Do you remember what weekends are? Are you so immune to undesirable body fluids that you no longer have a gag reflex to suppress? Can you hold in a pee for hours, if your hectic job requires it? If you answered yes to all three questions – you’re probably a nurse.
The depiction of nurses on film has changed greatly over the years and covers the entire spectrum: they are expected to be supportive, caring, and understanding (which makes them good love interests in romantic movies), they are often near the front line of battle in war movies, and they have access to scary medical supplies like lethal drugs and scalpels in horror movies – the latter is what we will be discussing today.
Some of them are true healers, some only put on the uniform in order to disguise their true intentions, and others are innocent lambs led to a bloody slaughter. And with that, this is the 20 Most Memorable Horror Movie Nurses.
20. Tamara – Bordello Of Blood (1996)
Portrayed by: Kiara Hunter
Tales From The Crypt’s Bordello Of Blood follows a bordello run by evil (and extremely hot) vampires. Tamara (or “Tammy”) is a newly turned vampiress whom we see in the brothel quite naked, as she takes clients upstairs to her private room, fully equipped with a torture rack (before the fangs come out).
Tamara later resurfaces at a hospital, where our hero, Rafe, is subdued by a policeman. Dressed as a nurse, Tamara kills the policeman and later lunges after Rafe, who stabs her head with an IV needle. Tamara removes the needle and continues going after Rafe, unaware that her outfit tears and part of her skin is left exposed to sunlight. At that moment, Tamara attempts to shield her exposed skin, but the sunlight burns through her and causes her to implode. Sadly, her career as a nurse was short lived.
19. Nurse Betty – Resident Evil: Extinction (2007)
Portrayed by: Ashanti
Picking up where 2004’s Resident Evil: Apocalypse left off, Extinction once again follows near-mute heroine Alice as she battles undead monsters and ominous corporate scientists who make their evilness plain by speaking in phony, Star Wars-style British-esque accents. Alice eventually hooks up with a diverse group of scrappy survivors in sand-covered Las Vegas, including Betty, who acts as the official medic for the band.
Struggling to survive in a dystopian future, Betty wears a black bra/top mesh and black cargo pants. Her accessories include some shades and a belt or wrap made out of bullets, she also wears a utility belt. She also has no problem emptying a clip of ammunition into a flock of killer zombie crows. That’s always a good thing.
18. Nurse Marsha – The Devil’s Rejects (2005)
Portrayed by: Rosario Dawson
Rob Zombie’s follow-up to his directorial debut House Of 1,000 Corpses in 2003, the far more serious The Devil’s Rejects, knocked fools on their behinds two years later. Continuing the exploits of Corpses villains Captain Spaulding, Otis, and Baby, The Devil’s Rejects took the mayhem up about a thousand notches.
One character who did not make a return was the infamous Dr. Satan. Though, in a deleted scene (which has become classic viewing material online), we do learn that he has been captured by the police and is being held at a local hospital. Here we meet the cute nurse Marsha (like the Brady Bunch). After getting hit on by one of the officers (he offers to take her to a Speedwagon concert), she watches over Dr. Satan in a coma-like state. While the police are preoccupied, Dr. Satan strikes, grabbing Marsha by the throat, until he viciously rips out a huge chunk, leaving her bleeding profusely on the ground. Sheesh.
17. Nurse Charlotte Beale – Don’t Look In The Basement (1973)
Portrayed by: Rosie Holotik
Charlotte arrives at the Stephens Sanitarium shortly after Dr. Stephens suffers an accident at the hands of an axe wielding patient. The assistant director of the facility briefs Charlotte on her duties, and the patients.
Said patients include a lobotomized and childish man named Sam who enjoys popsicles and his plastic toy boat, a nymphomaniac and schizophrenic named Allyson, an emotionally dependent woman named Jennifer, an octogenarian woman named Mrs. Callingham who spouts bizarre poetry and mistakes flowers in the garden to be her own children, a juvenile prankster named Danny, a shell-shocked Sergeant who lost his mind after accidentally killing his men in Vietnam, and the crazed judge who seems incapable of speaking in anything other than courtroom jargon. As you can imagine, Charlotte doesn’t exactly have a smooth go of it.
