Whether a hapless cheerleader or hardened FBI agent, women have played a pivotal role in horror films since King Kong, when the giant ape grabbed tiny Fay Wray in the 1933 black-and-white monster-movie classic. The female lead – often referred to as a Scream Queen – can simply be a victim waiting to be rescued by her male co-star or a fearless fighter of monsters (real and imagined) who is the last standing when all the blood has been spilled.
And while it may be genre that’s drawing more and more mainstream audiences to its thrills and chills – 2017 was the biggest year at the box office to date for horror movies, with the top 10 films in the genre grossing just shy of $1 billion at the box office, according to The Numbers – it’s also a subset of Hollywood movies that often balances the victimization of women with their exultation.
Leave it to Scream’s Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) to sum up how non-fans view horror: “What’s the point? They’re all the same. Some stupid killer stalking some big-breasted girl who can’t act who is always running up the stairs when she should be running out the front door,” says Prescott in the first of what would become a four-movie franchise with a lifetime box-office gross of more than $330 million. “It’s insulting.”
Read More – How Women in Horror Movies Keep Us Coming Back For More – Biography