Ever since Fay Wray screamed at the sight of King Kong way back in 1933, the horror genre's scream queen has been an iconic figure in cinema history.
From Psycho's Janet Leigh to her own daughter Halloween's Jamie Lee Curtis, the scream queen's role may have ranged from unfortunate victim to resilient final girl, but the archetype's importance in the genre has always remained.
A horror isn't a horror without a leading lady to scream up a storm, outside of a small handful of exceptions (The Thing and Session Nine come to mind, but maybe there are a future WhatCulture list's worth of genre subverting flicks which feature no women in their scary stories).
So today's list is here to honour the best of horror’s leading women, from the original damsels in distress through to the tough final girls of the slasher golden age, right up to the subversive heroines of more modern horror.
Some are esteemed actors who got their start in the genre, some stayed in the critically derided but audience-adored hallowed halls of horror throughout their careers, but each of these exceptional stars has more than earned the title of scream queen in their terrifying tenure onscreen.