16. Betsy Connell – I Walked With A Zombie (1943)
Portrayed by: Frances Dee
Nurse Betsy Connell accepts a position caring for the invalid wife of Caribbean plantation owner Paul Holland. Jessica Holland isn’t dead, but she might as well be. She eats and breathes, but her willpower is completely gone and her eyes are fixed in an eternal trance. Once on location, Betsy discovers among other things that the Hollands brought slaves to the island, that Paul’s alcoholic half-brother Wesley works on the plantation and at one point was going to run away with Jessica before she became sick, and that an entire Voodoo culture secretly exists on the island.
When Betsy falls in love with Paul, she’s determined to make him happy by curing Jessica, but when no treatment works, she turns to Voodoo and travels through the cane fields to the Houmfort for treatment. Soon, she’s caught up in Jessica’s mysterious condition, and whether or not she exists in the liminal space between life and death. In other words, it’s not the plum assignment she initially thought.
15. Nurse Karen – Halloween II (1981)
Portrayed by: Pamela Susan Shoop
In a film filled with nurses (and subsequent nurse deaths), easily the most memorable kill from Halloween II is the infamous hot tub scene, in which nurse Karen decides to not only abandon her post, but she hops into the hot tub for a late night booty call. Things heat up quickly in the hot tub when Michael Myers shows up and turns the knob to raise the temperature. She asks her boyfriend to go check it out and Michael quickly dispatches him. Michael then walks up right behind her and Karen assumes it’s her boyfriend as she caresses his hand, but when she turns around and realizes it’s not him, that’s when the real horror begins.
Have you ever been bobbing for apples before? Well that’s what Michael does with this nurse, only in water so scaldingly hot that it eventually melts the skin right off of her face. It’s an extremely brutal scene that probably caused a big drop in hot tub sales back in 1981. But hey, it probably helped improve the productivity of hospital staff members worldwide and kept them on their toes at all times, so that’s a good thing.
14. Amy Nicholls – Fragile (2005)
Portrayed by: Calista Flockhart
Amy Nicholls arrives in the old Mercy Falls Children’s Hospital to work as a night nurse. The hospital is in a deactivation process, with the patients being transferred to Saint James Hospital; however, due to a train crash, the closing process has been postponed.
Amy is introduced to several children with lung cases, and she feels a sort of fascination for the terminal girl Maggie. Maggie likes to play with some letters blocks to talk with the “mechanical girl” called Charlotte that would live upstairs, in an abandoned floor. Amy asks about Charlotte to her coworkers and they explain that she is an urban legend and that Maggie is making up her existence. But soon enough they find that the children can not be transferred to Saint James since there is indeed a malevolent being that wants to keep them near. She told you so!
13. Maggie O’Connor – Bless The Child (2000)
Portrayed by: Kim Basinger
Maggie O’Conner is a flourishing nurse with a stable life until one evening when her junkie sister Jenna shows up on her doorstep with her unknown-fathered newborn in tow. After an argument, Jenna leaves and Maggie becomes the mother she secretly always wanted to be. A few years pass and it becomes apparent that the child, Cody, is somewhat autistic and harbors something very special.
A few more years pass until suddenly, out of the blue, Jenna and her new husband Eric Stark show up planning and demanding to take Cody back. It soon becomes clear that Eric, a disciple of Satan and the recruiting leader of a group of equal minded individuals, is only seeking the child’s long awaited powers to use for himself. He tries desperately to turn the child toward evil, but is unsuccessful at every turn and will eventually kill the child if the swathe of unsuccessfulness continues. Maggie isn’t going to let such a thing happen.
12. Karen – The Grudge (2004)
Portrayed by: Sarah Michelle Gellar
Karen is an exchange student studying social work in Japan who innocently agrees to cover for a nurse who didn’t show up for work. When she enters the assigned home, she discovers an elderly American woman, Emma, who is lost in a catatonic state while the rest of the house appears deserted and disheveled.
As she is tending to the stricken old woman, Karen hears scratching sounds from upstairs. When she investigates, she is faced with a supernatural horror more frightening than she could ever imagine. Within this house, a chain of terror has been set in motion resulting from a terrifying evil that was born years before. As more people die, Karen is pulled into the cycle of horror and learns the secret of the vengeful curse that has taken root in this house.
