RSS Blog

The Top Ten Scream Queens of All Time

October 24th, 2011 by Hulu Blog

Watching slasher flicks is pretty sociopathic when you think about it: 90 minutes of watching our fellow man get hacked apart by the Freddy Kruegers, Jason Voorheeses or Jigsaws of the world? What is wrong with us? Sure, it can be cathartic to laugh through the inevitability of death (especially when someone’s being chased by someone wielding a machete), but one of the reasons we keep watching horror films is that we enjoy seeing characters survive, wondering how we might fare in similar situations should we find ourselves the attention of a flashy, homicidal maniac. So in honor of all the survivors (and the many more who weren’t so lucky), we’ve compiled a list of our favorite Scream Queens of the silver screen.—Martin Moakler

10) Anna Faris, Scary Movie

Blonde or brunette, cheeky or innocent, flat-chested or pneumatically-enhanced—it can be uniformly agreed upon that this slasher-happy bubble-gum horror-hussy turned comedic chameleon has emerged as one of the single-foremost iconic tongue-in-cheek parody actors of our generation. Hitting the thriller-griller scene in 2000’s Scary Movie as an unknown, Anna has swiftly and by no means gently grabbed the “thrill-ody” film genre by the balls and helped to catapult it to the forefront of mainstream pop culture (all the while beating us over the heads with her incessant-yet-endearing low-pitched horse-cackle that is reminiscent of an old man’s tar-infused lungs grasping for a last breath of air).  Having slung-shot her way to undeniable stardom via 4 spoof-tastic performances in each of the Wayans brothers’ Scary Movie installments (playing up the shameless ridiculousness of her painfully-yet-irresistibly naïve Cindy Campbell), Anna has topped the list at #10 as one of our favorite scream queens of all time.  Plus she’s a hottie with a mean pair of lungs, two “must-haves” on the long list of prerequisites for placement on this highly-scrutinized list of honor.—Brooke Citron

9) Sissy Spacek, Carrie
An untraditional Scream Queen, Sissy Spacek’s Carrie White didn’t have to worry about escaped psych ward denizens, reanimated corpses, or a lonely man with a mommy complex. Her Big Bad was far more quotidian: her abusive mother and the local mean girls who teased her relentlessly. Carrie’s screams were more psychic than vocal, but while those who abused her may have taken her voice, they couldn’t silence her rage. Sissy Spacek was nominated for an Oscar for the role, a feat most Scream Queens can’t boast.—Andrea Marker

8) Jennifer Love-Hewitt, I Know What You Did Last Summer

Remember in the ’90s when getting stalked on summer break by a mysterious man you did not know was the sexiest thing imaginable? That’s all on Jennifer Love-Hewitt. Know what else is all on Jennifer Love-Hewitt? The fact that Ben was the de facto murderer nickname in 1997. Really, guys? You couldn’t have named him Steve or something?—Ben Collins

7) Naomi Watts, Funny Games

I’m not positive what it’s like to be murdered by two teenagers wielding bats and golf clubs who just killed your dog and stuffed him in the trunk of your Jeep, but I’m pretty sure I’d act almost exactly how Naomi Watts did when that happened to her. There’s the immediate terror, the unbridled fear, then the development of a plan, then the failure of that plan, then the harrowing fight for the murder weapons, then the clinging to survival, then the part where you don’t even care if you make it out alive or not. The movie is merciless and almost impossible to watch alone. That’s the only thing keeping Naomi Watts away from no. 1 on this list. Nobody out-acts Naomi Watts in a horror movie. —Ben Collins

6) Kim Novak, Vertigo

Novak as Madeleine Elster in Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” was gorgeous, mysterious, aloof, and slightly deranged a precursor to the modern-day manic pixie dream girl. Her transformation from the icy blonde to plain Judy Barton and her willingness to give in to Scottie’s Madeleine obsession frightened us in more of a subtle, unsettling way. Scottie’s descent into madness culminates when he grabs her at the bell tower and demands, “Go up the stairs, JUDY,” and Novak¹s dizzying distress is so palpable we would¹ve given anything to be eating a steak dinner at Ernie’s instead.—Sheila Dichoso

5) Neve Campbell, Scream

Neve Campbell was arguably the top Scream Queen of the ’90s, but she was definitely the go-to heartthrob of most middle school boys. Myself included, by the way, and it started when she exploded onto the horror scene with Wes Craven’s horror masterpiece “Scream.”

After a bunch of terrible relationships on “Party of Five,” Neve stayed on the scene with the Scream franchise until it came to a screeching halt in 2000 with “Scream 3″. But Campbell and “Scream” returned to top form in this year’s “Scream 4″. A badass from start to finish in this franchise, she showed audiences that Scream Queens don’t always have to be the pretty damsel in distress.—Gabe Pasillas

4) Shelly Duvall, The Shining

It only took one film, The Shining, to christen Duvall as one of the most memorable scream queens in celluloid history. Whether it was gripping a baseball bat or frantically flailing a knife around, no one can forget the wide eyes, shrieks and cries of Wendy Torrance. Duvall succeeded in making us feel as helpless and claustrophobic as she did at the Overlook Hotel. But some would say that isn¹t so hard if Jack Nicholson chased you around with an ax.—SD

3) Janet Leigh, Psycho

Psycho is not technically a slasher film, so Janet Leigh is in another league from the Scream Queen. But since her murder scene basically inspired the genre, she can definitely be considered the Scream Queen Mum. Slasher flicks are morality tales for the modern day, and even fifty years ago Hitchcock knew that dramatic characters had to pay the ultimate price for their crimes. Leigh’s Marion Crane had the moral turpitude to sleep with man before marriage (remember: this was the Eisenhower administration). Oh, and she stole $40,000 from an obnoxious rancher. But even though she decided to turn herself in, Norman Bates’ “mother” had other plans for her…stabby plans. Her resulting screams became one of the most iconic scenes in cinematic history, so for Crane’s death, we are truly thankful…and still afraid to take a shower! –Martin Moakler

2) Linda Blair, The Exorcist

As an impressionable, 11-year-old Christian-educated girl, the first time I witnessed the pea-green projectile vomit, self-effacing cross-stabbing, and 360 degree head-turning abomination that is The Exorcist, I nearly wet my pants (take or leave the “nearly”). In fact, I didn’t sleep for 3 straight months (which probably explains why I’m a good 2 inches shorter than doctors had predicted for me – those months being an important prepubescent time period of bone-growth).  Never, in my 11 wisdom-filled years on this earth had anyone (teachers, parents, friends, janitors) prepared me for the abhorrence, repugnance, and sheer utter horror that ensued after bearing witness to what can only properly be categorized as my Vietnam.  This hair-raising pop culture phenomenon has procured an inarguably massive impact on the modern ‘horror’ genre as we know it. Named the scariest movie of all time by Entertainment Weekly and Movies.com and by viewers of AMC in 2006,  as well as listed as #3 on Bravo’s 100 Scariest Movie Moments, the film was selected in 2010 to be preserved by the Library of Congress as part of its National Film Registry. Needless to say, this film has earned its stripes. How? Because Linda Blair pulled off the single most immortalizing [horror film] performance of her generation. Don’t believe me? Can you name even one other movie that Linda Blair has been in? Case in point. The classic icon-status paradox: an actress masters her role to such an unparalleled degree of eerie authenticity – that no director would dare cast her again for fear of audiences’ pre-existing associations. That, and projectile vomit. That stuff is a pain to get out of linens. Less polarizing yet equally scream-tastic demon-occupied predecessors have included the likes of Jennifer Carpenter (The Exorcism of Emily Rose), Natasha Lyonne (Scary Movie 2), and Anthony Hopkins (The Rite), but none have come close to the humbling denigration of innocence and crippling vilification of Linda Blair’s corrupted ingenue. Our hat’s off to Linda’s truly unbeatable (and audience-beating) performance.—Brooke Citron

1) Jamie Lee Curtis, Halloween

Since her mother Janet Leigh sort of inspired the slasher genre, it’s fitting that Jamie Lee Curtis’ performance as Laurie Strode in Halloween became the genre’s archetype upon which future Scream Queens would be based: the virginal babysitter. The suburbs used to be regarded as pretty safe, but its idyllic streets became trails of terror when Laurie caught the eye of an escaped mental patient in a painted William Shatner mask who turned out to be her brother (the psycho; not the mask). Through her chastity, strength and fierce dedication to keep her wards safe (which had to be only a buck an hour back then), she managed to evade her murderer when the bloody pile of corpses that used to be her friends did not, and our bloodlust for slasher flicks was born. Face it. We like being scared, and Jamie Lee helped us realize that. For that, we’ve dubbed her an Empress among Scream Queens.—MM

Last comment: Oct 27th 2011 3 Comments
  • Terrie Wolford says:

    Ok,ok,ok. I think Alien was tops, between Mrs weaver and the Alien Queen who was the biggest screaming bitch in that movie? Toss up for me ..they are both awesome! Good day and Happy Hollows!

  • Ernie says:

    I get a “Access forbidden” error viewing the Funny Games image. They probably have some security preventing posts like this from linking directly to their poster image.

  • Joseph Finn says:

    You could have stuck a real horror movie in there and kept Anna Faris in by putting in Angela Bettis at #10 for May, also starring Anna Faris.