I Care A Lot
Image Credit: Netflix.

Another Rosamund Pike film, this one has her playing “a morally bankrupt narcissist utterly in love with herself,” as one fan puts it.

“What a great movie that I’d completely forgotten about. Netflix original too, I believe,” another person said.

This thread inspired this post.

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.


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Kyle Logan is a film and television critic and general pop culture writer who has written for Alternative Press, Cultured Vultures, Film Stories, Looper, and more. Kyle is particularly interested in horror and animation, as well as genre films written and directed by queer people and women. Along with writing, Kyle organizes a Queer Film Challenge on Letterboxd.