|Kidman as cold, cold Mrs. Coulter|
1. Mrs. Coulter: His Dark Materials
Philip Pullman did an awfully good job with the gorgeous ice queen whose mission is to separate helpless children from their beloved daemons, at great physical suffering. All for their own good, of course.
2. Letitia Slighcarp: The Wolves of Willoughby Chase
I'm pretty sure that the ghastly governess Slighcarp became a model for my dreaded imaginings whenever my parents left us to go on vacation. I was convinced any babysitter planned to sell all my cool toys and pack me off to an orphanage. (Miss Minchin, bane of the boarding school in The Little Princess, is a sister under the skin.)
3. The Wicked Witch of the West
The North Witch's evil sister is nothing Dorothy can't handle, it turns out (in, oh, about hour three), but any woman made entirely of green slime deserves a shout out.
Why can't these ladies leave poor James be? Don't they know a boy can't survive on fish heads alone?
James: I finished all the chores.
Sponge: What a coincidence! We finished all the dinner!
5. Mrs. Tifton in The Penderwicks
Snobby society mavens who pack their offspring off to horrible boarding schools never lose their literary appeal.
6. The Other Mother, in Coraline.
With her creepy Suzy Homemaker schtick and her button eyes, Gaiman's Other Mother taps into every child's deepest, unvoiced fear: that Mommy is really a gigantic, demented arachnid.
Feel free to chime in with your own faves! Here's a wonderful video about how MGM chose Margaret Hamilton to play the Wicked Witch of the West.