Whether you’re looking for inspiration for a Halloween costume or seeking a cult classic film to binge this weekend, we’d highly recommend taking a peek at some of the most iconic dark ladies in popular culture. These characters embody macabre elegance and seduced audiences with their gothic glamour. Take a look at our picks for 2019’s Halloween Queens in the gallery below and let us know your thoughts on this story in the comments section.
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
English actress Elsa Lanchester portrayed the role of the Bride of Frankenstein in the sequel to the 1931 classic horror film, Frankenstein. The actress also played Mary Shelley in the film, the real-life author of the original 1818 novel.
Finnish-American actress Maila Nurmi brought life to the character Vampira, hosting The Vampira Show on cable television from 1954-1955. After the show’s cancellation, she went on to reprise her role in 1959’s Plan 9 from Outerspace. She would later be portrayed by actress Lisa Marie in Tim Burton’s 1994 biopic, Ed Wood.
Lily Munster (1964-1966)
During the mid-1960s, actress Yvonne De Carlo portrayed the quirky, adorable and always cheerful Lily Munster in the cable series, The Munsters. The show ran at the same time as The Addams Family and initially, the first pilot featured a character called Phoebe Munster, however she was cut by production for being too similar to Morticia.
Morticia Addams (1964-1966, 1991-1993)
Perhaps the most well known dark lady on our list, Morticia Addams first came into popular culture through a 1938 comic series in The New Yorker. However, she’s far better known from appearing in the 1960s television series and the 1990s film series. Actress Carolyn Jones portrayed Addams during the film series, first bringing to light the elegant yet macabre matriarch on screens. Later, we’d see actress Anjelica Huston take on the role in 1991, earning a Golden Globe nomination for her performance.
Vampirella is a comic book superhero who was created by Forrest J. Ackerman and Trina Robbins in 1969. Vampirella is a vampire who fights evil on Earth and throughout the comic book series, characters van Helsing and Dracula make a number of appearances.
Actress Cassandra Peterson has starred as horror hostess Elvira for over three decades, first originating the role in the television series Elvira’s Movie Macabre and reprising the role in 1988 film Elvira: Mistress of the Dark. She continues to portray to gothic and witty character to this day, making appearances on Wrestlemania, Call of Duty and RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Lydia Deetz (1988)
In Tim Burton’s 1988 film Beetlejuice, fans became enthralled by Winona Ryder’s character Lydia Deetz, a gothic teen who has the ability to see the ghosts of her new home’s former tenants and crude poltergeist Betelgeuse.
Nancy Downs (1996)
Director Andrew Flemming’s The Craft became a cult classic after its release in 1996, largely thanks to Fairuza Balk’s Nancy Downs. Downs in the power hungry ring leader of the coven of teenage witches and the actress won an MTV Movie Award for the role.
Although we all remember Maleficent from the 1959 animated classic, Sleeping Beauty, the character came into a new light once portrayed by Angelina Jolie in 2014. In the live-action film, Jolie’s character is a powerful fairy who protects the Moors and is given a far greater deal of character development than seen in the animated feature. Jolie reprised the role in 2019’s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, which hit theaters on October 18th.
Elaine Parks (2016)