There are a handful of names that pop into my head when I think of the term “Scream Queen.” Each and every one of them will be featured in this column, but I figured who better to go with first than the lovely Danielle Harris. As someone that started out as a scream queen as only a child and still holds the title today, she is truly one of a kind. In my personal opinion she is one of the greatest Legends of Horror in the business.
I’ve had the privilege of meeting Danielle twice and both times she left a lasting impression on me. The first time I met her, at a convention of course, it wasn’t my goal to get her autograph for myself. No, instead I had a great chat with her about my oldest niece, who at the time was the same age as Jamie Lloyd in Halloween 4. You see, she was just becoming a budding horror fan and as the biggest fan of the genre in my family I felt that to help guide her I needed to give her a role model. Who better than her? Danielle Harris was so touched by my goal that she signed an 8×10 for her for free! To this day Abby still has it framed and hanging on her wall.
The second time I met her was in the picture above, at HorrorHound Weekend last September. To my amazement, she actually remembered me and asked about my niece. I told her that her picture is still one of her most prized possessions to this day. Danielle then signed by Halloween 4 Blu-ray and came out and gave me a big hug before taking the picture with me. Between these two experiences, I’m convinced she is one of the coolest, most amazing persons I’ve met in my life.
Best Horror Films
The Halloween Series
How could I not start this section without listing the Halloween series first? It would be a damn crime! Danielle’s introduction to the horror world at large was as big as it gets. She starred in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers as the young niece of the titular maniac Jamie Lloyd and dare I say she stole the show. Even as a child actor, she showed a lot of talent that most child actors never possess. The sheer terror she conveys in this movie is as good as it gets. And the final scene in the movie? That was a thing of beauty!
Although Halloween 5 is not one of my favorites of the series, I maintain it’s far from the worst. A lot of that has to do with Harris once again returning as Jamie. This time though, she was so traumatized by the events of the previous movie that for most of the film she’s rendered mute. So in a way I haven’t seen in any other Halloween movie, she sells a true connection with her uncle. Not just the psychic link, but the parallels caused by the ending of the previous movie and the fact that both actors have to act with body language so heavily. Once again, it really showed her acting chops were very strong even then.
She returned to the franchise with both of Rob Zombie’s films and while I didn’t particularly care for them, that has absolutely nothing to do with her performance. In fact, I’d say it’s really her(as Annie this time) that gets me through these movies. She has the most believable transformation between the two movies and is easily the most likable character.
Hatchet II and Hatchet III
I don’t care what anybody says, I love both of these sequels. They are just a lot of fun and true throwbacks to the 1980’s. Danielle took over the role of Marybeth from the previous actress and honestly I thought she nailed the role even better. She easily carried the emotional weight as the sole survivor of the previous film and by the end of II you just want to see her kick some ass. And she does. Oh boy does she! And in III, it’s amped up even further. If you have never seen this trilogy, then you need to check them out immediately.
Though she’s not the main star in this, she still lends a lot of credibility to this post apocalyptic tale. Basically, this feels a lot like a zombie tale, but instead of zombies we have vampires. And these vampires don’t sparkle. Not one damn bit.
Other Featured Roles
Holliston – Holliston is a 3 camera sitcom from the mind of Adam Green with a strong horror vibe made directly for FearNet. Danielle plays a warped version of herself in this. She lies, steals Vicodin from Adam and basically just uses him for his (very little)money. It’s worth watching it for the scene where she nearly has a threeway with Adam Green and Kane Hodder(as himself) alone. So damn funny.
Fear Clinic – Like Holliston, this is also a FearNet production. Unlike Holliston, it’s actually having a full feature coming out. Harris has to survive her worst fears in an asylum run by Dr. Andover(Robert Englund). Harris is really strong in this as always.
The Victim – A couple of hookers run into some very bad people. Harris plays one of the hookers and meets a gruesome end. This is very much a love letter to old school grind house cinema. Though she wasn’t in it for long, she really stood out.
It doesn’t matter if the part is big or small. If the movie is a big theatrical release or a small indie flick. Danielle Harris holds the mantle of both a true Scream Queen and a Legend of Horror. Even if she has only a couple lines, she manages to captivate. She has played roles that will be remembered forever by horror fans. She’s a Legend of Horror in every sense of the words. It also just so happens that she’s one of the sweetest people on the planet.
Next week’s Legend of Horror has covered practically every subgenre of horror since the 1970’s. Hell, he’s even created his own. He’s a king of the horror genre in every sense of the word.