The ’90s were ripe with sexually charged thrillers featuring scheming femme fatales. With the genre-defining classic “Basic Instinct” turning 25 this week, here are the era’s best villains.
9. Alicia Silverstone, “The Crush”
Before she was “Clueless” as Cher, Silverstone made her feature film debut in this tawdry thriller as a 14-year-old who goes ballistic on a journalist (Cary Elwes) after he refuses her sexual advances. Word to the wise: Don’t cross Alicia.
8. Drew Barrymore, “Poison Ivy”
Barrymore ditched her good girl “E.T.” personae in this slithery tale about a seductive teen who schemes her way into the lives of her friend’s family. The actress didn’t return for sequels “Poison Ivy II: Lily,” “Poison Ivy: The New Seduction” and “Poison Ivy: The Secret Seduction.”
7. Madonna, “Body of Evidence”
The Material Girl literally bares everything in this sordid potboiler as a sex-crazed gold-digger with murderous tendencies. The script’s awful, but Madonna gives it her all. You’ll never look at candle-wax the same way again.
6. Sarah Michelle Gellar, “Cruel Intetions”
Made at the height of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, Gellar plays against type as a spoiled rich girl used to getting her way, in this hip teen reworking of “Dangerous Liaisons.” Her hyper-sexualized relationship to her adopted brother (Ryan Phillippe) isn’t even the most shocking of her vices.
5. Rebecca De Mornay, “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle”
Nobody plays embittered quite like De Mornay, who absolutely terrifies as a widow unable to come to terms with her miserable misfortune — and vows to ruin the happiness of a family that seems to have it all.
4. Jennifer Jason Leigh, “Single White Female”
You’ll think twice about befriending your new roommate after watching Leigh crush it in the role of crazed stranger who becomes overly protective, and ultimately obsessed with her new roomie.
3. Nicole Kidman, “To Die For”
Kidman is seductive, nutty and deadly in Gus Van Sant’s pitch-black comedy about a television newscaster who’ll stop at nothing (including murder) to get to the top. The scariest part: it’s based on a true story.
2. Eihi Shiina in “Audition”
As anyone who’s seen Takashi Miike’s classic horror knows, Shiina’s Asami is one twisted broad. You’ll want to do background checks on every potential date after seeing her in action.
1. Sharon Stone, “Basic Instinct”
With a simple crossing of a leg, Stone seared herself into the world’s consciousness as Catherine Tramell, the deadly-attractive femme fatale who might be guilty of murder with an ice pick.