Let’s be honest: if you’re a guy who loves horror movie, there was at least part of you that started watching horror movies because of the women involved (and I bet I can guess which part of you). Horror simply would not be what it is without a bevy of female victims, and modern horror would not be what it is without the final girl trope. Whether she gets possessed by a demon or finishes the villain off, Scream Queens are a vital part of what makes horror fans tick.
I’m sorry, and I know she’s not the stereotypical Scream Queen, but Toni Collette is fucking amazing. With by FAR the largest range of anybody in this list, you simply cannot find a better actor for a lead role in a horror movie than Collette. Her grieving mother performance in Hereditary alone is enough to get her on this list, but she’s also had starring roles in Krampus, Fright Night, and The Sixth Sense as well. Toni Collette is a Scream Queen, prove me wrong.
Crampton took a long hiatus or she’d be much higher on this list, and she has had a long career of starring in some amazing horror movies. From “ancient” films like Re-Animator, From Beyond, and Chopping Mall to more modern entries like The Lords of Salem, You’re Next, and We Are Still Here, Crampton is an OG Scream Queen that packs a not-hard-to-look-at punch through multiple generations.
Heather Langenkamp is known for playing Nancy in four movies: A Nightmare on Elm Street, aNoES 3: Dream Warrior, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, and… Tonya & Nancy: The Inside Story? That’s right, this Scream Queen did double duty as Nancy Kerrigan in a television retelling of the only reason most of us know who Nancy Kerrigan even is. She’s also a damn fine Scream Queen and one of the OG final girls. She was the only person who figured out how to take on Freddy Krueger by herself. If that doesn’t qualify her for this list, I don’t know what does.
Samara Weaving is fucking awesome. While she doesn’t have the tenure of some of the others on this list, her run of The Babysitter, Mayhem, and Ready or Not are legendary. She’s an amazing actress, has a charming personality, and… you know what, I actually think my wife would be ok if I married her. Is that cool with you, Samara?
Neve Campbell is in both one of the best slasher franchises of all time, but also one of the scariest television shows ever made. Party of Five? FIVE children? Are you fucking kidding me, that’s terrifying. She’s also actually a little creepy in Wild Things, which I will go to my grave saying is the major reason I watched that movie. Oh, and the Craft! See, all good movies starring Neve Campbell. But let’s be honest: Scream is the reason she’s on the list, and only Scream is the reason she’s not any higher.
A long-time actress and recent director, Debbie Rochon has TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY FIVE ACTING CREDITS! She’s only 52 years old, how many damn credits is she gonna have?! If you’re a fan of B-horror movies, you probably already know Miss Rochon, but if you don’t, I guarantee you’ve seen her more than once. She recently turned her considerable skills to directing, starting with 2016’s Model Hunger (which I haven’t seen yet, I’m sorry!) Debbie Rochon has been in everything from Troma movies to Chris Seaver’s special brand of low budget schlock, though she was especially weirdly delightful in Mulva: Zombie Ass Kicker! (which was an absolutely terrible and hard to watch movie, but… she was great!) She’s often the best part of the movies she’s in, so this should come as no surprise.
I really hesitated with this ranking. I love Jacqueline Lovell so much, and she was one of my first celebrity crushes. She was also kind enough to grant me an interview when I was but a wee blogger, and she is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met bar none. She’s also a helluva Scream Queen, starring in a ton of Charles Bands’ Full Moon Pictures films. Because of my personal experience with her, I acknowledge I might be a little biased, but… fuck, go watch Head of the Family and tell me you don’t love Jacqueline Lovell! She even made a bit of a return in Full Moon’s Trophy Heads, which was a great conglomeration of Scream Queens throughout the B-universe. Check it out, and check out my interview with Ms. Lovell!
If I take back my proposal to Samara Weaving, can I marry Danielle Harris instead? Little girl Jamie from the Halloween franchise (which is my favorite in case you’ve never met me or read anything else on this site) grew up into the voice of Debbie Thornberry on The Wild Thornberrys (which was a bit after my time). She then turned in a stellar performance as New Annie Brackett in Rob Zombie’s Halloween, a starring role in the Hatchet series, and an amazingly funny turn in two episodes of Adam Green and Joe Lynch’s Holliston, where she plays an oxy-addicted Danielle Harris. I love her so much.
America’s Scream Queen, as she rightly bills herself, Linnea Quigley is everything you know and love about cheesy 80’s horror. Probably best known for her role in The Return of the Living Dead, Linnea is the main reason why we equate sex with women in horror as she’s been naked in seemingly ever movie she’s ever been in. There is no one on Earth who more deserves the title of Scream Queen than Linnea Quigley. Well, no one except…
Jamie Lee Curtis
Come on. Could this go any other way? Well, I’d like to chalk this up to pure bias on my part due to my love for Halloween, but Jamie Lee Curtis is the hands-down winner of the title of Greatest Scream Queen because she’s been in many great horror movies, and they are ALL classics. After Halloween Kills, she will have been in EIGHT Halloween movies, along with The Fog, Prom Night, Terror Train, and a series CALLED Scream Queens! Plus, there is nothing scarier than her role in True Lies, because I was always terrified my mom would burst into my room when I was watching that delightful striptease scene for the hundredth time…