Happy birthday, Jamie Lee Curtis! You’re still gorgeous. We still all adore you. And, well, we’re hoping you’ve had a blast of a birthday!
We’re honoring cinema’s greatest Scream Queen on this glorious day by ranking the awesome run of horror flicks she appeared in between 1978 and 1981. The introductory years, so to speak, in which nothing but classics were pumped out, one after another! So wish Jamie well via social media, or in your heart, and dig into this breakdown of some of Jamie’s earliest and greatest horror appearances!
#5 Prom Night
Prom Night was the least polished and most generic film crafted during Jamie’s earliest days as a sexy scream queen in the making. Curtis herself is sorely underutilized, which is the movie’s greatest weakness. But when Jamie does surface in this prank-gone-wrong-leads-to-revenge flick, she lights up the screen. She’s as beautiful as she’s ever been, and I know Michael Tough had a hell of a time pulling off the role of her younger brother because… well, no guy alive wants to have an absolutely smoking hot older sister. That’s just one really long potentially awkward thought… stuck on repeat.
I know it sounds disgusting, but you all know it’s the honest truth!
Prom Night wasn’t a great flick, but it’s all good fun while it lasts and we do get a few cool kills in addition to the appearance from Curtis.
#4 The Fog
The Fog is probably my second favorite film on this list, but there are a few problems with it (which is why it lands at #4), and the chief complaint from me is that Curtis’ character, Elizabeth Solley, takes a major backseat to not only Tom Atkins’ character, Nick Castle (nice!) but Adrienne Barbeau’s Stevie Wayne, as well. Make no mistake, Curtis gets plenty of screen time, but her character is almost ambiguous in a sense, and she’s constantly standing in as the sidekick to Castle rather than a co-pilot kind of position. I also understand the focus that Stevie Wayne receives, as her character is faced with a profoundly grim conflict that neither Nick nor Elizabeth can truly relate to, as they’re not dealing with the separation of a child.
Here’s where it gets tricky: knowing how important the roles of Nick and Stevie are, you can’t really fault Carpenter for including Curtis as an almost afterthought. At least she gets frisky with Nick, and shows quite a pair when all hell breaks loose and the beasts of the fog come shambling on shore. I’d trust her as back up in such a horrifying scenario.
#3 Halloween 2
The very first Halloween sequel catches a lot of crap from hardcore fans, but I actually consider the film to be one of the best sequels of the genre. The tone of the film has changed with the intensified gore, graphic violence and heightened physical threat, but the first and second films bleed together in amazing fashion, and while you’ll notice some hair issues with Laurie Strode (this is all well-documented Hollywood 411), she sells the recently brutalized victim to perfection. Her will to survive is amazing, and the fact that she manages just that against a far more aggressive (and creative) Michael Myers is great.
For my buck, Halloween 2 (or II) is still the second best film in the franchise. I love it. I love the battered look of Strode and I love Curtis’ complete dedication to that role. It’s a winner in my book.
#2 Terror Train
Bet you didn’t think Terror Train would be listed quite this high, did you? Well, it is, and it is for a number of reasons. Despite having an ensemble that features about 30 constantly drunken college students, Jamie’s character, Alana, always manages to stand out. Beyond the opening sequence in which a prank goes awry (sounds kind of like Prom Night, right?), Alana always comes across as attentive and sympathetic. Sure, she likes to cut loose and get a little tipsy, but she’s also selfless and she’s thinking about the little people of the world as much as her soon-to-be-doctor buddies. It’s a great role, and not only does Alana’s personality shine, Curtis herself looks drop dead gorgeous. Like, drop… dead… gorgeous.
What I wouldn’t give to have been on that train!
One of, if not the greatest horror film of all time, Halloween was designed to shed a brilliant light on Curtis while allowing that light to dabble with contrast as she feuds with the darkest of evils imaginable. Laurie Strode is the ideal good girl. She’s a tiny, tiny bit risqué (sure, she smokes a joint, but her rebelliousness doesn’t stretch much further), but completely self-conscious, and totally selfless. In other words, she’s the babysitter you actually want to hire to look after your kids, and she actually resembles a genuine teen learning to come to terms with her beauty and her place in the world.
Strode engages in an epic battle with the real life boogeyman and it’s all a picture of perfection. The steady build up, the numerous and escalating brushes with death… and that desire to live and to protect. Good lord, you can’t create a finer on screen heroine. You can’t do it. She’s got the personality, she’s got the heart, she’s got the smile, the feathered hair, the uber-sexy bell bottoms and… well, she’s got some lungs on her!
Yeah, you knew I was going there!
Happy birthday, Jamie. I’m still in love with you!