Before the term “Scream Queen” triggered thoughts of Emma Roberts torturing sorority sisters, it was a title bestowed upon young actresses who graced the blood-spattered silver screen. The horror genre of classic Hollywood was notorious for misogyny and customarily sent leading ladies to the morgue in the first few minutes, but that all changed in the 70s with the rise of the slasher flick. Suddenly, the fairer sex found the biggest knife in the silverware drawer, stopped hunting for the best hiding place and just plain started hunting. Audiences ate it up and what was once considered a bit part was now thought of as a big break. But it takes a more than a hefty set of pipes to pull off a starring role in a horror film, turns out acting talent is a prerequisite as well. “You have to have a big brain,” insisted Lloyd Kaufman of the famed puke-inducing production company, Troma Entertainment, “you have to be sad, you have to be frightened, you have to be romantic.”
While he’s 110% correct, let’s not overlook the one defining characteristic of any person projected twenty feet high in front of the public – physical appeal. “Scream queens” (like any actor) aren’t typically known for their unsightly looks. These femme fatales can hold your attention with brain matter stuck in their hair, so imagine how alluring they must look at an audition. Alas, time isn’t as escapable as a clumsy murderer and unless you keep a cardio regiment on par with a girl frantically running to a front door SHE TOTALLY SHOULDN’T HAVE LOCKED IN THE FIRST PLACE, YOU IDIOT, then you’re doomed to submit to the cold, shaky hands of old age. Some of the most smoldering of smoke shows have succumbed to father time, while others are just as jaw-dropping as they were when they put their first knife into the neck of an assailant. Here’s a list of Hollywood’s hottest “Scream Queens” then and now:
15. Jordan Ladd
Ladd came into our line of sight when she played high school mean girl, Gibby, in Never Been Kissed, but she didn’t pitch a tent in every teenage boys’ memory bank until 2002 when gore guru, Eli Roth, turned us all into germaphobes and had a flesh-eating virus disintegrate her face in, Cabin Fever. Two years later she saw a more uplifting fate when she narrowly escaped several comedic murder attempts in Broken Lizard’s underrated, Club Dread, but her luck later ran out in 2009 when Kurt Russell’s supercharged Chevy Nova reduced her to a pile of limbs in Death Proof. Later that year, she received critical praise for portraying the mother of a not quite dead, not quite alive, but definitely down to drink blood newborn baby, but since then her “Scream Queen” persona has been mainly supported by several lesser known thrillers. But that’s no reason to write off Mrs. Ladd just yet. A quick Google image search will prove the girl still deserves a double take, and after getting two decade’s worth of fake blood dumped on her she still looks as good at 41 as she did at 21.
14. Jenny Agutter
Have you ever seen Logan’s Run? You’re missing out on some premium 1970s sci-fi if you haven’t, and if the hedonistic domed city of the future plot isn’t enough to grab ya, maybe Jenny Agutter’s sheer olive green dress is. Any fanboy who doesn’t have this woman in their search history needs to reprioritize their fantasies. Here’s a woman, with an English accent mind you, who was baring it all in British movies before she was even out of her teens. Fast forward a few years, and she’s in sunny California shooting a handful of cult classics, one of which (An American Werewolf in London) is the reason she’s on this list. It’s been over thirty years since her “prime” but to say she hasn’t aged well would make you look like a jerk with too high of standards.
13. Alexandra Daddario
Any fan of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre will tell you the 2003 remake is an abomination. Any fan of the remake will tell you the 2006 prequel is an abomination on wheels. And any fan of the prequel will be happy to make sure every copy of the 2013 3D version all burn to cinder in a grease fire. Which is a slightly unjust if you ask me because that’s the one with bonafide super hottie, Alexandra Daddario. Yeah, maybe it’s only been four short years since she was within sneezing distance of Leatherface, and yeah, maybe she’s completely shied away from psycho killers as of late. She caught Woody Harrelson’s wandering eye in True Detective and played Rock “The Dwayne” Johnson’s daughter in San Andreas, but, I mean take a look at her again and tell me you’re upset I put her picture on the list.
12. Linnea Quigley
Before she looked like your fun aunt who’s really into crystals, Linnea Quigley was the quintessential “Scream Queen.” Here’s a woman who made her bones doing B movies all through the 1970s before becoming fairly well known for playing a naked dancing, red crew cut having, over stylized crust punk in 1985s Return of the Living Dead. The remainder of her career, aside from her outspoken veganism, has been spent making a smorgasbord of other low budget gore masterpieces with titles such as, but certainly not limited to, Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama, and Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers.
11. Paula Patton
Whenever Paula Patton gets mentioned, people automatically think of her marriage to briefly famous singer, and permanently awful jackwagon, Robin Thicke, before it was beaten to death with two shakes of Miley Cyrus’ butt at the MTV VMAs. Frankly, that’s too bad because Patton is an accomplished actress and bonafide smoke show, and since she played Amy in 2008s Mirrors, she’s really only gotten hotter. A feat some may consider mediocre as if you could pull off a red carpet look just well after eight years and a messy divorce.
10. Adrienne Barbeau
If we’re talking about bodacious ‘Scream Queens’, then we’re obviously talking about Adrienne Barbeau, a full blown s*x symbol deluxe who even called John Carpenter, “hubby,” in 1979 until the title changed to, “hubby #1”, in 1984. This is the woman that caught the heart of Swamp Thing in 1982 and pleaded with her radio listeners to avoid the killer fog in 1980s The Fog. Barbeau has done a lot of voice work over the past few decades and I see no reason for her to hide her face. She looks like your friend’s mom who’s trying to get you to eat orange slices at a soccer game.
