Like every good lethal seductress of the screen, they’ll knife you in the back while snogging you on the face.
And in celebration of our favourite viper-like beauties, here are the 10 most fearsome femme fatales in movie history…
JESSICA RABBIT – WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT
Who is she? The vampish, buxom wife of the titular bunny. There’s been a dearth of sexy showgirls in children’s animated fare for ages now. Fingers crossed for a meth-addled, white-trash Barbie hooker or something equally inappropriate in Toy Story 4.
How bad is she? Less so in the film, more so in Gary K. Wolf’s original book, in which she’s an utterly amoral social climber. She is, of course, a suspect in framing her husband Roger, and carries a bear-trap in her bra.
Sexiest moment: Jessica’s smouldering rendition of Peggy Lee’s Why Don’t You Do Right? at the Ink and Paint Club gave us a funny feeling in our winky.
Classic quote: “I’m not bad. I’m just drawn that way.”
KATHRYN MERTEUIL – CRUEL INTENTIONS
Who is she? The fiendishly manipulative Kathryn embroils herself in an insanely convoluted web of seduction, for a laugh. She even has an evil, cackling pantomime villain-style laugh.
How bad is she? Bitchy rather than deadly, Kathryn might be tame when compared to some of the other homicidally inclined ladies here, but when she offers a semi-incesty bunk-up to her step-brother, she gives things a certain sleazy edge.
Sexiest moment: That snog with Selma Blair in the park, prolonged by an un-scriptable single thread of gob that stretches between them. Good Lord.
Classic quote: “She’s quite cute, you know? Young, supple breasts, a tight, firm ass… Uncharted pooty… Be her Captain Picard, Valmont. Boldly go where no man has gone before.”
LYNN BRACKEN – LA CONFIDENTIAL
Who is she? Lynn’s the movie-star look-alike hooker with a heart of gold – but she’s fallen in with a dirty crowd, damnit. How bad is she? Yes, she falls for the wrong guys and leaves a trail of stamped-on hearts wherever she goes, but she can’t really help herself, poor sod.
Sexiest moment: Lynn’s aggressive seduction of by-the-book cop Edward Exley understandably leaves his nerdy glasses all steamed up. Exley tries to play it cool, but soon enough he’s like a grubby teenager who’s about to get fingers-and-tops round the back of the school disco.
Classic quote: “I see Bud because he treats me like Lynn Bracken and not some Veronica Lake look-alike who fucks for money.”
O-REN ISHII – KILL BILL VOL. 1
Who is she? A former member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, O-Ren Ishii is the fittest girl you could ever hope to be brutally murdered by.
How bad is she? Bad to the splintering bone. Beheadings ain’t a thang for O-Ren – she’s as ‘fatale’ as femmes come. Sexiest moment: Hmm. That very much depends on your definition of ‘sexy’. But if fierce, slicing-and-dicing sword-play is your ‘thing’ in the bedroom – and God help you if it is – then she’s eroticism personified.
Classic quote: “I collect your fucking head. Just like this fucker here. Now, if any of you sons of bitches got anything else to say, now’s the fucking time!”
SUZANNE STONE MARETTO – TO DIE FOR
Who is she? Kidman has never been hotter than as ruthless, career-obsessed Suzanne Stone, who marries Matt Dillon’s modest money to further her dream of becoming a TV anchorwoman.
How bad is she? Her scheme to dispatch her mild-mannered husband because he wants her to have kids is reasonably deplorable. Sexiest moment: Suzanne’s knicker-flashing dance in the car headlights is forever burned into our trouser-brains.
Classic quote: “You aren’t really anybody in America if you’re not on TV.”
KELLY VAN RYAN & SUZIE TOLLER – WILD THINGS
Who are they? Schoolies Suzie and Kelly are after cold, hard cashola, and join forces with sleazy guidance counsellor Matt Dillon in order to get it.
How bad were they? Deceitful, manipulative, homicidal, fit: they had it all, in spades. You couldn’t trust them as far as you could throw them, but you’d trade it all in to watch them have a lingering snog.
Sexiest moment: The pair’s steamy clinch in the pool, which began, as all the best lesbian clinches do, with a fake tussle culminating in heavy petting. Classic quote: “So, where’s your hose, Mr. Lombardo?”
XENIA ONATOPP – GOLDENEYE
Who is she? Xenia’s a rogue KGB agent who achieves orgasm upon murdering sex partners, like some giant, fit, tits-out praying-mantis. She sexes people to death, basically.
How bad is she? Look past the shit pun that makes up her name (Onatopp!!! Like in sex!!!) and she’s bad to the bone. Or, more pertinently, bad to the boner.
Sexiest moment? The sauna scene, when she’s battering Brosnan’s Bond and really quite enjoying herself. Awesomely, the encounter culminates in Bond’s request, “No more foreplay. Take me to Janus!” – which is just one solitary letter away from proper filthy.
Classic quote: “Once again, the pleasure was all yours.”
THE BOSS’S WIFE MIA WALLACE (UMA THURMAN) PULP FICTION, 1994
Who is she? The missus of Marsellus and former Fox Force Five member Mia Wallace is spoken of in hushed tones after a portly Samoan is launched from a fourth storey window for allegedly giving her a foot-rub.
How bad is she? A ruddy nightmare. The kind of girl who’s so bent on getting you into trouble, she’s even willing to risk death by hooning a big bag of your best drugs and promptly OD-ing as a result.
Sexiest moment: Her smouldering wig-out when she takes to the dancefloor at Jack Rabbit Slims for the twist contest with her chaperone, the lovestruck Vincent Vega (John Travolta).
Classic quote: “I do believe Marsellus Wallace, my husband, your boss, told you to take me out and do whatever I wanted. Now I wanna dance, I wanna win. I want that trophy, so dance good.”
SANTÁNICO PANDEMÓNIUM – FROM DUSK TILL DAWN
Who is she? Pandemónium is a stripper at charming, off-the-beaten-track Mexican flesh-bar, The Titty Twister. She enjoys gyrating in a highly suggestive manner for booze-soaked truckers and bikers, with an eight-foot snake around her neck and flames belching forth all around her. Not really the take-home-to-meet-Mum type.
How bad is she? Things degenerate pretty darn quickly when she transforms into a blood-drinking, flesh-chewing creature of the night. And not in a good, Angelina Jolie-type way either.
Sexiest moment: That would be her table-dance for Quentin Tarantino’s pervy paedo Richie Gecko: cheap tequila has never looked more tempting than when it’s being poured down Santánico’s dangerously shapely leg.
Classic quote: It’s essentially a silent role but we can’t help feeling that her eyes are imploring us to peel off her python and rub her head-to-toe with guacamole. Perhaps that’s just us, though.
BALLERINA LILY – BLACK SWAN
Who is she? She’s the rival ballet dancer threatening the supremacy of frigid teacher’s-pet, Natalie Portman’s Nina.
How bad is she? We may never know. Was her blazing-hot badness all in Nina’s imagination…?
Sexiest moment: How could it be anything other than when she spikes Nina with ecstasy before going down on her? It is perhaps the best thing to have ever happened, certainly in the history of ballet films, but also possibly in the history of everything.
Classic quote: “Wait… did you have some sort of lezzy wet-dream about me? Oh my God? Oh my God! You did! You fantasised about me!”
Words: Ben Arnold