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What These Scream Queens Are Doing Today

Actresses whose names have become synonymous with the horror genre are commonly referred to as scream queens. Many of the most well-known and highly regarded actresses in Hollywood today got their start in horror movies. Many of these actresses have made a career out of appearing in several horror movies and television shows, often playing some of the genre's most iconic characters. Horror movies have evolved over the years, and so has the nature of the scream queen. Their characters may be the "final girl" in a slasher film, the main protagonist fighting a malevolent evil, or they may be even the primary antagonist causing havoc for all the other characters.

Here is a rundown of some of the different scream queens currently working today, what horror movies or shows they became known for, and what they've been up to since they became famous from these spooky projects.

Jamie Lee Curtis

You can't talk about scream queens without talking about Jamie Lee Curtis, one of the biggest horror movie icons of the 80s. The daughter of "Psycho" star Janet Leigh, Curtis' first major film role was as Laurie Strode in John Carpenter's original "Halloween." She has appeared in several further installments of the "Halloween" franchise.

Outside of the "Halloween" franchise, Curtis has appeared in other horror films like "Prom Night" and "The Fog." She also had a staring role in the short-lived television series "Scream Queens," which was a parody of the 80s slasher films that made Curtis famous. Curtis' non-horror films include "Trading Places," "True Lies" and "Freaky Friday." Her television roles outside of "Scream Queens" include guest roles as Dr. Samantha Ryan in "NCIS," Zooey Deschanel's mother Joan in "New Girl," and a voice role as Agent Bruchstein in FX's "Archer." One of her most prominent reason screen roles was Linda Drysdale in the mystery thriller "Knives Out," where she played the eldest daughter of Christopher Plummer's Harlan Thrombey.

In addition to "Halloween Kills," Curtis plays Laurie Strode once again in 2022's "Halloween Ends." She is also set to appear as Dr. Patricia Tannis in the upcoming adaptation of the "Borderlands" video game series.

Neve Campbell

Jamie Lee Curtis was the horror movie icon of the 80s, but the 90s title definitely belonged to Neve Campbell. Campbell was the star of Wes Craven's "Scream," playing protagonist Sidney Prescott. A horror film that both directly mocks and embracing classic slasher movies, "Scream" launched a successful horror franchise that included three sequels and an MTV television series. Campbell has played Prescott in all four films, but was already an established actress before her role in "Scream." Prior to the film, Campbell played Julia Salinger siblings on Fox's "Party of Five," and was a leading cast member in the horror film "The Craft," released the same year as "Scream." 

Campbell continues to work outside of the "Scream" series. She has had notable television roles like Leann Harvey in "House of Cards" and Lee Cabot in "Mad Men." She also continues to work in film, playing Dwayne Johnson's wife Sarah in 2018's "Skyscraper" and the mother of musician Zach Sobiech in the Disney+ original film "Clouds." She will have a starring role as Maggie McPherson in the upcoming series "The Lincoln Lawyer" and will play Sidney Prescott once again in a fifth "Scream" film next year.

Kate Beckinsale

English actress Kate Beckinsale is no stranger to the horror movie game. But unlike the slasher films of Curtis and Campbell, Beckinsale became known for playing the vampire assassin Selene in the action franchise "Underworld." The gothic horror series about the war between vampires and werewolves was never particularly well-received, but the series did spawn five financially successful films between 2003 and 2016. Some of Beckinsale's other horror films outside the "Underworld" franchise include "Haunted," "Vacancy," and the Hugh Jackman-led action horror film "Van Helsing."

Beckinsale's filmography is very diverse, appearing in everything ranging from comedies to dramas to action movies. You can find her in such films like the 2012 remake of "Total Recall," the Adam Sandler comedy "Click," and Michael Bay's historical epic "Pearl Harbor." She recently appeared in two Amazon Prime projects. The first was the series "The Widow," about a woman searching for answers after her husband faked his own death. The second was the action film "Jolt," where she plays a woman with anger management issues hunting her lover's killer. Beckinsale stars as journalist Beth Burgess in Paramount+ series "Guilty Party" and is set to appear in the Charlie Day-directed comedy "El Tonto."

Milla Jovovich

Milla Jovovich is another actress that has also headlined her own action horror franchise: She was the main protagonist in the "Resident Evil" film series. Jovovich played Alice, an original character who teams up with several protagonists from the games to battle the Umbrella Corporation after they bring about a zombie apocalypse. Similar to the "Underworld" series, the "Resident Evil" franchise was not well-received by critics or fans of the games, but the movies still did well financially.

