Top 10 Scream Queens

Ben Hurry

Scream Queens, the name says it all. Where would horror be without the saucy heroines and unfortunate victims that make up the genre? As film historian George Feltenstein said: “”Women screaming in terror has been a Hollywood mainstay — even when films were silent”.

Horror especially has a love and affection for the spunky vixen who kicks ass, and to celebrate their achievements and contribution of the genre, here are my top ten Queens of Horror.

10) Katherine Isabelle

Known for – Ginger Snaps, Freddy vs Jason, Carrie, American Mary. Originally Finding her feet in the 2000 horror film Ginger Snaps (as well as its 2004 sequel) Katherine Isabelle has carved a career out of starring in a diverse series of horror films of the decade, including Carrie (2002), Freddy vs Jason (2003) and the Soska Sisters 2012 film – American Mary.

ginger Snaps

9) Rose McGowan

Known for – Scream, Planet Terror, Death Proof, Charmed Appearing in Scream (1996) (In which she also reminds us of the dangers of garage doors) as well as the Tarantino/ Rodriguez double Grindhouse (2007) and the fantasy/supernatural tv series Charmed, Rose McGowan has done more than enough to earn her a place on my list of Scream Queens, and with an upcoming role in an adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart it doesn’t seem like she has any plans to stop soon.

Rose McGowan

8) Neve Campbell

Known For – The Craft, Scream Franchise. While it can be argued that she is not a ‘true’ Scream Queen Neve Campbell popularised the role of Sidney Prescott in the Scream franchise and helped bring along the revival of horror in the mid 90’s, and this along with her work in The Craft (1996) earns her a spot on this list.

Neve Campbell Scream

7) Sarah Michelle Gellar

Known for – I Know What You Did Last Summer, Scream 2, The Grudge, Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Relatively unknown until 1997, that year saw Sarah Michelle Gellar star in I Know What You Did Last Summer, Scream 2 AND the most popular TV show of the 90’s among young girls and adolescent boys – Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Since then she has appeared in a number of mainstream and direct-to-video horror films and has done more than enough to earn her a spot on this list.

Buffy, Sarah Michelle Gellar

6) Debbie Rochon

Known for – Tromeo & Juliet, Terror Firmer, Dahmer vs Gacy. An actress well known for her work in the Tromeo series and in a slew of B-Grade horror films Debbie Rochon is a Scream Queen in every sense of the word. Having lived through a violent and chaotic childhood and an unfortunate accident with a “prop” machete in which she almost lost the use of her hand she has put out some interesting, if not always technically good horror films. Be sure to check out the Italian film Colour From the Dark (2008) based on the work of H.P. Lovecraft.


5) Sheri Moon Zombie

Known for – House of 1000 Corpses, The Devils Rejects, Halloween remake, The Lords of Salem. The wife of rock legend turned horror director Rob Zombie, it was inevitable for her to become a 21st Century Scream Queen. Appearing in all of his films to date often in major roles Sheri Moon has carved (often in some poor victims flesh) a career out of playing some of the most twisted, sadistic femme fatales in horror history.

Sheri Moon Zombie

4) Asia Argento

Known for – Demons 2, The Stendhal Syndrome, La Chiesa. The Daughter of renowned Italian horror and giallo director, Dario Argento, Asia was destined to become one of Italian cinemas most beloved Scream Queens. Oftentimes appearing in her father’s films she was one of the driving forces of Italian horror and the slasher genre, and you’ll be hard pressed finding a film she’s in which ISN’T horror. But hey, with a father like hers who can blame her for loving horror so much!

Asia Argento vampire

3) Janet Leigh

Known For – Psycho, Night of the Lepus, The Fog, Halloween H20. Mother of Jamie Lee-Curtis (more on her later) Janet Leigh has appeared in a number of critically acclaimed films including Psycho (1960) and The Fog (1980). As the star of some of the most shocking cinema audiences had seen in years Janet Leigh is more than deserving of such a high spot on this list.

Janet Leigh

2) Fay Wray

Known For – The Vampire Bat, King Kong, The Most Dangerous Game, The Mystery of the Wax Museum, Doctor X
Fay Wray, a Scream Queen long before the term was even coined she has appeared in some of Hollywood’s most acclaimed early horror films. From King Kong (1933) to Doctor X (1932) it would be hard to find a woman who contributed as much to horror in the early days of “Hollywoodland” as Fay Wray and she deserves the number 2 spot on this list.


1) Jamie Lee Curtis

Known for – Halloween franchise, The Fog, Prom Night. The undeniable Queen of Horror – Jamie Lee Curtis’ portrayal of Laurie Strode in the 1978 film Halloween ensured a generation of cinemagoers soiled their pants as she fled from deranged serial killer Michael Myers in some of the most scenes tense horror audiences had ever seen. Following this up with The Fog (1980) and Prom Night (1980) as well as a veritable slew of Halloween follow-ups (including an uncredited cameo in Halloween III: Season of the Witch) Jamie Lee Curtis is one of, if not the greatest Scream Queen in film history.

