Sigourney Weaver is one of the most famous actresses ever associated with horror in film, so it’s worth ranking each of her contributions to the genre. Born Susan Weaver in 1949, Sigourney Weaver (bust) burst onto the scene in 1979 with the release of Ridley Scott’s Alien. Following the film’s success, Sigourney Weaver became a highly respected and prolific actor, with over 60 film roles, in many different genres. She earned a total of three Oscar nominations, as well as the rare feat of being nominated for both Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress in the same year, for Gorillas in the Mist and Working Girl, respectively. in 1989.
Unlike many actors who get their big break from horror movies, Sigourney Weaver never gave up on the genre, returning to it many times throughout her long career. In fact, some of Sigourney Weaver’s best films have been genre films, where acting is essentially ignored or dismissed by many critics. She has also starred in adjacent horror films, such as the supernatural comedy series Ghostbusters. Even when the horror movie surrounding her isn’t the best, Sigourney Weaver still stands out as a bright spot. Here are all of Sigourney Weaver’s horror movies, ranked from worst to best:
7. Snow White: A Tale of Terror (1997)
Sigourney Weaver is no bad apple as the evil, evil stepmother in Snow White: A Tale of Terror, a horror reimagining of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale. In fact, her entertaining camp performance is the highlight of the film, earning the actress Emmy and Screen Actors Guild acting nominations. Unfortunately, the other cast members don’t quite live up to Weaver, with horror star Sam Neill particularly wasted in the bland role of Snow White’s father. However, whenever Sigourney Weaver is on screen, Snow White: A Tale of Terror comes to life as an entertaining, if not downright scary movie.
6. Alien: Resurrection (1997)
Alien: Resurrection is a weird movie, and Sigourney Weaver delivers an effectively otherworldly and unpredictable performance as a not-quite-decent Ripley 8 clone that fits the film’s bizarre tone perfectly. This kind of radical reinterpretation of a character is an actor’s dream, and Sigourney Weaver knocks it out of the park. However, Alien: Resurrection suffers from a writer and director seemingly at odds with each other. Joss Whedon’s typical Alien: Resurrection storyline feels more like an empty run at times for his latest TV show Firefly, with the cast of the comedic space pirate film, while director Jean-Pierre Jeunet seems to be building a more expressionistic and atmospheric film. .
This conflict between the two creatives, however, is anchored by Weaver’s strong central performance. She’s deftly able to connect the more comedic moments, like successfully hitting a three-point shot into a basketball hoop, with the more bizarre, when Ripley 8’s more alien characteristics emerge when she encounters the other human hybrid. -xenomorph. However, the tonal dissonance between direction and script, in addition to the lack of development of many of the film’s supporting characters, sinks Alien: Resurrection down the list.
5. The Village (2004)
Sigourney Weaver is part of the incredible ensemble cast director M. Night Shyamalan has assembled for his horror drama The Village. The Village was much maligned when it was released in 2004, with many critics dismissive of the film’s ending, revealing that the film was not, in fact, a period piece, but is actually set in the ‘modern era. A group of grieving men and women decided to reject contemporary society and instead built their own community, the titular village, based on their own idealized 18th/19th century notions. Sigourney Weaver plays one of the village founders, Alice Hunt, who has since raised her son, Lucius (Joaquin Phoenix), within the community.
While it’s a film oft-derided, especially because of The Village’s twist ending, it doesn’t lack in brilliance. For example, Roger Deakins’ cinematography is fantastic and gives the film both an autumnal beauty and an eerie sense of danger from inside the woods. The production design is exquisite and really helps sell the central lie of the Village. The ensemble cast, with the likes of Weaver, William Hurt, Adrien Brody, and Bryce Dallas Howard all delivering brilliant performances that all help to emotionally explain how the isolated community works.
4. The Cabin in the Woods (2011)
The Cabin in the Woods can best be described as Scream for the 2010s; it’s a comedic attempt to ridicule, parody, and yet revitalize the slasher subgenre of horror. With its strong supporting cast, including Thor’s Chris Hemsworth, witty observations, and clever subversions of genre tropes, The Cabin in the Woods is a hit. Sigourney Weaver appeared at the end of the film, as the director of an underground facility, where technicians prepare to sacrifice five young adults to appease the mysterious “Elders”. Weaver doesn’t have much to do other than deliver exposition, but his appearance acts as a fun last surprise in a movie full of them.
3.Alien 3 (1992)
David Fincher’s disavowed Alien 3 is a franchise-dividing entry. Many audience members and critics despised its sinister tone and the controversial murder of fan-favorite characters Newt and Corporal Hicks. However, Alien 3, especially in its much better-received assembly cut, achieves a level of atmosphere and dread not seen in the series since the first Alien film. The film had a troubled production, with several unrealized Alien 3 scripts written during development, as well as constant studio interference with director David Fincher. However, Alien 3 has a strong sense of style and mood that easily puts it on par with the first two Alien movies.
Fincher may have struggled with his directorial debut, but his dark outlook shines through in the final film, especially in the Assembly Cut. Alien 3 is nothing if not ambitious and risk-taking; the film makes the controversial choice to kill Ripley at the end (partly so Sigourney Weaver doesn’t have to compete in Alien vs. Predator), and Weaver’s performance completely sells Ripley’s decision to sacrifice herself. While Alien 3’s darkness and horror may put some audiences off, its sense of style, thick atmosphere, and an incredible central performance from Sigourney Weaver make it a more than worthy entry into the Alien franchise.
2. Aliens (1986)
Sigourney Weaver earned her first Best Actress Oscar nomination, a rarity for both the horror genre and sequels of all kinds, for her return to Ellen Ripley in Aliens. Directed by Avatar: The Way of Water’s James Cameron, Aliens ditches the claustrophobic horror of Alien in favor of a more action-oriented film that still has plenty of tension and scares. Aliens has no shortage of memorable supporting characters, but Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley is still the character that holds the film together. Unlike Ridley Scott’s film, Aliens gives Ripley a girlish character as Newt (Carrie Henn).
Ripley and Newt have a wonderful relationship, and their scenes together show a whole different side of Weaver’s acting lineup than the very physical action sequences. Their fantastic on-screen relationship also allows Cameron to create the most intense scene in Aliens when the two are trapped in a room with a facehugger. Aliens may not have quite the same gruesome impact as Alien, but it more than makes up for it with brilliant sets, tense action, and Sigourney Weaver’s Oscar-nominated return to Ripley.
1. Alien (1979)
The horror film that launched Sigourney Weaver’s career, though other actors have been considered for Ripley, is still her finest. Directed by Ridley Scott, Alien is the perfect exercise in horror. Alien’s pacing is slow at first, building tension through a series of ominous shots, showing off the ship’s still-incredible production design. The film then takes its time to develop each character, before brutally murdering them one by one, until only Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley remains. It’s Halloween on a spaceship and use that setting to the max to build tension. The Xenomorph could hide anywhere.
Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley is a great character; she is one of the smartest heroines in horror history. If the rest of the crew had just listened to her, they would all have survived to earn their bonuses. That’s why audiences bond with Ripley so quickly — she’s the voice of reason in the film.
Along with its brilliant characters and production design, Alien is one of the best horror movies of all time, simply because it’s absolutely terrifying. The infamous Chestburster scene is still shocking, over 40 years later, and the film’s second half is still one of the most tense in history. Alien is not only the best horror film in Sigourney Weaver’s filmography, but one of the greatest films of all time.