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10 Scream Queens Who Are Slaying In Hollywood Today

They're terrifyingly good!

Jenna Ortega screams in the movie 'X'

Scream queens have never gone out of fashion in Hollywood. Whenever a movie has a terrifying plot, we have rooted for that crucial heroine who uses her shrilling screams, fact-paced runs through the woods, and sudden, engulfing determination to survive against all odds.

But, if we’re honest, we have also found ourselves championing certain villainous female characters as of late, despite their deeply disturbing antics seared into our memories. We’re thinking of you, Pearl, (aka Mia Goth!). These characters have long been influential in drawing large crowds to the cinemas and adding both mainstream and independent success to the movie business, spawning iconic film franchises and smaller films with cult followings.

Many actresses have made a name for themselves by starring in horror movies, with the weight of their spooky fame still influencing their careers today. Examples include Heather Langenkamp, the heroine who defeated Freddy Krueger in her dreams in 1984’s A Nightmare on Elm Street, who stayed true to her roots as she delivered another iconic horror performance in Mike Flanagan’s Netflix series, The Midnight Club last year. Meanwhile, in the 1990s and 2000s, iconic Scream queens saw massive success in their careers, including the likes of Scream‘s Neve Campbell and The Grudge‘s Sarah Michelle Gellar, who also starred in projects such as Scream 2 and I Know What You Did Last Summer.

While Scream Queens have been a Hollywood stalwart, they show no signs of going anywhere as a whole new batch of actresses have added this title to their résumés due to their terrifying performances. So, without further ado, let us introduce you to the top 10 scream queens working in the movie and television business today.

1. Jenna Ortega

Wednesday Addams stands with Thing on her shoulder

The most obvious person to start with this list is the ultimate horror-girly-of-the-moment, Jenna Ortega, who has taken her Wednesday alter-ego and really ran with it. I mean, there is no one who can embody a true dark and moody persona like Ortega. Before starring in the Netflix smash-hit series centered on the macabre antics of the eldest child of the Addams family, Ortega sharpened her scream queen chops by starring in two films in the popular slasher franchise Scream. The former Disney Channel star turned horror queen also starred in the 2020 black horror, The Babysitter: Killer Queen, and the terrifying 2022 movie X alongside fellow horror phenomenon Mia Goth. Ortega’s foray into the fictional world of terror is so coveted that she is rumored to be starring in the sequel of the iconic 1988 flick Beetlejuice.

2. Mia Goth

Mia Goth as Pearl in the movie 'Pearl'

Mia Goth is like Jenna Ortega’s more terrifyingly mysterious older sister and we love her for that. With her very fitting last name, the London-born actress’s dedication to her horror craft is like no other. It would be unusual to see her star in a big Hollywood blockbuster, as Goth usually opts to sign onto spine-chilling masterpieces. One such movie is the slasher film X, in which Goth plays an aspiring adult film actor named Maxine who is terrorized by an elderly couple when she and her friends try to make a movie at their rural Texas property without permission. The Ti West-directed project immediately spawned a prequel named Pearl, which served as the origin story of the elderly woman’s character. Meanwhile, Goth has also starred in 2018’s star-studded supernatural horror Suspiria and, most recently, in the science fiction horror film Infinity Pool. This horror queen is fully aware that her skill set lay in the genre, as when she was asked if she was “good at screaming”, Goth told W Magazine, “I think I am actually. I have such a naturally high-pitched voice. I find it’s quite nice to be able to become unhinged like that.”

3. Allison Williams

Allison Williams wears a striped shirt in the movie 'Get Out'
(Universal Pictures)

Allison Williams may have broken out onto the acting scene as one of the four twenty-something best friends trying to figure out their lives in New York in the comedy-drama Girls, but she has since rebranded herself as quite the scream queen. She marked her horror film debut in Jordan Peele’s hugely successful 2017 film Get Out. After winning critical acclaim for her role, it’s no surprise that Williams decided to stick to the genre, starring in the twisted psychological horror The Perfection the following year. And, who could forget her recent role in M3GAN, which went viral on social media thanks to the titular doll’s epic dance routine? Williams will be reprising her role as the film’s roboticist for the sequel, which is slated for a 2025 release, and we honestly can not wait to see it!

