Finding Quigley: An American Scream Queen

A high school music teacher sticks around after class to tickle the ivories and sing a few tunes he learned in his youth. 

His glory days are long gone but if he closes his eyes he relives just a little piece of them…in his head anyway. He was once just another guy that played in a band, but to his students he paints a very different picture. 

To them he was a star. How would they know the difference? Unexpectedly the door bursts open. In walks a petite young blonde who clearly is up to no good. She plants her self on the piano bench so close that the teacher is taken aback, yet clearly pleased to be this close to someone so young and vital.

Un-phased she greets him with all the joy she may reserve for the captain of the football team. This of course didn’t stop the teacher from delivering some bad news: 

She’s about to flunk out of his class, and will likely not be graduating because of it. After being informed of this she does what any distinguished young lady would do in her position without hesitation: Strips nude and gets ready for action!

Yup…I think she may be passing that class after all.

The preceding is an excerpt from a film, and little did its viewers realize they were witnessing the early days of an honest to god, real life scream queen.

The Movie? Graduation Day
The young starlet? A bright eyed, and fresh faced Linnea Quigley.

Now there may be some of your horror extremists out there who know all about Linnea Quigley and think I’m all behind the 8 ball for having been unfamiliar. It’s actually a little hard to argue here given that I am one of the biggest horror extremists on the North American continent and should know better. That said I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I only JUST put the puzzle pieces together about a week or so ago as to just who she was, even though I’ve been unwittingly watching her films for years. This is even more shocking given Ms. Quigley’s choice of film roles (not to mention her propensity for showing off her cans) seem to be custom tailored to ME.

The light bulb moment happened when my bud Jeff and I were gearing up for a sweet viewing of “Pumpkinhead 2″. I had seen the first “Pumpkinhead” when I was in high school and it had been SO long since the initial viewing that I decided to re-watch it a few weeks earlier. MAN was I floored by how awesome it was. I had a memory of it being great, but it was WAY more unbelievably great then I remembered. SO…me being ME…I instantly decided I was in a Pumpkinhead phase and plotted to view the entire saga to make sure I was UP TO SPEED. (An aside: “Pumpkinhead” 3 and 4 are a waste of time. Stop at 2.)

ANYWAYS

This is what led to the aforementioned “Pumpkinhead 2” viewing. As is customary when Jeff comes by, two GINORMOUS vats of popcorn were prepared and doused with butter. Pizza may have been involved. I don’t quite recall. The lights were dimmed. The movie started. The credits rolled. I was gobbling popcorn at a pace that can only be described as “rhino-like”, when the name “Linnea Quigley” appeared on the screen and something hit me. “Why does that name ring such a bell?” I started going through the mental Rolodex of all the movies I’d seen recently. Now remember…this IS me we are talking about. 

It’s a pretty freakin’ big Rolodex to get through. I tried to put the thought aside so I could give my focus totally over to the intro of “Pumpkinhead 2”, which involved a bunch of 1950’s lookin’ dudes torturing an elephant man-eque boy before tossing him down a well. (At this point I knew this was going to be a very very VERY different experience then the first “Pumpkinhead”.) I couldn’t shake it. 

It was killing me and given that I am a real life douchebag I whipped out my iPhone and consulted the all knowing/all seeing IMDB. com. I found Linnea Quigley and I really just gave a QUICK SCAN to her IMDB profile. I didn’t look at the FULL resume, but I did see just enough of it to exclaim: ”Oh!…That’s it! She’s the chick from ‘Silent Night, Deadly Night’ who is topless the entire time and gets hung on some moose antlers! NICE!”

Phew! RELIEF! With that I went back to “Pumpkinhead 2” and destroying the bucket of popcorn. I found myself keeping an eye out for LQ’s appearance in the film and felt a real sense of accomplishment for knowing whom she was. Have I mentioned I’m weird? When she finally did appear she was topless (naturally) and having some illicit relations with an overweight dude in some kind of warehouse. I recognized her instantly. This moment may have been the best thing I got out of watching “Pumpkinhead 2”.

Fast-forward a week later. I plopped on the couch Saturday afternoon for a LONG overdue viewing of “Night of the Demons”. (And more popcorn of course.) “Night of the Demons” is one of those movies that I would ALWAYS see at the video store, or on Netflix and say “Man..I should REALLY watch that” and just never did. 

I recently decided it was now my mission to view any movies that fell into that category so the N of the D viewing was pretty critical. Just like the Pumpkinhead viewing the movie started. The credits rolled. There it was AGAIN!: “Linnea Quigley”. Now my curiosity was MORE then peaked. I began watching the movie and SURE NUFF within about ten minutes of the movie beginning we are treated to an extreme close up of LQ bending over putting on an ass show to some SWARMY dudes in a 7-11. Twenty minutes after that she was:

 

Topless

In one of the most unexpected special effects in cinema history she shoved a lipstick container INTO her boob.

Rode some dude.

Turned into a Demon.

Gauged his eyes out. 

At that moment I officially anointed her a genius.

If her screen credits had ended then and there she would have already had ALL the respect in the world from me, but after the movie I did a little digging. What I found was STUNNING. Not only was she in “PH2″, “Silent Night, Deadly Night”, and “Night of the D’s” but she was in a GAGGLE of movies that I had JUST watched.

