Jamie Lee Curtis has always been rooted in horror. Her mother, Janet Leigh, is part of what most people consider the most iconic scene in horror history – the shower scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. From there, Jamie Lee Curtis has played a major part in some of horror’s most iconic movies, as well as some lesser-known ones.
So, in honor of her birthday, and the recent announcement that she will be reprising her role in the Halloween sequel, we are counting down the top 5 horror/supernatural projects that Jamie Lee Curtis has taken part in, and their importance to the history of horror.
#5: Prom Night (1980)
Released in 1980, Prom Night follows a group of teens who covered up the accidental murder of a child 6 years ago. We then flash forward to their Prom Night (get it?) and we learn that somebody saw what happened, and they are looking for revenge.
Prom Night is the perfect example of the 80s slasher film that was trailing the success of Halloween, even going as far as casting Jamie Lee Curtis. This was one of the movies that began a long string of holiday-themed horror movies like Black Christmas (1974) and April Fools Day (1986). While this movie is far from perfect, it is a nostalgic reminder of what slasher movies used to be, and it manages to create sympathy for the killer, which was pretty rare for slasher films back then.
But the main reason Prom Night made it onto this list is because of this iconic dance scene that’s definitely worth a watch:
#4: Halloween II (1981)
The sequel to the 1978 classic, Halloween II continues the story of Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), seconds after the ending of the original movie. This time around, Michael Myers is slaughtering the workers at the hospital where Laurie is recovering.
But the best part about this movie is how it builds on the mythology of the character, and the implications that the big reveal has; Michael Myers is the brother of Laurie Strode (spoiler alert). This is one of my favorite twists in a horror movie to this day because I think I can safely say that nobody saw that coming. Although the new Halloween sequel coming out in 2018 is said to ‘erase’ everything past the original movie (you can read more on that here), we can still enjoy this classic and it’s twists and turns for years to come.
#3: Freaky Friday (2003)
Ok, hear me out. No, Freaky Friday doesn’t involve a masked killer chasing after it’s victims, but it still has a paranormal aspect to it, and it’s one of my favorite movies of all time.
Starring alongside Lindsay Lohan, Freaky Friday is a remake of the 1976 movie of the same name, and it follows a troubled teen and her mom who somehow switch bodies. The result is one of the best performances Jamie Lee Curtis has ever given, and Lindsay Lohan does an amazing job as well. The two have amazing chemistry together and really convince the audience that they have, in fact, switched bodies. Freaky Friday is funny, heartfelt, and can be enjoyed by people of any age, making it a classic. It doesn’t matter what movie genre you prefer, I guarantee that you will love this movie.
#2: Scream Queens (2015-2016)
Scream Queens had a two-season run on FOX, and when creator Ryan Murphy (American Horror Story) pitched the show, he made one thing clear: they would not do the show without Jamie Lee Curtis on board. With an all-star cast including Glee-alum Lea Michelle, Emma Roberts, Billie Lourd, and even pop-stars Ariana Grande and Nick Jonas, Scream Queens promised gore and laughs.
And it delivered. The first season revolved around a masked killer slowly taking out students at Wallace University, especially the sorority sisters of KKT. Jamie Lee Curtis played the university’s strict Dean, who also had the tendency of sleeping with students. Scream Queens parodies all the 80s slasher films that made the genre so popular and throws in some satire for some extra laughs. The entire cast is phenomenal together and delivers the fun, campy horror that television was seriously lacking.
Although the second season wasn’t as entertaining and lost a lot of what made the first season so great, Scream Queens still had an enjoyable two-season run that gave us one of Jamie Lee Curtis’ best and most unique performances in horror.
#1: Halloween (1978)
Did you really think it would be any other movie? If for some strange reason you have never seen Halloween (1978), the official synopsis reads: “Fifteen years after murdering his sister on Halloween night 1963, Michael Myers escapes from a mental hospital and returns to the small town of Haddonfield to kill again.” Halloween is one of the most iconic horror movies of all time, and it not only jump-started Jamie Lee Curtis’ career but also began one of the biggest horror franchises of all time ever.
Jamie Lee Curtis has left a massive footprint in the history of horror, and her impact on the genre is undeniable. We can thank her for many memorable scenes and countless memories that she has given the horror community. From their first time watching Halloween in theaters, and maybe even watching it 30 years later with their kids, Curtis has created a legacy for herself that will be hard to top. And there is no sign of her stopping anytime soon.
So from the entire horror community, thank you, Jamie Lee Curtis. You have changed horror forever.