Even though the horror industry is generally male-dominated, we all know that the best part about it is the women. Many men I know count their first crush as a scream queen--adored not only for her body (usually naked) but her brains. It takes a lot to be left standing at the end of a blood bath! For me, there were several scream queens who were my heroes growing up. I never related to Barbie and I didn't fit in with the other girls. The scream queen is sexy--often unconventional, which makes her appear attainable but we can also relate to her. She's sometimes silly and fun which is why we want her alive at the end of a film. The best scream queen embraces her title and stays true to the genre--delivering the best and worst lines over and over again with enthusiasm. And even though she may be killed off dozens of times, she puts up one hell of a fight 'til the very end.
While there are a dozen lists of the best and worst of everything in horror, Fangoria has taken on the admirable task of naming 50 Influential Scream Queens. This is only part one, but so far it proves to be an excellent overview of the loud and proud ladies of horror. My personal favorites include Vampira, Piper Laurie, Alice Krige and Meg Foster.
Yes, leave it to me to pick the most atypical scream queens, but I can't deny their appeal. Vampira's image will forever be burned into my brain as the wasp-waisted wonder in Plan 9 From Outer Space. Ed Wood was no fool--she's undoubtedly the best part of that movie. Though I enjoyed Piper Laurie's role as the fanatically religious mother, Margaret White, in Carrie--I loved her as the devious and saucy Catherine Martell in Twin Peaks. Alice Krige is just plain creepy and Meg Foster's eyes are a chilling accompaniment to any horror film. It also helps that she's a distant cousin and one of my childhood idols.
As the title states, these scream queens are the 'most influential', so while many of the ladies on this list seem uncharacteristic of of horror royalty, they laid the groundwork for future scream queens and shed a different light on a label that has progressively changed.