Happy Halloween everybody! I hope you’ve had the chance to dress up this Halloween, it’s always fun to wear a Freddy Kruger Jumper, a Scream mask or even a William Shatner mask painted white. Yes Michael Myers galore but not one person dressed up as the girl who outsmarts him. How many Laurie Strodes do you see? None. The Halloween (1978) character played by ‘Scream Queen’ Jamie Lee Curtis is known as the leading lady of this genre but I want to introduce you to some other horror heroines. Ok, they aren’t the greatest fancy dress options but you can watch them take on the forces of evil instead!
Suburban mother of three Diane Freeling, has a husband in the property business, a half-finished pool in the garden and a friggin’ poltergeist in the house! By the end of the film she also has a glamorous pair of grey streaks in the side of her brown hair indicating that it’s stressful living in the most haunted house in America.
It starts off all fun and games with kitchen chairs moving on their own but before you know it she’s got child-abducting spirits to contend with. That’s when this mother gets a little upset… then just really, really mad. It is due to her maternal instincts, which verge on the supernatural in this film, that she manages claw her and her cute kiddies out of a home riddled with supernatural squatters. My favourite horror scene of all time involves her and a whole pile of mud. This is a fact.
Suzy Bannion - Suspiria (1977)
Suzy Bannion may be slight, pale, prone to fainting and have a tendency to whisper but she could kick the ass of fellow American ballet dancer Nina Sayers, yeah Natalie Portman I mean you. Let’s get it straight - this is no soft-core lesbian lame ass caricature filled ‘fuck-the-plot-it’s-trippy’ballet horror film. Yes, I know the girls are bratty but they are living and dying in the boarding school from hell.
On a dark and stormy night a soggy Suzy arrives at the German dance school and you really couldn’t meet a bigger wet blanket. She can’t get on, she lets the other girls be mean to her, she is ill ALL the time. Come on Suzy stop being so lame, the place is weird, find out what’s going on! Well after a few murders, a lot of maggots and a feeling she may not live to see the sunrise, our wispy waif decides it’s do or die time and she bloody well does! Do that is.
Sally Hardesty - The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
If they’re good horror films should make you scream. If they are great they make you sit there in dumbfounded terror, jaw dropped and eyes wide open behind your fingers. I can hear her screaming now. She opens her mouth and she starts and she doesn’t stop. That’s what happens when a man is chasing you wearing a mask made out of human flesh manically waving a chainsaw; the whizzing chain inches away from the ends of your long blonde hair.
Watch as she flees, she’s fuelled by adrenalin and fear, you can’t get killed if you don’t get caught Sally! The incessant chase, the buzz of the saw and her animal-led-to-slaughter-cries around the dinner table make her my enduring Horror Heroine. She freaked me out so much I suppressed the memory of her until I was half way through writing this list!
Helen Lyle - Candyman (1992)
Helen Lyle is the most accomplished Horror Heroine. She is a woman who does it all. Helen is an academic with an Urban Legend thesis to write and she isn’t going to let a scary crime ridden estate, her sleazy lecturer husband or a dead ex boyfriend from a past life get in her way! She wants to interview people and talk about murders and ghost stories and go into dark rooms with a camera, alone. Good idea? We’ll see…
She was really focused on research until the mythical character with a hook for a hand and bees in his dead sticky chest started to pop up in car parks and the like. It’s hard to stay focused when you’re getting harassed by Candyman or let down by your husband but Helen will not be a victim of her scary, gory or marriagey circumstances. No, Helen takes a good look in the mirror and says a motivational/ghost calling mantra and then gives these men and myself nightmares forever more.