Witch Without a Broom
You can't get much worse than Helena Cassadine, a harridan straight out of hell. And how many daytime characters can lay claim to have been played by Elizabeth Taylor? Only Helena Cassadine. The role was taken over by Constance Towers when Helena became a regular character in 1997. But we first met Helena during the Love on the Run days, as Luke and Laura were about to be married. Madame Cassadine crashed their wedding and, slightly upset that they caused her husband Mikkos' death, put a curse on the newlyweds, unbeknownst to them. Looking over their lives for the past twenty years, I'd say it worked: Laura's disappearance, Lucky's alleged death in a fire, divorce, remarriage, catatonia, Luke's heart attacks - etc.!
Helena's Eternal Nemesis: The Spencers
When Laura returned from being kidnapped by Stavros Cassadine, Helena's darling son, we learned that Helena showed her a newspaper stating that Luke had been killed in an avalanche. Reunited at last, Luke and Laura eventually left Port Charles, returning nearly a decade later. Luke paid a visit to the dying Helena to try to get some info out of her (the actress who played Helena in that scene is not listed anywhere). Not only did he not get any information, but Helena lived and moved to Port Charles, where she caused trouble full-time. Her first order of business was to kidnap Lucky by staging his death; then he programmed him to kill his father.
The Deep Freeze in the General Hospital Sub-Basement
At General Hospital, Helena secretly built a huge underground laboratory a la Mikkos' Ice Princess lab, which she used to have her son Stavros brought from Popsicle to warm human (well, semi-human anyway) form. For this she needed a doctor, so she made Lucas Jones deathly ill and held the antidote over his father Tony's head unless he cooperated. Stavros and Helena's goal: To destroy the Spencer family and bring Nikolas back into the fold. That sounds like a big deal but hey, on the arrival of Alexis' secret sister, we find out that years earlier, Helena slit the throat of Alexis' mother, who was Mikkos' opera singer mistress. When none of Helena's machinations work, and Stavros dies a second time, Helena has her cousin surgically altered (shades of Saddam Hussein) to fool everyone while she escapes to Switzerland, where she's supposed to be in prison. It's her poor cousin. Luke finds Sister Helena in a convent, where she claims to have seen the light, but Luke volunteers her to minister in Antarctica! Thus ended Helena. For the moment.
Helena Never Cared Much for Stefan, Emily...It's Quite a List
Helena wasn't heard from again until her son Stefan's funeral in October 2003. She returned to dance on the grave of her second son, a disappointment to her, and to hurl insults at all of her old enemies. But Luke made her think when he laughed in her face and told her that she was facing a punishment worse than death: She was fading into obscurity. By the way, Stefan got quite a sendoff. To make sure he stayed dead, Luke drove a stake through his heart.
Helena later returned to Port Charles in order to break up Emily and Nikolas. Emily wasn't wife material for Prince Nikolas, according to Helena. When the couple didn't heed her warnings, Helena had Nikolas institutionalized and overmedicated. Nicholas outsmarted her and went back to Emily. Helena then joined with Tracy Quartermaine to have Emily imprisoned for killing Mary Bishop. Lucky Spencer discovered that scheme. An angry Helena issued another curse to another yet couple, Nikolas and Emily. It worked, and Emily became deathly ill. A treatment was sought for her; one was found in time.
Helena attempted once more to get rid of Emily, waiting until she was walking on the cliffs near Wyndemere. Helena tried to stab her. Nikolas appeared and managed to get the knife away from Helena. He then pushed her over a cliff. Helena's body was never found.
Nikolas Gets Into Trouble, Thanks to Grandma
Unfortunately, Nikolas lookalike Connor Bishop saw the whole thing and tried to blackmail Nikolas. Nikolas went to the police and confessed rather than put up with Connor. He went to prison. Emily convinced Connor to impersonate Nikolas, hoping that Helena would show up, and then Nikolas could be freed. It was a disaster. Helena came back, but Connor raped Emily. Helena shot at Emily; Lucky stepped into the gun's sight line and was shot himself. Helena again disappeared. To find her, Luke transferred $15,000,000 out of the Cassadine bank account and deposited it into Tracy's account, and it would only be returned when Helena appeared. When she did, she was arrested.
The Hand That Rocks the Cradle
Bars, however, cannot hold Helena. When Courtney became pregnant, there was Helena, trying to find out if the child was going to be a Cassadine, in which case, she would take the child and raise him or her. Courtney did indeed give birth to Spencer Cassadine, and Helena hired a nanny named Colleen to help her kidnap Spencer. Small problem. The nanny fell in love with Nikolas. This was her pattern - to fall for her charge's father and, when her affections were not returned, kill her boss. Spencer was kidnapped, all right, but by Colleen, who wanted Nikolas. Colleen wound up dead and Helena wound up with the baby for a short time. Spencer was rescued by Nikolas and Emily.
The next time Helena returned to Port Charles, she found out that Elizabeth was pregnant, and that the child could be Nikolas' or Lucky's. She paid a lab tech for the results before anyone else saw them. Lucky was the father, which suited Helena...and then didn't suit her. She then paid the lab tech to name Nikolas the father. Her thought was a Cassadine raising a Spencer would be amusing, and she would teach the child to hate the Spencers.
Tracy noticed that there was a connection between Helena and this lab tech, and dropped some hints that she knew Helena had the test results altered. Tracy soon found herself chloroformed and in a dungeon. Luke was lured there by Helena, but both Luke and Tracy escaped.
Elizabeth's new baby, Aiden, was not determined to be Lucky's child for nearly a year.
Nikolas and Spencer left town, but Helena was okay with it since she had another hobby. She hung out in the Wyndemere tunnels and watched Ethan Lovett with a woman staying at Wyndemere named Cassandra. She was a psychiatric patient suffering from amnesia. Her real name was Irena, and she was Helena's daughter. She was there under orders from Helena, and was supposed to seduce Lucky. Helena changed her mind and had her seduce Ethan. She wanted Cassandra to kill Ethan in front of Luke, so he would know what it felt like to suffer as she did when he got rid of Stavros.
Irena fell in love with Ethan and when Helena ordered her to shoot Ethan while Luke was in the room, Irena refused. Helena ordered Irena killed, and her henchmen complied, (thus quickly and mercifully ending one of the worst plots in General Hospital history). When Holly Sutton arrived and stated that Ethan was not Luke's son, Helena disappeared.
When Lulu Spencer was kidnapped a year later, Luke found her on the Haunted Star, convinced that Helena was responsible. Ethan was aboard the Haunted Star as well, having been kidnapped. Helena ordered that Laura be killed, but then decided that Laura should kill Ethan. Her "curse" would be broken with Ethan's death, and it would save Lulu.
It didn't work out for Helena, as Luke, after thirty years or so, was done. He shot her. She died without telling them what happened to Lulu.
At the time of her death, Helena was nursing Stavros back to health on Cassadine Island. He was thought to be dead, and he must have been nearly dead because he fell down a bottomless pit years earlier. He had been frozen and brought back to life by Helena, after which he became obsessed with Lulu.
Lulu was rescued, but Stavros escaped, eventually returning Helena's body to Cassadine Island and giving her the popsicle treatment. But Helena wasn't done. When Luke became ill, he received a video via courier, where Helena admitted that she had poisoned Luke with a deadly poison, Polonium 210. He would die unless he could find a cure, and he would not find it in Port Charles.
It looks as if Helena might come back to life again, now that Robin developed a cure for Polonium poisoning and has been spirited away by Victor Cassadine with the promise of bringing back Jason. And who else? In Port Charles -- and on Cassadine Island -- no one stays dead forever.