Last updated on September 23, 2019
Scream queens have been around since before the word was coined. Samara Weaving is the most up-to-date in strange and enchanting bloodline of terror heroines who have been bestowed with this tiara of dread. Her performance at the recently released film Ready or Not is a superb illustration of how scream queens have developed over time — she’s independent, resourceful and, crucially, self-aware.
It was not always like this. The first scream queens were little more than flames, slathered in ketchup as they appeared to be mauled by murderous guys – film Janet Leigh being assaulted in the shower in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 masterpiece, Psycho. Through time, beginning from the’70s, these damsels in distress started to take charge of their destinies.
The movement of the latter half of the 20th century affected the portrayal of girls across genres in theater, such as in horror movies. Her big debut as the teenaged Laurie Strode at the first Halloween movie is still believed by many to be the defining shout queen functionality of the times. Just compare the 2 clips below.
The thought of a hidden stalker seeking to cause physical injury to a lady can never be insignificant, and that is just what created the first Halloween movie so frightening – that the murderous Michael Myers lacked any discernible motivation aside from a desire to search, and kill. This was the effect of the movie, and Curtis’s personality, the Halloween franchise has been revived (with Curtis playing with an older, wiser, but considerably traumatized Laurie Strode), 40 years after the first, at 2018. Two more movies are lined up.
While before, more schlocky horror movies seemed satisfied with the concept of imposing revenge upon the attackers, a recent spate of frightening films has tried to discover the inherent sexism of this genre. It was around precisely the same period that Bipasha Basu was crowned Bollywood’s scream queen, following looks in Raaz and Jism.
The coming of the world wide web has altered the concept of scream queens even more radically. The figures are now awakened, burdened not only by immediate issues but also by years of injustice. They’re united by a shared paranoia, but instead of evading hazard, they face it. Others will certainly inherit it. The flame stays lit; the flashlight prepared to be passed.