25 Memorable Slasher Starlets

With Sorority Row in theatres this week, we take a look at the actress-slash-victims of the past, present, and future...

In this week's Sorority Row, the sexy starlets got us thinking about slasher-genre scream queens past, present and future. Why they're cast is a no brainer -- they're cheap, they look good, they can act a little and scream in terror a lot. Why they take the roles is similarly easy to answer -- most slasher movies find an eager and devoted audience and get actresses exposure. But what happens next depends on how well they play their 15 minutes of fright fame. Sometimes, it leads to enduring popularity and even Oscars. Othertimes, to obscurity. And as we'll see, being the "final girl" alive isn't always an advantage.




Janet Leigh -- Psycho (1960)

Alfred Hitchcock's seminal slasher took Janet Leigh, already a star, and made her an immortal -- by killing her off early in the indelible shower scene. Leigh got an Oscar nomination for her work, remained a big star through the 1960s and, importantly for the genre, gave birth to Jamie Lee Curtis, with whom she'd co-star in 1998's Halloween: H20. Meanwhile, Psycho's Vera Miles, who played "final girl" Marion, worked only sporadically in B-grade flicks until she took a role in 1983's Psycho II. A lesson here: sometimes it pays to die big.



Margot Kidder -- Black Christmas (1974)

Bob Clark's hugely influential slasher flick, which anticipated Halloween's seasonal title and stalker-cam, as well the he's-calling-from-inside-the-house of When a Stranger Calls, offered two lead scream queens. Olivia Hussey, already a star for Franco Zeffirelli's 1968 Romeo and Juliet, played "final girl" Jess. But it was up-and-comer Margot Kidder, as the boozy, foul-mouthed and soon-to-die Barb that audiences remembered. While Hussey's star waned, Kidder's soared, thanks to the Superman movies and The Amityville Horror. Her career derailed in the mid-1990s due to her bipolar disorder, but she returned to acting and popped up recently as Laurie Strode's headshrinker in Rob Zombie's Halloween II. Another lesson: old scream queens never die, they just do cameos.



Jamie Lee Curtis -- Halloween (1978)

Arguably the most enduring and liked scream queen in cinematic history, Jamie took a leaf from her mom's book by making her name with her debut in John Carpenter's terrifying Halloween. While Laurie was in danger of being overshadowed by her more sexed-up co-stars, particularly P.J. Soles, her nice-gal virgin status meant she lived to see the end credits. And Curtis wasn't above making more genre flicks -- and for the next five years she did nothing else, with The Fog, Prom Night, Terror Train, Halloween II (pictured) and Road Games. Realizing she needed to move on, Curtis successfully branched into comedy with hits Trading Places, A Fish Called Wanda and Freaky Friday, and also showed us how good she could look in True Lies. Not forgetting her roots, the actress also returned to the Laurie Strode role in Halloween: H20 and Halloween Resurrection.



Carol Kane -- When A Stranger Calls (1979)

By the time Carol Kane made this film, she was a very respected actress who'd starred in The Last Detail, Dog Day Afternoon and Annie Hall, and who'd been Oscar-nominated for 1975's Hester Street. It was an unusual choice, but the film was a minor box-office hit, largely on the strength of its opening 22 minutes. But after that Kane's career trajectory saw her take more supporting roles, and not always in successful films, with Transylvania 6-5000 and Joe Versus the Volcano stinking up her resume. Things weren't helped by Kane reprising the Jill Johnson role in 1993's TV movie When A Stranger Calls Back. Possible lesson: if you've worked with Woody Allen, Sidney Lumet and Hal Ashby, you probably don't need to do a slasher film.



Adrienne King -- Friday the 13th (1980)

Having seen what Halloween did for Jamie Lee, no doubt Adrienne King had her sights set on stardom when she landed the "final girl" role of Alice in Friday the 13th. She survived the film -- memorably chopping off mama Vorhees' head -- and starred in 1981's Friday the 13th: Part 2. Problem was, her screen presence inspired a deranged stalker, who tried to break down the door of her apartment. The life imitating art angle of this impressed Adrienne not at all, and she instead carved out a career as a voice actress and artist. Her role in this year's horror Walking Distance marks her first screen appearance in 28 years.

