In part 2 of this two-part series, we examine the scream queens from the 1970s to the present. There are literally hundreds of scream queens who have entertained people since the advent of film. Thus, it is very difficult to come up with a complete list of amazing scream queens through the decades. As can be seen, the 1970s through the 2000s were very intense years, and it was difficult to choose top contenders for these decades, as the competition was fierce.
1970: Jamie Lee Curtis
Born on November 22, 1958, Jamie Lee Curtis established herself as a supreme scream queen in John Carpenter’s bogeyman epic Halloween. Curtis played the role of Laurie Strode, a meek but ultimately brave protagonist to Michael Myer’s antagonist. Curtis’ outward vulnerability but inward strength made her an ideal counter to the emotionless Myers. Indeed, the Halloween series lost much of its intensity with the loss of Laurie Strode. Curtis returned to the series in 1997 with Halloween H20: 20 Years Later.
Curtis made a solid reputation of herself as a scream queen in movies such as The Fog (again with Carpenter, and this time working with her mother, Janet Leigh), Prom Night, Terror Train, and Virus.
1970: Ingrid Pitt
Born in Warsaw, Poland, on November 21, 1938, the incredible Ingrid Pitt reigned supreme as a horror actress during the late 1960s and the 1970s. She made her debut horror appearance in 1964’s Sound of Horror and went on to greatness in 1970’s The Vampire Lovers, with Peter Cushing.
Other films followed, such as Countess Dracula, The House that Dripped Blood, and The Wicker Man, the latter starring Christopher Lee. In 1985, Pitt worked on an early Clive Barker film called Underworld (also known as Transmutations).
Pitt had a busy career outside the world of horror, and she was quite an accomplished author and humanitarian. She passed away on November 23, 2010, two days after her 73rd birthday.
1980: Adrienne Barbeau
Born on June 11, 1945, Adrienne Barbeau secured her reputation as a scream queen during the 1980s, starring in films like The Fog, Creepshow, Swamp Thing, and Escape from New York. Barbeau was married to writer/director John Carpenter from 1979 to 1984. They met on the set of Carpenter’s TV movie Someone’s Watching Me.
Barbeau continued to dabble in science fiction, guest starring in television series like Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Babylon 5. She filmed a cameo on Rob Zombie’s reimagining of Halloween, but her scene was cut from the theatrical version, although it is included on the DVD. She also guest starred on Showtime’s series Dexter.
1980: Linnea Quigley
Born in Iowa on May 27, 1958, Linnea Quigley is perhaps best known for her turn on Return of the Living Dead, where she played punk Trash, who spends most of the movie fully naked (both as a human and as a zombie). Quigley has since made a ton of horror and B films, such as Silent Night Deadly Night, Nightmare Sisters, Creepozoids, Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama, Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers, Night of the Demons, Hoodoo for Voodoo, A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, Girls Gone Dead, and A Blood Story.
Known as the “Queen of the B’s,” Quigley has authored two books about her experience: Chainsaw and I’m Screaming as Fast as I can. She also made a workout video titled Linnea Quigley’s Horror Workout.
1990: Debbie Rochon
Born on November 3, 1968, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Debbie Rochon has established herself as a modern scream queen with movies like Santa Claws, Tromeo and Juliet, American Nightmare, Blood, Play-Mate of the Apes, Corpses are Forever, Fearmakers, Colour from the Dark, Cottonmouth, and Demon Divas and the Lanes of Damnation.
Rochon has written for various genre publications since 1993. Her pen has touched magazines such as The Phantom of the Movie’s Videoscope, The Gore Zone, Femme Fatales, Sirens of Cinema, Chiller Theater Magazine, Scars Magazine, and Fangoria (“Diary of the Deb”). In 1990, she won the “Scream Queen of the Decade Award” from Draculina Magazine. In 2011, she won the best actress award at the Buffalo Screams Horror Festival (for The Tell Tale Heart) and the best actress award at the Macabre Film Festival 2012 (for The Tell Tale Heart).
2000: Kate Beckinsale
Born on July 26, 1973, in England, Kate Beckinsale has established herself as a modern scream queen, starring in films such as the Underworld series (in which she plays the vampire Selene), Haunted, Van Helsing, and the thriller Whiteout.
2000: Sarah Polley
Born in Canada on January 8, 1979, Sarah Polley is an actress, singer, film director, and screenwriter. Polley secured her scream queen status by starring in films such as the remake of Dawn of the Dead (2004) and the Frankenstein-like Splice (2009). Other genre work includes David Cronenberg’s eXistenZ and the fantasy flick Beowulf & Grendel.
2010: Danielle Harris
Born June 1, 1977, Danielle Harris is a former child actor who has worked on various horror series, principally the Halloween series (Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers, and Rob Zombie’s Halloween and Halloween II) and the Hatchet series (Hatchet II and Hatchet III).
Other horror movies featuring Danielle Harris include Stake Land, Cyrus: Mind of Serial Killer, ChromeSkull, The Victim, and New Blood. She lent her voice for the computer-animated role of Barbara in Night of the Living Dead: Origins 3D. Her directorial debut is for the film Among Friends, a horror comedy. In 2011, Harris won the best actress award at the Shockfest Film Festival, for her starring role in the short-subject piece Nice Guys Finish Last.