Jovovich's career is similar to Beckinsale's, alternating between various genres and showing great range in several roles. Her filmography includes "Paradise Hills," "Zoolander 2," "The Fourth Kind," "The Three Musketeers" and "A Perfect Getaway." Her most recent film roles include Blood Queen Vivienne Nimue in 2019's "Hellboy" reboot and Artemis in 2020's adaptation of the "Monster Hunter" video games. 

Like several of the films in "Resident Evil" series, "Monster Hunter" was directed by her husband Paul W. S. Anderson. The two have been married since 2009 and have three children together. Jovovich will star in another Anderson film, an adaptation of the George R.R. Martin short story "In The Lost Lands," opposite Dave Bautista.

Ali Larter

Many fan-favorite characters from the "Resident Evil" games made appearances in the films. One of those was Claire Redfield, portrayed by actress Ali Larter. Larter played Claire for three of the "Resident Evil" films, but that wasn't her first horror series. She was originally a part of the "Final Destination" franchise, a series of slasher films following a group of young adults who cheat death after one of them has a vision of them all dying in a freak accident. The film then follows the survivors as they're each hunted down by Death in a series of violent occurrences. Larter played Clear Rivers, the only surviving main character from the first film. She reprised her role in "Final Destination 2," where Clear was killed in an explosion.

Outside of these two horror film franchises, Larter is perhaps most well-known for playing superhuman Nikki Sanders in the NBC superhero drama "Heroes." Once that series ended, Larter continued to work in several roles from film and television. She had lead roles as Crystal McGuire in "Legends" and as Amelia Slater in "Pitch," but both shows were short-lived. Her most recent television credits include a recurring role as Dr. Grace Sawyer in ABC's "The Rookie" and starring in the "Dead and Breakfast" segment of the Shudder anthology series "Creepshow."

Mary Elizabeth Winstead

Mary Elizabeth Winstead was also part of the "Final Destination" series. Winstead portrayed protagonist Wendy Christensen in "Final Destination 3," who saves her friends from dying in a rollercoaster accident.  She also appeared in "The Ring 2" prior, playing the younger version of Sissy Spacek's character, Evelyn Borden. Winstead has continued to star in horror and thriller films after "Final Destination 3." These include "Death Proof," "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter," "Black Christmas," "10 Cloverfield Lane," and the 2011 remake of John Carpenter's "The Thing." 

Outside horror, Winstead is also known for playing Scott Pilgrim's love interest Ramona Flowers in "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" and John McClane's daughter Lucy in the "Die Hard" film series. She has also had several television roles, which include a lead role as Nikki Swango in Season 3 of FX's "Fargo" and a voice role in the first season of "Love, Death & Robots." Recently, Winstead has shifted into starring in action movies. She starred as Danny Zakarewski in the Will Smith-led action film "Gemini Man," and played the superhero Huntress in the DC movie "Birds of Prey." She also played the title role in the 2021 Netflix action movie "Kate," about an assassin who only has 24 hours to kill her next target before she dies.

Naomi Watts

Actress Naomi Watts played Grace Rhodes in "Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering" six years before her leading role as Rachel Keller in "The Ring."  As an investigative journalist who gets caught up in the mystery of the videotape that kills its viewers, Watts' performance as Keller received positive reviews. The success of the film led to two sequels, though Watts only returned for "The Ring Two." Though not straight-up horror films, Watts has gone on to star in a handful of other psychological thrillers like the shot-for-shot remake of "Funny Games" and the 2011 film "Dream House." 

As of today, Watts continues to get steady work in both film and television. She has appeared in several movies, including playing Evelyn-Johnson Eaton in two of the "Divergent" films and Broadway actress Lesley in the Academy Award winning film "Birdman." She most recently appeared as Jemma Wells in the Hulu action film "Boss Level" and as Marie Dedea in "This Is The Night." Her television credits include playing Gretchen Carlson in the Showtime miniseries "The Loudest Voice," and was supposed to be the star of one of HBO's many "Game of Thrones" spin-offs.

Jodelle Ferland

There have been several different remakes and sequels of Stephen King's "Carrie." One of those remakes was a 2002 television film version for NBC. Angela Bettis played the title character, while Canadian actress Jodelle Ferland played a younger version of her. Ferland has made a career out of appearing in several other horror-themed projects such as "Case 39," "The Tall Man," "They," "The Cabin In The Woods," "The Messengers," and a film adaptation of the video game "Silent Hill." The latter film saw her play Alessa Gillespie, a mysterious young woman whose supernatural abilities play a major role in the both the games and the film. Ferland's other video game-related project includes providing the voice of the Little Sisters in "Bioshock 2," whom are special companions that the player must protect in order to gain increased resources in the game.

