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WRITTEN REVIEW: Screaming in High Heels: The Rise & Fall of the Scream Queen

Screaming in High Heels tells the tale of how the direct to video market created an environment that was directly responsible for the “scream queen”. While some were scream queens decades earlier, Linnea Quigley, Michelle Bauer and Brinke Stevens did it the best, making a career for themselves being cheeky girlfriends, topless killers or damsels in distress frantically trying to escape the alien monster.

Screaming in High Heels shows how these three young ladies first got turned on to acting, and as their fandom grew so did their résumés. In the end the market dried up as video rental died and scream queens imitations muddied the waters. They more or less have retired as scream queens but often still find acting work today.

It’s a rather interesting chain of events that occurred. As home video became the recreation of choice in the 1980’s, Mom ‘n’ Pop movie rentals were hungry for original and unique movies to rent. This created the “direct to video” market that consisted almost exclusively of horror and sci-fi B-movies, made on a micro budget. Film makers usually had a 5 day turn around and couldn’t afford to hire well known mainstream actresses and they began to hire any women who could act, was attractive and didn’t mind being topless. Enter Linnea Quigley, Michelle Bauer and Brinke Stevens.

The scream queens three were favorites among this type of film maker because they were always willing to work and had an easy going, blue collar sensibility when it came to making B-movies. This resulted in more films for them to star in, which in turn made their names almost as well known as mainstream actresses, creating a fandom centered around them, who eagerly awaited their next film.

Screaming in High Heels is both interesting and fun. If you grew up watching these movies or are just discovering some of them for the first time, Screaming in High Heels makes for an excellent companion. Check it out.


★ ★ ★