Posted at 5:00 AM Oct 27, 2008
By Jennifer Mathieu
In the spirit of Halloween, we thought we would take the time to honor some of the best screen queens of the horror film genre. Sure, feminist film critics could spend hours discussing the theory of the "final girl." We just want to honor their kick-assness and awesome lung capacity.
10. Jessica Harper as Suzy Bannion in Suspiria
Ah, this little-known but much-loved Italian horror film directed by the great Dario Argento follows innocent Suzy Bannion as she travels to Europe to attend a famous dancing school…that is run by a COVEN OF WITCHES! Harper shines as she spends the majority of the film screaming and running and screaming some more. More gorgeous than gory, this cinematic gem is both beautifully shot and freakishly frightening. It can also claim the best horror movie tagline ever: "The only thing more terrifying than the last 12 minutes of Suspiria are the first 93."
9. Sissy Spacek as Carrie White in Carrie
Stuff your dirty pillows in a bra and get to the prom, y'all! Seriously, what can we say about Carrie that hasn't been said before? Sissy Spacek rulz in this high school revenge film gone bloody and wrong. What high school nerd didn't secretly cheer as blood-drenched Carrie got back at everyone who'd ever made fun of her by blowing them all to fiery bits? And that last good scare at the very end still gives me chills.
8. Heather Langenkamp as Nancy Thompson in A Nightmare on Elm Street
Heather is not the best actress in the world, I'll say that (*ducks tomatoes from Heather and Just the Ten of Us fans*). This is probably the main reason that Heather is mostly known for her role as Nancy in the Nightmare on Elm Street films. And you know what? That's all she needs to be remembered for. Because she was awesome in them, especially the first film in the series, in which she played a stressed, whiny, self-absorbed teenager better than Molly Ringwald ever could ever dream of doing. I love watching this film not just for the scary scenes, but for that iconic moment when Nancy is asked by a high school hall monitor for a hall pass, and she responds with "Screw your pass."
7. Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley in Alien
Tough as nails but still looks cute in that last scene, in which she strips to her skivvies. Guess that's why everyone went crazy for Sigourney Weaver in Alien. What I loved about this movie was not just that she was tough, but that she was smart, too. She knew something was weird about Ash from the get-go. Plus, she was nice enough to save the cat when she was escaping the mothership.
6. Tippi Hedren as Melanie Daniels in The Birds
A scream queen who could still look gorgeous as she smoked, made cocktails, and made goo goo eyes at Rod Taylor. Yes, it was the early '60s, after all. I remember as a kid when I first heard about this movie, I thought to myself, how could a bunch of birds be scary? What about when they're PECKING OUT YOUR EYEBALLS? Tippi is a classy dame in this classic Hitchcock film about a society lady who fights off all kinds of feathers to get to be with her man.