She has also appeared in several fantasy and science fiction shows like "Masters of Horror," "Supernatural," and "R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour." Ferland recently appeared in two episodes of the Canadian horror series "The Order," where she played the demon Zecchia.

Vera Farmiga

"The Conjuring" universe is one of the most successful horror franchises going today. The series consists of three main "Conjuring" films that follow the lives of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, with several spin-off/prequel films detailing the origins of the supernatural occurrences that the couple investigate. All three of the main films star Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga and Ed and Lorraine, respectively. In addition to the main series, Vera has appeared as Lorraine in the "Annabelle Comes Home" spin-off film. Outside of "The Conjuring" universe, she was one of the leads in the psychological thriller "Orphan." Vera's horror work has also extended to television, as she played mother Norma Bates for five seasons of "Bates Motel," a prequel series to Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho." 

Some of Vera's most notable roles in recent years include Dr. Emma Russel in "Godzilla" King of the Monsters" and Elizabeth Lederer in the Netflix miniseries "When They See Us." Vera plays Eleanor Bishop, the mother of superhero Kate Bishop, in the Disney+ "Hawkeye" series, She also plays Livia Soprano in the upcoming "Sopranos" prequel film "The Many Saints Of Newark."

Taissa Farmiga

Since making her acting debut in 2011, Taissa Farmiga (the younger sister of Vera) has also made a name for herself by appearing in several horror films and shows. Taissa is most known for her work on Ryan Murphy's "American Horror Story." She has appeared on four seasons of the show: "Murder House," "Coven," "Roanoke," and "Apocalypse." Like the other actors on the show, Taissa played several different characters on her seasons, but reprised two of her roles as "Coven" character Zoe Benson and "Murder House" character Violet Harmon for "Apocalypse." She also made appearances in Jordan Peele's "The Twilight Zone" and the Quibi series "50 States of Fright."

Taissa has also found steady work in film, including joining the "Conjuring" series in the spin-off film "The Nun," playing protagonist Sister Irene. She has also had roles in drama films like "The Mule," where she played the granddaughter of Clint Eastwood's characer, and Sarah Bransford in Warren Beaty's period drama "Rules Don't Apply." Taissa also provided the voice for the superhero Raven in several DC animated movies, the most recent being "Justice League Dark: Apokolips War. 

She recently appeared as Laurie in the psychological thriller "John and the Hole," and is set to play Gladys Russell in the upcoming HBO drama "The Gilded Age."

Emma Roberts

The third season of "American Horror Story," subtitled "Coven," is one of the most critically acclaimed seasons of the show. This was the first season for actress Emma Roberts, playing Madison Montgomery. Roberts went on to appear in four other seasons after that, and even reprised her role as Madison for season eight, "Apocalypse." Roberts was also a main cast member of "Scream Queens," playing spoiled sorority girl Chanel Oberlin. Roberts' horror credits have extended to her film roles as well. She has had starring roles in films like "Scream 4," "The Hunt," and "The Blackcoat's Daughter." 

Outside of horror, Roberts has starred as delinquent Casey Miller in the comedy film "We're The Millers," high schooler Vee in techno-thriller "Nerve," and voiced the character of Wedgehead in the animated children's film "UglyDolls." Roberts also made an appearance on the sixth season of "RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars" as a guest judge for an "American Horror Story" inspired challenge. Roberts recently played Sloan in the Netflix romantic comedy "Holidate."

Sarah Paulson

When talking about actors who have become "American Horror Story" mainstays, you can't skip over Sarah Paulson. The acclaimed actress has currently appeared in nine of the show's ten seasons, playing several different characters and often receiving top billing for each new installment. Paulson has also contributed to several other Ryan Murphy projects, such as a guest role as actress Geraldine Page in "Feud: Bette and Joan" and a main role as prosecutor Marcia Clark during "The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story." Paulson has also had an extensive film career, appearing in several horror and psychological thrillers like "Bird Box" and "Run," acclaimed dramas such as "The Post" and "12 Years A Slave," and light-hearted fare like "Ocean's 8" and "New Year's Eve." 

She plays Linda Tripp in the third season of "American Crime Story," the woman whose secret recordings of conversations with Monica Lewinsky played a key role in the impeachment of Bill Clinton. She has two different roles in the "Double Feature" season of "American Horror Story." She also portrays Nurse Mildred Ratched in the Netflix series "Ratched," which serves as a prequel to "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest."