February is Women In Horror Month, and I have made a list of some of the women that have inspired me in this genre.
Women and horror go hand in hand; without the scream queens, horror would be really boring and unrecognizable as we know it. These women have paved the way for society to accept those of us girls who are different. To quote Nancy’s character in 1996’s The Craft, “We are the weirdos, mister”. Let’s face it ladies–when you tell someone you like horror, 99.9% of the time it makes people very uncomfortable.
So here is my tribute to all the ladies who give zero F’s and were brave enough to embrace the horror genre.
Here is my list, in no particular order.
1960’s Psycho featured Janet Leigh in the now infamous shower scene. (This iconic scene was the inspiration for a recent series of photos I took to promote my T-shirts.) She made being slashed to death in a shower look glamorous. As Leigh slid down the shower wall, to her death, her hair and makeup were flawless. Her beautiful face combined with her blood-curdling scream cemented her place in horror history.
Carolyn Jones was the original Morticia Addams in the 1960’s Addams Family TV series. Her long black hair, black maxi dress and her classic stoic demeanor made her a fashion icon. The love between Morticia and Gomez is what everyone refers to now as #relationshipgoals.
Years later, Anjelica Huston replace Jones in the role in 1991’s Addams Family remake and its sequel, and played the character flawlessly. Anjelica made a whole new generation fall in love with the Addams.
Christina Ricci also starred in the film as daughter Wednesday Addams. She made the role her own, and girls all over the world now use the phrase, “On Wednesdays, we wear black”. Her entire look has been often imitated, so much so that Wednesday’s “goth” look is now mainstream.
Vampire themes were very popular in the 90’s.
1992’s Buffy The Vampire Slayer, starring Kristy Swanson, helped to shatter the dumb blonde stereotype. Normally, blondes are featured in shower and sex/death scenes–so it was great to finally see a blonde female character taking charge. It was a refreshing change for girls to see a female lead character slaying vampires.
Five years later, Sarah Michelle Gellar took on the role of Buffy in the 1997 TV series. These blondes literally kicked ass, and at the same time, kicked the blonde stereotype to the curb.
Now, everyone is familiar with the “good girl-next-door” look and persona. Which is great, and everyone likes rooting for the nice girl to win–but isn’t it fun when the bad girl comes to town and shakes the place up a bit?
Enter Eliza Dushku, who played Faith in the Buffy TV series. She was a fierce fighter and had a wardrobe to die for. Dushku was the “bad girl” to Buffy’s good girl persona. Unlike Buffy’s cardigans and dresses, Faith fought the undead in crop tops and leather pants. I loved that Faith gave Buffy a run for her money. Dushku made up for the reckless abandon that Buffy lacked. The character brought new life to the show with its much-needed edginess. Faith walked the line between good and evil. She was the Angelina over the Jennifer Aniston.
Although these ladies were great, they were still the vanilla PG version of badass babes. The horror world wasn’t ready for the Queen of all Queens…the one and only female vampire Pam, played by Kristen Van Bauer, in the TV series True Blood which aired on HBO from 2008-2014. Pam was the baddest bitch on the scene–she was the Queen Bee.
Pam was Eric Northman’s lover, and co-owner of the bar Fangtasia. She was gorgeous, sexy and sassy. Her no-nonsense attitude made anyone who stood before her bow down before this queen. Her wardrobe outshone everyone’s, no matter what century she was living in. Pam was the fashion icon of the vampire world.
Another honorable mention of a female ruthless killer would be Meghan Fox‘s character, in 2009’s Jennifer’s Body. This high school teen horror movie pushed the boundaries. Meghan’s character was bisexual. Horror has always been a genre that definitely didn’t shy away from LBGTQ themes. This movie had it all, black magic, sex scenes, blood and gore and Meghan Fox… enough said?
Which leads me to my next female icon:
Sheri Moon Zombie.
Girls want to be her, and guys want to be with her. Sheri has starred in House of A Thousand Corpses, Devil’s Rejects, Lords Of Salem, 31and the soon to be released Three From Hell. Her characters have always mixed sexy with crazy. (Or did the crazy make her more sexy? I don’t know.. I guess that’s in the eye of the beholder.)
I loved the idea of the female character looking so cute and innocent, like a baby doll, and yet turns out to be the most ruthless killer of them all. Her name in House of A Thousand Corpses–“Baby Firefly”–suits her well.
Through the years, Sheri has definitely grown into her own as an actress. In 31, I thought she did a great job playing Charly. Charly is a broken victim, rising up and fighting back–leaving her the only survivor. The end features a standoff between Charly and Doom Head (played by Richard Brake). The movie doesn’t tell you whether Charly got away or finished killing Doom Head, but I hope she won that fight.
It is now 2019, and the horror world has been evolving and changing . I named some of the women that inspired me in this article, but there are many more who throughout the years have made such a great impact on horror in particular and on society as a whole. It’s sad to think that there was a time when women and girls were thought to be less important than men and boys, and women still have a long way to go. I hope to contribute to this progress by attending as many conventions as possible and highlighting the new projects that women are working on. With each interview and each photo-shoot I do, I hope that it’s one small step forward for all of us.
I would like to use the February–“Women in Horror Month”–as an opportunity to acknowledge and thank every single woman who has come before me in the horror world for paving the way for people like me to pursue my dreams. Acting, writing, directing or producing are all options now for women because these strong ladies broke those glass ceilings. Women in horror are heroes now, not just victims, thanks to these amazing female pioneers.
Remember–never underestimate the power of a woman.
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Until next time!
Hugs n’ hisses,