- Published Date
- by Frank Wilkins
Some are known for their bloodcurdling screams, others for the way they look so pretty in glistening blood-soaked rags. Still others are most admired for that perfectly timed ankle sprain so severe that falling prey to a pursuing slasher is a more favorable option than running that leg down to a nub. We're talking Queens of Scream. Heroines of Horror. Starlets of Splatter.
Below is a list of our top ten favorite actresses associated with horror films. On it, you won't necessarily find the hottest, the smartest, the dumbest, or those who appeared in the most horror films. Simply the ones we like most.
If your favorite didn't make the list, let us know about it in the comment section at the end of the article. Make a valid argument and who knows, we may include it on the list.
Faye Wray - Canadian-American actress widely regarded as Hollywood's first scream queen. Though she starred in dozens of films throughout her lengthy Hollywood career, this "WAMPAS Baby Star" is inarguably most widely known for her role as Ann Darrow in 1933's King Kong. The role was originally offered to Jean Harlow.
Janet Leigh - The wife of Tony Curtis and the mother of the next scream queen on our list, Leigh won a Golden Globe for her performance as Marion Crane in Alfred Hitchcock's 1962 thriller, Psycho. The film's shower scene is often regarded as one of the most memorable (and scary) scenes in Hollywood history.
Jamie Lee Curtis - Her debut performance was in John Carpenter's 1978 horror, Halloween. Not a bad debut huh? The film has since gone down in cult horror lore and Curtis has transitioned into a lengthy film career, including roles in numerous horror films like The Fog, Terror Train, and Prom Night as well as in more mainstream fare such as Trading Places and Freak Friday.
Danielle Harris - Harris got her start as a child star on the small screen and transitioned nicely into major films. She has the unique distinction of having starred in no fewer than four of the Halloween series of films - Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers; Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers; and in Halloween and Halloween II. Her resume of other horror film appearances is quite impressive as well, with turns in The Black Waters of Echo's Pond, Fear Clinic (TV series), Hatchett II, and Stake Land.
Neve Campbell - Say what you will, but her Sidney Prescott character of all four Scream films is as iconic as any in the last 20 years.
Linda Blair - Though her movie career never really took off (horror or otherwise) after her iconic role in 1973's The Exorcist, her levitating, vomit-spitting, head-turning, Regan MacNeil goes down as one of the vilest and nastiest characters of demonic possession ever. How can anyone be so mean to sweet, clean Jesus?
Sarah Michelle Gellar - Another from the "say what you will" camp, but a quick look at her horror resume reveals she's quite worthy of inclusion on the list. She's arguably most well known as Buffy from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but with starring roles in I Know What you Did Last Summer, Scream 2, Scooby-Doo (yes, it's a horror), and The Grudge, her place on the list is already set in cement.
Beverly Garland - We're gonna' kick it a bit old school for a minute here as Ms. Garland enjoyed most of her success during the '40s, '50s and '60s in mostly mainstream fare as the conservative suburban housewife. But Garland's association with and appearance in many Roger Corman films, namely Gunslinger, Swamp Women, and It Conquered the World guarantees her inclusion on the list.
Sigourney Weaver - Became a star because of her role as the bad-ass Ellen Ripley in Ridley Scott's 1979 Alien, and has reprised the role in the three subsequent sequels. Need we say more?
Sissy Spacek - May not be the first actress to come to mind when thinking of scream queens, but she (along with co-star Piper Laurie) was the first actress nominated for an Oscar in a horror role. The film was 1976's Carrie. No horror list would be complete without the "Queen of Prom Night Horror" on it.