I was about seven or eight, living in Windsor and a carnival came to town. My cousins were visiting at the time so my mother, their mother and the rest of us went to the fair grounds for some fun.
There was one attraction that we became obsessed with: The Fun House.
I mean, what could be more fun that something called a “Fun House”? We pleaded and cajoled but our guardians were oddly reluctant to take us into it. Finally, however, whining won out and we got the tickets and went in.
Well, whoever labelled it “The Fun House” had a most peculiar idea of what “fun” actually meant. Things that looked like corpses popped out at us, there were weird moaning and groanings, and all in all, it was frankly quite terrifying. Worst of all was the constant screaming that set my nerves on edge and made my head hurt.
Finally my mother leaned down and said, “Stop it!”
I went to say “Stop what?” but as soon as I began to speak, the screaming stopped.
You really can be so scared that you don’t know you’re screaming.
In horror films, the screamer is generally female and there are some actresses who have become known as “scream queens.” One of the most famous, and perhaps the original scream queen was Janet Leigh in Psycho.
Leigh would go on to scream in another Hitchcock film, The Birds.
It’s fitting somehow that Leigh’s daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis, should become the next famous scream queen, exercising her lungs in a series of John Carpenter Halloween films.
During the ’90s a new covey of scream queens arose, and as moral taboos were lessened, these women gained fame as much for their sexiness as for their ability to scream. Neve Campbell started as a scream queen and went on to do some serious cinematic work. She will probably be most remembered, however, for her hot pool scene with Denise Richards in Wild Things.
Another beauty from roughly the same period was Jennifer Love Hewitt, who starred in I Know What You Did Last Summer and its sequel.
It was Kate Beckinsale who is recognised as having earned “Best Scream Queen” at the 2006 Scream Awards for her role in Underworld: Evolution.
But according to the NY Daily News, 2010, “horror’s reigning scream queen” is presently Danielle Harris.
So tell me — who’s your favourite scream queen?