In ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’, John Keats says of that female:
“And there she lulled me asleep,
And there I dream’d—Ah! woe betide!
The latest dream I ever dream’d
On the cold hill’s side.”
It’s a familiar story. A man falls sparko for some hot lass, as if she’s surrounded by a nimbus of gorgeousness, but sadly she’s very mad and kind of evil. Mother says not to go near such naughty ladies but they are so very nice it’s just too hard not to. Keats’s nymph leads him to her ‘Elven Grot’ which sounds awful, but she must have had some skills and she wrecks him, and, like all the best FFs, seems to have little motivation. That, combined with Keats being a total pussy did for him. Bad luck.
Here are some more famous ones. Some are slags, some are admirably cunning, all are absolute bitches. And just so lush. Yes please.
Kitty Collins – The Killers (1946)
Kitty (what a name!) is an awful woman. Total slut cow. She’d be a caricature of the FF if it weren’t for this film being one of the pillars of the noir genre. Kitty seduces chump Burt Lancaster in a cocktail dress, leaning on a piano. Burt gawps at her, tongue hanging out. Burt’s girlfriend is not impressed and decides to get pissed up. That was as healthy as their relationship would ever get.
Ava Gardner was the best looking woman in the world at that time so she didn’t have to do much to be seductive, to be fair. But she does it anyway, and the men, suckers that they are, fall. Burt never stood a chance with her. He took a dive for her and she still double-crossed him. Dreadful woman – but you still would.
Evelyn Mulwray – Chinatown (1974)
Faye Dunaway is icy and beautiful, check, and her Evelyn can handle a few slaps from a man. This is an important skill for an FF as it tends to happen a lot. These girls do tend to ask for it pretty badly though, and understand it comes with the territory. Didn’t kill anyone, and probably not slutty enough, but wins a big bonus for being mental – the whole incestuous child thing isn’t nice.
The femme fatale from Femme Fatale by The Velvet Underground (1967)
It’s Lou Reed’s song about Factory girl Edie Sedgewick, and initially she seems to fit the bill:
“Just look into her false colored eyes
She builds you up to just put you down, what a clown”
…but that’s pretty much it. Song Edie is made out to be quite a slapper, but a very sexy slapper which is the way boys like them, to be honest. Besides, she fell in with a bad crowd. And she never killed anyone, aside from herself, the silly smackhead.
Queen Mother Cersei Baratheon – Game of Thrones (2011-)
Cersei is fatale alright, she has no concern for your life unless you are her child or her brother, and if you are not in that tiny group, there is no point in trying to get on the right side of her; she automatically does want to kill or crush you. She’s very keen on creepy incest too and doesn’t bother to hide it. Add in her zany extreme alcoholism and she’s doing pretty well.
She drops points because people don’t really want to fuck her (aside from her immediate family). She’s just too evil. Her actress, Lena Headey is a beautiful woman, very femme, but she’s not sexy evil, just scary evil. The only person to express an interest was a lusty pirate who hadn’t even met her.
Catherine Tramell – Basic Instinct (1992)
What a girl Kate is. Ferrari driving, lipstick lesbo, sex maniac, fun-time murderer and Jackie Collins to boot! She is tremendous and delicious Sharon Stone laps it up, pulling every sleazy move out to poor Michael Douglas who goes round being cross with his erection and green pullover. The way he takes it out on unfortunate Jeanne Tripplehorn is hilarious. Paul Verhoeven is the best director for this sort of thing because he knows that spectacle and pace is more vital than plot sense here.
I’d love to read one of Catherine’s novels, I bet they are proper sordid bling page-turners.
The clip is obviously NSFW, and for the benefit of lazy smut fans, the money shot is at 3.04.
Lola-Lola – The Blue Angel (1930)
Marlene Dietrich is Lola-Lola, a cabaret singer which is just as well because what was her mother thinking, naming her that? She seduces a square teacher and it goes wrong. Her FF credentials are rather lower than some of our other ladies (weak on bodycount and incest for example) but she was pretty much there first, showing lesser ladies how to do it. There’s also the kudos of being in the Berlin nightclub scene, darling.
Saffron – Firefly (2002)
Saffron is one of Joss Whedon’s fetish girls. She’s super beautiful (Christina Hendricks) and plays sweet and innocent while being capable of lavish violence. Her motivations are the lulz rather than any avarice in her crimes. She wears anaesthetic lipstick and she’s an omni-seductress, girls or boys, she doesn’t mind, they are all horny fools to her. It is very hard not to love her a bit, even when she’s happy to have the crew of the good ship Firefly killed. You are forgiven, Saffron, you bad, bad girl. Grr.
The Maneater from Maneater - Hall and Oates (1982)
John and Darryl are quite vague about this girl, we don’t get to find out what specifics she’s done other than John or Daryl or both have got burned by her. “Watch out boy, She'll chew you up” Daryl sing which just sounds bitter. She’s greedy and possibly a prostitute (“Money's the matter, If you're in it for love, You ain't gonna get too far”) but more likely just quite tarty and expensive.
‘Maneater’ itself is probably a metaphor as there is no suggestion she dines on flesh, just is quite callous with wimpy boys. Man up, Hall and Oates.
Bridget Gregory/Wendy Kroy – The Last Seduction (1994)
Unlike some other temptresses, Linda Fiorentina’s character doesn’t even try to have morals or decency. She does not give a fuck. She steals drug money, commits fraud, cries false rape and makes rubes do her dirty work including murder. And wins, and the audience is delighted for her.
Bridget does it right. Her husband even calls her out on it but we know that we’d let her do it anyway, if only to screw her up against that chain-link fence.