Meet the scream queens: Horror's leading ladies
Executive-produced by Guillermo Del Toro, supernatural thriller MAMA opens in UK cinemas this Friday 22nd February. MAMA (trailer HERE!) stars Jessica Chastain, tipped by many for Oscar glory this weekend, and to celebrate the release, we take a look at some of cinema’s most memorable performances from leading ladies in frightening films.
Jessica Chastain – Mama (2013)
Oscar-nominated twice over a career spanning a mere 3 years, Jessica Chastain turns her eyes to becoming a horror leading lady. Produced by maestro Guillermo Del Toro, Mama focuses on the resurgence of two young girls who move in with their uncle after a 5-year disappearance. Chastain stars as their uncle’s girlfriend Annabel, left alone with the young girls as it becomes clearer that they may not have been alone during their absence. Chastain successfully delivers a memorable performance in a chilling horror that’ll leave you sleepless.
Tippi Hedren – The Birds (1963)
Much has been spoken about Tippi Hedren’s on-set experiences with her director on The Birds, Alfred Hitchcock. What people may forget however is that Hedren turns in an incredibly nuanced performance as a woman embroiled unsuspectingly in horror when birds begin attacking bystanders without reason. Her status as leading lady is enhanced by Hitchcock’s skill of fooling the audience into believing that they are watching a drama, not a horror, shaping the actresses presence as a beacon of bravery by the film’s end.
Mia Farrow – Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Mia Farrow plays Rosemary Woodhouse, the woman who fears that her husband has made a pact with their occultist neighbours to sacrifice their unborn baby upon its birth. Farrow, with her petite appearance serving well to depict her increasing frailty as the film goes on, conveys her hysteria perfectly; as the lines between dream and reality blur for Rosemary, they do for the watching viewer also, fearing not only for Farrow’s Rosemary – but her unborn baby too.
Sissy Spacek – Carrie (1976)
Adapted from the Stephen King novel, Sissy Spacek is a differing leading lady in the sense that Carrie White is the vulnerable, attacked innocent – who by the end has evolved into the one to be feared. Brian De Palma skilfully tracks her evolution by showing the horror through the way in which Carrie is bullied and humiliated by her school friends, to her climactic telekinetic payback at the school prom. Spacek tows the line between victim and tormentor to an Oscar-nominated degree.
Jamie Lee Curtis – Halloween (1978)
Michael Myers is the deranged killer who returns to Haddonfield, Illinois on the 31st October following his escape from a mental institution; targeting babysitters, a then-unknown Jamie Lee Curtis played Laurie Strode, a schoolgirl who is relentlessly pursued by the masked killer, culminating in a classic climax in which she shows why she is the quintessential ‘Scream Queen’ (no surprises – she’s the daughter of Psycho’s Janet Leigh.)
Sigourney Weaver – Alien (1979)
In what was Sigourney Weaver’s first screen role, Ellen Ripley has endured as one of the most memorable leading ladies, not only in horror, but in film. When an alien begins dispatching of crew members onboard spaceship Nostromo, Ripley transforms from damsel in distress to action heroine who happens to be stuck in a horror film by the climax. A pioneering role as much for the genre as it was for the actress.
Jodie Foster – The Silence of the Lambs (1990)
Clarice Starling is Jodie Foster’s defining role, an FBI trainee agent who seeks the advice of cannibal Dr. Hannibal Lecter to assist in the hunt of a serial killer on the loose. Her innocence translates well in order to become a leading lady audiences can root for, fear for and like all in one – it is debatable whether another actress in Foster’s shoes could have achieved the same feat.
Neve Campbell – Scream (1996)
Although there have been four Scream films, the most memorable scene takes place right at the very start, in the 1996 original where Drew Barrymore meets her maker in the form of a horror-movie obsessed Ghostface masked slasher. Sidney Prescott is the franchise’s female hero though, played by Neve Campbell. Evading death over four films, Campbell plays Sidney with the perfect amount of innocence, ensuring the audience fear for her safety but trust in her ability to get away. She’s pretty good on her horror movie trivia aswell.
Nicole Kidman – The Others (2001)
Originally supposed to be played by Jodie Foster, Nicole Kidman’s appearance as Grace Stewart in The Others is an effective one, successfully toeing the line between scepticism and suspension of disbelief when she grows convinced her house is being haunted. Grace is our viewpoint as the film transpires – we follow suit to her reactions, meaning the film’s success lies on Kidman’s skills as an actress. As it stands, The Others is a brilliantly-crafted chiller.
Katie Featherston – Paranormal Activity (2009)
Leading lady in the original, cameo in every entry since (and counting,) Katie Featherston plays, er... Katie Featherston in 2009’s Paranormal Activity. Believing she is haunted by a paranormal entity, her sceptic boyfriend Micah buys a video camera, leaving it to run throughout the night -unveiling some horrifyingly strange goings-on. Relentlessly taunted like many others on this list, Katie conveys the fear of someone who isn’t safe in their own home with serious conviction.
MAMA is in UK cinemas from Friday February 22. Check out the trailer HERE.
