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Top 10 Scream Queens from Movies and TV: Which Is Your Favourite?

What are Scream Queens?

Typically, Scream Queens are the ultimate female character, especially in the horror or thriller genres. They are renowned for their iconic and memorable roles as the main protagonists, survivors and/or victims, or for their brave actions in the movie. Very often, they become the ‘Final Girl’ too.

It’s time for another Top 10 list of fantastic female performances … So let’s break some of the most iconic Scream Queens in movie and TV history. Vote for your favourite Scream Queens in the comments — ready? Let’s go!

1) Cecilia, Immaculate

Played By: Sydney Sweeny

Immaculate is an American psychological horror. The plot follows a young woman of devout faith, young nun Cecilia (as the title suggests). Cecilia is invited to an Italian countryside where she finds out dark secrets in this 2024 Netflix horror. So, what are the secrets of Dark Harbor? You have to watch and see! MORE: 5 Mistakes Writers Make With Character Introductions

2)    Mia, Talk to me

Played By: Sophie Wilde

This movie is the story of a group of friends discover how to conjure spirits using an embalmed hand, things get out of control very quickly. Mia’s character is among the main leads and survives till the last in true ‘Final Girl’ style … or does she?

3)    Nancy Thompson, A Nightmare on the Elm Street

Played By: Heather Langenkamp

The first film was so original and overall terrifying. Nancy Thompson doesn’t often turn up on lists like this, but she is one of the classic Scream Queens. She is clever and works out the truth about Freddy Kruger. Nancy Thompson’s character shows more depth and positivity compared to other characters in the film.

4)     Chanel Oberlin, Scream Queens 

Played By: Emma Roberts

Scream Queens is a TV show based on the whole concept of these iconic female leads. Chanel Oberlin is a total sociopath and problematic AF, but that makes us love her more. She has great comedic timing, so the character has an edge over others.

5)   Gale Weathers, Scream franchise

Played by: Courtney Cox

Courtney Cox plays a character that’s very different to her other famous role of Monica Geller. Sometimes deemed ‘unlikeable’, she is an ambitious woman who doesn’t take ‘no’ for an answer … but she’s also brave and will kick Ghostface’s ass whenever she gets the chance.  MORE: Top 10 ‘Unlikeable’ Female Characters In Movies & TV

6) Lorraine Warren, The Conjuring universe

Played By: Vera Farmiga

In the The Conjuring film series, Farmiga plays the real-life (and controversial) ghost hunter Lorraine Warren. She depicts a paranormal investigator facing off against spirits and demonic entities. Farmiga’s portrayal has earned her praise for her strong and empathetic performance.

7)    Jamie Hughes, Totally Killer

Played By: Kiernan Shipka 

Rebellious teenager Jamie is the main protagonist of the film where her mother is murdered by the infamous ‘Sweet 16’ killer, propelling Jamie back to the year 1987. Some major plot twists later, this movie proves slasher movies can be clever as well as gory, with nuanced and layered characters.

8)   Thomasin, The Witch

Played By: Anya Taylor Joy

While new to the film Industry Anya Tylor Joy has garnered great films under her name. Thomasin was a child of English settlers in the 17th century, but they were banished from the Puritan Plymouth colony over a religious dispute. Before long, things get out of control … especially with ‘Black Philip’ the goat on the loose!

9)    Billie Dean Howard, American Horror Story

Played By: Sarah Paulson

Whether playing a tormented psychic, a cunning witch, or a resilient survivor, Sarah Paulson brings a sense of authenticity and emotional depth to her roles in American Horror Story. Her on-screen presence and ability to immerse herself in the twisted worlds created by the series have solidified her as a fan-favorite and a cornerstone of American Horror Story’s success.

10) Laurie Strode, Halloween franchise

Played By: Jamie Lee Curtis

Laurie Strode has to be the ultimate scream queen. Laurie appeared first in 1978, targeted by iconic serial killer Michael Myers. Jamie Lee shows a powerful performance that lasts more than forty-five years, ranging from that first movie all the way through to 2022’s Halloween Ends.

Some Honorable Mentions

  • Sigourney Weaver – Alien franchise & Ghostbusters
  • Sarah Michelle Geller – Scream 2, Buffy The Vampire Slayer
  • Chloë Grace Moretz – Let Me In, The Amityville Horror and Wicked Little Things
  • Lin Shaye – A Nightmare on Elm Street, Alone in the Dark
  • Samara Weaving – The Babysitter, Ready or Not, Ash VS Evil Dead
  • Jenna Ortega – X, Scream
  • Taissa Farmiga – American Horror Story: The Murder House

Last Points

When audiences are getting behind female leads more and more, it makes sense to put female character tropes under the spotlight to see what we can learn. What we can see here is Scream Queens are an enduring female character trope in horror and thriller. These characters are popular because of their actions, proving characters are what they DO. MORE: 3 Unusual Female Character Tropes Audiences LOVE

Share your favourite Scream Queen in the comments!

BIO: Zoe Foster is a talented fiction writer with a passion for storytelling. With a background in the literary world, she thrives on crafting compelling narratives. Currently employed at the best ghostwriting agency, Zoe’s expertise shines as she brings captivating stories to life, captivating readers with every word.

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2 thoughts on “Top 10 Scream Queens from Movies and TV: Which Is Your Favourite?”

  1. Superb article, Zoe, and great to see it’s so bang up-to-date with the inclusion of Sydney Sweeney from Immaculate (an excellent film that I saw on opening weekend). Also, I’m really pleased Sarah Paulson and Emma Roberts made your list too, as well the Farmiga sisters, who have been bringing a touch of class to the genre for some years now.

    One of my favourites is Jessica Rothe, who played Tree Gelbman in the Happy Death Day films, and totally threw herself (sometimes literally) into her character’s dilemma, as she’s forced to relive her death at the hands of the Babyface Killer over and over, Groundhog Day style, until she solves the mystery of the killer’s identity whilst also becoming a better person. There’s scares, laughs and a great character arc, all held together by Rothe’s fearless performance. Well worth checking out if you haven’t seen it.

    1. Thought you’d love this one, Nick – and agreed on Happy Death Day, loved that one! If you haven’t seen Totally Killer yet it is very much in a similar vein.

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