The kind of movies that you assume no actor from would get OTHER roles in other films. I was floored to find she’s had a long and prolific career spanning four DECADES and is still making sweet movies to this very day. Her credits are too vast to list them all, so I will just list then ones that I’ve SEEN personally:

Don’t Go Near The Park (10yearsoflivingforeveryoneyearoflife)
Silent Night, Deadly Night
Graduation Day
Return of the Living Dead
Nightmare on Elm St. 4 (she plays a soul that comes out of Freddy’s chest…i.e. more brilliance)
Night of the Demons
Cheech n’ Chongs Nice Dreams (not horror, but I think it’s the one that has Stacy Keach turning into an Iguana. It is right?)
Cheech n’ Chong’s Still Smokin (The Cheech and Chong connection really only ups her stock by a factor of 977.)
Sorrority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-o-rama
Creepozoids

This is only the tip of the ICEBERG. There are roughly 100 titles in her catalogue that I am now OFFICIALLY on the hunt to check out to see them ALL. How could you not want to see movies like “Burial of the Rats” or “Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers”???

 

Needless to say I was floored. I am writing you all today to tell you I have officially declared Linnea Quigley as TOP scream queen of the past thirty years. THERE I SAID IT! CONTROVERSY??

Do you try to argue this? DO YOU? I ask you: Who comes to mind that could POSSIBLY top an artist as prolific as LQ? WHO? I mean really? Think about it for a second.

I’m sure at least 80% of you MAY be like “Whatever dude! Everyone knows that Jamie Leigh Curtis is the top scream queen! If Entertainment Weekly tells me that then it MUST be true!” To that I say two words: Horse. Shit. SURE I am well aware that EARLY ON in her career did a FEW horror films but I just did some DIGGING and found J.L. Curtis appears in a grand total of SIX horror films. (eh…seven if you count Halloween Resurrection which she’s in for about 5 seconds, and is disqualified cause it features Busta Rhymes beating up Michael Myers.).

Can six movies grant you the title of top scream queen? Is this about quantity or quality here? Now…before you think I am blaspheming I know full well that the movies she WAS in were pretty tremendous and definitive films, (actually this reminds me…a viewing of “Terror Train” is long overdue) but lets take a look at the overall body of work here in order to judge. She also went on to SHUN her horror roots and apparently trash talk horror fans…i.e. the same people that give her success in the first place. 

Can this really hold a candle to LQ? I say NO! Of LQ’s 100 roles, over 50 have been in horror films, and so far as I can tell she has reveled in it. Not to mention she’s ALSO had her share of definitive horror moments herself. Lets face it how many of us horror faithful have “special memories” of her role as Trash in “Return of the Living Dead”? That’s gotta be the first hot Zombie in film history. Without LQ…no “Zombie Strippers”. So I’m giving this one to LQ. HANDS DOWN.

Ok…now there may be some of you out there thinking “You are a real d*ck dude. This isn’t even a fair comparison given that Jamie Lee Curtis is a pretty mainstream actress and Linnea Quigley is widely known as ‘Queen of the Bs’.” OkOKOk…FINE! 

Let’s take a look at some OTHER 80’s B-movie queens. The first two that came to my mind were Sybil Danning and Adrienne Barbeau. I will admit that at first I thought “Shit…maybe these two will give LQ a run for her money!”, but upon further review they actually pale in comparison. Somehow in my mind I thought Sybil Danning was gonna be FAR bigger competition then she actually was given that she was also the 80’s go-to actress when you needed someone to show their boobs. 

This is also probably because there were many nights in high school where I “relaxed” to her role in “The Howling 2”, but in checking her credits there REALLY aren’t a lot of horror roles to speak of. In fact “The Howling 2” is really one of her ONLY horror movies up until recently where she earned bit parts in Rob Zombie’s sh*tty remake of “Halloween” (that’s right sh*tty…DEAL WITH IT) and in “Grindhouse”. 

Her being in “Amazon Women on the Moon” and “V: The Series” don’t Count. If anything Adrienne Barbaeu was the real competition here given her roles in “Creepshow”, “The Fog”, and “Swamp Thing” but again the J.L. Curtis rules apply here and Adrienne Barbaeu’s credits are not nearly as impactful to the horror continuum as Jamie Lee’s so it kinda kills the argument. Alas, again…LQ=VICTORIOUS.

If there are any of you out there thinking things like “Fuck you sh*tface. How can you compare LQ to the newer crop of scream queens to emerge over the last 10 years! Neve Cambell is the ESSENTIAL scream queen.” To you people I just give a long blank stare. The fact that people like Neve Cambell and Jennifer Love Hewitt make it onto many “Top Scream Queen” lists while LQ is omitted is downright embarrassing. And don’t give me Sarah Michelle Gellar either Buffy freaks. I prefer Charisma Carpenter to her any day of the week.

I will concede that there are to many quality names to mention for the purposes of this article. The Asia Argento’s of the world can send me some hate mail, but my vote stands. There is a sense of fun to Linnea Quigley that I think is pretty key in my thinking here. 

Too many horror fans get too bogged down in taking things so seriously that they forget that horror movies are a lot of fun…even the super serious scary ones. Some of my favorite figures in horror are the ones that love the fun of the genre so much that they seem to be winking at you through the screen as if to tell you that if they weren’t so busy making the movies they’d be at home watching them. 

Linnea Quigley is one of those people. There is also something very approachable about her. She seems like the kind of person that you’d want to hang out with and listen to Motley Crue for a few hours while taking bong hits…ok maybe that’s just me. In short…If given the choice to go bowling in a slimeball bowl-o-rama with either Linnea Quigley or Jamie Lee Curtis, I’ll take Linnea Quigley any day of the week.

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