10/07/2014 09:13 am ET Updated Oct 07, 2014

Psycho Bitch: The Trope Evolves From 'Fatal Attraction's' Alex Forrest To Gone Girl's 'Amy Dunne.'


Every era gets the Psycho Bitch it deserves. In the late ‘80s, she wasAlex Forrest, the homicidal single career woman of Fatal Attraction. When Glenn Close’s 36-year-old book editor has a one-night fling with Michael Douglas’ happily-married attorney Dan Gallagher, Dan expects the cool, independent Alex to remain discreet. Instead, her biological clock goes berserk. She cuts her wrists, incessantly calls his home, announces she’s pregnant, throws acid on his car, boils his kid’s perfect bunny, abducts his perfect child, and attempts to stab his perfect housewife. At the film’s end, the perfect wife shoots the psycho bitch in the heart. By killing Alex (and her gestating fetus), the film restores the sanctity of the perfect family. Or as Susan Faludi wrote of the message in her 1991 bookBacklash: “The best single woman is a dead one.”

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