Long gone are the days of a prudish, weak, centralized female figure (think Jamie Lee Curtis, Halloween-style) who runs and hides during a horror movie. Over the last few decades, your stereotypical “Scream Queen” has morphed into a woman of power, running for a weapon and completely laying waste to her assailant instead of fumbling with the lock to the front door. It’s no longer frowned upon for clothes to be shed during a film’s run time, which previously, would lead to certain death, and you’ll even witness some casual marijuana dabbling every couple scenes (and while you’re watching, we encourage it). For absolute proof of the matter, here are five new age Scream Queens who, while easy on the eyes, will kick your ass if messed with.
Elisha Cuthbert in House of Wax (2005)
Following the growing trend of remakes, this modernized take on the 1953 classic sees a group of unsuspecting, extremely attractive teens thrown off course on the way to Louisana and suddenly stuck forever in a fictional town made of wax—no, we’re not kidding. Cuthbert’s character leads the pack, with her brother, boyfriend, and trio of friends in tow (including Paris Hilton, who dies memorably), and is soon forced to fend for herself when she is the only one with enough common sense to acknowledge that Ambrose, the film’s setting, is downright creepy as fuck. You’ll never be able to look at a candle again after viewing this horror-thriller, and you just may appreciate the use of fingers a whole lot more.
Katie Cassidy in Black Christmas (2006)
Time spent in a house oozing with sorority charm sounds strenuous enough, but what about when you add a deranged serial killer into the mix? That’s a scenario Katie Cassidy is forced to deal with in the Black Christmas remake, a snowy take full of blood and fresh, beautiful faces. The array of women featured in the film is diverse, each representing a different stereotype you’d expect in a place like Delta Alpha Kappa, but it’s Cassidy’s role as homegirl Kelli who provides the perfect twang of strong, independent female who can throw a couple punches when she wants to.
Minka Kelly in The Roommate (2011)
No one’s college experience is perfect. Starting out in a brand new location as a freshman can cause many woes (including the dreaded freshman 15), but there’s nothing worse than knowing you’ll have to come home to a terrible roommate. Plays loud music? Ask them to turn it down. Takes your things? Buy a safe. But in the case of The Roommate, Minka Kelly's character must rid herself of psychotic Rebecca, a schizo-bipolar mix whose obsession turns deadly shortly after their first interaction. If this scenario teaches you anything, it’s this: Always request a single.
Sharni Vinson in You’re Next (2011)
Family reunions can lead to uneasiness and fear for all parties involved, but especially if it’s a first interaction for a significant other. For Sharni Vinson’s character, Erin, not only must she get her boyfriend’s parents to like her, but she must do it before they’re brutally murdered by a trio of men in animal masks. But don’t fret! While the rest of the family cowers in fear, Erin reveals something not even her recent beau knows: She grew up on a survivalist compound, and she’s not afraid to crack a few skulls. Even as the odd woman out in this blood-filled occasion, Vinson makes quite the impression in a crowd of strangers, which is a difficult feat indeed.
Eliza Dushku in Wrong Turn (2003)
If you've ever considered breaking free of the city for some woodland adventures, don’t watch Wrong Turn. A weekend in West Virginia turns ugly when a car accident strands a group of young people in the woods. They look for help, only to encounter a group of violent, mutated cannibals who are really hungry, all the goddamn time. Dushku, already known to be agile from her vampire-dusting days on Buffy, becomes one with nature in order to scale the dark forest, and even swaps out that trusty stake for a big ol' rusty hatchet. What she ends up doing with it, well, you’ll just have to wait and see.