The silver screen is an amazing thing. It validates our gawking at attractive people and our love of all things gore-ridden and macabre. When it comes to scream queens and ladies of fright, the common perception that people have is that they are judged entirely on their ability to run around as they scream in their underwear. There’s actually a lot of work that goes into being a good and convincing scream queen; however, looks do make up about half of it.
Sure, this role requires the actress to be well above average in attractiveness, but she needs to be convincing and put some personality into her what she’s doing. If we’re being honest, who really wants to watch someone stiffly act? I know I don’t. You’d be surprised how hard it is to find good talent that can both be sexy and entertaining. Ladies of fright are a time-honored tradition in cinema and will be around for long after we’re gone. Why? It’s simple really, violence plus sex equals sales. That equation is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt by the women in this article. Without much further ado, I present to you, 15 of the best scream queens out there.
15. Neve Campbell
For Neve Campbell, there are absolutely no signs that she will ever slow down. She conjures a sense of authority about her, why else would she be cast as LeAnn Harvey in Netflix’s original series, House of Cards? The imposing presence that Neve Campbell has is something which captures a strange and exotic allure that brings us back every single time. We have to be completely and utterly honest with ourselves on this one, Neve Campbell is the dictator of our hearts and our minds. She has never really been in a “normal” role, especially in the horror genre. Since her most famous role as Sidney Prescott in Scream, she has never had much of a break from working but it certainly has left her with a body that looks amazing.
14. Jordan Ladd
Potentially best known for her role in the 2002’s horror “comedy” Cabin Fever, Jordan Ladd has been a staple of fright-fests for nearly 20 years! This queen of scream and golden haired madam of darkness has a lot of assets on and off set. She is able to make you laugh, albeit inappropriately so at times. Something that a lot of people probably won’t give her adequate credit for is that she made movies like Club Dread and Death Proof fairly enjoyable. This actress is very skilled at what she does and should really be applauded for it. Just like Milla Jovovich, Jordan Ladd’s family has a history of acting including her mother Cheryl Ladd who starred in the 1970s television show Charlie’s Angels.
13. Katharine Isabelle
Now that the catgirls are out of the way, let’s get started on our favorite werewolf. Having starred in the titular role of Ginger in the 2000 hit Ginger Snaps, Katharine Isabelle has cemented herself as one of the leading heart qu- I mean scream queens out there. For those familiar with her work, you’ll know very well that she will rip your heart out with every scene and leave you with no choice but to love it.
She is one of those rare talents that demands your utmost respect. One of the most chilling and attractive roles that she has ever had was as the titular character in American Mary, which will ensure that you have a healthy fear of not only back alley surgeons but physicians as well.
12. Jennifer Carpenter
One of the most iconic women when it comes to modern blood, guts, and serial homicide, Jennifer Carpenter gets the blood pumping. Her body of work includes films like the Exorcism of Emily Rose, Quarantine, and the Devil’s Hand, atop a long-running career as Debra Morgan on Dexter. This starlet walks the walk and talks the talk when it comes to being the epitome of a modern queen of scream. Unlike most of the women on this list, she never made a career out of running around in her underwear and screaming bloody murder. Jennifer Carpenter is one of those rare actresses who can keep you entertained from the first scene to the last. Her talent is very much matched by her beauty.
11. Tristan Risk
Burlesque dancer, stage actress, and pin-up girl are just a few of the hats that Tristan Risk has worn over the years. Known best for her role of Mary Mason in 2012’s American Mary, this woman has been captivating audiences with her neo-noir looks and style for quite some time. She isn’t camera shy in the least and this helps her a lot whenever she goes to do some of her more uncomfortable scenes. This one woman is not afraid to bare it all before an audience and the confidence she exudes only makes us love her more. What some might find interesting is that she had absolutely zero interest in pursuing a film career before she came into contact with the Soska Sisters’ film, Dead Hooker in a Trunk.
10. Sheri Moon Zombie
Sheri Moon Zombie is a strong method actress, at least when it comes to being drop dead gorgeous and absolutely insane in every single way possible. One of the most memorable scenes for this devilish vixen is in The Devil’s Rejects where she taunts some of the captives. She does this with a suggestive dance and rhyming so to add insult to injury. As the loving wife to Rob Zombie, it is no wonder that Sheri Moon has such a love for flamboyant Americana horror aesthetics. Sure, she may not have bared it all for the world to see, but she was instrumental in making every movie and music video she’s been involved in a success. This particular lady of fright, ironically, has the most normal and down to Earth Instagram you’ll ever see. Her Instagram is filled with selfies and everyday life things, like her friends and acquaintances, as well as pictures of food.
9. Emma Roberts
Let’s first tackle the 10,000-pound gorilla in the room, Emma Roberts is a LITERAL scream queen. Seriously, she starred on a show called Scream Queens. Outside of being a total EKG to the heart, Emma Roberts is quite the talented actress. Her roles in the American Horror Story seasons Coven and Freak Show really showed us what she could do.
She isn’t a one-type act either. She has a decent ability to be funny as well as serious. The unfortunate thing about this is that she generally gets cast as that one girl who is a diva and just not really fun to be around for extended periods of time. It doesn’t really matter to us though, we’ll eat up anything this woman can put out there with a smile.
