Halloween, my favorite holiday, is approaching like Jason Voorhees to summer camp counselors. With it will come an assault of blood and gore on television and in the theaters. While all horror films can’t be classics, Erik Estrada’s Spirits being a perfect example, many of them offered a break for some of the most provocative and talented starlets in Hollywood. While the cast of the recent Black Christmas hold their own in terms of looks and potential star quality, they’re not there quite yet. The females on this list fit the bill. As well, this weekend’s release of Quarantine will see Dexter hottie Jennifer Carpenter continue her cinematic career. She too, has been getting things off the ground in the horror genre, starring in The Exorcism of Emily Rose and now Quarantine. But while she might not yet be screaming her way to the top, here’s a list of ten actresses who already have:
Jamie Lee Curtis
No horror film list would be complete without having Laurie Strode on it. The daughter of the Psycho star had the horror genre running through her veins. Before she blew up in Trading Places and True Lies a younger Curtis was cementing her place in horror history as the queen of chills and the ultimate damsel in distress. Aside from Halloween, my top horror film (the first, not the unworthy Halloween: Resurrection, etc.), she starred in other classics like Prom Queen and The Fog. She also is victim to one of the craziest urban legends since Freddy Krueger in that many people think she is a hermaphrodite. Not true, she’s all woman. Now Grace Jones? We’re not so sure.
“He wants you too, Malachai!” It’s the best line from the original Children of the Corn. Two films afterward, assuming Charlize Theron played a resurrected Malachai, this line would have been referring to damn near every man on Earth. The South African beauty got her first film role as the uncredited “young girl,” a role near and dear to my heart in Children of the Corn III. It didn’t take long for Theron to start turning heads as she was to die for (pun intended) in 2 Days in the Valley. Like many actresses on this list she is a mixture of looks and unquestioned acting ability. Theron would go on to win an Academy Award for her work on Monster, where she could have been a stunt double for Sloth in The Goonies.
Every female in the mid-90s had the Rachel haircut thanks to the former Friends star, but it wouldn’t have happened without a little luck of the Irish in the form of the magically delicious B-film Leprechaun. (It still isn’t my favorite Leprechaun installment though. That honor belongs to Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood.) Aniston deserves credit for having the guts to be in Leprechaun but the true star of the show is Warwick Davis. Seriously, is there anything this man can’t do? He played Wicket the Ewok in Return of the Jedi, kicked ass in Willow, and gives truth to the term fighting Irish in a way the Notre Dame football team can’t anymore. They should build a shrine of him like Buddha in Hollywood and make Harrison Ford, Aniston, and Val Kilmer all bow to it. No wonder my friend is writing him in on the Presidential ballot. In Warwick we trust.
Daughter of one of the most influential horror directors, Dario Argento, Asia is huge in Italy and was the better half in Vin Diesel’s XXX. (Let’s be honest, Italian horror films are the bomb.) But horror is where she made her name as she made her film debut in Demons 2. Most American horror buffs will recently recognize her from George Romero’s Land of the Dead. Argento is one of the most intriguing actresses to date, a respected writer/director, and proves she is never afraid to be Daddy’s little girl by acting in his films as an adult, which she did in the recent horror Tears of the Mother. She also has one of the coolest tattoos ever, an angel inking on her lower stomach.
We keep the Dario Argento train rolling with another stunning star of his films. Connelly played a girl who could communicate with insects in Phenomena. While it didn’t get my attention as a boy the way Labyrinth did, it represents a much more credible horror film on Connelly’s resume than Dark Water. Connelly is easily one of my top five actresses. Whether it’s Requiem for a Dream, House of Sand and Fog, or the highly understated Waking the Dead there is no doubt that Connelly is one of the true double threats in Hollywood. With all these smart actresses you would think less of them would make stupid decisions in slasher films by running upstairs.
If there isn’t a game called “Six Degrees of Decapitation” I want to get a copyright on it. Mendes and Charlize Theron would be an easy win because of their maize filled portfolios. Mendes starred in Children of the Corn 5: Fields of Terror (not nearly as creepy as Field of Dreams star Kevin Costner in Waterworld) and donated blood to the horrible horror Urban Legends: Final Cut. Mendes also has a knack for being in Denzel Washington films, appearing unclothed in Training Day and a bit more covered up in Out of Time. She will play Sand Saref in The Spirit, a film that I can’t decide if I will love or hate. Mendes, on the other hand, I like. As do you, most likely, if you have eyes that work. (No, that wasn’t a knock on the protesters of Blindness, Put the pitchforks away. You may lose an… eye? Okay, now that one was a joke.)
I can’t say I am a fan of Medium, the television show Arquette currently devotes most of her time to. I am definitely down for most of the films she makes. True Romance and Ed Wood are two flicks that showcase her talent. But while you were busy checking out Arquette’s chest you may have failed to noticed that she appeared in one of the best installments of the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, part three’s Dream Warriors. Her role as Kristen Parker was her first dive into the horror waters but she would return in an episode of “Tales From the Crypt” and later creep people out in Stigmata. Do we count Little Nicky as a horror film too? I bet Adam Sandler would. Lord knows it made me scream.
Before Watts became known as David Lynch’s muse in Mulholland Drive she was continuing the Who’s Who of future celebrities in Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering. (You gotta think they’d run out of titles after a while. What was Children of the Corn VII called, The Shucking?) Watts would later get the lead in one of the best horrors of this decade (Also one of the better Japanese adaptations) The Ring. She heads back to Horrorland next year in a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. Let’s hope it’s good. What is more amusing is the fact that she was in a made for TV movie called “The Hunt for the Unicorn Killer.” I wonder if that is any relation to The Nothing in The Neverending Story. One can only hope.
Okay, maybe this one is cheating a bit. But damn it, it’s my list and I will make the rules as I see fit. Cuthbert opened the door to her career as a member of The Midnight Society on the Nickelodeon Snick show “Are You Afraid of the Dark.” She would later become better known as Jack Bauer’s daughter, Kim, on “24”. In my defense I was pretty young in 1996 when Cuthbert started her journey into the horror genre so I can honestly say I watched “Are You Afraid of the Dark.” And if you don’t think the show has legitimate ties to slasher films you can ask Neve Campbell, star of the Scream franchise. She also was on the show. Take that, bitter blood hungry bitches. Also, Cuthbert earned her keep in the horror film House of Wax, so she totally belongs on the list.
I’m making a horror icon sandwich by finishing the list with Susan. Not only did she become one of the most loved and desirable characters as Janet in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, but Sarandon is a superfreak in The Hunger that would make Rick James scream. Her lesbian escapade with Catherine Deneuve most likely made 80s frat boys flee the theatres in search of sexual relief. The Oscar winning actress has proven she can stand out in every genre and is a perfect closer for our list. And no, Dr. Frank-N-Furter’s scenes were not stolen home videos of Jamie Lee Curtis’ hermaprodite shindigs! We already cleared that rumor up.