Its no question that a good scream queen can make or break a horror film, and its no easy task. Audiences are quick to notice an actress who’s enthusiasm is anything less than genuine, and will spare no sympathy when it comes time to face the villain. These are ten amazing actresses who not only have the ability to scream their lungs out, but also possess the acting chops to melt our black little hearts.

Heather Langenkamp

A Nightmare On Elm Street, Shocker

She’s best known for her multiple roles going up against the Springwood Slasher, Freddy Kruger. While she has devoted much of her life to the Nightmare films, she also was on the production team for movies like 2004s Dawn of the Dead, and the more recent title Cabin In the Woods.

P.J. Soles

Halloween, Carrie, The Devils Rejects

Her most notable work was in 2005s The Devils Rejects where she played a victim of the firefly family, but she’s also considered one tough cookie in the industry after a firehose ruptured her eardrum during the filming of Carrie.

Adrienne Barbeau

The Fog, Creepshow, Swamp Thing

She was a sex symbol in the 1980s, briefly married to legendary horror director John Carpenter, but unbeknownst to many she also provided the voice for Catwoman in the classic television show Batman: The Animated Series.

Jamie Lee Curtis

Halloween, The Fog, Prom Night

While she has starred in more films than many other scream queens in todays industry, we all can’t help but love Jamie Lee for her tortured endurance against the slasher icon Michael Myers.

Janet Leigh

Psycho, The Fog, Halloween H20

She’s the mother to our other beloved scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis, and is most notably famous for her remarkable role in the Alfred Hitchcock horror classic, Psycho.

Christina Ricci

The Addams Family, Sleepy Hollow, Bless the Child, Cursed

Christina Ricci is one of the few horror actresses who have that indescribable look which fits the genre like a glove. Miss Ricci has a wide array of projects on her resume, but nobody can deny her place in the horror world as one of our favorite leading ladies.

Jennifer Carpenter

The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Quarantine

This Juilliard trained actress made shockwaves through the horror genre with her unbelievably haunting performance in The Exorcism of Emily Rose. The film was originally slated to receive computer effects for the possession scenes, but upon seeing how Carpenter could contort her face and body, the director decided to stick with practical effects played out by the talented actress.

Marilyn Burns

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Eaten Alive

Chainsaw Massacre is widely considered one of the greatest horror movies of all time, and its no question that Marilyn Burns is largely responsible for raising the fear level. Her screams evolved from genuine terror, to insanity driven laughter by the films most memorable ending.

Camille Keaton

I Spit On Your Grave

Its no easy task to play a woman who gets brutally beaten and raped, let alone one who’s demeanor can turn so drastically into a merciless victim driven by vengeance. The audience is left feeling horrifyingly sympathetic towards Keaton’s character in the first act, but soon she becomes the one to root for, as revenge is strategically carried out on the men who abused her.

Fay Wray

King Kong, The Most Dangerous Game

While King Kong may not be an actual horror movie, its definitely one of the first pictures we imagine when the term “Scream Queen” comes to mind. Wray acted in more movies than you could attempt to name, but nobody will ever forget that classic scream from the clutches of a giant ape hand.

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