These woman might not be the most accomplished or prosperous actresses of all time, but they certainly were memorable if only for a movie or two. And many of them on this list have gone on to lead amazing careers. These are women from horror movies that span the past 35 years and who have influenced me a great deal as a horror fan.
What makes a female icon of horror?
I base this list on two things: memoribility of character and impact. And of course, those are comprised of many characteristics such as screen presence, acting chops and performance in their respective movies. I would bet that none of the women on this list have a bra size above a B cup, but they have stood out in my memory as icons of women in horror. In their respective movies, I consider them either tough, resourceful, sexy or just plain frightening. Because of these women, and because of the well-written movies they acted in, I’ve always enjoyed writing female characters into my own fiction.
One other thing to note. Whether you like them or not, you will admit that these women are interesting to look at. Most of them could not be cast in today’s horror movies, which is why some of today’s horror movies fail to interest me. Not everyone is a model, and I certainly wish more directors would look for actors who can sell the part rather than scoop up the next run of the mill model/actor who knows how to accomplish a frightened look.
Here’s my top 25. Do you agree?
25) Margot Kidder (Amityville Horror 1979)
24) Fairuza Balk (The Island of Doctor Moreau)
23) Winona Ryder (Dracula, Beetle Juice, Aliens: Resurrection, which happens to have the most memorable cast of any horror (sci-fi) movie in recent history)
22) Megumi Okina (Ju-on:The Grudge)
21) Jodi Foster (The Silence of The Lambs)
20) Bryce Howard (The Village)
19) Heather Donahue (The Blair Witch Project)
18) Denise Crosby (Pet Cemetery)
17) Sheri Moon (House of 1000 Corpses)
16) Angela Bettis (May)
15) Milla Javovich (Resident Evil)
14) Rose McGowan (Planet Terror)
13) Naomie Harris (28 Days Later – she’s also in Pirates Of The Caribbean)
12) Ashley Judd (Bug)
11) Kathy Bates (Misery)
10) Mia Farrow (Rosemary’s Baby)
9) Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween)
8) Nicole Kidman (The Others)
7) JoBeth Williams (Poltergeist)
6) Cécile De France (High Tension)
5) Shauna MacDonald (The Descent, and also will be in the upcoming Descent 2)
4) Sissy Spacek (Carrie)
3) Linda Blair (The Exorcist)
2) Sigourney Weaver (Alien)
1) Shelly Duvall (The Shining)
Those who almost made it: Sarah Michelle Gellar (The Grudge), Naomi Watts (The Ring), Jennifer Connolly (Dark Water)
My candidate for most potential is Clea DuVall, the gothy outsider who played in The Faculty and Ghosts of Mars. She has at least one horror movie coming up that might be a good one. She has a strange look about her but doesn’t seem exhude fear or the diposition to give a good ass kicking to some monsters. Only time will tell.
There are many others out there waiting to be discovered, so make sure to tune in for revisions to this list as the horror stars of tomorrow are revealed.