Sunday, March 28, 2010

13 Scream Queens

In compiling a list of 13 scream queens it was difficult to determine who should be included. First I needed to define what a scream queen is. A scream queen is an actress who stars in a lot of horror movies. A scream queen should be able to convey a sense of terror. Often scream queens are the lone survivor of a horror movie, and so they must be strong willed. They must fight through their fear to conquer whatever is trying to kill them. We need to empathize with the scream queen, and so women who star in horror films always as the villainess can not be the scream queen. Here is my list of 13 scream queens in no particular order.

1) Fay WrayFirst Scream Queen
Though there were other actresses that specialized in horror before her (Theda Bara for example) they were all of the silent film era, thus their screams were never heard. Fay starred in four horror films in the years 1932-3 leading up to her starring role in King Kong. Fay was able to convey an element of terror like no other actress of her time period. Though she starred in over 100 films, the majority of these were not in the horror genre, but for a short time in the 1930s she was the scream queen.

2) Asia ArgentoLegacy Scream Queen
The daughter of the great Italian horror movie director/writer/producer, Asia (pronounced ah-See-ah) did not ride on her fathers coat tails. Though he produced the second film that she was in, it was directed by another great of Italian horror Lamberto Bava. She was only 10 and the movie was a sequel to Demons. She left home at the young age of 14. It was not until she was 18, that she had a starring role in one of her father's films 1993's Trauma. Her father used to read her his scripts as bedtime stories, which no doubt warped her personality. She has starred in numerous other movies, many of them in the horror/thriller genre.

3) Linda Blair Satanic Panic Scream Queen
In 1973 we were given a reason to fear demonic possession. The Exorcist was a blockbuster. People who typically wouldn't go to see a horror film went to see this one. People began to believe in demonic possession. At the center of the film was a 13 year old Linda Blair. In the years since it was released, she went on to revive her role in a sequel, and has performed in many other horror movies. She has even done one spoof of the exorcist, 1990's Repossessed.

4) Ingrid Pitt
Most Horrific Real Life Scream Queen
Ingrid Pitt starred in many horror films in the '60s and '70s, but it was her real life that was most horrific. Three years of Ingrid's early childhood were spent in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. One can only imagine the horrors that she saw. It was her work in the 1970s with Hammer Films that gained her the most fame. Though her horror career peaked in the 1970s, she has continued to make horror films/thrillers through to the present.

5) Shawnee SmithMost Unlikely Scream Queen
Shawnee's first horror role was in the 1988 remake of The Blob. She has gone on to star in every film in the Saw series to date, but she hates being scared and doesn't like horror movies. She even hosted the VH1 reality show Scream Queens which focused on finding an actress to appear in Saw VI. The fact that she doesn't like being scared, but has to act terrified in many movies leads to her being the most unlikely scream queen.

6) Adrienne BarbeauToughest Scream Queen
One could classify Adrienne Barbeau as she has been so often classified in the past, by her physical assets, but she is more than that. If someone were to classify her in such a way and she would deliver a Tura Satana quality ass whupping. She shows strength in every role that she has played. She was married to John Carpenter from the late '70s through the mid '80s. She starred in The Fog, Swamp Thing, and Creepshow, and she continues to star in horror movies today, playing the tough woman the whole way.

7) Sheri Moon
Most Metal Scream Queen
The first place that the world was introduced to Sheri was in music videos for her boyfriend Rob Zombie's songs. They have married since then, and he has become a horror director. She has gone on to star in his horror films, as well as being an extra in films by horror greats like Tobe Hooper.

8) Tippi HedrenMost Hitchcockian Scream Queen
Melanie Griffith's mom has several Hitchcock roles in her horror heavy repertoire, but it was the gift that Alfred Hitchcock gave Melanie that makes Tippi the most Hitchcockian. Supposedly, Alfred gave Melanie a doll modeled after Tippi in a coffin, which freaked everyone out a bit. Tippi was in The Birds and Marnie, but was also in some episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, as well as horror films by other directors.

9)Virginia MadsenMost Urbane Scream Queen
In 1992 Virginia starred as a graduate student researching urban legends in Clive Barker's Candyman, and her fate as a scream queen was sealed. Before Candyman, she had already starred as the lone woman in Zombie High. She has been in horror movies since, and has always put up the image of an educated woman thrust into horrible circumstances.

10) Rose McGowanSultriest Scream Queen
The only actress to appear in both Planet Terror and Deathproof. Her first somewhat horror role was as Amy Blue in The Doom Generation. She had a big role in Scream that ended in her being crushed by a garage door. She brings a seductive quality in every role that she has, even more than the other scream queens on this list. Hopefully she will continue to steam up the screen in more horror movies.

11) Sigourney WeaverMost Kick Ass Scream Queen
In 1979 we were given a reason to fear space from the hands of Ridley Scott's Alien. We were also given a true kick ass scream queen with Sigourney Weaver's portrayal of Ellen Ripley. She didn't take anything off of anyone, least of all some extraterrestrial with an exoskeleton. She starred in three sequels to Alien. She has been in many horror films since, sometimes as a villain, but always kick ass.

12) Jamie Lee CurtisMost Iconic Scream Queen
Though the slasher film was invented in 1974 by Tobe Hooper with the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, it was not until 1978 that John Carpenter lay down the rules with Halloween. Jamie Lee Curtis starred as the good babysitter, who didn't party or have teen sex. Thus she escaped and lived to fight off her demented baby brother. She returned in four sequels including 1982's Halloween III: Season of the Witch, which had an atypical plot without Michael Myers. She was the go to woman for much of the 1980s for high budget horror.

13) Linnea Quigley
Most Prolific Scream Queen
Linnea's first horror role was in 1975's Psycho from Texas, and she hasn't gone more than three years with out a horror role since. Her most iconic Scream Queen role was as the punk Trash in Return of the Living Dead. One of the most iconic scenes from all horror cinema is her as Trash dancing nude in the graveyard. She has starred in B-movies like Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers and has been an extra in big budget horror like A Nightmare on Elmstreet IV: The Dream Master. At age 51, she continues pumping them out, many on direct-to-dvd. She has been in over 100 movies, many of them horror themed. She may well be able to claim someday that she has been in over 100 horror films.

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