Hags of Horror: The 13 Creepiest Old Ladies In Film

These are the scary old grandmas that crawl up walls, lay curses, and devour people whole.

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Thirteen Creepiest and Scariest Old Ladies in Horror Movies

Top 13 Scariest and Creepiest Old Ladies In Horror

There’s something about old ladies that make you feel loved, want to eat warm cookies and wear knit sweaters. They are the epitome of sweetness…until they’re not. This list isn’t about the sweet ones, it’s about the scary old ladies you won’t help across the street. The scary old ladies that crawl up walls, lay curses, and devour people whole.

Why is it that old women in horror movies may just, in fact, be the scariest thing? Some come with evil partners and some just come in a perfectly terrifying solo package wrapped in a cardigan. PHASR has compiled a list of the top thirteen creepiest and scariest old ladies within the horror movie genre…that you may not want to accept sweets from.

Nana, The Visit (2015)

Creepiest Old Ladies Nana The Visit
The Visit (2015)

Staying with your estranged grandparents can be a weird experience all in itself. Adjusting to the routine of two elderly folk and touring their lives from an outside perspective. Now, take those instances and add in a barn full of dirty diapers, screaming with a mouth full of cookies, clawing at the wall nude in the middle of night and locking you in an oven.

M. Night Shyamalan’s The Visit may be one of the more controversial films on our list of creepy old ladies but Nana will have you screaming your dentures out in no time.

Mary Shaw, Dead Silence (2007)

Dead Silence (2007)

An old creepy woman AND scary dolls? Sounds like a recipe for a few sleepless nights and plenty of bad nightmares. In James Wan’s Dead Silence you don’t have to pick one. They’ll both send you into a spiral of fear and leave terrifying images in your head.

There are two different versions of the “Mary Shaw” poem. In the movie the poem goes, “Beware the stare of Mary Shaw. She had no children only dolls. And if you see her in your dreams, be sure you never, ever scream.” In the trailer it was, “Beware the stare of Mary Shaw. She had no children, only dolls. And if you see her do not scream, she’ll rip your tongue out at the seam.”

Gladys Foster, Legion (2010)

Legion (2010)

When I think ‘’creepy old ladies in horror films’’ Gladys’ face comes to mind. I remember this scaring me to absolute bits when Scott Stewart’s Legion debuted in 2010. There she was, the terror wrapped in a cardigan that was mentioned at the beginning of this article. Careful though as decrepit as she looks…soon she’ll be scaling your walls.

Lois, Paranormal Activity Series

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (2015)

It’s almost more horrifying to me that the evil part about grandma Lois isn’t how she looks, the evilness is contained within her. She’s the composer to the coven of witches creating a chorus of destruction throughout her family in desperate search of a boy to sacrifice. Who creeps you out more? Lois or Toby.

RELATED: Found On The Ground – 10 Found Footage Horror Movies For Beginners

Mrs. Kersh, IT Chapter Two (2019)

It Chapter Two (2019)

We get to see a great amount of Mrs. Kersh in the one scene she’s in and it only gets creepier as “it” goes on. The vibes throughout this scene in Andrés Muschietti’s IT Chapter Two are always a bit off, but it becomes clear that Mrs. Kersh has a clear agenda by the end.

Javier Botet, who appeared as the titular character in Mama (2013) and is a frequent collaborator with director Andy Muschietti, portrays both Mrs. Kersh (as the witch) and the Leper in this film.

Deborah Logan, The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014)

The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014)

The all around story of Adam Robitel’s The Taking of Deborah Logan is a sad one. The struggles of Alzheimer’s Disease is a very real and aggressive force that takes the minds of many elderly people. But Deborah Logan is not just any elderly person. I’d take no pause in taking this old lady out.

Her irrational and random behavior will keep you constantly on edge, she takes senile to a whole new level. Fun fact: when Deborah Logan’s switchboard explodes, a split-second glimpse of her final form flashes on the screen. This found footage horror flick will have you constricted to your couch until the very…last…bite!