Jamie Lee Curtis star of Halloween is one of the first and most bad ass horror victims

Agree? Disagree? Who was left out and who should be here? Sound off in the comments on who you think would be included in your list of Scream Queens.


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      1. scarletjupiter May 8, 2013 at 11:42 pm

        No Danielle Harris? Very happy to see SMG though

      2. Starbearer May 9, 2013 at 3:07 am

        Was hoping to see Tiffany Shepis included on the list, at least Debbie Rochon is on the list

      3. Chilli May 9, 2013 at 4:27 am

        Well written and thought about, I like your style.

      4. Tyler May 9, 2013 at 7:30 pm

        No Danielle Harris or pj soles seems a little off.

      5. Ron May 10, 2013 at 4:07 am

        Danielle Harris should have been an obvious choice. Her early start in horror at such a young age with Halloween 4 and 5 and the fact that she stays true to her horror roots today should earn her a spot in any Top Scream Queen list. Danielle is EASILY one of the greatest Scream Queens of all time.

      6. Debbie Rochon May 10, 2013 at 4:54 pm

        Thanks! :)

        • Herner Klenthur May 11, 2013 at 8:15 pm

          im sure you made the authors day just by saying thanks :)

        • Ben Hurry May 11, 2013 at 11:43 pm

          I can assure you that you most certainly did make my day! Thank YOU!

      7. john sellings May 10, 2013 at 11:35 pm

        Debbie Rochon has just completed filming on ‘Serial Kaller’ and as the editor of said film I can honestly say that her performance is amazing! Can’t wait to get it out there! – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2787908/

      8. Chris Greenaway May 11, 2013 at 7:16 pm

        Any scream queen list that doesn’t include Tiffany Shepis or Heather Langenkamp is not a scream queen list at all.

        • Herner Klenthur May 11, 2013 at 7:56 pm

          I tend to agree on at least one of those choices but just because the list does not match your own doesnt make his opinion not valid :)

        • Ben Hurry May 11, 2013 at 11:48 pm

          That’s the problem with lists like these. There are so many people I COULD have included on this list but couldn’t, simply for personal preference. Heather Langenkamp, PJ Soles and Danielle Harris for me personally just built on the foundations laid down by the early pioneers of cinematic horror like Fay Wray and Janet Leigh, and foreign stars like Asia Argento who is way to often overlooked in lists like these but who has crafted her whole career out of horror.

      9. Beansy May 13, 2013 at 5:54 pm

        No heather langerkamp? Seriously ?

      10. kXnPunk May 14, 2013 at 11:15 pm

        Mmm, nice selection. Yes Danielle Harris is missing and I’ll also add Naomi Watts and Amber Heard. They were hot in the Horror ones they’ve done. And cool to see Debbie replied, nice.

        • Herner Klenthur May 15, 2013 at 12:01 am

          completely agree on Danielle Harris but Amber Heard and Naomi Watts strike me as unusual. Neither one has had a major contribution to horror that I can think of. Tks for commenting.

      11. Amy Lynn June 26, 2013 at 10:11 pm

        Linnea Quigley?!

      12. Steve July 13, 2013 at 9:10 am

        when i think about the three biggest scream queens of the last 40 years, you have only have 1 of them. Of course that 1 is Jamie Lee Curtis, you’re missing Danielle Harris and Linnea Quigley though. These are two actresses that devoted their career to the genre, and you put Rose McGowen and SMH in front of them? Really? And Neve Campbell is way overrated as a Scream Queen, she was in one series plus 1 film on the side.

      13. Vincent Cobb July 16, 2013 at 6:22 pm

        Major faux pas for the exclusion of stars Karen Black (House of 1000 Corpses, Burnt Offerings, and Trilogy of Terror) and Jessica Harper (Suspiria and Phantom of the Paradise).

      14. Tia August 5, 2014 at 12:10 am

        Ben your wrong for not having Karen Black on here …. Burnt Offerings, Trilogy of Terror, and House of a 1,000 Corpses just to name a few…. This is not a list without her :/

      15. Von Funkenstaubenzauberhof August 5, 2014 at 10:57 am

        Absolutely missing Linnea Quigley.

      16. Hiro October 19, 2014 at 4:43 am

        Although I loved Halloween, I must be the only one who didn’t like JLC. Her breathing/moaning through every scene in the last twenty minutes was extremely irritating.

      17. Dave Kline May 7, 2015 at 9:49 pm

        Danielle Harris…how is she not on this list…Halloween 4, Halloween 5.,Halloween the curse of Micheal Myers, Urban legend, Rob Zombies Halloween 1 and II, Hatchet II and See no evil 2…?