I was lucky to be alive at the right place at the right time — and that time was the 1980s. During this decade, two very important events took place that would change my life forever.
At the beginning of that decade, the VCR revolutionized home entertainment. Now, there were these cool places called video stores where I could rent movies. It’s here that I was exposed to what seemed at the time to be an endless supply of horror movies… and trust me when I say that I rented every single horror movie they had.
By the end of the decade, a new late-night television show debuted on the USA Network: it was called USA UP ALL NIGHT, and it aired every Friday and Saturday night, hosted by Rhonda Shear and Gilbert Gottfried, respectively. It’s here where my love for low budget B-movies began, as well as my obsession for the buxom, bare-breasted, badass actresses who became known as “Scream Queens.”
During this era, these ladies garnered a huge and loyal fan base: they were all over the media outlets, appearing in magazines like Femme Fatales and Scream Queen. They were on E! Entertainment, MTV, and Entertainment Tonight as well as at film and comic conventions all over the country. While it was hard to narrow down a short list, these ladies proved to me time and time again they were the best of the best.
So. without further ado, here is my list of the ten greatest Scream Queens of all time (in alphabetical order).
One of the members of the Scream Queen trio that dominated USA UP ALL NIGHT, Bauer has appeared in 139 films. In fact, between 1987 and 1989 alone, she starred in over 36 movies. With films like ROLLERBLADE, HOLLYWOOD CHAINSAW HOOKERS, THE PHANTOM EMPIRE, SORORITY BABES IN THE SLIMEBALL BOWL-O-RAMA, NIGHTMARE SISTERS, VIRGIN HIGH, ASSAULT OF THE PARTY NERDS and THE TOMB, her status as a Scream Queen was secured. By the 2010s, she starred in several of director David DeCoteau’s 1313 film series, appeared in Full Moon Feature’s GINGERDEAD MAN 2: PASSION OF THE CRUST and teamed up with her fellow queens Linnea Quigley and Brinke Stevens for the 2014 movie 3 SCREAM QUEENS.
They broke the mold when they made this woman. Blonde, buxom and breathtakingly beautiful, Gabrielle made a splash in the acting world playing Tracey alongside Hollywood superstar Tom Hanks in 1982’s BACHELOR PARTY. In 1987, she appeared in three of her most popular films ever: AMAZON WOMEN ON THE MOON, EMMANUELLE 5, and DEATHSTALKER II; these last two films were for Roger Corman’s Concorde/New Horizon Home Video. Also, look for her in NOT OF THIS EARTH, THE RETURN OF SWAMP THING, TRANSYLVANIA TWIST, HARD TO DIE, EVIL TOONS and the highly entertaining SCREAM QUEEN HOT TUB PARTY. In 2003, Gabrielle married adult film director Tony Angove, and now runs her own adult film production company — Monique Gabrielle’s Purrfect Productions — in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Hailing from Portland, Oregon, Lamb got her big break appearing in John Hughes’ PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBLES before going on to star in a slew of classic B-movie gems like THE INVISIBLE MANIAC, BEVERLY HILLS VAMP, EVIL SPIRITS and DEATHROW GAMESHOW (which was just released on Blu-Ray from Vinegar Syndrome). After leaving the industry for personal reasons, Lamb returned to acting in 2012 and has starred in several films — including THE G-STRING HORROR, DISCIPLES and A BLOOD STORY. She is also an accomplished author, and was a writer for the publication DARK BEAUTY MAGAZINE from 2011 to 2015.
Becky wasn’t your typical Scream Queen; in fact, she wasn’t really a Scream Queen at all. However, this curvaceous and busty actress bounced her way into many young male adolescent dreams as well as in the movies. Making a big splash in the 1986 comedy BACK TO SCHOOL with Rodney Dangerfield, she went on to act in several erotic, comedy and sci-fi films like BEVERLY HILLS GIRLS, NOT OF THIS EARTH, SINS OF DESIRE, BIKINI DRIVE-IN, DINOSAUR ISLAND and POINT OF SEDUCTION III: BODY CHEMISTRY. She also created the popular Playboy Channel show SOFT BODIES during the 1990s, which was the precursor to her new multi-million dollar company called FantasyOne.
Linnea was the reigning “Queen of the B’s” during the height of the USA UP ALL NIGHT era. Standing at only 5’2”, this petite actress appeared in some of the greatest horror and B-movies of all time — including SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT, CREEPOZOIDS, RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, HOLLYWOOD CHAINSAW HOOKERS, NIGHT OF THE DEMONS, SORORITY BABES IN THE SLIMEBALL BOWL-O-RAMA, VICE ACADEMY 1 & 2 and the recent 3 SCREAM QUEENS, directed by David DeCoteau. This past fall, Vinegar Syndrome released both NIGHTMARE SISTERS and MURDER WEAPON/DEADLY EMBRACE as a double feature on Blu-ray, which I highly recommend purchasing.
