What These Scream Queens Look Like Today

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Scream queens help make a good horror film scary, getting your heart pumping fast and your breath coming quickly with their bloodcurdling shrieks. And whether the movies are about deranged killers stalking their prey or mighty heroines fighting back against otherworldly creatures, the films that scare us the most occupy a special place in the pantheon of pop culture. While the more tender among us just don't have the stomach for most horror flicks, sometimes you just can't help but be in the mood to be a little bit terrified.


It's tough to name a horror film that doesn't feature at least one scream queen. These scream queens often go on to have illustrious and enduring careers in Hollywood — something that isn't always easy, especially for women.

On that note, have you been curious as to what your favorite scream queens look like today? Are you wondering, too, what they've been up to and if they've changed? Well, we were as well, so read on to get all of the gory details!

Scream queen Sharon Stone received a deadly blessing

Most know Sharon Stone from her phenomenal work in 1992's Basic Instinct, in which she played the sultry Catherine Tramell opposite Michael Douglas. The thriller earned Stone a Golden Globe nomination for best actress in a drama, and established her as one of Hollywood's sexiest leading ladies. But before that, Stone had launched her career a decade prior in Wes Craven's film Deadly Blessing as Lana Marcus. If you've never heard of it, that's because it didn't do very well, despite its famed director.


Stone has continued to have a robust acting career since then, although she suffered her share of setbacks, including a life-threatening stroke that took seven years to recover from. "I had to remortgage my house. I lost everything I had," she lamented in an interview with Variety. "I lost my place in the business. I was like the hottest movie star, you know?"

Although Stone says she felt forgotten during those years, the scream queen is doing better now, and she is an outspoken advocate for brain disease awareness. She also recreated her famous Basic Instinct pose on the cover of Vogue Portugal in 2019 and looked amazing!

Scream queen Jennifer Love Hewitt stole hearts as Julie James

Jennifer Love Hewitt has been acting ever since she was a child. Once she was a teenager, the '90s darling starred in the beloved family drama Party of Five, alongside fellow scream queen Neve Campbell. But it was her leading role as Julie James in the teen horror smash I Know What You Did Last Summer that made her a movie star in 1997. After that, Hewitt's status as a horror actress was cemented, and she went on to star in I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, as well as the paranormal television series Ghost Whisperer.


Hewitt was also quite the sex symbol, as tabloids buzzed excessively with articles about her bust after her film debut — but Hewitt wasn't mad about it. "I don't judge people for having their perceptions," she revealed in an interview with Elle. "I never did anything that I felt ashamed of; I never felt put-upon by people."

Since then, Hewett has had a role in the drama 9-1-1. She lives a quiet life and enjoys being a mom.

Sarah Michelle Gellar is no stranger to life as a scream queen

Sarah Michelle Gellar is probably best known for playing Buffy in the hit television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But Gellar faced other terrors on the big screen, both of them in 1997. First, she joined the hair-raising I Know What You Did Last Summer as Helen Shivers, and, second, she played Cici in the star-studded Scream 2That established Gellar as a bona fide scream queen, capable of carrying the television role she became so famous for.


Although it's usually the case that the original is better than the sequel, Netflix Canada proclaimed in a tweet that Scream 2 trumped the first film in the franchise, specifically because Gellar was in it. And when asked about how she would rank the films in the franchise, Gellar had a hilarious answer. "Scream 4?," she shared in an interview with The Oprah Magazine. "You know how Shannen [Doherty] on that episode of the 90210 reboot was like, 'There was a season 6?' That's my response." Ha!

Gellar continues to act, having starred in Ringer and The Crazy Ones, and she also has her own baking company, Foodstirs.

Reese Witherspoon was once a scream queen in these thrillers

It might be hard to believe that Reese Witherspoon, who stole hearts in Legally Blonde and won an Oscar for playing June Carter in Walk the Line, had early roles in a couple of thrillers. But indeed she did, opposite Kiefer Sutherland in the Little Red Riding Hood-inspired Freeway and as the unwitting girlfriend of a psychotic Mark Wahlberg in 1996's Fear. Then after playing Tracy Flick in the film Election, she returned to horror in the bloody 2000 film American Psycho. That's a far cry from the American sweetheart the scream queen became known for!


An acting veteran, Witherspoon set up the company Hello Sunshine, which aims to increase female representation in media and was informed by her own experiences as an actress. "I was sick of making movies where I was the only female lead on the set," she explained to Vogue. "I was sick of seeing scripts where there was one female role, badly written, and yet every actress in town wanted the part because there was nothing else."

Over the years, Witherspoon has starred in Wild, A Wrinkle in Time, and Big Little Liesamong other projects.

