1978’s Halloween premiered a couple of years into what many deem the beginning of the slasher age. Cinephiles often cite three films as setting this new standard for horror — upping the knifey-gory scenes — 1971’s Bay of Blood, 1974’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and 1974’s Black Christmas.
This new wave of fright films bred a new kind of female protagonist: damsels in distress became daring under duress. They began to fight back more frequently. The women conquered their fear and transformed it into self-preserving fight responses, as seen by Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode in Halloween.
During an interview with BlairWitch.De, Curtis and the interviewer discussed 2018’s Halloween and reflected on its 40-year old history. They also contemplated the “scream queen” — a character type that Curtis represented for a brief moment in time.
Jamie Lee Curtis talks ‘Halloween’ and scream queens in the ’70s
A scream queen refers to an actress associated with horror films who happens to boast one or more iconic scream-as-if-your-life-depends-on-it moments. And, Curtis has those moments in 1978’s Halloween. When the interviewer noted that Curtis was sort of the first “scream queen,” she was quick to politely correct him, stating:
“First of all, I wasn’t the first, my god. There were a lot of women in the ‘50s who were doing a lot of screaming. My mother being one of them in the ‘60s. So, I would say I was just a modern, when horror took its center stage, in the ‘70s, I certainly represented that for a nanosecond…”
Curtis doesn’t shy away from the title “scream queen” as she appreciates the genre immensely. She “got out of it” because she knew — from having parents in the entertainment industry — that she would be typecast if she continued on in such roles.
Jamie Lee Curtis shook her horror movie image and returned gloriously
Following Halloween and a few other horror flicks, Curtis abandoned the genre, knowing she would never be able to do anything else if she stuck around. Curtis went on to star in films like True Lies, Freaky Friday, Christmas with the Kranks, Knives Out, and more. She has rounded out her portfolio with every genre under the sun. And, she even took the time to be the lovable spokesperson for Activia yogurt.
Yet, in 2018, Curtis returned to play Laurie Strode once more. She took on a Strode traumatized by her pain and forced to live a life of anticipation — a life built on waiting for the day she would get to face off against Michael Myers once more. The script was strong, and Curtis, once again, gave a rousing performance within the genre that catalyzed her career.
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