AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Some actors are known for doing their own stunts, or their physical comedy that can make audiences belly laugh, but then there are those actors who earned the title of “scream queen” as they made even the toughest viewers want to sleep with one eye open.
Jamie Lee Curtis
Jamie Lee Curtis is the queen of the scream queens as her character, Laurie Strode, in the 1978 film “Halloween” went through so much trauma that it couldn’t fit in just one movie. Instead, multiple movies were birthed that span generations in order to deliver the suspense and fear that serial killer Michael Myers brought upon the town. Curtis’ mother, Janet Leigh, became an icon for her performance in the 1960 horror movie “Psycho” and Curtis followed right behind her mother establishing herself as a Hollywood queen of the screen.
One of the most haunting horror movies was the 1973 film “The Exorcist” in which Linda Blair played Regan, a young child who became possessed by an ancient demon. Talk about a scream-worthy performance as the movie showed unbelievable moments including a scene in which the demon spins Regan’s head around 180 degrees. Try sleeping after that one!
Heather Langenkamp earned her scream queen badge by playing Nancy Thompson in the 1984 film “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” Langenkamp didn’t just lean into horror clichés but rather showed a layered girl who displayed bravery and strength as she repeatedly stared into the face of the evil that was Freddy Krueger. Langenkamp continues to work in the horror genre, notably executive producing and co-starring in the new Netflix thriller series “The Midnight Club” (2022).
Sarah Michelle Gellar
The 90s were good for Gellar as she played the lead role in the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Gellar slayed vampires as she was chosen to battle the forces of evil, but more importantly, she took hold of the horror genre and cemented a place among the most scream-worthy queens in history. Gellar went on to ride the horror train starring in films like “I Know What You Did Last Summer” (1997), “Scream 2” (1997), and “The Grudge” (2004).
The 1996 movie “Scream” had plenty of well-known stars but it was Neve Campbell, as Sidney Prescott, who proved to be a force of nature in “Scream.” Campbell appeared in five additional “Scream” movies with the actress becoming the face of the franchise. If Ghostface couldn’t take Sidney down, no one can.
Dee Wallace made a home within the horror genre by starring in classic 70s and 80s movies including “The Howling” (1981), “E.T” (1982), “Cujo” (1983), and “The Hills Have Eyes” (2006). It must be the thrill that came from those fear-mongering scenes as she continued to show her strength in every movie by navigating the bloody worlds of serial killers and unknown entities. In recent years, Wallace has starred in horror films including “The Nest” (2021) and “Jeepers Creepers: Reborn” (2022) and has built up an audience that will never forget why she is a scream queen.
With her panicked expressions, intense angst, and her chameleon nature, Toni Collette has proven that she’s a powerhouse in a horror flick. Collette’s roles in “Fright Night” (2011), and “Hereditary” (2018) proved that she could immerse herself in a tragic world and come out of it transformed. She came into the genre with a bang, starring in the 1999 film “The Sixth Sense” as a mother trying to hold it together for her son who claimed he could “see dead people.” The role would pave the way for future horror projects, ultimately sealing her fate as one of the best in the horror game.
Chloë Grace Moretz
She may be young but Chloë Grace Moretz packed a punch right out of the gate when she starred in the remake of “The Amityville Horror” (2005). Moretz continued to star in horror movies including the remake of “Carrie” (2013), “Let Me In” (2010), and “Suspiria” (2018). Moretz has built a major horror Rolodex as she has been acting for almost 20 years, demonstrating to the industry that she deserves scream queen status.