Behold Iconic Scream Queen Jamie Lee Curtis!
First of all, NEVER tell a Scream Queen to keep it down! All great scary movies have a character you feel empathy for – you root for them to survive, against all odds – and against psycho slasher killers – like these guys!
Creepy killers are a dime a dozen, because the greatest horror films all seem to have one thing in common: Jamie Lee Curtis!
Celebrating Cinema’s Greatest Scream Queen!
Jamie Lee Curtis has made a lot of good movies over the years, but she got her start in the horror slasher genre, and those films are great as well! Let’s take a look at three of her best horror films – beginning with Jamie Lee’s first feature film – when she was paid a reported $8,000 for her efforts!
“The Night HE Came Home!”
A classic tagline for what many consider the best “Halloween” movie of all time!
Director John Carpenter’s horror masterpiece just keeps getting better over time.
The plot is a masterclass in simplicity: After killing his older sister, a young boy is institutionalized – but when psychopath Michael Myers escapes, he returns home to terrorize a babysitter and her friends!
Here is the trailer:
“Halloween” is, without a doubt, one of the most terrifying slasher films ever, and the film’s success in 1978 opened the door to a wave of slasher films that changed horror forever…
“Halloween” was Jamie Lee’s first movie ever, and Director John Carpenter considered hiring her as the ultimate tribute to Alfred Hitchcock – since Hitchcock cast Jamie Lee’s Mother, Janet Leigh, in his horror classic “Psycho”.
Now you can see where Jamie Lee got her “scream queen” title from! The young Actress became so well known as America’s newest scream queen that she even had a book written about it!
William Shatner, Psycho Killer!
Here is some great trivia, provided by IMDB: Due to its shoestring budget, the prop department had to use the cheapest $2 mask that they could find in the costume store: a Star Trek (1966) William Shatner mask. They later spray-painted the face white, teased out the hair, and reshaped the eye holes!
Shatner admitted that for years he had no idea his likeness was used for this film. It was only during an interview that someone mentioned his mask was being used. He has since stated that he is honored by this gesture!
Michael Myers is one of cinema’s great psychos, and what makes “Halloween” work so well is that you truly root for Jamie Lee to survive – a tribute to how well she acted in her movie debut – which IMDB says paid her $8,000 for starring in the film!
Among the great bits of trivia about this film, Director Carpenter also wrote the haunting score! The “Halloween” theme is written in the rare 5/4 time signature. John Carpenter learned this rhythm from his father!
Now, time to move on to more Jamie Lee mayhem, this time with a very unusual co-star!
First of all, check out the credits on the poster: Jamie Lee Curtis is second billed on this horror classic behind Leslie Nielsen!
The plot is fairly obvious: A masked killer stalks four teenagers at their high school’s senior prom. The killer is out for revenge against them for the accidental death of a young girl years earlier….
This is a straightforward slasher film, but by this time, Jamie Lee was a star, and as you can see from this cover art, they quickly switched out their original horror poster to highlight her!
In fact, according to the film’s director Paul Lynch in the documentary “Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film”, he was having difficulty securing financing until Jamie Lee Curtis signed on!
Reigning Scream Queen Jamie Lee Curtis!
“Prom Night” was another big hit for Jamie Lee, as was “Halloween II”. So now Curtis was an official movie star, and the world’s most popular scream queens well! She took full advantage of this by starring in a number of hit slasher films, including this one:
“Terror Train” is an effective slasher film, with some good scares and lots of blood…much of it on Jamie Lee!
The plot of “Terror Train” is brilliant in its simplicity: A masked killer seeks revenge against six college kids who were responsible for a prank gone wrong three years earlier – and lucky for the killer – the kids are throwing a large New Year’s Eve costume party aboard a moving train!
This film is helped greatly by a truly creepy looking killer, and an ongoing sense of dread throughout. Check out the trailer:
According to the great movie website IMDB, Jamie Lee Curtis once said of her character in this film:
“There are certain things a heroine in a thriller has to be. She has to be vulnerable, so that the audience identifies with her and is rooting for her. But she also has to have an enormous inner strength to overcome the evil, or terror, that is pursuing her. I play the same kind of character as I did in other films. But Alana – the girl I play – is stronger and more defined”.
After a few more slasher films, Jamie Lee broadened her work in film. Curtis used her popularity to star in a number of big movie hits, like “True Lies” with Arnold Schwarzenegger and “Trading Places” with Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd!
One of her best films was “A Fish Called Wanda” as well…but we will always remember her as the greatest “Scream Queen” of all time!
If this wets your appetite for some good old fashioned horror, I have some more great options for you:
If you need even more horror, check out some of these classic horror films!
I love scary movies, let me know what your favorites are!
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