Season of the Witch

Natasha Marshall takes a look at some of the most iconic female faces in the horror genre.

Women have been stereotyped in film for as far back as cinema goes. A genre that screams this fact more so than others is that of horror. This has been made more obvious by the rise of terms such as ‘final girls’, ‘scream queens’ and ‘horror heroines’ in the past couple of decades. In light of the bewitching season that is Halloween, let’s take a look at some of the strongest woman, real and fictional, in the horror industry today.

Jamie Lee Curtis/Laurie Strode

One of the ultimate ‘final girls’ by any horror fan’s standards, Curtis played the character of Laurie in Halloween with the perfect balance of innocent girl next door combined with a tough, undefeatable bravery when faced with her villain Michael Myers. In the entire franchise Laurie has faced down her boogeyman a total of four times in the span of four decades.*Spoiler alert* Despite meeting her demise in Resurrection, Strode has a chance to redeem her ‘final girl’ title in her fifth showdown with Myers due to take place this October. Laurie’s ‘good-girl’ image was further emphasised with the contrasting characters of Linda and Annie, promiscuous teens used to play out the reoccurring horror theme of the dangers of sex. Linda and Annie ultimately meet their demise while the virginal Laurie survives for the sequel.

Neve Campbell/Sidney Prescott

The Scream franchise turned horror on its head in the ‘90s by playing around with the standard formula and structure of the horror genre. The lead character Sidney Prescott not only went on to defeat the villain four times, she also broke some horror rules in the process. Sidney wasn’t the pure, innocent type portrayed by Laurie in Halloween. She lost her virginity in the first film, a big horror no-no if you are female and want to survive. Losing her good girl image only worked with the character’s own personal trauma to enforce and anchor a believable portrayal of a mentally strong, smart and no-nonsense character. The actress Neve Campbell’s own portrayal of herself in the media only furthered this image. At the time she chose to have a no nudity-clause in her contract and refused roles and publicity shoots as she feared they would sexualise her and reduce her chances of being viewed as a serious actress in Hollywood.

Danielle Harris

Much like her predecessor Laurie Strode and even Sidney Prescott, Danielle Harris has gone on to defeat the villain, not only numerous times but also in numerous franchises. From Halloween to Hatchet, Harris has shown repeatedly, despite her petite frame, that she is one badass b*tch. Unlike Curtis and Campbell however, Harris hasn’t shied away from revealing shoots. Harris shows that women can not only be sexy but also smart, hard-working and tough. Harris works behind the scenes too. In 2012 she directed her first feature Among Friends.

Also working hard behind the scenes in the horror industry is director Axelle Carolyn. In 2015 Carolyn created the feature Tales Of Halloween. An anthology film comprised of ten short horror films, all of which were produced by, directed by and even starred some of the biggest working names in horror today. You can’t talk about the horror industry without acknowledging the Soska Sisters. Horror fanatics since childhood, the sisters not only write, produce, direct and act in features, they’ve also gone further and set up their own independent production company ‘Twisted Twins Productions’. They released several features through their own company as well as working in television and on graphic novels.

While there is always room in this ever popular industry for new ‘final girls’ and ‘scream queens’ alike, it’s important to appreciate and acknowledge the pioneers that helped pave the way.