One of the things I love best about the internet is that people post movie-related lists and then other people get to comment on all the things the lists did wrong (or, sometimes, did right). Today, in anticipation of this week's Sorority Row, Moviefone posted a list of the ten sexiest scream queens. It's a fun list, and it's wise enough to go all the way back to Fay Wray (King Kong) and Janet Leigh (Psycho), and it includes two essentials: Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween) and Marilyn Burns (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre). It also includes Shannon Elizabeth, a dubious choice for films like Jack Frost, 13 Ghosts and Cursed (although I'm glad someone has thrown Cursed back into the ring; it's silly but it's also sexy, well-acted and very sharply directed by Wes Craven).
I like Adrienne Barbeau as a choice, too, even though she's really only a "scream queen" in one movie, The Fog (1980). She was a regular in exploitation movies, but she was tougher than usual and enjoyed a fairly wide range of parts, not just "scream queens." And I'm a big fan of both Neve Campbell and the Scream movies. But here's a question. I have to ask, what happened to the original Scream Queens from 1980s exploitation and B-movies? Brinke Stevens, Monique Gabrielle, Linnea Quigley and Michelle Bauer practically patented the term. Starring in films like Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984), Nightmare Sisters (1987), Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity (1987), Vice Academy (1988), Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers (1988), Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama (1988) and The Return of the Swamp Thing (1989).
These girls were required to do more than just act. They had to be smart, fast, funny and naked all at the same time. They had to read some of the most abominable lines in some of the worst movies and come out shining to such an extent that thousands of fans would line up for their autographs. What's more, they embraced their scream queen titles. They accepted that as their job, and they never tried to escalate their careers or move "beyond" the horror genre. So, what do you think, dear readers? What makes a great scream queen?