Watch: How Linnea Quigley reinvented the scream queen

Contributed by
Oct 28, 2016

Scream Queens: From silent film to present day, they're one of the most well-known character archetypes in horror. And the most well-known incarnation of the scream queen is the '80s version. You know what I'm talking about -- the sexy bad girl who runs around topless and drenched in blood before meeting a grisly end.

The '80s scream queen doesn't exactly have the best rep in the 21st century. A passing glance at her place in the annals of horror history might see her as an unfortunate footnote from a dark time where women's sexuality was even more objectified than usual.

But I would humbly submit that to write off this incarnation of the scream queen would be a mistake. The '80s was the most saturated decade for horror movies, so seeing the forest for the trees is maybe a little too easy. Yes, there is much about the '80s scream queen that is problematic -- her lack of agency, the parallels between her sexual empowerment and her punishment, and, of course, her...general lack of clothing.

However, there's a lot to recommend the '80s scream queen, the "bad girl," the one who dresses how she wants to dress and screws who she wants to screw. And there's often more agency than meets the eye, too.

Want proof? I present to you the woman who is probably most prolific scream queen of all time -- Linnea Quigley. From the '80s on, Linnea has played every angle, explored every dark corner, and been the screamiest scream queen maybe of all time. And looking at her career exposes that there's a lot more to the '80s scream queen. Who she is, how she acts, and what she can represent is much more than skin deep. And Linnea Quigley herself has played a huge part in that.

So! Let's look at some of Linnea Quigley's highlight reel and see how she reinvented the scream queen and changed the role for women in horror forever.


If you enjoyed that, I would be remiss if I didn't point out that 2016 has been a banner year for Linnea Quigley's classic movies. Return of the Living Dead got a solid new 2k transfer off the interpositive from Scream Factory, Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-a-Rama saw its very first blu-ray release from original film elements through Full Moon Studios, and Vinegar Syndrome just blew my mind out of the back of my skull with a gorgeous new transfer of Nightmare Sisters, Murder Weapon, and Deadly Embrace. I would recommend all of the above, whether you were a Linnea fan before this or not.

And, hey -- let me know what your favorite Linnea Quigley flick is! Who is your favorite scream queen and what classic '80s schlock are you planning to consume like so much candy this Halloween?


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