To celebrate Women in Horror Month, Slasher Studios is proud to bring you our five favorite scream queens. Actresses that showed that the horror genre is nothing without a strong female presence. Enjoy Women in Horror Month everyone and have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!
5. Jamie Lee Curtis
Curtis’s film debut occurred in the 1978 horror film “Halloween”, in which she played the role of Laurie Strode. The film was a major success and was considered the highest grossing independent film of its time, earning accolades as a classic horror film. Curtis was subsequently cast in several horror films, garnering her the title, “scream queen”.
Her next film was the horror film, The Fog, which was helmed by Halloween director John Carpenter. The film opened in February 1980 to mixed reviews but strong box office, further cementing Curtis as a horror film starlet. Her next film, “Prom Night”, was a low-budget Canadian slasher film released in July 1980. The film, for which she earned a Genie Award nomination for Best Performance by a Foreign Actress, was similar in style to Halloween, yet received negative reviews which marked it as a disposable entry in the then-popular “slasher film” genre.
That year, Curtis also starred in “Terror Train”, which opened in October and met with a negative reviews akin to Prom Night. Both films performed only moderately well at the box office. Curtis had a similar function in both films – the main character whose friends are murdered, and is practically the only protagonist to survive. Film critic Roger Ebert, who had given negative reviews to all three of Curtis’ 1980 films, said that Curtis “is to the current horror film glut what Christopher Lee was to the last horror movie glut-or Boris Karloff was in the 1930s”. Curtis later appeared in “Halloween II”, “Halloween H20: 20 Years Later” and “Halloween: Resurrection”, as well as giving an uncredited voice role in “Halloween III: Season of the Witch”.
4. Adrienne Barbeau
The ever enchanting Adrienne Barbeau is best known among horror fans as one of the original Scream Queens. She is one of the few actresses who is not afraid to attack each role with gusto. From Stevie Wayne, the beautiful, gravelly voiced DJ in John Carperterâ€™s â€œThe Fogâ€ to the biggest bitch of in all horror anthologies, Wilma Northrup, in George Romeroâ€™s â€œCreepshowâ€; there is simply nothing that Barbeau canâ€™t do. She has worked with some of the greats of the genre, including the aforementioned Carperter and Romero, she has also appeared as Alice Cable in Wes Cravenâ€™s underrated classic â€œSwamp Thingâ€. More recently she appearing in one of the best direct to video horror films Slasher Studios has ever seen, â€œThe Conventâ€. A mix of â€œEvil Deadâ€ and â€œNight of the Demonsâ€, â€œThe Conventâ€ is a hoot and a must see for every genre fan. If you havenâ€™t seen it yet, go over to Amazon and order your copy now. You wonâ€™t be disappointed.
3. Danielle Harris
Danielle Harris is, and has always been, one of my favorite â€œScream Queensâ€. She has shown a dedication to the genre ever since she was a child. She has appeared in over two dozen horror movies, four of them in the â€œHalloweenâ€ series: â€œHalloween 4: The Return of Michael Myersâ€ and â€œHalloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myersâ€ as Jamie Lloyd and Rob Zombieâ€™s remakes â€œHalloweenâ€ and â€œHalloween IIâ€ as Annie Brackett. In 1988, she auditioned and was chosen (beating out Melissa Joan Hart) for the part of Jamie Lloyd, Michael Myersâ€™s niece, in the movie â€œHalloween 4: The Return of Michael Myersâ€. Just one year later, she would reprise the role in â€œHalloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myersâ€. The character of Jamie returned in 1995 for â€œHalloween: The Curse of Michael Myersâ€ but Harris did not participate due to disagreements regarding the changes to her character on the script. After seeing the final film, at least part of me is glad that she didnâ€™t participate.
Harris would later return to the franchise in a much different role, that of Annie Brackett, in Rob Zombieâ€™s â€œHalloweenâ€, a 2007 reboot of John Carpenterâ€™s classic 1978 original. In this film, she had nudity for a sex scene and her encounter with the dangerous Michael Myers, a career first. She stated â€œ[It] is something that I wanted to do because everyoneâ€™s like, â€˜Oh, sheâ€™s little Jamie. Sheâ€™s 14.â€™ And itâ€™s like, no, actually, Iâ€™m 30. Itâ€™s something that Iâ€™ve never done before.â€ She reprised her role in Zombieâ€™s sorely underrated â€œHalloween IIâ€.
2. Neve Campbell
Campbellâ€™s first widely released film was the fun, â€œwitchyâ€ horror movie â€œThe Craftâ€. She then got the role of her career. A role that would change her life as a Scream Queen forever. She was offered the leading role in â€œScreamâ€, directed by horror master Wes Craven. In the film, she plays Sidney Prescott who receives threatening phone calls from a killer with, who is obsessed with scary movies, on the anniversary of her motherâ€™s death. Campbell stated that she â€œadoredâ€ the character saying â€œSheâ€™s a fantastic character for any kind of movie.â€ Sidney is depicted as an intelligent, resourceful young woman who slowly becomes stronger as she attempts to overcome the threats and deaths around her.
