Horror cinema has been around since the late 19th century. That gives us 130+ years of thousands of individuals who have laid some cement on the foundation of the genre that we have today. From the performers who were drenched in blood and screamed their way through countless films, to the writers and directors who created the causes for those screams, to the makeup artists and costume designers who brought the horrors to life.
It’s been an internet hobby of mine since the internet was a thing to research those involved with the genre. The most interesting part of the research is the arrival of the present and seeing where these individuals from past films are at now. With this monthly column, I will be sharing with you bits of information that I find out on these pioneers of horror past, answering the question, Where [Sc]are They Now?
This month, it’s all about the cold-blooded killers at Nightmare on Film Street. The range that these suckers have is incredibly broad. The motives, the acts, the victims, and who they are as individuals are as unique as they are sickening. There is one character that I have always been completely stunned by. That cold-blooded killer is Esther, the titular character in 2009’s Orphan. She dupes the foster care system as well as the families who take her in into thinking that she’s an actual child. Nope, she’s a mature adult with a genetic disorder that makes her appear as a child. She jumps into families, seduces the patriarch, and kills them and anyone who gets in her way.
“Isabelle Fuhrman’s performance [as Esther] is top-notch, and her dedication to such a character is incredible.”
What’s astounding is that Esther was portrayed by then 12-year-old Isabelle Fuhrman. How a 12-year-old delved into the disturbing attributes needed to portray Esther is beyond me. Fuhrman’s performance is top-notch, and her dedication to such a character is incredible. That performance isn’t talked about much when those who have portrayed cold-blooded kids are mentioned, but she deserves to be at the top of any list of such.
As it goes, someone who made their mark as such a character is bound to return to the genre, and Fuhrman did. The same year as Orphan, Fuhrman provided “additional voices” – as IMDb has it listed – for the remake of Children of the Corn. Most wouldn’t consider this horror, but she portrayed one of the more sinister participants, Clove, in The Hunger Games. While she technically doesn’t score any big cold-blooded killing points, she does come to blows with Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and uses the death of Rue (Amandla Stenberg) against Katniss in a nasty way.
A year later, Fuhrman starred in Don’t Let Me Go as a daughter whose father takes them on a camping trip to reignite the bond between him and his children, but gets caught up in a supernatural fight to escape the woods. This is one film that I failed to find, and for now, seems to be lost … in the wilderness. 2016 saw her battle crazed people alongside John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson in the adaptation of Stephen King’s novel, Cell. While it wasn’t a critical or financial success, many mention Fuhrman’s performance as one of its saving graces. Fuhrman kept it in the genre with a supporting role in 2018’s Down a Dark Hall.
Which brings us to today. Fuhrman keeps a comfortably low profile. Her Twitter is pretty quiet, although there is a post where she comments on the recent real-life scandal that mirrors the events that happened in Orphan. Her Instagram is more active, and it shows that she, herself, is pretty active. Running is an activity that she lives by. She recently wrapped shooting on the drama, The Novice, in which she plays a college rower, which led to her finding a love of the activity. She also showed tons of love for the ten year anniversary of Orphan – which came around this past June – by posting behind the scenes snapshots.
Fuhrman has kept plenty busy in her professional life. According to her IMDb, she has 5 projects coming in the future. Happy news for us horror fans? Yep! Three of the 5 projects are within the genre. The first is Tape, directed by Deborah Kampmeier (Hounddog). It is based on a true story in which Fuhrman portrays an aspiring actress that finds herself within the dark underbelly of Hollywood. That place being under the unapproved eye of the male power in Hollywood. While Kampmeier wrote the film before #MeToo, filming took place during the height of it, giving Fuhrman and others included with the project inspiration.
The second is the sequel to Adam Robitel’s 2019 film, Escape Room. Filming is currently underway in South Africa. Fuhrman is expected to portray one of the unlucky participants in Minos Escape Rooms. What room will focus on her character? What kind of character will she be? Will she utilize her running abilities in the room? Check it out when the film debuts in theaters in August of 2020.
Recently announced was The Last Thing Mary Saw from debut writer and director Edoardo Vitaletti. Deadline reported the news, and stated that the film “is a period horror set in 1843 that follows the youngest daughter of a strict religious family who finds herself detained after discovering her ominously matriarchal grandmother dead.” Stefanie Scott (Insidious 3), Judith Roberts (Dead Silence), and Rory Culkin (Scream 4) are also set to star alongside Fuhrman. Fuhrman’s Instagram has a few posts showing behind the scenes antics and official stills from the film.
Isabell Fuhrman showed that she had the perfect acting ability to scare the crap out of us 10 years ago in Orphan. Her appearances in both horror and nonhorror fare since then have proven that she continues to hone a presence that is incredibly welcome in film. It’s a plus that she continues to act within our favorite genre, and that she champions those films as well as the ones from the past.
Another plus? An obvious one. She’s absolutely nothing like Esther. If you ever come across an interview with Isabelle, read it. What’s your favorite Isabelle Fuhrman performance? What about outside of horror? Tell us over on our Twitter, reddit, Instagram, or on The Horror Movie Fiend Club on Facebook.