I just saw where Fangoria had compiled a top 50 Influential Scream Queens list which I thought was very cool. So I came up with my own list of the 25 women who were the best in the field of horror films. I do agree with the original person for Fangoria's list, that a woman brings more to a horror film than a man. She has to survive on her own, usually has no weapon or military training, and must go through sheer hell to come out a survivor. In most horror movies, the woman is chased, beaten, stabbed, shot, pretty much put through a decathlon of events in order to make it to see another day. So these 25 women I chose are the ones I thought fit that bill and then some. Of course I probably could have gone on and named 25 or even 50 more women but I decided to cap it at 25. I would love to hear from others on their choices. But I hope you enjoy my list. Here goes:
25. Elsa Lanchester - Unforgettable role as the Monster's Bride in 1935's Bride Of Frankenstein. Hers is an iconic image that no film lover can ever forget. She would take part in other horror films including The Spiral Staircase and Willard.
24. Ingrid Pitt - Best known for playing seductive female vampires in Hammer Films during the early 70's. The films included Countess Dracula and The Vampire Lovers. She also starred in other horror classics such as The Wicker Man and The House That Dripped Blood.
23. Sarah Michelle Gellar - You knew I had to have my girl on the list. Of course her most important role as been the slayer on TV's Buffy, but she has made several horror flicks including I Know What You Did Last Summer, Scream 2, The Grudge, and The Return.
22. Marilyn Burns - Didn't do too many horror films but she made one bonafide horror classic-the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
21. Mary Elizabeth Winstead - young new actress who has made an impact with several horror films including Final Destination 3, The Ring 2, Black Christmas, and Death-Proof.
20. Kate Beckinsale - started out in very British dramas but has detoured into horror and sci-fi of late with The Underworld series, Van Helsing, Vacancy, and her new thriller Whiteout.
19. Barbara Crampton - the go to gal during the 80's with Re-Animator, Chopping Mall, Puppet Master and From Beyond.
18. Veronica Cartwright - started young with Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds and then grew into adult roles such as the 1978 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Alien, and The Witches of Eastwicke.
17. Cassandra Peterson - Better know as her alter ego Elvira, Mistress of the dark. Funny, sexy, and can be deadly if need be.
16. Drew Barrymore - may have been cute in E.T., but cut her teeth early on with Cat's Eye, Firestarter, and Poison Ivy. Also notable in Scream.
15. Amy Steele - With so many Friday the 13th movies being made, it was hard to choose one actress from the series. But Ms. Steele did a hell of a job in Part 2 as she survived her encounter with Jason..barely. She also did the semi spoof April Fool's Day which did have her running and screaming from a new killer.
14. Sissy Spacek - most identified with Carrie, the telekinetic teen who went off at her high school prom. Did she ever....
13. Jennifer Jason Leigh - Several standout roles include Single White Female, The Hitcher, and Buried Alive. Let's not forget her pairing with the other scream queen Kathy Bates for Dolores Claiborne.
12. Linda Blair - went through hell for The Exorcist. That alone is enough to put her on this list.
11. Jessica Biel - Started off nice and sweet for the TV show Seventh Heaven but earned her horror stripes for the gory Texas Chainsaw Massacre update and Blade 3.
10. Heather Langenkamp - Forever remembered as Nancy, the teen who faced down Freddy Krueger in the original Nightmare on Elm Street.
9. Kathy Bates - One of two scream queens on the list with an Oscar on her mantle thanks to her psycho turn as Annie Wilkes in Misery. Also starred in Dolores Claiborne with fellow scream vet Jennifer Jason Leigh.
8. Dee Wallace - usually portrayed the mom who battle against all kinds of demons and monsters in such films like The Howling, Cujo, The Hills Have Eyes, Critters, and The Frighteners.
7. Jodie Foster - here is the other scream queen with not one but two Oscars sitting on her shelf. Starring roles in Silence of the Lambs, The Accused, Panic Room, and Flight Plan put Jodie on this list without a doubt.
6. Naomi Watts - Acted for a while but never really hit her stride until she tried horror films which included The Ring 1 & 2, the updated King Kong, Funny Games, and Mulholland Drive.
5. Janet Leigh - history making role of Marion Crane in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. The shower scene became legendary.
4. Neve Campbell - survived the Scream movie series. Also was in the witch tale called The Craft. She was once noted as the heir apparent to Jamie Lee Curtis. Big shoes to follow.
3. Sigourney Weaver - as Warrant Officer Ellen Ripley, she battle space monsters in the Alien film series 4 times. Also entered The Village and played in Death and The Maiden. And let's not forget she turned into a dog in Ghostbusters.
2. Adrienne Barbeau - came this close to being my number 1 pick but runner-up is good too for this horror veteran of such films as The Fog, Swamp Thing, Creepshow, and Escape From New York. She did horror very well...being once married to John Carpenter probably didn't hurt either.
1. Jamie Lee Curtis - without a doubt the number 1 queen of horror. First and foremost she battled Michael Meyers in the original Halloween. Then she had a streak of horror flicks from the late 70's through the early 80's including the sequel to Halloween, Prom Night, Terror Train, Road Games, The Fog and Mother's Boys. Came back to the Halloween franchise for H20 and picked up right where she left off. Of course Jamie had success in other types of film like Trading Places and A Fish Called Wanda, but to most fans she will be remembered for her classic turns in horror flicks.
Honorable mentions are legendary Fay Wray (who I've only seen in the original King Kong), Kathleen Quinlan, Milla Jovovich, Adrienne King, Winona Ryder, and lots more.