Scream Queens Who Totally Ruled the 90’s!
Horror didn’t end in the 80’s, like many people thought it did. By the time the 90’s came around, horror was going out of style. There were a few horror films here and there…but a little film known as Scream came around in 1996 and it changed the world of horror forever. With the 90’s horror films, came a new stock of scream queens to be remembered.
I can’t talk about 90’s scream queens and then ignore the Scream franchise. Scream singlehandedly revived the horror genre from near death thanks to masterful writing and a winning cast. The franchise is full of talented actors and has a nice load of scream queens. It all starts with the opening scene with Drew Barrymore. Thanks to the writing, directing, and Drew’s star power this was a scene that has become a classic. People who don’t know Scream know of this scene. Drew, being such a star, getting killed was a huge shock and it still is for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet. What makes it lovely is that it was her idea to killer her off first because initially she was cast as the lead girl…and people wonder why I adore Drew Barrymore! Then you have women such as Courtney Cox and Rose McGowan populating the films. Courtney plays a bitchy reporter, but she doesn’t come off as annoying. She is the rare “bitch” character that you ROOT for to survive. She is dedicated and funny, but strong. Rose plays the perfect best friend character. She is always by Sidney’s side and is quite feisty and when she faces against the killer she actually puts up a fight. LOVE IT! Scream 2, made one year later, had a new collection of young scream queens. Neve and Courtney return along with Elise Neal, a young beauty. Her character is honestly a bit of a Tatum clone, but she played a good friend to Sidney and when she wasn’t annoying, I enjoyed her character. The actress does a fantastic job. I just wish her writing was less Tatum-like. Scream 2 was also flowing with many cameos from Heather Graham, Tori Spelling, Rebecca Gayhart, and my personal favorite, Portia Del Rossi. Their cameos were all fun to watch and made me wish some of them had bigger roles (coughPortiacough). The Scream franchise is still going on until this day with four movies in the series.
TV to Horror
In the 90’s shows made for teens were becoming popular. With these shows were breakout stars who went on to take over the horror genre. One notable actress is Jennifer Love Hewitt. She started off on Party of Five, and then got the lead role in I Know What You Did Last Summer. She plays the likable final girl and Hewitt has a charm to her that keeps you glued to the screen, but the show that seemed to rule over the late 90’s was Dawson’s Creek (a guilty pleasure of mine), and it starred one of the BEST actresses working today, Michelle Williams. Michelle, towards the beginning of her career, did a couple horror films. In the 90’s she had a tiny role in the schlocky alien film Species, where she actually had the best part. She plays the young Sil and is amazing in her limited screen time. The movie should have only focused on her. Then in 98 she did Halloween: H2O, which is an OKAY sequel but she once again was likable and full of charm. One of my favorite shows of all time though is My So-Called Life, and one of the actresses is the very underrated A.J. Langer. She was brilliant on the show as the rebellious Rayanne Graff. She was my favorite part and I always wished she would become a big star. Sadly it never happened but she did do a little Wes Craven film called The People Under the Stairs, and Escape From L.A. In both films she didn’t have a huge role (although in TPUTS, you could argue she is the “final Girl”), but she still stood out with her amazing talent and immense charm.
Aging like fine wine
Scream queens aren’t just young teen girls. Women of the horror genre come in all ages and looks. There are some older women who rock the horror genre. One such woman is Virginia Madsen. She is likable in every film and always has talent to spare. In 1992 she did Candyman, which isn’t only terrifying, but also quite poetic and sad. Madsen gives an astounding performance in the film as if she is going for an Oscar. She is tough, vulnerable, and determined. Madsen made for a heroine to remember. Jennifer Tilly is a woman who just seems to age better and better. I would dare say she is hotter now than when she was younger. She has a voice to remember and a spunky vibe I love. She also played the feisty and lovable Tiffany in Bride of Chucky. In a somewhat lackluster sequel, she adds a much needed fire to the series that was starting to burn out by Child’s Play 3. Bride of Chucky lacks a truly good hero (honestly the two leads are kind of boring), but Tiffany steals the film for me, and that is all thanks to the great Tilly. If you have heard of Debbie Rochon, then you must be a horror fanatic! Rochon could honestly work for any decade of horror going back to the 80’s, as she has never stopped working. If you look at her IMDb resume, it seems to go on forever and just about every film, if not all of them, is part of the horror genre. She seems to do a lot of bad movies but no matter the quality she always gives it her all and always comes out a winner. Someone needs to start giving this woman more quality scripts that truly allow her to show off her talent!
The Queens of TV Horror
In the 90’s, horror wasn’t only found on the big screen. It also ruled the television with two major shows: The X-Files and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Both are great shows with some amazing writing and great actors. Gillian Anderson of The X-Files plays the stubborn Scully who isn’t sure what she believes in. She is a skeptic but she is strong. She is a tough woman who can take care of herself and isn’t a damsel in distress, but along with that she is downright intelligent! I don’t know why Anderson never became a huge star after the show ended? She has the looks and the talent, but when she does pop up it brings a smile to my face. Sarah Michelle Gellar is another young actress who ruled the 90’s. She had a small role in Scream 2 and played my favorite character in I Know What You Did Last Summer, but it’s her career-defining role as Buffy that makes us think of Gellar. She is absolutely stellar in the role. She can mix comedy with drama perfectly, and she is quite the tough young woman. Gellar is very believable as a tough vampire slayer, and she never comes off hokey. I could really buy her as a badass and she never comes off as a ditz.
The Top Queen of the 90s: Neve Campbell
You probably have read through all these sections and wondered where the hell is Neve Campbell? She could belong in almost every category…but I was saving her for last. If Jamie Lee Curtis is the top scream queen of the 80’s, then I think it’s time to crown Neve Campbell as the top scream queen of the 90’s! Her first movie was actually a little monster film called The Dark. I’ve never heard of it until this week and I’ve been trying to find it, but it came out in 1993 and it was her first movie role. She plays a young police officer, which is kind of funny because three years later she is playing a young high school student. In 96 she did The Craft, a very good movie about witches. Neve isn’t the lead character, but she is brilliant in her role. She is heartbreaking and scary as the young girl covered in scars. You really feel for her and you want her to be okay and get rid of those scars. Her character is my favorite part and I think she would have made for a great lead. She also had a memorable guest-starring role on the great children’s horror show Are You Afraid of the Dark. But it’s her star-making performance as Sidney Prescott in Scream that really catches your attention. She plays the final girl with so much talent. She is strong, vulnerable, and tough. She is a real fighter and she imbues the character with so much intelligence. She crafted one of the BEST final girls to ever exist in the horror genre, and Sidney can be seen again in Scream 2. She isn’t given as much to do in this film, but Neve is still likable as ever and you really get to see that she is a great on-screen crier. She is still tough and you really see the way her life has changed since the massacre in the first film, and Neve plays her absolutely brilliant. Neve Campbell, for me, is the top scream queen of the 90’s!