Sylvia Ganush, Drag Me To Hell (2009)

Drag Me to Hell (2009)

Okay, you’re right. Not all old women are witches, however, this one fits the bill! She’s got magic, witchcraft, that eye and those teeth. When Sylvia Ganush attacks Christine in her car, Sylvia curses in Hungarian, “Az ördög szálljon beléd!” (“Shall the devil fly into you!”) She also uses the Hungarian word “szajha” two times (the word means “bitch” or “whore” in English). You can’t blame the Ganush family for fighting for their own when the coin runs out.

Blind Medium, The Others (2001)

The Others (2001)

This scene in Alejandro Amenábar’s The Others was so popular for how completely and utterly scary it was that I was scared of it before I even watched the film. The recipe for one of the creepiest scenes in history? A veil, cataracts, darkness and a child’s voice coming out of it.

The Cat Lady, Jeepers Creepers (2001)

Jeepers Creepers (2001)

Cat ladies aren’t always bad and this one certainly wasn’t. Does that make her any less creepy? Nope, it sure doesn’t. The way she stood in the darkness in Jeepers Creepers and pulled a shotgun out of thin air is enough evidence to show that I don’t want to cross her. In the scene with the cat lady, all her cats look through the screens on the windows because tuna had been smeared on them.

Grandma Leigh, Hereditary (2018)

Hereditary (2018)

How on earth can someone with such a small amount of screen time be so creepy? I’ll tell you! Be an evil leader of a cult. Annie may have hated her mom in life due to her manipulative and wicked ways. It was only after death she truly found out how deeply wicked she was. Hereditary plays out like a horrifying domino effect where the plan set in motion only gets more horrific by the minute.

Mrs. Voorhees, Friday the 13th (1980)

Friday the 13th (1980)

Mrs. Voorhees was intended to be the original villain of Friday the 13th, not her son. But her manipulation and influence that she has on Jason is uncomfortable and disturbing. In the original Summer camp horror classic, Pamela Voorhees stalks and kills the kids of Camp Crystal Lake one by one without anyone ever suspecting a thing.

Betsy Palmer said that if it were not for the fact that she was in desperate need of a new car, she would never have accepted the role of Pamela Voorhees. In fact, after she read the script, she called the movie “a piece of shit”. Over the years, however, Palmer did warm up to the film, as it made her more famous than infamous, and made appearances at conventions and in documentaries to discuss it.

Old Woman in Bathtub, The Shining (1980)

The Shining (1980)

She perhaps has one of the shortest lived scenes out of all the women on this list but regardless one of the most terrifying by far. The old woman in the bathtub in Stanley Kubrick‘s The Shining still sends shivers down my spine. As Jack Torrance enters room 237 he sees a naked woman residing in a bathtub while ominous music booms aloud. As he gets closer she reveals her “true” self. A rotting and disgusting husk of a person.

Lia Beldam, who plays the nude young woman in the bathtub, said in a 2018 interview that she was working as a photographic model in London and her agent was approached by Hawks Films to supply girls for the ballroom scene, so she was sent along. She brought her modeling portfolio and when the director and producers saw the several nude photos she posed for, they changed their minds and offered her the part of the woman in the bath instead. She said she enjoyed working with Stanley Kubrick who was a true gentleman on set.

Mother, Psycho (1960)

Psycho (1960)

Last but not least Norma Bates, the ‘Mother’ in Alfred Hitchcock‘s cinematic masterpiece Psycho. Her corpse is the only thing that physically remains but her demanding manipulation and presence over her son Norman continues to guide him towards murder. You know what they say…a boy’s bestfriend is his Mother.

Sir Alfred Hitchcock tested the fear factor of Mother’s corpse by placing it in Janet Leigh‘s dressing room and listening to how loud she screamed when she discovered it there.

Who’s the Scariest Old Lady in Horror?

From devouring creatures to demanding Mothers tormenting their sons, who is the creepiest old lady in horror? Let us know what you think on social media!

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