8. Drew Barrymore
Okay, so Drew Barrymore is cheating, but do you really care? I know that I don’t. Barrymore’s starring roles may not be filled with illustrious titles such as From Beyond or Friday the 13th, but she has a particular aura around her. Having taken a role in such films as Scream and starred in Doppelgänger: The Evil Within, Barrymore has enough credibility to be on this list. A lot of us should be envious of this blonde haired knockout as she is 42 years old but is maturing quite gracefully. Barrymore’s main roles may pertain mostly to romantic comedy movies, and not particularly good ones at that, but she is able to act when a good script is provided.
7. Fairuza Balk
We’re going to go ahead and get this out of the way, Fairuza Balk is partially responsible for the growth in catgirls being everywhere thanks to her role in the 1996 slag film The Island of Dr. Moreau. She may also be recognized for her role as Vicki Vallencourt in The Waterboy or Stacey in American History X, as her talents are quite widespread. In every single film that she takes part in, she will definitely steal your heart. Fairuza Balk’s distinct face makes her as memorable as the messed up things her characters do. Something that a lot of fans will appreciate is that she makes her characters seem to be living breathing people and not merely fabrications for the screen.
6. Kate Beckinsale
Leather? Check. Latex? double check. Above average acting abilities? Check. Okay, now that we know that we aren’t dealing with a smut film, let’s talk about the Underworld star Kate Beckinsale. She is an absolute stunner and if it were written today the KISS song “Strutter” would fit her perfectly. The high–flying acrobatics that we see in Underworld very much accentuates all of Kate Beckinsale’s purposes for being in the film. Sure, this particular London-born actress is often used as eye candy, but if we are being honest with ourselves, she has talent when it comes to acting. Having become a staple in the horror, action, romance, whatever genre it is, Beckinsale is immediately recognizable. Kate Beckinsale is every horror junkies’ scream queen dream.
5. Milla Jovovich
Where to begin? That’s kind of a tough one to answer because Milla Jovovich is one of the most stunning faces to grace the silver screen. This woman is partially responsible for the stereotypes of what a Ukrainian beauty is like, but if we’re speaking honestly, most of us don’t really care where she is from!
What a lot of people don’t know about Milla is that her family has also had an impact in the world of film. Her mother, Galina Jovovich, is a famous actress from the Soviet era who is well known for her roles as Beatrice in a Soviet rendition of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and as Molly in Milliony Ferfaksa. Milla Jovovich came to the United States thanks to KGB harassment after her mother married a Serb.
4. Jaimie Alexander
It would be a travesty not to mention the mesmerizing Jaimie Alexander on this list. This woman had a strong start to her career thanks to the horror genre, including films like Hallowed Ground, The Other Side, and Rest Stop; screaming bloody murder has never looked so good as it does with her. A little-known fact about this gorgeous woman is that she is originally from Greenville, South Carolina, a small city at the end of the Old South and beginning of the Deep South. This raven-haired beauty will make you eat your heart out. Although she may look quite feminine, she has said that it is a foreign concept to her, especially since she grew up with only brothers.
3. Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Let’s be frank, this heartthrob has been on fire for well over a decade now. Although her role as Romana Flowers in 2010’s Scott Pilgrim Vs the World may be her most iconic, she has ingrained herself as one of the hottest scream queens out there. Mary Elizabeth Winstead has an impressive resume under her belt including Final Destination, Death Proof, and Black Christmas (remake), all of which have cemented her as one of the best actresses in this particular niche. Winstead is sure to dazzle audiences with not only her looks but her acting abilities as well. Winstead isn’t afraid to show us what she’s got on camera, but whenever she does it, it doesn’t seem to be overly smutty or anything like that. It just feels like she is trying to show us a different side of her.
2. Natalie Dormer
If this were ANY other list, Natalie Dormer would be number one! Natalie Dormer is one of the hottest actresses in the film industry at the moment and anyone could see why. This British starlet is most known for her roles in the more adult-oriented Game of Thrones and The Tudors, but a lot of people may not know she has had her fair share of supernatural horror flicks such as The Forest and the upcoming Patient Zero. Natalie Dormer’s instantly recognizable face and physique have helped her in many of the roles she has played. The assets that she brings aren’t just visual, but she is also incredibly talented. Her soothing voice has a very distinct presentation, demanding the respect and attention of the listener, but in such a way that will leave you vulnerable to whatever happens next. As we saw with Margaery Tyrell, she has a wide array of emotions to enthral us in her wicked snare.
1. Barbara Crampton
First thing should always come first, Barbara Crampton is the actress who defines what it means to be a B-movie scream queen. With classics such as Re-Animator and From Beyond (scene featured above), it is without a doubt that this bombshell led quite the career. For decades, Barbara Crampton has filled our nightmares with a little ray of green bioluminescence. She commands the audience in a way that very few can do, in fact, she is one of the greatest actresses to ever grace the blood-ridden horror scene. The very essence of a scream queen oozes from her very being. She not only looks the part, but she owns it. Something unusual about her is that her roles hardly conform to the normal tropes found in horror movies, especially in From Beyond. Barbara Crampton has only really been portrayed as being intelligent and all scenes where she is hyper-sexualized is caused by some external threat. She really is a fantastic actress in every way possible!
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