Comments

JohnnyJonJon

Jonathan Groen

Rose McGowan's nipsies. That's all I have to say.

Sep 10 - 07:38 PM

NYCSlain

Earl Dabu

No, no, please say MORE about them!

Sep 11 - 08:03 PM

Mister_Prophet

Will Massaro

Renée Zellweger?

Sep 10 - 07:49 PM

John Mclane

Graham Robertson

Pretty decent list, there always going to miss out one's you think should be there. Just remember it's 25 most memorable starlets not 25 best horror movie actresses. Otherwise Paris Hilton wouldn't be there lol

Sep 11 - 12:26 AM

John Mclane

Graham Robertson

Lol just realised that Michael allready made that point, sorry mate. And cinemascribe, if you can't make valid points dont resort to correcting peoples spelling, thats just sad!

Sep 11 - 12:30 AM

inactive user

Jared King

Poor ladies.

Sep 10 - 08:20 PM

tomwaitsjrHAPPYICONOCLAST

Greg Guro

I think Tippi Hedren is top 10 for Hitchcock's THE BIRDS.

Sep 10 - 09:10 PM

tomwaitsjrHAPPYICONOCLAST

Greg Guro

errrrrrr Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby. . .

whirls

Sep 10 - 09:10 PM

tomwaitsjrHAPPYICONOCLAST

Greg Guro

how about Kirsten Dunst in Spiderman 1-3?

Oh wait, that's me screaming when I see her. . . .

Sep 10 - 09:31 PM

drew g.

drew gordon

snort giggle laugh and oooh those buttery teeth

Sep 11 - 09:27 AM

King Kubrick

Travis Earl

Heather Lankenamp needs more work. I'm excited for the nightmare remake. Although Jack Earle Haley as a child molesting serial killer seems like a bit of a stretch....

I would have to say the title of ultimate scream queen is jamie lee curtis. No one can really top her seminal work in Halloween; Laurie Strode is the template for almost every final girl who followed her.

"director John Carpenter's long-awaited return to fright features," yeah because Ghosts of Mars and Vampires left us wanting so much more.

Sep 10 - 09:38 PM

shane g.

shane galloway

Jackie Earle Haley as Krueger a stretch? You're kidding, right? He played, after all, a child molester in Little Children and a killer in Watchmen.

Sep 12 - 05:02 PM

King Kubrick

Travis Earl

Webster's says: Sarcasm: a sharp and often satirical or ironic utterance.
I shouldn't even be dignifying this with a response.

Gst made a good point about virigina Madsen. Candy man ruled. We'll all ignore the haunting in mediocrity.

Sep 13 - 02:13 AM

R.J. MacReady

Greg Thomas

MIA FARROW in Rosemary's Baby is roughly 1 million times more important than 2 girls from Sorority Row! This is not an article... its an advertisement.

Sep 10 - 10:15 PM

tomwaitsjrHAPPYICONOCLAST

Greg Guro

I agree with R.J.

If I could pick only one, I'd probably go with Janet Leigh, but, 2nd place would be Mia Farrow. . .

. . . and you include people in a film that isn't completed yet? Silly wabbits. . .

Sep 10 - 10:30 PM

King Kubrick

Travis Earl

I third the mia farrow nomination. "What have you done to his eyes"

Sep 10 - 11:11 PM

MAdams

Michael Adams

I don't dispute Mia Farrow's place in the horror pantheon of Scream Queens. Same goes for Linda Blair, Fay Wray or Ingrid Pitt. And if you want a great cinematic shriek, it's hard to beat Elsa Lanchester.

Alas, the article isn't called Greatest Horror Heroines, it's specifically about the stars of Slasher Films. Not sure how Rosemary's Baby fits into that.

