The trope features strong willed female characters who fight against the odds when confronted with almost certain death and refuse to give in without putting up a fight.
It seems no other genre has been blessed with the kid of fan following the horror genre has. Horror movies seem to spark a certain distinct kind of fervor altogether in their admirers, leading to a troop of fans whose passion and dedication are unparalleled. They are also credited with giving us unique terms related to the genre, a popular one being with royal connotations, Scream Queens. The term refers to actresses who made a mark in the horror genre, either through the frequency with which they did such films or through playing memorable characters in them. The trope features strong willed female characters, fighting against the odds when confronted with almost certain death, and no matter how their fate ends the commonality among them all is that they refuse to give in without putting up a fight.
From the seasoned Jamie Lee Curtis to the young newbie Mckenna Grace, here are a list of Hollywood scream queens who won more than a few hearts with their performances.
1. Jamie Lee Curtis
Coming out of the shadow of her Hollywood parents, one of whom was a horror icon herself, Jamie Lee Curtis climbed the ladder to Hollywood success without leaning on family fame. Making her debut in the cult classic horror Halloween, which has spawned a number of remakes and sequels, her performance as the scared young babysitter who is stalked by an insane killer has led her to her topping in countless lists of scream queens. A seasoned Curtis has also reprised her famous role in the 2018 sequel of the film, for an epic showdown with her long-time foe. Fittingly enough she has also had a starring role in the fan favourite slasher-comedy series Scream Queens as well.
2. Neve Campbell
Pop culture icon Neve Campbell cemented her status in two popular horror tropes: both as the final girl and as a scream queen. And the franchise that earned her the titles is none other than the slasher horror Scream. Scream defied all previously established horror traditions by being a film that was not only painfully self-aware of the done-to-death horror clichés but also by incessantly mocking them as well. Campbell’s performance as Sidney Prescott, the unfortunate teen who becomes the object of obsession of a serial killer who has to watch as the killer takes away her loved ones, launched her into international fame and recognition. In addition to Scream, Campbell has also played a witchcraft-obsessed teen in the Craft.
3. Ali Larter
Any Resident Evil movie fan would readily agree with you if you said that Claire Redfield is an indispensable part of the action-horror franchise. Larter made her first appearance as the character in Resident Evil: Extinction, the third instalment in the franchise. Her tough-as-nails character who tries to lead her found family to safety while fighting off zombies became a fan favourite. In addition, her role as Clear Rivers, the young woman who cheats death, in the first two instalments of the Final Destination movie franchise earned her the crown as a memorable scream queen.
4. Vera Farmiga
Although Vera Farmiga’s career on the silver screen had a slow start, she has made a name for herself as a high-profile actress in Hollywood. One of the biggest breakthroughs in her career came with her role in the first Conjuring film by horror legend James Wan, and since then she has become a staple in the horror film series. The Conjuring Universe would be unimaginable without the clairvoyant abilities of Farmiga’s character paranormal investigator Lorraine Warren, whose visions brought up some of the most profound puzzle pieces which helped bring to light the tragic tales of the wandering ghosts which crossed her paths. Her role as the mother of the unhinged Norman Bates on Bates Motel has also etched her name as one of Hollywood’s leading scream queens.
5. Anya Taylor-Joy
Anya Taylor-Joy gained the respect of horror fans when she made a splash in the genre right off the bat with her film debut in The Witch. A deeply unsettling, slow-moving tale about a family driven to insanity by dark forces, The Witch also featured a compelling performance by Taylor-Joy as the sweet, innocent girl who has to bear witness to the tragedy catching hold of her family. She also made her mark in M Night Shyamalan’s Split, portraying a young girl who becomes the object of obsession of a deranged kidnapper. And to top it off she mixed things up by doing The New Mutants film, a movie that is equal parts superhero film and equal parts horror.
6. Mckenna Grace
Mckenna Grace is perhaps one of the youngest stars to make her mark as a modern-day scream queen. At 16, the actor, who already has over 20 movie credits in her name, has become a witch, battled a demon-possessed doll and saved lives through psychic abilities, all through her various on-screen personas of course. Grace has starred in several supernatural horror films and shows, including the well-known Haunting of Hill House, Amityville: The Awakening, Annabelle Comes Home and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.