In "The Help" Southern society girl Hilly Holbrook (Bryce Dallas Howard) is as polished and polite as possible, but that pretty smile hides a mean, racist streak as wide as the Mississippi. It just proves, as Hamlet once said, "One may smile and smile and be a villain."
Here's our collection of female characters who tried to put a pleasant face on evil as they schemed, bullied and even committed murder to get what they wanted.
15. Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) in 'Singin in the Rain'
This ditzy silent-screen star is about to be ruined by the advent of talking pictures, until she realizes that having ingenue Cathy (Debbie Reynolds) dub her voice isn't such a bad idea. She demands that Cathy go on doing that "and nothing else!" Her best scene: She waltzes into the studio head's office and points out that he'd be in violation of her contract if Cathy gets credit. "It would be det-ri-mental and de-le-terious to my career," she beams, happy at mastering such big words.
14. Kathryn Merteuil (Sarah Michelle Gellar) in 'Cruel Intentions'
TV's ‘Gossip Girl’s have nothing on scheming society girl Kathryn, who thrives on manipulation and seduction, and shows no remorse -- even when her schemes end in someone's death. She maintains the illusion of being a perfect role model, until the film's end, when the crucifix she habitually wears is revealed to contain a vial of cocaine.
13. Regina George (Rachel McAdams) in 'Mean Girls'
As Queen of the Plastics, Regina rules the school, deciding who's in and who's out on a whim. Her ‘Burn Book,’ with nasty gossip about both students and teachers, comes in handy when she learns that her protégé Cady (Lindsay Lohan) has been plotting against her. She happily distributes the book throughout the school (framing Cady for it) and causes a free-for-all, hair-pulling riot.
12. Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter) in 'All About Eve'
Beware backstage admirers! In this classic film, actress Margo Channing (Bette Davis) discovers that her biggest fan, Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter), is actually her biggest rival. Eve lays on the charm with all of Margo's friends and colleagues and, sure enough, she's soon replacing her onstage.
11. Miss Minchin (Eleanor Bron) in 'A Little Princess'
The mistress of a posh New York boarding school for girls, Miss Minchin at first appears to be the picture of motherly concern toward her young charges. When Sara (Leisel Matthews) is orphaned and penniless, however, Miss Minchin reveals her cruel, true nature. She forces Sara to work for her keep and refuses to let her even talk to her former friends. Worst of all, when Sara's father miraculously reappears, Miss Minchin nearly prevents his reuniting with his daughter. Boo, hiss!
10. Joan Crawford (Faye Dunaway) in 'Mommie Dearest'
She's the mother of all bad movie mommies! This movie star is seemingly the perfect mother, doting on her adopted children by showering them with presents, but what loving mom would then force her kid to choose just one to keep? Now that's mean. From there, it escalates into harangues about the evils of wire hangers and near-murder. We've never looked at a Joan Crawford movie the same way since. And we're not so sure about Faye either.
9. Hilly Holbrook (Bryce Dallas Howard) in 'The Help'
Pretty, posh Hilly isn't just racist, she's downright mean. She's so paranoid about sharing a bathroom with her maid, Minny (Octavia Spencer), that she insists Minny use the outside facility -- even during a hurricane! She bullies her fellow housewives into adopting her "two bathroom" policy and even puts her own mother (Sissy Spacek) into an old folks' home.
8. Chris Hargeson (Nancy Allen) in 'Carrie'
Carrie's religious nutjob of a mom is super-scary, but high school bully Chris is the real villain. When she gets in trouble for mocking her awkward classmate Carrie, Chris plots a gruesome prank at prom as payback. As she waits to personally pull the rope on that bucket of pig’s blood, Chris licks her perfectly glossy lips in anticipation of the mayhem to come. She has no idea she's about to unleash a literal bloodbath, but oh, does she deserve Carrie's wrath.
7. Suzanne Stone Maretto (Nicole Kidman) in 'To Die For' (1995)
Kidman was never better than as aspiring small-town weathergirl Suzanne, who dreams of becoming a famous, big-time news anchor. She's sure her winning smile and personality will get her far, but when her working-class hubby (Matt Dillon) wants her to give up her career and start a family, she seduces a dimwitted high school student (a terrific Joaquin Phoenix) into murdering him.
6. Eleanor Shaw Iselin (Angela Lansbury) in 'The Manchurian Candidate'
This master manipulator is willing to sacrifice everything in her goal to get her husband into the White House -- even her own son. Lansbury brings a frightening degree of determination to this polished politician's wife, whom no one would ever suspect is the driving force behind a sinister assassination plot.
5. Gogo Yubari (Chili Kuriyama) in 'Kill Bill: Vol. 1'
This psychotically cute assassin wears a schoolgirl outfit, wields a mace and would just as soon stick a sword through a guy as talk to him. And she does it all with that creepy, girlish smile.
4. Peyton Flanders (Rebecca De Mornay) in 'The Hand That Rocks the Cradle'
Behind the pleasant demeanor of this nanny lies a warped mind bent on revenge. She'll stop at nothing, whether it's framing a simple-minded handyman as a child molester, murder or -- gasp! – breast-feeding a baby in an attempt to turn it against its mother. The monster!
3. Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates) in 'Misery'
Sure, it's all smiles and "I'm your biggest fan" at first when Annie welcomes author Paul Sheldon (James Caan) into her home, offering to care for him after his car crashes. But before you know it, the sledgehammer comes out and, well, ow.
2. Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton) in 'Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix'
Was there ever a more cringe-inducing, superior smirk than the one worn by Professor Umbridge? The fact that that she wears it along with cutesy pink suits and pearls makes it all the more unbearable. The other villains in the Harry Potter universe may be more dangerous and grandiose, but when evil wears such a simpering smile, it's far more disturbing.
1. Minnie Castavet (Ruth Gordon) in 'Rosemary's Baby'
She's the sweet old lady next door who plies her pregnant neighbor with her special recipes. Even though she's a bit of a nuisance, who would ever believe the terrible, monumentally sinister motive that lies behind that friendly face?