Mia Farrow is a scream queen legend

One of the most iconic horror films of all time is, without a doubt, the 1968 film Rosemary's Baby, directed by Roman Polanski and starring scream queen Mia Farrow as Rosemary. The film launched Farrow into stardom for years to come, as she appeared in nearly all of the (now-disgraced) Woody Allen films in the '80s when they were married. Her robust career, which included a part in horror flick The Omen, lasted for many years, and, all in all, Farrow has starred in over 40 movies.


It's not just Allen who's been disgraced, but Polanski as well, who's pleaded guilty to sexual assault, according to The Guardian. So would Farrow work with him again, given the option? "It's not in the cards," she shared in an interview with Elle. "But I don't think I would." She added, however, that when she did work with Polanski, it was "wonderful."

Farrow has been at the center of #MeToo not just because of Allen, but because her son Ronan Farrow is the investigative journalist who helped break the Harvey Weinstein scandal. That's parenting done right, Mia!

Scream queen Sissy Spacek brought Carrie to life

Legendary Hollywood actress Sissy Spacek brought one of Stephen King's most famous characters to life in the 1976 film Carrie, with Spacek in the eponymous role. The film culminated in a prom scene that no one who's seen the movie can forget, with Spacek covered head to toe in pig's blood. She then uses her telekinetic powers to burn down the school. Yikes!


Spacek is still well known for playing Carrie — despite the fact that the scream queen has had many, many other parts in major films — and still gets approached by fans. "When I'm out and about, oh man, a bunch [recognize me]. A lot of people respond to Carrie White," she revealed in an interview with Rolling Stone. She added, "Because there are a lot of people who feel persecuted and feel like outsiders, it's a powerful film for them." Some fans even have Carrie tattoos!

Spacek has continued to act, appearing in The HelpCastle Rock, and Homecoming, among other projects, and she plans to continue acting and exploring new roles for the foreseeable future. She lives on a farm in West Virginia.


Neve Campbell was an iconic '90s scream queen

The year 1996 was a banner one for actress Neve Campbell, who starred in several major films — The Craft among them. But it was her work as Sidney Prescott in all four of Wes Craven's Scream films that cemented her status at the ultimate '90s scream queen. Of course, Campbell's career hasn't just involved Scream flicks, but she's definitely the face of the iconic teen horror franchise.


After the fourth Scream film, Campbell disappeared from the red carpet for a long time, finally returning for the 2018 film Skyscraper opposite Dwayne Johnson. The reason? "In my 20s, it all hit so fast and so big that it was a little overwhelming," she confessed in an interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. "Wonderful, obviously, and I'm very grateful for it, but ... the kinds of things I was being offered were not the things I wanted to do. I was constantly being offered horror films ... or bad romantic comedies."

Campbell notably had a role on House of Cards, and has continued working on other projects

Michelle Williams started out as a scream queen in horror films

The first time you saw Michelle Williams was likely in the teen drama Dawson's Creek or in the heartbreaking movie Brokeback Mountain, the latter of which earned her an Oscar nomination. But Williams' acting career started before that, as she starred in 1995's sci-fi horror film Species and three years later in Halloween H20. So the scream queen's definitely had to practice her best horrified screech.


Interestingly enough, it was the actual holiday of Halloween that got Williams interested in acting in the first place. "The idea of becoming someone else through an internal and external process hooked me at an early age," she recalled in an interview with Elle. "What does it feel like to put on the costume of somebody else? As I've gotten older, that's been the work I've been most interested in — that transformation, instead of repletion or endless self-replication."

Williams continued to have a full dance card, raising her daughter and working hard in Hollywood, having starred in Blue Valentine and Manchester by the Sea. And no, she's just not that into social media, so you won't find her tweeting anytime soon.


Brooke Shields was smart from the start as a scream queen

Brooke Shields is definitely an actress with staying power. Her first feature film was the 1976 horror movie Alice, Sweet Alice, playing murder victim Karen Spages. The scream queen starred in some controversial films after that, such as Pretty Baby and The Blue Lagoon, both of which were critiqued for sexualizing a minor.


Even though Shields was very young when she started acting, she knows that she got out pretty unscathed, thanks to her intuition. "Children have the sharpest instincts. They tend to be wary of adults they don't feel comfortable with," she explained (via The Guardian). "I can tell whether someone is genuine immediately and I've been able to do that from a very young age — I was like a little shark sensing blood in the water."

With her child star days behind her, Brooke Shields has had a stunning transformation. No longer in contact with ex-husband Andre Agassi, she's married to television writer Chris Henchy, according to her memoir Down Came the Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression. Together they have two daughters, and Shields, who's continued to act in projects like Jane the Virgin and The Middle, has been open about having IVF and postpartum depression.