As for this being an "advertisement", it's an article that riffs of this week's biggest release and refers to 2 of 5 actresses from Sorority Row -- out of 25 in total. They were included, along with the stars of other recent remakes, and an indicator of how today's hopefuls are following in the footsteps of others who've made the transition to mainstream films - or otherwise.

Anyway, thanks for reading and for commenting.

Sep 10 - 11:55 PM

King Kubrick

Travis Earl

point taken.
twas a good article overall. Linda Blair is pretty pivotal. I dare you to watch her tap dancing scene in Exorcist II and be able to sleep afterward.

Sep 11 - 12:06 AM

MAdams

Michael Adams

Thank you, sir. And yes, LB in EX-II is awesome scary. I've just writing finished a book about bad movies and one of them was that abomination. How about her disco round-up of the devil locusts? Hilarious.
Fun fact: both Martin Scorsese and Pauline Kael are/were serious fans of the movie, preferring it to the original!

Sep 11 - 12:14 AM

King Kubrick

Travis Earl

well that's what cocaine will do to ya. I'll have to read that book. My favorite part is the strobe-light mind melding device, which they don't just use in one scene: it's a goddamn major plot point. How disco defeated the devil. Hysterically funny.

Sep 11 - 12:19 AM

MAdams

Michael Adams

Oh, the Hyno-Sync machine that puts both parties into an alternative reality of bad double exposures from the first movie? Priceless!
Richard Burton must have been soooooo drunk to get through that. Made me feel like a bottle of rotgut.

Sep 11 - 12:34 AM

MAdams

Michael Adams

I don't dispute Mia Farrow's place in the horror pantheon of Scream Queens. Same goes for Linda Blair, Fay Wray or Ingrid Pitt. And if you want a great cinematic shriek, it's hard to beat Elsa Lanchester.

Alas, the article isn't called Greatest Horror Heroines, it's specifically about the stars of Slasher Films. Not sure how Rosemary's Baby fits into that.

As for this being an "advertisement", it's an article that riffs on this week's biggest release and refers to 2 of 5 actresses from Sorority Row -- out of 25 in total. They were included, along with the stars of other recent remakes, as an indicator of how today's hopefuls are following in the footsteps of others who've made the transition to mainstream films - or otherwise.

Anyway, thanks for reading and for commenting.

Sep 10 - 11:57 PM

tomwaitsjrHAPPYICONOCLAST

Greg Guro

I agree with R.J.

If I could pick only one, I'd probably go with Janet Leigh, but, 2nd place would be Mia Farrow. . .

. . . and you include people in a film that isn't completed yet? Silly wabbits. . .

Sep 10 - 10:30 PM

King Kubrick

Travis Earl

I third the mia farrow nomination. "What have you done to his eyes"

Sep 10 - 11:11 PM

cinemascribe

Duane Ullery

King Kubrick wrote:" "director John Carpenter's long-awaited return to fright features," yeah because Ghosts of Mars and Vampires left us wanting so much more."

Maybe not (personally, I thought Ghosts of Mars was fun for what it was), but "In the Mouth of Madness" and the Masters of Horror episode "Cigarette burns" certainly did. Looking forward to seeing Carpenter's return to the genre.

And it's Heather Langenkamp, not Lankenamp.

Sep 10 - 10:31 PM

King Kubrick

Travis Earl

ya got me...(quibbling over such minor details seems a tad petty, especially because you can just look up the page and get the correct spelling, which means your correction proves nothing. I admit I sometimes don't triple check each of my posts for correct spelling)

Actually, I had forgotten about cigarette burns. That was something of a return to form for him. In the Mouth of Madness was good.... back in 1994. Why not say Halloween or the thing or the fog?

Sep 10 - 10:59 PM

BlueLobster

Aaron Dean

Definitely agree! I stated it before, Langenkamp is NOT a bad actress, in fact, she's very good at playing somebody who's ultra stressed out. How come she hasn't had more damn roles?

