Thursday, January 31, 2008
A Thumb to THE EYE: Some Real Scream Queens
Since there’s nothing good on TV these days it’s possible that you’ve missed the media barrage for Jessica Alba’s new movie, THE EYE. Which, in fact, is not a new movie at all but the next in the soul-raping parade of American remakes of successful (RINGU) and semi-successful (DARK WATER) Asian horror films.
My enthusiasm for THE EYE is checked. To start, if I wanted an American bastardization of Asian goodness, I’d go to Panda Express. To finish, I’m recoiling at the suggestion by the movie’s P.R. machine that Miss Alba is a “scream queen” just because she’s been in a horror movie.
Okay, two. And in all fairness, I really liked IDLE HANDS. But still. My point is that “scream queen” isn’t just a throw away label you get from being menaced by a monster or doused in blood once or twice in your career. Sweet buttery jeezus, no! “Scream Queen” is a standard that’s borne proudly by women who have made a mark on, perhaps even devoted their lives to, a genre that “serious” actresses poo poo. Jessica Alba? My Aunt Fanny. Alba wouldn’t even make it into my top 13.
Nice segue, huh?
BARON VON GOOLO’S TOP 13 SCREAM QUEENS OF ALL TIME
(and by “all time” I mean the ones occurring to me right now)
13. Cerina Vincent
WHAT’S SHE DONE: SASQUATCH MOUTAIN, IT WAITS, RETURN TO HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL, INTERMEDIO
BEST SCENE: the CABIN FEVER tub scene. Never has fast-onset leprosy been so dang segg-say!
One of the ScFi Channel’s go-to girls, Cerina has exactly what it takes to be a true scream queen: undeniable on-screen sexuality and the inability to judge the quality of a script. HOTCHA!!!
12. Aimee Brooks
FILMS: THE MANGLER REBORN. CRITTERS III, SORORITY HOUSE MASSACRE
BEST SCENE: seducing the dork in MONSTER MAN. I would pay American money to eat pancakes off that midriff.
Aimee’s a soap opera star that shies away from the horror spotlight. Not that you can blame her – careerwise, having THE MANGLER REBORN on your IMDB page is like taking your little brother with Tourette’s to your Senate confirmation hearing. But this statuesque blond pulls screams as either the doe-eyed victim or the cat-eyed predator so with any luck, she’ll be treating us to more horror soon.
11. Julie Strain
FILMS: Too many to list but among them VAMPIRE CHILD (which she also wrote, directed and produced), THE UNNAMABLE II, HOW TO MAKE A MONSTER (HBO)
BEST SCENE: any scene with Julie Strain in it (homina homina homina).
Not only is Julie a verifiable scream queen but she is often referred to as “Queen of the Bs” with over 100 schlock films to her credit. 1993 Penthouse Pet of the Year and married to HEAVY METAL editor-in-chief and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle creator, Kevin Eastman, the savvy 6’1” she-devil in a D-cup has parlayed her two-fisted sexuality into softcore cult stardom. Fear the coochie of Julie Strain, mortals!!!
I know I do.
10. Brinke Stevens
FILMS: Again, too many to list; SORORITY BABES IN THE SLIMEBALL BOWL-A-RAMA, SLAVE GIRLS FROM BEYOND INFINITY, DEAD CLOWNS
BEST SCENE: before transforming into the stripperiffic “queen of Hell” in TEENAGE EXORCIST, Brinke tries to make us buy her as a homely wallflower. Puh-LEEZE!
With a resume that’s even longer than Julie Strain’s, Brinke has been pitching tents for horror fans for over three decades in films that are so obscure even I haven’t seen most of them. One of her more recent films, VAMPIRES VS. ZOMBIES, is in my Netflix queue right now. Because at 53, Brinke is still hotter than a waffle iron. And because it’s got VAMPIRES VS. ZOMBIES in it. I mean, seriously, come on.
9. Linnea Quigley
FILMS: jillions, but unlike Julie and Brinke I’ve actually seen a lot of hers, like PUMPKINHEAD II, SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT, and NIGHT OF THE DEMONS.
BEST SCENE: as Trash the zombie in RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD.
With her perennial 80’s kick ass vibe, Linnea will always be the Leather Tuscadero of horror to me. Zombie vagina trivia: Linnea was forced to wear an experimental “Barbie doll” prosthetic over her dirty lady bits in RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD when the producers decided that she couldn’t go full frontal AND eat a guy’s brains out in the same shot. Pussies.
