IndieWire Announcing Seven Days of Scream Queens

What can you expect from this week of interviews, essays and film recommendations honoring women and queer people with horror?

Welcome to IndieWire’s Seven Days of Scream Queens! October flies by faster than Mary Sanderson on a vacuum cleaner, so let’s take a damn beat to honor the influence women and queer people have had on the horror genre since its inception.

“Scream Queen” is an insanely nebulous term with simple origins. The phrase became popular among casting directors after the iconic portrayal of Fay Wray in 1933’s “King Kong” and has been used for decades to describe genre actresses, from Janet Leigh in 1960’s “Psycho” to her daughter Jamie Lee Curtis in “Halloween” from 1978 and Beyond. It’s thrown around with some frequency these days and used interchangeably – and incorrectly – with the term “last girl”: the last character (mostly played by women, but they can be any gender expression!) to live in a slasher movie.

Scream Queens, it seems to us, are more than that.

Femininity and expression of femininity have left a lasting mark on the horror genre: the helpless domesticity of Rosemary’s Baby is as razor sharp and painful as Pinhead’s sadomasochistic instruments of torture in Hellraiser. The horrors women face can be uniquely cinematic, and the temptation to mix beauty and gore is too tempting for most filmmakers to resist. In 2022 – a time when horror’s future has never seemed so terrifying, while the future for women is historically and harrowingly unstable – motherhood, sexual safety, autonomy, freedom and femininity appear as prophesied next steps in the ever-changing cinematic space .

Over the next week, we will speak poetically by candlelight about the true meaning of the trope; digging feminist favorites like “Teeth” out of their nostalgic crypts; pick the brains of scream queens on screens big and small, from Cassandra Peterson to Leslie Grossman; hear horror favorites from more than a dozen filmmakers and horror actresses who emailed us in the run-up to Halloween; Celebrate the triumphant final (???) chapter in David Gordon Green’s “Halloween” trilogy; and more.

Happy haunting, ghoul friend.


Fay Wray

9 PM ET: What is a Scream Queen anyway?

3 pm ET: 25 Of The Most Memorable Last Girls In Horror History



11 am ET: Cassandra Peterson on Queering the Iconic Legacy of Elvira

4 p.m. ET: Every “Halloween” with Horror Icon Laurie Strode, Ranked


Lupita Nyong'o

10 p.m. ET: The 16 Scariest Appearances by Horror Actresses

12:00 p.m. ET: How “teeth” marred the male gaze



9 p.m. ET: Maika Monroe, Jennifer Tilly and more scream queens share their favorite scary movies

11 p.m. ET: Mary Lambert, “Pet Sematary” and Disability Horror



9 PM ET: The 13 Scariest Movies About Female Bodies

10:00 am ET: Leslie Grossman on “American Horror Story” and the condition of the Small Screen Scream Queen

12 p.m. ET: Memory of Fay Wray: The First Scream Queen


"Bride of Frankenstein"

9 p.m. ET: “Sabrina the Teenage Witch”: Where’s Molly Dolly remains an unsolved mystery

11 am ET: Rethinking Female “Madness” in Horror

3 pm ET: The Best Homoerotic Horror Movies


"Ready or Not"

12 p.m. ET: The Greatest Feminist Horror Movies of All Time

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Lindsay Lowe

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