I adore horror films (mostly the older ones before the 90s), and I understand the importance of a lead actress who can pull off the helpless girl-turned-powerful adversary role. Here's my three favorite "scream queens" of all time -
First Favorite: Dee Wallace Stone
Dee performed her roles in these following horror movies as an adult. There is something about a wholesome girl-next-door-in-a-bad-situation scenario that we can relate with. With teens, we except them to scream, run, and struggle with solutions while being stalked, but with an adult, we see a hero waiting for a reason to be heroic.
Dee did an amazing job of living up to being both a believable regular gal in a bad situation who has to get angry to save herself. The transformation is a delight and she took us along as she evolved.
"The Hills Have Eyes"
Second Favorite: Karen Black
Karen had this extraordinary ability in her horror films to seem unbalanced enough to turn crazy and she certainly did it well in these films listed below.
"Trilogy of Terror"
"The Strange Possession of Mrs. Oliver"
Third Favorite: Jamie Lee Curtis
In the films below, she showed us how the desire to survive is an instinct that flickers inside even the most sweet person. Her play of weak and screaming versus "I'm-gonna-kill-you" anger played out in such a realistic way that we often found ourselves cheering her victories.
Lots of scream queens have come and gone, many of them showing up first in 1950s SciFi films. The qualities that relate best to me are people who seem like I can relate to them and who have to rise to the occasion because that is basically the theme of all our lives - to overcome, get strong, fight off the bad stuff, continue the good stuff.