11. Caroline Ellis – The Skeleton Key (2005)
Portrayed by: Kate Hudson
Fed up with the hospital practice of treating deceased patients like cargo, 25-year-old nurse Caroline answers an ad for a hospice nurse at a mansion in the furthest depths of the New Orleans bayou. There, she finds aged homeowner Violet taking care of her stroke-victim husband Ben. Violet is instantly doubtful of Jersey-born Caroline, whom she says “wouldn’t understand the house.” The family’s sneaky-looking estate lawyer, Luke, urges Caroline to stay, despite past nurses having quit or been fired.
Caroline finds herself in a community infused with believers of the American folk magic tradition known as hoodoo (not to be confused with voodoo). We soon learn that Caroline really shouldn’t have taken this job.
10. Ana – Dawn Of The Dead (2004)
Portrayed by: Sarah Polley
Everyone knows that if you’re bitten by a zombie, you’re toast. That’s Undead 101. The only cure is a bullet in the brain or a smashed skull. But the truth of the matter is that zombies are hardly the only hazard in that situation. You still have car crashes, broken glass, and a fraction of the populace that has no idea how to handle the pistol that someone has just placed in their hand.
Enter Ana from Zack Snyder’s remake of Dawn Of The Dead. A professional nurse, she can help treat wounds that otherwise would be at risk of infection and, worse, could slow the group down. There’s always the matter of supplies (First Aid kits don’t always have everything you need), but she can probably save a limb or two by instructing the group on how to properly use a tourniquet. Adding to her healing skills is her ability to think under pressure and let go of the people she cares about – two must haves in the world of the undead.
9. Zombie Nurse – Dawn Of The Dead (1978)
Portrayed by: Sharon Ceccatti
Speaking of Dawn Of The Dead: In a film full of memorable featured zombies, the iconic undead nurse we see sporadically shuffling about is the zombie Dawn fans love to hate. Thanks to her inexplicably unstained white uniform, this lady stands out in every scene in which she appears. Let the “spot the zombie nurse” drinking game begin!
But seriously, how scary is it to think that when there’s a zombie outbreak, even those who are supposed to help us heal are the ones infected?! It’s pretty eerie knowing that instead of taking our temperature, she’ll probably eat our face off. Plus, look at that image above, that face is priceless.
8. The Dark Nurses – Silent Hill (2006)
In this film adaptation of Konami’s survival horror video game series, the pieces are all there; it’s full of fog, scary monsters, and the titular spooky town with a horrific alternate version. But none of it makes sense, even by the source material’s standards, and most of the fan-favorite creatures are there simply because they’re fan favorites and not because they actually add anything. The filmmakers just stick them in there, stripped of their original meaning, metaphor, and significance.
That’s not to say, however, that the series-standard Nurses aren’t completely terrifying. They show up in the final act when our main character descends to the basement of a scary hospital to face the baddie causing all the trouble. Once there, she encounters a group of the faceless, twitching things and has to sneak past them. It’s the most effective scene by far, and it provides some genuine tension and horror in a story that’s mostly just needlessly confusing.
7. Monika – Nekromantik 2 (1991)
Portrayed by: Monika M.
From director Jörg Buttgereit comes Nekromantik 2, the gore horror sequel to his 1987 classic Nekromantik. Monika is a beautiful necrophiliac who lives alone in Berlin. By day she works as a nurse. By night she prowls through cemeteries while searching for fresh corpses.
When she reads about the suicide of Rob (from the original film) she finds his grave to dig up his body and brings it home. Mark lives across town and makes his living dubbing sex films. After meeting Monika, romance blossoms and they fall in love. But all is not well in Monika’s world. Her relationship with Mark begins to falter and she has to make a final choice between loving the living or the dead. As the movie goes along, we watch as she tries to decide between the two men. And when all is said and done it looks to come down to just which of the two is better in bed. Our porn dubber might be an all around swell dude, but can he handle the “stiff” competition from Rob?
6. Tahwaan – Sick Nurses (2007)
Portrayed by: Chon Wachananon
Tar is a young doctor who, along with his seven nurses, sells cadavers on the side to an unknown buyer. One of the nurses (Tahwaan, who happens to be the doctor’s fiancé) threatens to expose the whole shebang and so the rest of the nurses restrain her while Tar gives one of the nurses (Nook, who happens to be Tahwaan’s sister) a knife and she kills her.
