15 Pixie Dream Girls Who Are More Maniac Than Manic

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Vote up the horror vixens who turn the MPDG trope on its head.

Coined by Nathan Rabin, the Manic Pixie Dream Girl archetype is used to describe female stock characters in film and television who are typically quirky, dreamy, and often high on life. Classic examples of the MPDG include Claire Colburn (Kirsten Dunst) from Elizabethtown, Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) from Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet) from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

If you've seen any of the above films (or even if you haven't), you should have a pretty specific idea in your head of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl and its function in the story. While many dramas, romantic films, and comedies use this archetype to kick some life into their apathetic male protagonist, the MPDG isn't exclusive to those genres. In fact, many horror films utilize the character type, but they usually end up being less "manic" and more "maniac."

Here are 15 Manic Pixie Dream Girls you should probably stay away from.


  • Oh, Nancy. The Manic Pixie Dream Girl of every goth and alternative music lover's dreams. Nancy Downs (Fairuza Balk) is the main antagonist of The Craft and possibly the most definitive Pixie Girl portrayal in a horror film. Incredibly disenfranchised and "othered" by her peers, she becomes the withdrawn and brooding goth ring leader of her friend group - a coven of young witches. 

    After casting a successful spell, Nancy begins experiencing normalcy and financial relief for the first time in her life - which invetibably leads Nancy to become power hungry, using her magic for evil purposes. Everything from shapeshifting to controlling the elements to straight-up murder makes her the manic witchy dream girl we know and love.

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  • Starting out as an outwardly ditzy cheerleader and best friend of protagonist Anita "Needy" Lesnicki (Amanda Seyfried), the popular and attractive Jennifer Check (Megan Fox) is accidentally transformed into a succubus after a group of satanic indie rockers mistake her for a virgin and offer her as a sacrifice in exchange for success. 

    The band's ritual turns her into a "demonic femme fatale," and Jennifer becomes permanently possessed, wreaking havoc on her community by brutally consuming the boys she seduces, including Needy’s boyfriend. By the end of the film, Jennifer completely transforms from a dream girl to a hell-sent succubus with an eye for fashion.

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  • Though not as immediately apparent as some others on this list, India Stoker (Mia Wasikowska), the 18-year-old titular character of Park-Chan Wook's 2013 film, unquestionably exudes viciousness as her twisted storyline progresses. Brilliant, beautiful, and a bit batty, India hits all the marks needed to become a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. But her blossoming bloodlust is what makes her a maniac.

    The daughter of an unstable widow (Nicole Kidman), her mental state begins deteriorating once the mysterious but endearing brother of her deceased father shows up at her home.

    By the end of the film, having accepted her violent urges and the lack of remorse she learned from her homicidal uncle, her reserved nature makes her an unwittingly sinister walking death trap, luring in an abundance of clueless victims. India could have led a normal life as a quirky (albeit deeply disturbed) young woman, but she chose to follow in the footsteps of every other twisted Maniac Pixie girl on this list.

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  • Death-obsessed Ginger (Katharine Isabelle) and her younger sister Brigitte are an eccentric duo of teenage mall goths whose standoffish personalities make them black sheep to most of the people in their town. After she’s bitten by a werewolf on Halloween night, Ginger experiences a shift in attitude; maintaining her edgy demeanor, she begins sexually and homicidally targeting the high school boys beginning to pursue her.

    As her increasingly aggressive and violent behavior gets dismissed as menstruation symptoms and growing pains, her shapeshifting transformation begins - and she also develops an interest in killing and eating people. One could argue that being bitten by a werewolf only makes her more of a MPDG, but the whole "serial killer" and "mythological creature" aspects don't really help her case very much.

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  • Thomasin - 'The Witch'
    Photo: A24

    Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy) is definitely the most primordial Manic Pixie Dream Girl on this list. As the oldest daughter of an exiled settler family in 1600s New England, Thomasin slowly transforms from a struggling and underappreciated young girl in a strict Puritan family into a Satanic coven member. You know, the usual 17th-century coming-of-age story. 

    Things slowly get worse for the family as a nearby coven begins to hex Thomasin's family, stealing her baby brother in the process. Soon, her younger brother falls victim to a curse while the other members of her family look to Thomasin as the guilty party. The tortured family starts to fall apart at the seams as Satan and his minions slowly destroy the farm and everyone in it. In the end, Thomasin chooses to "live deliciously," joining Satan and his followers.

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  • Baby Firefly from Rob Zombie's House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil's Rejects is quite possibly the scariest MPDG on this list. (Let's pretend 3 From Hell never happened.)  Played by Sherri Moon Zombie, Baby Firefly is the violent, psychopathic daughter of Captain Spaulding in Zombie's 2003 movie debut.

    Much like the other women mentioned here, Baby uses her good looks and extroverted charm to pull unsuspecting men into her and her family's brutal hillbilly killing sprees. Despite her aloof insanity, her drive to relentlessly take lives along with her parents and siblings makes her a quintessential example on this list.

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