Scream Queens and Final Girls

t’s usually the monster/killer that gets all the attention in horror movies.  Granted, if not for them it wouldn’t be a horror movie.  BUT….no movie is complete without some good, loud screams from a terrified woman!  Call them a scream queen or a final girl, they’re one of the most important elements in the movie. Some don’t make it out, while others live to fight another day.  It doesn’t even matter if they’ve been in one movie or twenty, some just stand out above the others.  Here’s a list of some my favorites:

  • Jamie Lee Curtis –  The queen of the Halloween movies!  Truth be told, I’m not a huge fan of the ones that she’s not in. She screams her lungs out and manages to kick Michael Myers’ ass in each one.  It’s beautiful.  She’s had a long and busy acting career, not all of it horror, though her horror credentials are impressive:  The Fog, Prom Night, Virus.  In my personal opinion, the final girl in the first Halloween is destined to be the final girl in the last one.  
  • Heather Langekamp –  One, two, Freddy’s coming for you…..not that she cares.  Give that girl a pot of coffee and she’s good to go.  Although she wasn’t in all of the Nightmare on Elm Street movies, the ones she was in were definitely the best, in my opinion.  Heather has acted steadily in both tv and movies since the Nightmare movies.   She’s one of the first actresses that I think of when I hear the term “final girl”.
  • Linda Blair  – My favorite foul mouthed possessed girl!  She beat out around 600 kids for the part of Reagan in The Exorcist and even won a Golden Globe.  It looked like she was headed for a great career, but unfortunately was arrested for drugs and her career suffered.  She did return to acting in The Exorcist II, and far as horror movies go, a string of B movies after that.  But she’s awesome and never let it get to her.  Even if she did nothing but The Exorcist, it put her right near the top as one of my favorite scream queens.
  • Adrianne Barbeau – Ok seriously, who doesn’t recognize her face?  Her first horror movie was 1980’s The Fog (along with Jamie Lee Curtis).   Her acting resume is extensive covering all genres.  Thankfully she continued to act in horror movies.  Who can forget the drunk, nasty wife in Creepshow?  And according to the movie gurus at IMDB, she’s in a movie called Bring Me the Head of Lance Henricksen that’s in post-production.  That title makes me ridiculously happy!
  • Janet Leigh –  There aren’t many movie scenes more famous than the shower scene from Psycho.  Well, in case you didn’t know…she’s the beauty that died.   Janet has been acting for the better part of 50 years.  Oh, and did I mention that she’s Jamie Lee Curtis’ mom?  They’ve acted together in The Fog and Halloween H20:20 Years Later.   Maybe we’ll get lucky and she’ll come back for more.
  • Dee Wallace –  For some reason, most people I know don’t think of Dee Wallace when talking about a scream queen.  Seriously??  Then they have obviously never seen The Howling or Cujo!  I realize that she doesn’t have an extensive list of horror credits, but like I said, you don’t have to be in every horror movie ever to be a great scream queen!
  • Danielle Harris – Ask anyone who knows horror movies to name a scream queen and you’ll most likely hear Danielle Harris!  She started her horror career in Halloween 4:The Return of Michael Myers, and just kept going.  She’s acted in many things outside of the horror genre, including some cartoon voice overs.  Since Halloween 4, she’s  had roles in many other horror movies and looks like she intends to do more.
  • Linnea Quigley – She got her start in horror  playing a bartender in 1975’s Psycho from Texas.  Since then she has been in practically all  the horror movies, and is still going strong.  Her roles in Silent Night, Deadly Night and Return of the Living Dead  really got things moving.  She really enjoyed her status as a scream queen , even releasing a horror themed workout video called Linnea Quigley’s Horror Workout
  • Evelyn Ankers – Any fans of the old Universal Studios monster movies?  If you are you’ll recognize her name.  She’s best known for her role in 1941’s The Wolf Man, which she followed up a year later in The Ghost of Frankenstein.   She starred in several movies with Lon Chaney Jr. and used to be called “The Queen of the Bs”.
  • Marilyn Burns – Although Marilyn doesn’t have as big a list as some, she has something that no one on the list does…..she survived Leatherface!   And she went on to star in a couple more  Texas Chainsaw movies.   The original Texas Chainsaw Massacre definitely earned a place on any list of final girls or scream queens.  

I know there are so many that I could name. Click on anyone’s name to see their full bio and acting credits on their IMDB pages.   Let me know who you think I missed.