Scream queen Glenn Close had a fatal attraction

When Fatal Attraction hit theaters in 1987, viewers were terrified by the obsessive stalking habits of jilted mistress Alex Forrest. That's due in no small part to Glenn Close's brilliant acting skills, which helped propel the film into thriller canon, winning a number of awards and nominations. While that wasn't Close's first movie role, it remains one of her most memorable, firmly establishing her as a terrifying scream queen.


Close and her co-star Michael Douglas made quite the splash at the 1988 Academy Awards, even though neither of them took home a statue that night. "When Michael Douglas and I came out to present an award, everyone started laughing at the fact that I was hugely pregnant," she revealed in an interview with The Guardian. "Because in Fatal Attraction, of course, I keep telling him: 'I'm going to have your baby!'" What a story!

Close has continued to have an illustrious acting career since then, in far too many films to name. Additionally, she feels excited for what the future holds. "I feel as free and as creative, as sexual and as eager, as I ever have," she added.

Drew Barrymore was once a young scream queen

While Drew Barrymore's big breakthrough role was as Gertie in E.T. the Extra Terrestrial in 1982, scary movies and television shows have been her forte almost as much as rom-coms and big-budget flicks. For one, she had audiences terrified as Charlene "Charlie" McGee in Stephen King's Firestarter in 1984 and once again as Our Girl/Amanda in Cat's Eye the following year. That's a pretty impressive horror resume for someone so young!


That's not the extent of it either, as Barrymore also appeared in Scream, even after her career as a leading lady had picked up. But since she's become a mother, the scream queen has thought about how celebrity might impact her daughters. "The thing I hate about social media is that I wish I could bring my daughters up in a world where it didn't exist," she shared in an interview with People. "The good news is I was on the cover of the National Enquirer at, like, 7 years old, so ... I get it. I was raised in a life where everything was out there."

Barrymore notably starred in the horror-comedy The Santa Clarita Diet, returning to her horror roots.

Jennifer Aniston was a scream queen in this strange slasher film

When it comes to where people know Jennifer Aniston from, it's a bit of a no-brainer: She starred in the massively popular television sitcom Friends for ten years as Rachel Green. She also received top billing in well-known films like Office Space, Bruce Almighty, and Along Came Polly. But before she was a Hollywood It-girl, Aniston had a starring role in the horror film Leprechaunwhich featured a, well, killer Leprechaun.


Aniston hasn't been shy about the embarrassment that comes with being in a movie like Leprechaun, and the former scream queen spoke about how it felt when one of her exes stumbled upon it on television. "That was actually a mortifying moment in the beginning when Justin [Theroux] and I were starting to date, about a year into it," she revealed in an interview on The Graham Norton Show. "He was flipping through the channels and he stumbled upon that, right at the beginning ... much to my embarrassment." But, at the time, she was proud of snagging a part in the movie!

Aniston, who celebrated her 50th birthday in 2019, is loving life, according to Harper's Bazaar.

Scream queen Sigourney Weaver kicked butt in outer space

When you think of the classic 1979 sci-fi horror movie Alien, or the sequels that came after in the long-enduring franchise, one particular person comes to mind: Sigourney Weaver, who played the iconic role of Ellen Ripley. The film catapulted her into super-stardom and showed women everywhere what a true bada** looks like. Weaver's career has since spanned decades, landing her role after role in massively successful motion pictures — and it's still going strong, as she signed on for four Avatar sequels.


While Weaver loves Ripley just as much as anyone else, she says she doesn't identify with her very much. "I'm very proud of [Ripley] because she couldn't be any less like me," she confessed in an interview with Parade. "When something bad happens, Ripley says, 'OK, here's what I need to do.' She does her duty and never gives up. I'd be the person cracking jokes to deflect the terror." Who would have thought?

This scream queen is married to her longtime husband Jim Simpson, with whom she shares a daughter, and they live full-time in Manhattan. They enjoy snorkeling in Hawaii when they have time.

Jamie Lee Curtis is the queen of all scream queens

When crowning the queen of all scream queens, the award goes to Jamie Lee Curtis, daughter and anointed successor of Academy Award nominee Janet Leigh of Psycho fame. Curtis was working in television when she landed the role of Laurie in 1978's Halloween, the movie that launched a thousand sequels. And while Curtis has indeed appeared in those sequels, she's also starred in major films like A Fish Called Wanda, My Girl, and True Lies, to name just a few.


Curtis enjoyed working on Operation Petticoat!, her first big television role, but was distraught when she and the other actors were fired. "I was devastated; I thought it was the end of my life," she recalled in an interview with Good Housekeeping. "But had I not been fired, I would not have been able to go up for the movie Halloween – which basically gave me the life I have today." One door closes, another door opens.

Curtis, who also starred in TV's Scream Queens in 2015, has been married to director Christopher Guest for decades and has published dozens of best-selling children's books. She also continues to act.