I agree with a lot of this list, but they've left out somebody VERY important...

Virginia Madsen! Where the hell is she? Her performance in Candyman was fantastic, and it helped to make an already very good film even better. And of course she was in the Haunting in thatnewenglandstateicantspellright. But Candyman was one of her first major roles, and she mad me really care about her character.

Also, Naomi Watts! She was in Children of the Corn IV, The Ring, and Funny Games! So where the hell is she?

Sep 12 - 09:08 PM

King Kubrick

Travis Earl

ya got me...(quibbling over such minor details seems a tad petty, especially because you can just look up the page and get the correct spelling, which means your correction proves nothing. I admit I sometimes don't triple check each of my posts for correct spelling)

Actually, I had forgotten about cigarette burns. That was something of a return to form for him. In the Mouth of Madness was good.... back in 1994. Why not say Halloween or the thing or the fog?

Sep 10 - 10:59 PM

BlueLobster

Aaron Dean

Definitely agree! I stated it before, Langenkamp is NOT a bad actress, in fact, she's very good at playing somebody who's ultra stressed out. How come she hasn't had more damn roles?

I agree with a lot of this list, but they've left out somebody VERY important...

Virginia Madsen! Where the hell is she? Her performance in Candyman was fantastic, and it helped to make an already very good film even better. And of course she was in the Haunting in thatnewenglandstateicantspellright. But Candyman was one of her first major roles, and she mad me really care about her character.

Also, Naomi Watts! She was in Children of the Corn IV, The Ring, and Funny Games! So where the hell is she?

Sep 12 - 09:08 PM

King Kubrick

Travis Earl

I third the mia farrow nomination. "What have you done to his eyes"

Sep 10 - 11:11 PM

MAdams

Michael Adams

I don't dispute Mia Farrow's place in the horror pantheon of Scream Queens. Same goes for Linda Blair, Fay Wray or Ingrid Pitt. And if you want a great cinematic shriek, it's hard to beat Elsa Lanchester.

Alas, the article isn't called Greatest Horror Heroines, it's specifically about the stars of Slasher Films. Not sure how Rosemary's Baby fits into that.

As for this being an "advertisement", it's an article that riffs of this week's biggest release and refers to 2 of 5 actresses from Sorority Row -- out of 25 in total. They were included, along with the stars of other recent remakes, and an indicator of how today's hopefuls are following in the footsteps of others who've made the transition to mainstream films - or otherwise.

Anyway, thanks for reading and for commenting.

Sep 10 - 11:55 PM

King Kubrick

Travis Earl

point taken.
twas a good article overall. Linda Blair is pretty pivotal. I dare you to watch her tap dancing scene in Exorcist II and be able to sleep afterward.

Sep 11 - 12:06 AM

MAdams

Michael Adams

Thank you, sir. And yes, LB in EX-II is awesome scary. I've just writing finished a book about bad movies and one of them was that abomination. How about her disco round-up of the devil locusts? Hilarious.
Fun fact: both Martin Scorsese and Pauline Kael are/were serious fans of the movie, preferring it to the original!

Sep 11 - 12:14 AM

King Kubrick

Travis Earl

well that's what cocaine will do to ya. I'll have to read that book. My favorite part is the strobe-light mind melding device, which they don't just use in one scene: it's a goddamn major plot point. How disco defeated the devil. Hysterically funny.

Sep 11 - 12:19 AM

MAdams

Michael Adams

Oh, the Hyno-Sync machine that puts both parties into an alternative reality of bad double exposures from the first movie? Priceless!
Richard Burton must have been soooooo drunk to get through that. Made me feel like a bottle of rotgut.

Sep 11 - 12:34 AM

MAdams

Michael Adams

I don't dispute Mia Farrow's place in the horror pantheon of Scream Queens. Same goes for Linda Blair, Fay Wray or Ingrid Pitt. And if you want a great cinematic shriek, it's hard to beat Elsa Lanchester.