8. Asia Argento
FILMS: TRAUMA, DEMONS II & III, PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1998)
BEST SCENE: her zombie cage match in Romero’s LAND OF THE DEAD
Sadly, most American men know Asia Argento better for her role in XXX than they do for her role as Dario Argento’s daughter. Despite this lineage, Asia is a scream queen by coincidence rather than design. “Sometimes I think my father gave me life because he needed a lead actress for his films.” Lucky for us “bitter” doesn’t disqualify her.
7. Sarah Michelle Gellar
FILMS: I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER, THE GRUDGE, THE RETURN, SCREAM 2
BEST SCENE: Buffy’s mute handjob joke from HUSH, a Season 4 episode of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
I know that a lot of true horror fans consider BUFFY to be sacrilege but the simple fact is in seven seasons, Sarah saw more monsters, gore and mayhem than most other scream queens combined. Plus, she’s cuter than a bunny made of kittens. That’s probably why all the vampires that she didn’t kill ended up having sex with her.
6. Barbara Steele
FILMS: THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM, THE CASTLE OF TERROR, TERROR CREATURES FROM THE GRAVE, SHIVERS, PIRANHA,
BEST SCENE: her not-so-relaxing facial in BLACK SUNDAY
Known for her crazy eyes and dubbed voice, Barbara Steele has been directed by Mario Bava, Lucio Fulci, David Cronenberg, Roger Corman and Joe Dante, and has starred alongside Boris Karloff, Christopher Lee and Vincent Price, giving her the most impressive horror Rolodex of any scream queen I can think of.
5. Tiffany Shepis
FILMS: ABOMINABLE, TOXIC AVENGER IV, DORM OF THE DEAD
BEST SCENE: the finale of NIGHTMARE MAN. Which would have been good even if she’d had a shirt on. But she didn’t. So it was better.
With just over 10 years in the biz, Tiffany has already racked up over 50 films on her resume and has already made the jump from scream princess to producer with her upcoming BONNIE & CLYDE VS DRACULA, where “B-movie” stands for blood, bullets and boobies. Tiffany cracks my Top 5 because she’s hotter than an iPod at a swap meet, can actually act, and answers the phone when I call. Zero degrees of separation, slutpigs! Eat that!
4. Sheri Moon Zombie
FILMS: THE DEVIL’S REJECTS, TOOLBOX MURDERS (2003), HALLOWEEN (2007), GRINDHOUSE
BEST SCENE: her song and dance in HOUSE OF 1,000 CORPSES.
Not that a gorgeous, rock n’ roll blond can’t make it in on her own in Hollywood, but being married to someone as iconic as Rob Zombie ain’t so bad. They’re like the Neil Simon and Marsha Mason of horror. Except that I’ve never had the slightest desire to sniff Marsha Mason’s sock drawer.
3. Jamie Lee Curtis
FILMS: HALLOWEEN I, II & III, TERROR TRAIN, PROM NIGHT, THE FOG (the good one)
BEST SCENE: horror, schmorror - her strip tease in TRUE LIES.
Jamie Lee Curtis was in the original HALLOWEEN. That is all you need to know.
P.S. She does not have a penis.
2. Ashley Laurence
FILMS, HELLRAISER I, II & VI, THE LURKING FEAR, WARLOCK III
BEST SCENE: playing with her box and unleashing the dangling sausage monster in HELLRAISER. No subtext there, Clive. Jeezus.
A few years ago, Ashley did a Geico commercial. Immediately, I imagined the gecko getting his soul torn out by a bunch of leather demon daddies. That’s how engrained the character Kirsty Cotton is in my psyche. Plus, hot. Tire fire hot. Ashley Laurence is on my magical list of celebrities that one’s spouse is supposed to give you a pass to snog on should the opportunity present itself. This is why I bring a bottle of tequila with me to horror conventions.
1. Ingrid Pitt
FILMS: THE WICKER MAN, COUNTESS DRACULA, THE VAMPIRE LOVERS, THE TELL-TALE HEART (2008)
BEST SCENE: coming out of the closet (coffin, whatever) to Jon Pertwee in THE HOUSE THAT DRIPPED BLOOD
Ingrid Pitt’s career spans almost half a century, making her the undisputed Grand Damme of Scream Queens. Making her (tooth)mark on the Hammer horror films of the 60’s and 70’s, Ingrid proved herself on par with the likes of horror archetypes Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, and in the case of COUNTESS DRACULA, proved herself to be even more of a thorn in the side to the Hammer censors. And she did it all without silicon or saline. Inconceivable.