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Top 10 Scream Queens

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Tiffany Ezuma. Who says female victims can’t be tough? At least, in the movies, they certainly can be. For this list, we’ve picked those women who added some character to the Hollywood trope in the horror genre and gave what we felt were the most memorable performances. Welcome to and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Scream Queens. Special thanks to our users Mattyhull1, dee123, MinerGraceffa, Maxim Markovic, Brandon Oglesby and tom dray for submitting the idea on our Suggest Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Script written by Tiffany Ezuma.

Who says victims can’t be tough? Welcome to and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Scream Queens.

For this list, we’ve picked those women who added some character to the Hollywood trope and gave what we felt were the most memorable performances in horror films.

#10: Asia Argento

As the daughter of famed director and horror movie screenwriter Dario Argento, you could say she comes from a line of horror movie royalty. She’s a slasher movie natural, playing roles in many on her father’s films. But her most memorable part has to be as ass-kicking Slack in the zombie thriller “Land of the Dead.” Asia Argento is tough and talented, which helped earn the film over $40 million, making it the highest earning flick in the franchise.

#9: Amber Heard

While she’s got the classic looks of a scream queen, Amber Heard proves she’s more than just a pretty face with the roles she takes on. As Mandy Lane, she’s more of a thinker than a screamer, and plays a social outcast who uses her newfound good looks to get revenge. As such, it’s not hard to see why horror master John Carpenter picked her to star in “The Ward” as a mental patient who may or may not be seeing a ghost.

#8: Katharine Isabelle

It’s not every day a scream queen is also a movie’s monster but Katharine Isabelle isn’t your average scream queen. In “Ginger Snaps,” she gives an extremely well rounded performance as a girl turning into a werewolf; she’s sexy but scary, the criminal and the victim, and she’s tough but scared. Her performance helped earn the tiny indie flick positive reviews, as well as a prequel and a sequel.

#7: Adrienne Barbeau

As John Carpenter’s ex-wife, it seems only natural that she’d be a scream queen in her own right. After she was cast in his film “The Fog,” Adrienne Barbeau quickly became a sex symbol, which helped her earn subsequent roles in cult classics like “Swamp Thing.” Thanks to her effective blend of fear, sexiness, and determination, she gives all her horror movie roles a realistic credibility.

#6: Sarah Michelle Gellar

Sure, she’s known for playing one of the most kickass women on TV, but Sarah Michelle Gellar also knows a thing or two about playing the victim. Jumping from franchise to franchise, the actress has faced a revenge killer in “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” a movie-obsessed killer in “Scream 2,” and the supernatural in “The Grudge.” Her style of scream queen varies with each movie but the common thread between them is her believable performances.

#5: Heather Langenkamp

As Nancy Thompson, Heather Langenkamp played Freddy Krueger’s favorite victim. She may have been the perfect girl-next-door, but she knew how to use her intelligence to outwit the franchise’s killer. Langenkamp set the stage for a scream queen to be more than just a set of lungs and that she could use her brains to stay alive. Nancy’s cat-and-mouse game with Freddy was pretty genius, considering she was one of the few willing to go to sleep to battle him.

#4: Danielle Harris

Danielle Harris began her scream queen career at only eleven years old. She also starred in the “Halloween” re-boot films, making her the only horror film actress to appear in both the original franchise and the remakes. While her roles with Michael Myers are great, she really came into her own as Marybeth Dunston in the “Hatchet” films. She grew up screaming, and her screams have only gotten better with age.

#3: Janet Leigh

When you think of horror movie victims, it’s a good bet that Janet Leigh will come to mind. Though she’s only in “Psycho” for less than half the movie, her scream in the shower is one that’s been heard the world over. The actress crafted such a perfect look of absolute fear that she earned her a Golden Globe and paved the way for subsequent scary movie roles.

#2: Neve Campbell

As the most resilient of scream queens, Neve Campbell is consistently trying to escape the various murderers she encounters as Sidney Prescott in the “Scream” franchise. We see her progress from naïve girl-next-door to someone always thinking ahead of killers who are well aware of horror movie clichés. Though she usually doesn’t suspect the identity of the slasher, Campbell’s proven time and time again she has enough fight in her to overcome anything.

Before we take a swing at our number one pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Rose McGowan
- Barbara Steele
- Evelyn Ankers
- Sigourney Weaver
- Linda Blair

#1: Jamie Lee Curtis

With Janet Leigh as her mother, Jamie Lee Curtis seemed born to be a scream queen. And it was with her portrayal of Laurie Strode, the only survivor in the “Halloween” franchise, that she kicked off her reign. What makes Curtis great is the fact that we’ve been able to watch her grow up on-screen, and though she plays the victim, she’s still empowered. She’s also showcased her lungs in films like “Prom Night” and “The Fog.”

Do you agree with our list? Which star is your reigning scream queen? For more terrifying Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to

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