Other film news
With the Best Picture Oscar winning modern masterpiece The Revenant arriving on DVD and Blu-ray from June 6th, now's a perfect time to look at the film's facts and figures in a fantastic infographic.
With the added bonus of the show now being ahead of its source material, nobody knows exactly what lies ahead. Even though weâve loved and lost many of our favourite characters, we wanted to find out who GoT fans will be getting behind this season. Casino Bonus Tips have conducted a survey of fans to find out which characters they are rooting for. Weâve grouped the top five below, along with why you should keep an eye on them in season six.
As the Oscar nominated Rocky sequel Creed steps out of the ring and to Blu-ray everywhere, let's take a look at the modern classic's stats by the numbers...
Catch 22 meets Shutter Island, William Peter Blatty's The Ninth Configuration is as deranged and as brilliant as that mash-up promises.
Movies based on video games are always action packed with great characters that are already loved due to their game counterparts! Over the years all types of video games have been brought to the big screen, and to celebrate Ratchet & Clank coming in to cinemas on April 29th, we take a look at some of the best game to film adaptations.
Fargo: Year 2 is out now on Digital HD and on DVD from 25th April, courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. To celebrate the release, we've got an exclusive "Dancing" scene clip from the brilliantly thrilling and darkly funny offshoot of the Coen Brothers' Oscar winning film classic.
JASON BOURNE sees original actor and director, Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass, return to the iconic series they created along with Alicia Vikander, Julia Stiles, Vincent Cassel and Tommy Lee Jones. Check out the first official, full length trailer here!
JOY is available on Digital HD, Blu-rayâ¢ and DVD from April 25, courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. To celebrate the release, we reveal the most famous female inventions in entrepreneurial history!
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, is the first film in the new series of standalone Star Wars movies from Lucasfilm. It tells the story of how a group of unlikely heroes unite to undertake a daring and seemingly impossible mission to steal the plans for the Death Star.
Her latest role in Welcome to Me sees her as Alice, an extraordinary woman who after winning the lottery, buys her own TV talk show to broadcast her dirty laundry as both a form of exhibitionism and a platform to share her peculiar views on everything from nutrition to relationships to neutering pets. As her national audience rapidly grows, her family, friends and colleagues all become increasingly entangled in Alice's show.
To celebrate the release of Black Mass on Blu-ray and DVD on March 21st and on Digital HD March 19, we take a look at a selection of films based on crime stories.
Love triangles are the stuff of Hollywood legend, with many a classic film basing its premise on the agonising choice between two very different lovers. The wonderfully romantic BROOKLYNperfectly portrays the dilemma of choosing between two futures, with standout performances from the three young leads (Saoirse Ronan, Emory Cohen and Domhnall Gleeson) â so, to celebrate its release on EST, Blu-ray and DVD on the 29thFeb, weâre taking a look at some of the other greatest love triangles on film...
His latest performance as the shady Columbian operative known only as Alejandro in SICARIO (out on Blu-ray, DVD and digital platforms NOW) is nominated for a Supporting Actor BAFTA, yet controversially snubbed by the Academy this year amongst a number of non-white omissions. Never mind the Academy, letâs take a look at some of Del Toroâs most impressive performances to date...
In celebration of Sicario being released on Blue-ray, DVD, and digital platforms from February 1st, 2016 courtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment we honour Benicio Del Toroâs performance as the ethically questionable Alejandro by examining other characters that fall into the realm of moral ambiguity...
A man of many talents, Antonio Banderas is best known for his suave Hispanic charm. From his early collaborations with acclaimed Spanish filmmaker Pedro AlmodÃ³var, Banderas then broke into Hollywood in the early 1990s despite at first having to learn his lines phonetically. After a string of small but strong performances in the likes of Philadelphia and Interview With A Vampire, he began to be cast in starring roles that demonstrated his incredible skill-set and made him one of the most unique actors in the world.
The Revenant is leading the pack at the 88th Academy Awards, having scooped the most nominations of the year with an impressive dozen. The period revenge drama is closely followed by Mad Max: Fury Road (10).
Chris Hemsworth has worked hard to make a name for himself over the years and is now considered one of Hollywoodâs hottest actors. His latest film Vacation is out on Blu-ray and DVD now, so to celebrate we have taken a look at his rise to fame.
Which fantastical alternate reality is the most iconic? Itâs a tremendously difficult question that the team over at Rawlins Paint have attempted to answer.
In order to put an end to the ongoing debate of the best Christmas film of all time, Hyperfine Media took it upon themselves to find out which film holds the prestigious title of "Best Christmas Film of All Time, turning up some very interesting results...
We always knew they were coming back. After INDEPENDENCE DAY redefined the event movie genre, the next epic chapter delivers global spectacle on an unimaginable scale. Using recovered alien technology, the nations of Earth have collaborated on an immense defense program to protect the planet. But nothing can prepare us for the aliensâ advanced and unprecedented force. Only the ingenuity of a few brave men and women can bring our world back from the brink of extinction.