4. Samara Weaving

Grace (Samara Weaving) poses before everything goes wrong in Ready or Not. (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
(Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Our Australian queen Samara Weaving has some seriously envy-inducing horror credentials to her name. After making the move to Hollywood, Weaving starred in the 2017 cult classic The Babysitter, which spawned the 2020 sequel The Babysitter: Killer Queen, that saw her starring alongside Jenna Ortega. Weaving also won critical acclaim after starring the 2019 black horror comedy Ready Or Not, in which she played a newlywed hunted by her wealthy husband’s Satan-worshipping family as part of their wedding night ritual. And finally, to truly cement her horror star status, she also had a role in the most recent Scream movie.

5. Emma Roberts

Chanel Oberlin wears a sleep mask in bed

Emma Roberts started in the acting business as a Nickelodeon child star and also fronted a few popular teen comedies. However, Roberts definitely perfected her craft in the satirical horror genre after she played lead sorority sister Chanel Oberlin in the hugely popular but short-lived series Scream Queens. Her professional working relationship with Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk has been the key to turning her into a powerhouse in the genre as she has also starred in their anthology horror series American Horror Story since 2013, featuring in seasons such as Coven, Freak Show, Cult, Apocalypse and 1984.

6. Sarah Paulson

Sarah Paulson's Ally freaking out in AHS: Cult

We can’t mention American Horror Story without giving a shoutout to the queen of the series, Sarah Paulson! The actor has appeared in nearly all of the seasons since 2011. In 2020, she played Nurse Mildred Ratched in the Netflix horror drama series Ratched, which was developed by her good friend Ryan Murphy. She also proved she could head up a feature film, starring in the horror thriller Run as a mother keeping a dark secret while homeschooling her disabled teenage daughter. Paulson recently explained that she has an inevitable pull towards the dark and spooky genre. During an interview with The Guardian, Paulson explained her process saying, “If I’m terrified, I feel compelled to do it.”

7. Victoria Pedretti

Victoria Pedretti stars as Nell Crain in The Haunting of Hill House, and will star in The Haunting of Bly Manor.

You’ll always root for the characters played by Victoria Pedretti, especially if their characters trapped in a horror-centric situation. Pedretti had her big break in 2018 as troubled Nell Crane in Mike Flanagan’s The Haunting of Hill House, and two years later, she played the lead of Dani Clayton in the next installment of Flanagan’s anthology series, The Haunting of Bly Manor. Of course, we all famously adored her role of Love Quinn in You opposite Penn Badgley because she really rivaled the evilness and ruthless murdering spirit of Joe Goldberg.

8. Vera Farmiga

Ed Warren (Patrick Wilson) looks after his wife Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) in The Conjuring 2
(Warner Bros. Pictures)

Vera Farmiga is definitely one of Hollywood’s most underrated actresses. She has delivered hit after hit over the years, mainly in the horror genre. First, we have to acknowledge her most famous role as paranormal investigator Lorraine Warren in four of the installments in the The Conjuring franchise, which is actually based on real-life events! Before that, Farmiga showed off her horror prowess in the hugely popular 2009 film Orphan and also starred in the critically-acclaimed television series, Bates Motel, which was a contemporary prequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s classic 1960 horror film Psycho.

9. McKenna Grace

McKenna Grace stars in 'Ghostbusters: Afterlife'
(Sony Pictures)

The youngest on our list of scream queens, McKenna Grace has an acting resume that those years older than her can only dream of. Horror has featured regularly in her previous set of credentials, as she has starred in all the terrifying television greats such as The Haunting of Hill House, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and The Handmaid’s Tale, the latter of which isn’t exactly billed as a horror, but it may as well be. On the movie front, Grace has acted her socks off in Amityville: The Awakening, Annabelle Comes Home, and Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Grace is definitely one to watch in future horror projects!

10. Jamie Lee Curtis

Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode in 'Halloween Ends'
Universal Pictures

We couldn’t finish this list without acknowledging the iconic scream queen herself, Jamie Lee Curtis! Curtis is best known for her role as the ultimate final girl Laurie Strode in the Halloween movie franchise. Since her arrival on the horror scene with the first Halloween movie in 1978, Curtis has been a stalwart in the genre. In recent years, the Oscar-winner has had fun with her work, starring in the satirical television series Scream Queens and, of course, the 2003 classic Freaky Friday alongside Lindsay Lohan. During an interview with Vogue, Curtis explained that she always finds her way back to the horror genre because she’s “scares so easily” adding, “I don’t like to be frightened; I abhor it, to be honest. When I was 15, my parents screened The Exorcist, and my friends teased me because it scared the shit out of me. So, it’s just ironic that I ended up making my living by being scared.”

(featured image: A24)

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