The film was a huge success, earning over $173 million at the worldwide box office, and winning critical acclaim. Campbellâ€™s role as Sidney Prescott has received significant critical praise throughout the series, earning her the title of â€œScream Queen in the 1990sâ€. Campbell won the Saturn Award for Best Actress for her role in â€œScreamâ€. She also received two Blockbuster Entertainment Awards for Favorite Actress â€“ Horror, for â€œScream 2â€³ and â€œScream 3â€³. The film was followed by two sequels, both of which were also hugely successful, with â€œScream 2â€³ earning over $170 million and â€œScream 3â€³ earning over $160 million. Campbell won the MTV Movie Award for Best Female Performance for â€œScream 2â€³. Roger Ebert, in his review of â€œScream 3â€³, wrote of Campbell, â€œThe camera loves her. She could become a really big star and then giggle at clips from this film at her AFI tributeâ€. In 2011, she reprised her role as Sidney Prescott in the wonderful â€œScream 4â€³.
1. Heather Langenkamp
Heather Langenkamp wasnâ€™t always a horror fan and admits that before she was cast in the role that would change her life that she had never seen a horror film. Funny that now, nearly 30 years later, the actress is remembered as one of the greatest horror Scream Queens of all time.
While she was studying at Stanford University, Wes Craven cast her as teen heroine Nancy Thompson in the original â€œA Nightmare on Elm Streetâ€ as he wanted someone very â€œgirl next doorâ€ to play Nancy. He believed that Langenkamp met this quality. For the part, she beat out over 100 actresses. The film, follows the story of a group of teenagers who are killed in their dreams one-by-one by a past child murderer turned supernatural serial killer, whom their parents killed. The film was continued the 80â€²s slasher movie craze, following the trend set by â€œHalloweenâ€ and â€œFriday the 13thâ€.
The film introduced the iconic villain Freddy Krueger, played by Robert Englund. Nancy, as the filmâ€™s protagonist, lives, and defeats Krueger after he has killed all of her friends. Johnny Depp, in his feature film debut played Nancy Thompsonâ€™s boyfriend, Glen. Veteran film actor John Saxon played Nancyâ€™s father, police lieutenant Donald Thompson. The film was both a critical and commercial success, earning a total of $25 million at the American box office. In 1985, she received the Best Actress Award at the Avoriaz Film Festival for this role. She also became one of the original scream queens and final girls.
She continued her role as Nancy in â€œA Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriorsâ€, in which she co-starred alongside Patricia Arquette and Laurence Fishburne, and â€œWes Cravenâ€™s New Nightmareâ€, in which she played herself, and through events in the narrative, she is compelled to reprise her role as Nancy Thompson. John Saxon also returned with Langenkamp in â€œDream Warriorsâ€ and â€œNew Nightmareâ€. â€œA Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriorsâ€ earned nearly $45 million at the domestic box office, making it both the highest grossing film for the studio that year. â€œWes Cravenâ€™s New Nightmareâ€ earned $18 million at the U.S. box office. The three films in the series in which Langenkamp stars are considered the three best due to their critical reception. As Craven write on the script that Langenkamp reads from, â€œThank you for having the guts to play Nancy once last timeâ€, the horror world couldnâ€™t agree more.
6 thoughts on “Women in Horror Month: Slasher Studios’ Five Favorite Scream Queens”
Technically Leatherface had an empathetic background in the early beginning too, he got bullied and struggled with some skin disorder and some level of mental retardation. Plus he was nearly aborted and then tossed into a garbage can after he was born. Many of them had empathetic backgrounds, Bones had an empathetic background too, I like how it reflects how life and how the world creates their own monsters. But it is not enough to empathize with them on any level as no matter theyr previous wrongs done against them, it’s not enough to excuse all the mass indiscriminate killings….
One of the most talked lines is that women in horrors always have to have a reason, I kinda agree with that because males don’t have to have a reason. And I think that’s bullox. But it’s even ok if she has a reason in the beginning like many males did, as long as it’s not being used to lighten her load.
Carrie White could make a good one. I know, yeah she has a reason, or at least did in the beginning, but as long as this is not over-emphasized and used as an excuse to empathize with her, then this shouldn’t be a problem. Plenty of male slashers had empathetic backgrounds in the beginning, off top of my head, Jason Vorheese, Victor Crowley, Candyman, however in the end it doesn’t suffice to make them any less of monsters, their previous struggles are not enough to excuse what they do. And it shouldn’t be with Carrie either.
But she’s almost the perfect character, they could bring her back as a ghost or undead or something and she could wreak chaos and misery onto the people she percieves wronged her, although in reality she’s just indiscriminately killing lots of random people.
Why aren’t there any female monster slashers in the same vein as Freddy Krueger, Jason Vorheese, Michael Myers, Leatherface, Pinhead, Wishmaster, Candyman, Pennywise the Clown, etc?
I’d really like to see at least one female monster slasher. Heck, she can even be able to pose as a seductress to lure people in, as long as it’s not too teeny-bopperish like “Scream” or “I know what you did last summer,” where the killer turns up to be a normal human being and one of their friends whose been with them all along. No, I wanna see a female monster slasher.
Nancy Thompson will always be my number one horror heroine. No one else can even possibly compare.
Wonderful list! I can not agree more with your #1 pick. Nancy Thompson is the ultimate heroine!! :)
Heather Langenkamp as the character Nancy Thompson has become the iconic “final girl” in world film literature and American culture.
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