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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.