With her turn in Obsessed as a woman who will stop at nothing to get her man, even if he isn’t her man, Ali Larter joins the ranks of actresses who’ve portrayed the domineering, the aggressive, the downright crazy. Why Hollywood so often chooses to produce movies centered around on-the-edge female characters is a subject that could, and should, be debated widely on the studio lots. As a refresher, here's an all-star rundown of the silver screen's most obsessed and possessed, from Misery to 101 Dalmations.
No! More! Wire!… Do We Even Have to Finish It?
The high priestess of domineering female characters, Faye Dunaway’s portrayal of actress/worst-adoptive-mother- ever Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest (1981) is best remembered for this scene, which will probably have you rethinking the contents of your own closet.
The Original Bunny Boiler
When one of your character’s actions (boiling the family’s pet rabbit!) enters the slang lexicon as a synonym for “crazy ex-girlfriend,” you know you’ve done something right. Glenn Close’s turn in Fatal Attraction (1987) as a marital indiscretion who will not be ignored likely had most married men re-pledging their fidelity.
Mad About the Boy… Really Mad
Gloria Swanson’s portrayal of Norma Desmond—an aging silent-screen actress driven mad by her irrelevance after advent of talkies—in 1950’s Sunset Boulevard nabbed the actress a well-deserved Oscar nomination. In this scene, the actress mentally retreats to the only place she was ever happy: in front of the camera.
A Reminder That "Fan" Derives from “Fanatic”
Boy, Kathy Bates’ Annie Wilkes sure loved James Caan’s character in the 1990 film Misery. But what’s that saying about how you always hurt the one you love?
The Leg-Crossing Heard ‘Round the World
We don’t recommend employing the tactics used by Sharon Stone’s Catherine Tramell from Basic Instinct (1992) to distract the nice policemen asking questions about her role in a grisly murder… even if they clearly work.
And the Runner-Up For Craziest Prom Queen Is…
Everyone remembers the telekinetic prom freakout exhibited by the title character in Carrie (1976), but if your mom were anything like Ms. White, you’d probably be a little cranky, too.
Sometimes, It’s Worth Paying Extra to Live Alone
Clearly, Single White Female (1992) was written before Craigslist and Google were invented, because nowadays, with so much technology at our disposal, there’s no way anyone could unwittingly live with a psycho like Jennifer Jason Leigh’s Hedy Carlson…right? Right?
No! Not the Puppies!
Betty Lou Gerson’s Cruella de Vil—subtle name choice, Disney!—wants to turn all of the 101 Dalmatians (1961) into a fur coat. Who scripted this movie, PETA?
“God, You’re Dumb.”
When Jessica Walter’s Evelyn cuts off her romantic rival’s hair in 1971’s Play Misty for Me, we can’t help feeling a little relieved. After all, haircuts in the 1970s were really unflattering.
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