Alas, the article isn't called Greatest Horror Heroines, it's specifically about the stars of Slasher Films. Not sure how Rosemary's Baby fits into that.

As for this being an "advertisement", it's an article that riffs on this week's biggest release and refers to 2 of 5 actresses from Sorority Row -- out of 25 in total. They were included, along with the stars of other recent remakes, as an indicator of how today's hopefuls are following in the footsteps of others who've made the transition to mainstream films - or otherwise.

Anyway, thanks for reading and for commenting.

Sep 10 - 11:57 PM

King Kubrick

Travis Earl

point taken.
twas a good article overall. Linda Blair is pretty pivotal. I dare you to watch her tap dancing scene in Exorcist II and be able to sleep afterward.

Sep 11 - 12:06 AM

MAdams

Michael Adams

Thank you, sir. And yes, LB in EX-II is awesome scary. I've just writing finished a book about bad movies and one of them was that abomination. How about her disco round-up of the devil locusts? Hilarious.
Fun fact: both Martin Scorsese and Pauline Kael are/were serious fans of the movie, preferring it to the original!

Sep 11 - 12:14 AM

King Kubrick

Travis Earl

well that's what cocaine will do to ya. I'll have to read that book. My favorite part is the strobe-light mind melding device, which they don't just use in one scene: it's a goddamn major plot point. How disco defeated the devil. Hysterically funny.

Sep 11 - 12:19 AM

MAdams

Michael Adams

Oh, the Hyno-Sync machine that puts both parties into an alternative reality of bad double exposures from the first movie? Priceless!
Richard Burton must have been soooooo drunk to get through that. Made me feel like a bottle of rotgut.

Sep 11 - 12:34 AM

MAdams

Michael Adams

Thank you, sir. And yes, LB in EX-II is awesome scary. I've just writing finished a book about bad movies and one of them was that abomination. How about her disco round-up of the devil locusts? Hilarious.
Fun fact: both Martin Scorsese and Pauline Kael are/were serious fans of the movie, preferring it to the original!

Sep 11 - 12:14 AM

King Kubrick

Travis Earl

well that's what cocaine will do to ya. I'll have to read that book. My favorite part is the strobe-light mind melding device, which they don't just use in one scene: it's a goddamn major plot point. How disco defeated the devil. Hysterically funny.

Sep 11 - 12:19 AM

MAdams

Michael Adams

Oh, the Hyno-Sync machine that puts both parties into an alternative reality of bad double exposures from the first movie? Priceless!
Richard Burton must have been soooooo drunk to get through that. Made me feel like a bottle of rotgut.

Sep 11 - 12:34 AM

King Kubrick

Travis Earl

well that's what cocaine will do to ya. I'll have to read that book. My favorite part is the strobe-light mind melding device, which they don't just use in one scene: it's a goddamn major plot point. How disco defeated the devil. Hysterically funny.

Sep 11 - 12:19 AM

MAdams

Michael Adams

Oh, the Hyno-Sync machine that puts both parties into an alternative reality of bad double exposures from the first movie? Priceless!
Richard Burton must have been soooooo drunk to get through that. Made me feel like a bottle of rotgut.

Sep 11 - 12:34 AM

John Mclane

Graham Robertson

Pretty decent list, there always going to miss out one's you think should be there. Just remember it's 25 most memorable starlets not 25 best horror movie actresses. Otherwise Paris Hilton wouldn't be there lol

Sep 11 - 12:26 AM

John Mclane

Graham Robertson

Lol just realised that Michael allready made that point, sorry mate. And cinemascribe, if you can't make valid points dont resort to correcting peoples spelling, thats just sad!

Sep 11 - 12:30 AM

MAdams

Michael Adams

Oh, the Hyno-Sync machine that puts both parties into an alternative reality of bad double exposures from the first movie? Priceless!
Richard Burton must have been soooooo drunk to get through that. Made me feel like a bottle of rotgut.

Sep 11 - 12:34 AM

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