Not wanting to let their deed go unrewarded, they make a deal to sell the body. However, the deal has to be postponed a week, so they keep her body on dry ice in the trunk of Tar’s car for that time period. Of course, seven days in a horror movie is one of the keys, and guess who decides they want to have a revisit with her old palsie-walsies?
5. Abby Russell – Nurse 3D (2013)
Portrayed by: Paz de la Huerta
During the day Abby Russell does her duty well as a registered nurse at New York City Hospital but during the nighttime hours she uses her sex appeal to lure cheating men towards their death as she renders some womanly wickedness on their sorry carcasses.
She can be a femme fatale for some but she’s actually your fellow nurse who is just so busy with her murder schedule. She excretes sex from every orifice, and has nothing but lust and murder on her mind. In her day job, she excels. But as an opening title explains, some of the worst serial killers in recent times have been involved in the care industry.
4. Amelia – The Babadook (2014)
Portrayed by: Essie Davis
Amelia has been living a rough life for the last few years. On the way to the hospital to give birth to her son, Samuel, she is in a fatal car wreck that kills her husband, leaving her all alone to raise their child. As Samuel gets older Amelia has trouble putting on a good face with her friends and at her job as a nurse at a home for the elderly, especially once Samuel begins to speak of defending her from some horrible bogeyman. Amelia becomes visibly resentful of her child the more seemingly fanatical he becomes.
The audience can only watch in horror as Amelia is swallowed up by anguish at her husband’s death, slowly becoming the monster she fears. Her grief becomes so huge, so all-encompassing that it takes on a life of its own and becomes the titular monster. It’s only by finally facing down her own fears – of living without her husband, of being an inadequate mother – that she is able to tame the beast… and have it live relatively peacefully in her basement, naturally. After all, you can’t get rid of The Babadook.
3. Nurse Freddy – A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
Portrayed by: Stacey Alden
In the third entry of the NOES franchise, dream-stalking Freddy Krueger takes his murderous crusade away from Elm Street to Westin Hills, a psychiatric hospital for youngsters. In one of the most memorable moments of the film, Joey, a mute, unaware that he’s asleep, is seduced by the nurse who caught his eye earlier in the story.
The impossibly attractive nurse invites Joey to unzip her uniform, and as he does, he looks like Ralphie in A Christmas Story unwrapping his Red Ryder BB gun. They begin to make out but, of course, the nurse is actually Freddy in disguise, who merges “her” tongue with Joey’s, and then uses more tongues to restrain the poor kid to the bed. Suddenly, in his dream, Joey’s bed disappears and beneath it is a gateway to a fiery hell. And as weird as this scene already is, it should noted that Freddy didn’t have to do this. He purposely choose to make out with this kid while donning a nurse outfit and a pair of boobs. Freddy truly is a weirdo.
2. Nurse Alex – An American Werewolf In London (1981)
Portrayed by: Jenny Agutter
The John Landis comedy-horror classic An American Werewolf In London is mainly memorable for two things: the incredible transformation sequence (accomplished solely through the prosthetics of effects legend Rick Baker) and the rather comely nurse Alex.
Alex takes pity on our protagonist, David, while he is recuperating from a mysterious attack by a wild animal. This pretty English nurse has fallen into a Florence Nightingale situation with her patient and lets him continue to recover at her London apartment. Their encounter quickly deepens into a relationship that is imperiled by David’s proclivity for sprouting fangs and eating people.
1. Annie Wilkes – Misery (1990)
Portrayed by: Kathy Bates
In Rob Reiner’s film adaptation of the Stephen King story, Annie Wilkes is a loner, a former maternity nurse and an obsessed fan of the popular writer Paul Sheldon. At the beginning of the flick, she “rescues” him from a car wreck and forces him to bring his most famous character back from the dead – with the threat of increasingly painful forms of bodily mutilation if he refuses.
When Paul tries escaping, Annie tells him about what used to happen to Native Americans when they stole diamonds. She then demonstrates through a process called hobbling, which is a sophisticated method of breaking a person’s bones with a sledgehammer while the victim is bound with rope. Annie concludes the torture scene by telling her favorite author how much she loves him. Indeed, Annie Wilkes is one medical Unstable Mabel… and she certainly deserves the top spot on this list.
Are there any other ladies you’d like to add to the list? Let us know below.