Thursday, February 16, 2012


To celebrate Women In Horror Recognition month, Day of the Woman is celebrating by compiling the ABC's of women in horror.  
Towards the end of her career, she was known as "box office poison", but there was a point in time where Joan Crawford reigned supreme as the queen of cinema.  In 1927, she performed in the film The Unknown, the first horror film for Mommie Dearest.  Unfortunately for our genre, she then went on to playing leading ladies and screen kissed starlets until her trademark looks turned into something much more identifiable.  With eyebrows aged angry and surprised, it wasn't a shocker when Joan Crawford began dabbling in the realm of horror films in the 1960s.  Her most memorable role in a horror film is undoubtedly Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?  She starred alongside Bette Davis who was nominated for an Oscar for the role, Crawford contacted the other nominees to let them know if they could not attend the ceremony, she would be happy to accept the Oscar on their behalf; all agreed. Both Davis and Crawford were backstage when the absent Anne Bancroft was announced as the winner, and Crawford accepted the award on her behalf. Evil on screen, as well as off so it seems.

How Diablo Cody understands completely what teenagers today sound like is beside me. Witness Jennifer's Body. Cody managed to give us layered and nuanced characters in a film that from the surface looks like vapid high school nonsense. The film shows a strong female lead and is littered with queer and feminist themes, but I am convinced that because the titular Jennifer is played by Megan Fox, people automatically assumed that she can't be taken seriously as a strong character. Well, stop slut shaming and understand that you can be beautiful AND powerful, and that Megan Fox is giving the performance of her career in this. 

A woman who made a career off parodying herself, Jennifer Tilly is the woman with a voice as recognizable and understandable as R2D2s bleeps and bloops.  Providing the voice of Chucky's doll wife Tiffany in Bride of Chucky, Tilly later played herself as well as voiced the doll in Seed of Chucky.  Continuing her voice-over work, Tilly is also the voice of the tiny monster Mike Wazowski's medusa headed girlfriend Celia in Monsters, Inc. She may be more well known in the world of poker these days, but she has a decent amount of B-Movie credits making her a staple in the horror genre. 
Regardless of your personal preferences, there hasn't been a kill as iconic, recognizable, parodied, or effective as the infamous shower scene in Psycho with the death of Janet Leigh.  Another one of Hitchcock's ice blondes, Janet Leigh made it terrifying to shower and although a top billed performer, was killed off early into the film, something unheard of for its time.  Leigh has about eight horror credits to her name, two of them playing cameo roles in horror films with her daughter Jamie Lee Curtis as the starring role.  Her scream and slow descend into a pool of chocolate syrup at the bottom of a shower drain is a moment in cinematic history that changed the horror genre forever and helped gain the film four Academy Award nominations, something else that has yet to be reached by a horror film.  
 Known more for her physical assets than her acting chops, former Penthouse "Pet of the Year", Julie Strain is one of the biggest names in B-Movies.  Her likeness has been attached to numerous comic book characters and animation items and she even did the voice acting for the main character in the Animated Movie, Heavy Metal 2000.  At "6 foot 1 and worth the climb", Julie Strain has over one hundred film credits under her belt and remains a favorite among genre fans the world over.  It's for her acting though, I swear. Totally...

Obviously, there are PLENTY of women and films that have yet to be uncovered, but who knows...maybe they'll make an appearance under another letter.  Stay tuned to Day of the Woman for a continuation of this series and
for plenty of Women in Horror Recognition Month updates. 

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