Anyone who knows me well is aware of my rather unseemly, slightly shameful, undoubtedly strange fascination with horror/suspense/thriller movies. I can't explain it, exactly. Sometimes it's because I love the exhilarating feeling that comes when a poor, innocent character peers anxiously out of a window and the silhouette of a terrifying serial killer appears to lurk behind them. Occasionally it's because of the hilarity of a bumbling villain or a professed psychopath who has managed to do away with victim after victim despite the fact that he moves at the rapid rate of about 2 feet per hour. Whatever the case, we ALL have our little quirks, and this is one of mine!
My darling brother, who LIVES to tease and mock me, however lovingly, about my quirks, was watching Scream 2 one recent eve, and told me that I should write a Top 5 about the feistiest, toughest characters in horror films, the ones who didn't go down without a fight. There are always a few of those, particularly in more recent horror films. Keep in mind, he was inspired by Sarah Michelle Gellar's Omega Beta Zeta Cici, the "sober sister" who was thrown out of the second story window of her sorority house. I did like his idea, however, particularly in these uninspiring weeks before summer's end, so I've thrown together a list of my favorite courageous protagonists. You'll notice that Cici did not make the cut. Sorry, brother. She just doesn't hold a candle to this bunch.
5. Michelle Pfeiffer, as Claire Spencer, What Lies Beneath. Now before you criticize me for this rather obscure choice, consider this: Michelle was paralyzed by a super-powerful animal tranquilizer, naked, and in a bathtub, and SOMEHOW STILL MANAGED TO ESCAPE HER CHEATING, MURDEROUS HUSBAND. Go ahead and put aside the hard-to-swallow idea of Harrison Ford as a killer. I know it's practically impossible to believe.
4. Katie Holmes, as Rachel Wagner, Disturbing Behavior. This movie is worth seeing purely for the scene, oft-imitated by my brother, sister and I, when a formerly spurned, slightly nerdy jock turned super-perfect asks Rachel out once again, brimming with newfound confidence. Tattooed, nose ring-wearing Rachel turns him down and faces a brutal response. What's great about Rachel is that she doesn't need any convincing once the movie's protagonist, the delectable James Marsden, figures out something is seriously wrong with the in crowd. She's known it all along, and she is NOT having any of it!
3. Courtney Cox as Gail Weathers, Scream Trilogy. Some would criticize me for not including Sydney Bristow, the scream queen of the late 90's, on this list. Syd was quite the fighter, I'll admit, but would you really want to pit her against Gail, the ruthless, conniving, journalist with two dead camera men to her name? Say what you will, Gail did not take anything lying down. She even fought for her man, good ol' Dewey, in the end!
P.S. You should really check out Scream 3, even if it's just to check out Parker Posey as a high-maintenance actress playing Gail Weathers and the antics of her bodyguard, played by Patrick Warburton (It's Puddy!).
2. Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode, Halloween. The Halloween movies are my favorite horror franchise, and there is none better than the original, which marked Jamie Lee Curtis' big break. She's the most authentic, realistic character on my list, the good babysitter who seems to know something is not quite right in Haddonfield the moment she looks at the slightly darkened house where her BFF Annie Barrett has just been attacked. Even though she hides in the most obvious of places (a closet), she puts up a good fight.
1. Josh Harnett, as Zeke Tyler, The Faculty. Hands down, my favorite protagonist of ALL horror/suspense/thriller films. I heartily encourage ALL OF YOU (my loyal few) to go check this movie out, if for no other reason than to see the awesome scene in the science lab. You'll know the one I mean, immediately. Zeke pretty much just takes over, employing one of those deadly paper cutters that I used to be fascinated by every time I walked by the teacher work room at school. It's actually a campy, funny movie, boasting lots of well-known actors (Salma Hayek, Robert Patrick, Famke Janssen, Piper Laurie, Bebe Neuwirth, a pre-Lord of the Rings Elijah Wood and even Jon Stewart!!), with a kicking soundtrack and a highly satisfying conclusion. I've included the trailer for you.
What do you think? A heroic list, or slightly lame? Should I have included Cici after all?