Invasion of the Scream Queens (1992): 20th Anniversary Edition


Director Donald Farmer’s “Invasion of the Scream Queens” is an interesting memento of the horror world that should be preserved for posterity. Film lovers in general seem to have a very low opinion of the scream queen and how crucial they are to horror films, while they’re a mostly undocumented period of the horror and video era. “Invasion of the Scream Queen” centers on almost a dozen beautiful scream queens, all of whom sit down with director Donald Farmer to discuss their experience in the business of horror filmmaking, and their thoughts on acting.

Director Farmer doesn’t manipulate the topics or his subjects, allowing all of the women to speak freely without a censor. It’s very interesting to garner insight in to what goes in to making low budget horror films, and how much love most people have for them. One woman in particular discusses her collaboration with her husband on a horror film that was so low budget she’d mark the take with a clapper, run to film the take, and as soon as the take was over, make spaghetti for the crew members working with them. Farmer sits down with a lot of really notable scream queens, as well as noted cult director David DeCouteau, and there are no delusions about the work they perform on film. Most of the scream queens in general are somewhat self-important, and a bit too naïve, which make some of the interviews a bit sad.

Especially the interviews with the scream queens that express desperation with wanting to work with Scorsese or Woody Allen; but that’s the basic nutshell of what being a scream queen was. You starred in D grade productions, made money, and you either rose in to mainstream stardom like Jamie Lee Curtis, or continued working comfortably as a scream queen immortalized in the horror world like Brinke Stevens. The interviews can go on a bit long at times, but that’s passable when you consider much of the interesting anecdotes mined from women like Mary Woronov, Michelle Bauer, and Melissa Moore. To give us something of juxtaposition there are also clips from classic Hammer horror films, conveying to the audience how much the scream queen has evolved, and what inspired these gorgeous women to co-star in these horror films. If anything, “Invasion of the Scream Queens” is a worthwhile document of an important part of horror movie history and an engrossing confessional of indie filmmaking.