9. Angie Everhart
The tale of Miss Angela Kay Everhart is a rocky one. She was engaged to both Joe Pesci and Sylvester Stallone and didn’t quite make it to the altar with either of them. She was severely injured in a skydiving accident, and she filed for bankruptcy after paying off the medical bills that helped her survive cancer. But before that, she was a bloodsucking babe and a half in Tales From the Crypt Presents: Bordello of Blood, and boy did she look killer in that role. Technically, she was the monster in the movie rather than a potential victim, but she kicked her fair share of butt regardless. Plus, twenty years later and she’s practically identical to her mid-90s self.
8. Britt Ekland
I find it very odd that more people aren’t aware that Nicolas Cage’s version of The Wicker Man is a remake of a really out there 1973 cult movie of the same name. It’s even more surprising because it stars the lovely, Britt Ekland. Through the 70s and 80s this woman was a pretty hot ticket when it came to the industry in general. Aside from her many horror roles she was a Bond girl and played opposite Lee Majors in the made for TV Six Million Dollar Man movie (yeah, The Six Million Dollar Man was almost as big as bond back then, and yeah, six million dollars was a lot of money). Nowadays, it looks like Ekland has gone under the famed Hollywood surgeon’s scalpel one too many times. Her eyelids…they’re pulled back so far… her eyes just follow you no matter where you go.
7. Sheri Moon Zombie
Zombie has said she had no intention of ever becoming an actress, instead she kind of married into her “scream queen” title when she said “I do” to director/rocker/gore enthusiast, Rob Zombie. Apparently, the artist found his muse because he cast her as Vera-Ellen “Baby” Firefly in both of his gut drenched gore fests, House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects casting her as the sexy bait to attract would-be victims, and I can’t see any evidence as to why she couldn’t play that same role today. Thirteen years after her film debut and she could still bring home a boy for mom and dad to chop to bits.
6. Shannon Elizabeth
Sure, Shannon Elizabeth is most famous for luring Jason Biggs away from apple pies, but let’s not forget her active work in horror. If you were an adolescent in the early 2000s then you know how big of a deal Shannon Elizabeth was. After American Pie, she did Thirteen Ghosts and Night of the Demons. However, after that she had some bad luck in television and is now, believe it or not, a semi-professional poker player even making it to the World Series of Poker and the NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship. Even with some gambling success, Elizabeth still acts occasionally, and seeing that her good looks haven’t faded all that much I don’t see why she wouldn’t.
5. Danielle Harris
Harris was a child actor. You may remember her from such early 90s hits such as the orca-freeing family film, Free Willy, and the tear-inducing The Last Boy Scout, but neither got her as much notoriety as she did in the horror world. In the late 1980s, Harris played Jamie Lloyd in Halloween 4 and five, and then came back ten years later to play Annie Brackett in the Halloween remake and again in its sequel two years later. Since she’s not even 40 yet, it’s hard to compare her then and now, but it’s obvious Harris is still a looker. And she’s still an active card-carrying member of the “scream queen” tribe, starring in the Hatchet trilogy through the 2010’s and Havenhurst in 2016.
4. Jennifer Love Hewitt
What happened to J-Love? I mean, I know she was on Criminal Minds for a little bit, and that show where she talked to ghosts or something, but what happened to her? From 1995-2001 this girl was untouchable. Party of Five was a massive television hit and Can’t Hardly Wait was and still is a teen comedy favorite. Whatever it was that made her stock dip came after her last hurrah when she helped her friends ditch the body of a hitchhiker (who turned out to be less dead and more pissed) in I Know What You Did Last Summer and then followed it up the following summer with I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, just in case we forgot. Hewitt was always a natural beauty, and that sort of thing doesn’t fade, but to squander it on doomed cable crime dramas is a crime in and of itself.
3. Jessica Biel
First of all, technically, she’s Jessica Timberlake now, but to avoid confusion we’ll stick with her maiden name for the time being. It’s difficult to imagine a time when Biel wasn’t a top grossing A-lister, but believe me, before 2003 she was nothing more than the big sister on that show your parents and maybe, like, one of your friends watched, called 7th Heaven. Things changed that year because she was cast in the remake of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the film formerly described as “an abomination” earlier on in this list. And while that may be the case, it was still a breakout role for the would-be star and made a killing at the box office, so don’t let her big-budget movies or her fancy pop star husband fool you, Biel is a “scream queen” at heart.
2. Alison Brie
Known for being a part of Madmen, a show everyone demands you to watch, and also for setting the hearts of comedy nerds a flutter on Community, it’s easy to overlook that amidst her acclaimed work she found time to take a knife to the belly in 2009’s Scream 4. A respectable move, as many would typically see a slasher flick as a step backward in their careers, Brie saw it as a fun little test drive. Then again, it wasn’t exactly a low-budget bloodbath. It was the fourth movie in a lucrative franchise that brought back the original director and any cast members that survived the first three movies, either way, good on you, Allison. Good on you.
1. Kelly Brook
Kelly Brook is the type of woman that turns men into cartoon wolves, pounding on tables and howling while hearts shoot out from their eye-sockets. Starting out as a model, Brook has been on FHM’s 100 Sexiest Women in the World list every year since 1998. In 2009 she was ranked 67th, but in 2010 she shot to 7th place. What could have happened to make her jump sixty spots in a year? Piranha 3D, that’s what. The loose remake of the 1978 cult classic that killed at the box office brought her to the forefront of every boy’s search history, and by the looks of her almost ten years after the movie’s initial release, I’d say there’s little doubt that she stayed there.