When it comes to modern-day Scream Queens, no one comes close to what this Canadian actress has accomplished. With a staggering 242 titles to her credit and counting, Rochon is the embodiment of an independent film actress. Look for her in TROMEO AND JULIET, TERROR FIRMER, SANTA CLAWS, WITCHOUSE 3: DEMON FIRE, HELLBLOCK 13, PLAY-MATE OF THE APES, KILLJOY 2: DELIVERANCE FROM EVIL, BIKINI BLOODBATH and the sequel BIKINI BLOODBATH SHAKESPEARE. She has also written for publications like Fangoria and Videoscope, and was an on-air personality for several radio and Internet shows.
This beloved actress stole my heart when I first saw her appear in Dan O’Bannon’s 1985 THE RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD. She went on to appear in a number of movies like MY TUTOR, HOLLYWOOD HOT TUBS, HOLLYWOOD HOT TUBS 2: EDUCATING CRYSTAL, CHRISTINA, PARTY CAMP and CAGED HEAT II: STRIPPED OF FREEDOM. She’s also an author, and has written two fantastic books: the first was the 1992 INVASION OF THE B-GIRLS, published by Eclipse Books, where she interviewed several of her peers like Brinke Stevens, Linnea Quigley, Mary Woronov and Yvette Vickers, to name a few; the other was her 1996 autobiography IF I’M SO FAMOUS, HOW COME NOBODY’S EVER HEARD OF ME? published by Kitchen Sink Press. Since 2011, Shepard has been struggling with invasive breast cancer and has undergone several treatments, including chemotherapy, lymph-node removal and a double mastectomy. Despite all this, she is still acting — and her new film SLASHER.COM has just completed.
Let me say this straight away: I love Tiffany Shepis! Seriously, how can you not? Not only is she beautiful, funny and smart, but also one hell of an actress! She got her big break in the 1994 Troma classic TROMEO AND JULIET, which was directed by the legendary Lloyd Kaufman and written by James Gunn (yes, that James Gunn). Since then she’s gone on to star in over 122 movies, including CITIZEN TOXIE: THE TOXIC AVENGER IV, TERROR FIRMER, SCARECROW, DELTA DELTA DIE!, DETOUR, CHAINSAW CHEERLEADERS, BLOOD OATH, BONNIE & CLYDE VS. DRACULA, THE QUEEN OF SCREAMS, DROPPING EVIL, TALES OF HALLOWEEN and SyFy Channel’s SHARKNADO 2: THE SECOND ONE. In 2010, Shepis married writer/director Sean Tretta and broke millions of single guys’ hearts… but we still love her anyway!
They don’t get any classier or sexier than Brinke Stevens. Born in San Diego, California, this former scientist turned actress became one of the most beloved Scream Queens of all time. After appearing in the 1982 slasher film THE SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE, her career took off and she never looked back. With over 160 titles to her name, including cult classics like SLAVE GIRLS FROM BEYOND INFINITY, SORORITY BABES IN THE SLIMEBALL BOWL-O-RAMA, NIGHTMARE SISTERS, TRANSYLVANIA TWIST, HAUNTING FEAR, MOB BOSS, BAD GIRLS FROM MARS, TEENAGE EXORCIST and HYBRID to name a few, she has received worldwide fame and a legion of fans. [Fun fact: she was briefly married to comic book artist Dave Stevens — creator of THE ROCKETEER — and was the inspiration for his character Bettie. Both Brinke and Dave remained friends until his death in 2008.]
This statuesque Amazon stands at an astounding 6’1”, making her the tallest Scream Queen on the list! With 118 films to her name, Julie became the new “Queen of the B-movies” from the late 1990s to the mid-2000s. She starred in several popular action and sci-fi films, including THE DALLAS CONNECTION, SORCERESS, STARSTRUCK, LETHAL SEDUCTION, DAY OF THE WARRIOR, THE ROWDY GIRLS and BATTLE QUEEN 2020, and provided voice work for the animated feature HEAVY METAL 2000 and the video game HEAVY METAL F.A.K.K. 2. Strain was married for a time to Kevin Eastman — co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Editor-in-Chief of HEAVY METAL magazine — and was Penthouse Pet of the Month June 1991 and Penthouse Pet of the Year 1993. She announced her retirement from acting in October 2008.