Welcome to the Women in Horror column, where once a month we discuss and highlight the amazing works of women in the horror genre.
When you think of one-liners, you almost certainly think of action films. You think of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s, “I’ll be back,” in The Terminator. Robert DeNiro’s “You talkin’ to me,” comes to mind. Or maybe you think of the dad-favorite- “Shaken, not stirred”- an iconic line used by James Bond throughout the famous franchise. No matter what comes to mind, there’s no doubt that many men in film are given some of the most talked about one-liners of all time, so much so that it becomes some of their acting style, like with franchise’s such as Fast and Furious where it’s a battle of ‘who can say the best one-liner’ between The Rock and Vin Diesel. One singular word or phrase that gets the people going, that the fans are repeating when they leave the movie theaters; the one line the stans are putting in their twitter bios. That’s the stuff they strive for.
But this column is dedicated to Women in Horror, so although those famous lines are cool, we here think there’s something more worth mentioning. We want to raise the bar. We want to set our sights on unmarked territory and talk about the unsung quotes of horror’s favorite scream queens. The horror genre is too often left out of film conversations, and women in horror are even less talked about. As you know, the writers of this column are over that BS, and we spend our time trying to highlight the badass women who have conquered this genre. Honoring the best scream queen quotes is just the next stop on this highway to hell!
“Get away from her, you b*tch!” – Ellen Ripley in Aliens (1986)
It’s really only right to start this list off with one of the best sci-fi horror franchises of all time. Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is the epitome of the woman vs. monster trope, as she holds her own against a frustratingly clever, acid-bleeding xenomorph. In arguably the best installment of the franchise, Ripley says this ultra badass line just before she dukes it out with grotesque creature.
“Not in my movie.” – Sidney Prescott in Scream (1996)
The self-awareness of Scream (1996) plays a major part in its charm. It’s a horror movie obsessed with horror movies for people who are in love with horror movies, made by a man who loved making horror. There’s about 20+ ridiculously quotable lines throughout the film, things no one says in real life, but possibly one of the best comes from the scream queen herself – Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell). Just when it’s insinuated that the killer might make a Michael Myers-esque return, Sid reminds you that her movie doesn’t play by the rules!
“Guess I remembered the safety that time, bastard.” – Gail Weathers in Scream (1996)
While we’re here, we might as well mention the other heroine of the Scream franchise, Gail Weathers (Courteney Cox). Obviously, a better detective than her sweet beau, Gail can’t just mind her damn business. It makes her frustrating sometimes, but also a key element to the winning side every time. We first see her come through and save the day after shooting Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich) and smugly reciting this epic line.
“It was the boogeyman.” – Laurie Strode in Halloween (1978)
A common theme of Halloween is the idea of a man being more monster than human. The idea of the boogeyman seems to haunt the young children, while the teenagers laugh such trivialities off. Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) begins the film denying such a thing exists, but after her grisly night, she says these chilling words that seem to finalize the franchises sentiment about Michael Myers.
“You are one ugly motherf-!” – Alexa Woods in Alien vs. Predator (2004)
Sanaa Lathan teaming up with predator to defeat the xenomorph in the middle of an ice cave? Sign us up! Somehow the alien can make the predator look like the good guy, and with Lathan by his side, it’s just chef’s kiss. And finally someone’s not calling the Predator ugly because this insult was aimed at the xenomorph.
“I take back every bit of energy I ever gave to you. You’re nothing. You’re shit!” – Nancy Thompson in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
This line seems to perfectly capture what every final girl feels about their villain. After killing her friends and keeping her up at night, Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) is fed up with Freddy Kreuger (Robert Englund). She realizes that the only power he has is what she gives to him, and she takes it all back. It’s so empowering and kickass to watch.
“I stuck a blender in his head and killed him.” – Erin in You’re Next (2011)
There’s too much collective amnesia when it comes to You’re Next (2011) and talks about scream queens. Sharni Vinson gives such a fun performance as Erin, and the creativity of moments in the film are just unforgettable. Including this one. Yes, she did exactly what it sounds like she did!
“F*king rich people!” – Grace Le Domas in Ready or Not (2019)
Ready Or Not was definitely one of the most talked about horror movies of 2019 – mainly due to its lead, Samara Weaving. As an actress, she is a force to be reckoned with especially because of her comedic timing and excitement in every role. Ready or Not captures all of what she can bring to a film, and it’s so worth it. Just as Grace seems to reach her peak annoyance of rich people, she goes off almost incoherently in a fit of rage that ends with this perfect line.
“Don’t you swear at me, you little shit! Don’t you ever raise your voice at me! I am your mother! You understand? All I do is worry and slave and defend you, and all I get back is that f*king face on your face!” – Annie Graham in Hereditary (2018)
Okay, this is a little bit longer than one phrase, but if it can fit in a 15 second Tik Tok then it stays. This short monologue does just that, and you can watch hundreds of fans of the film re-enact it on Tik Tok right now. Toni Collette gives one her best performances, and then gets grossly snubbed during awards season. But we know the truth. This performance alone is what made you so scared and uncomfortable most of the time, and this scene in particular will have you holding your breath until you’re blue in the face.
“They’re here.” – Carol Anne in Poltergeist (1982)
You can hear that little voice ring in your head as you read the lines right now. Heather O’Rourke as Carol Anne is just a chilling, yet adorable performance. This small line has been re-applied to pop culture references since the release of the film, and Carol Anne lives on forever in the hearts of horror fans everywhere.
“Be afraid. Be very afraid.” – Veronica Quaife in The Fly (1986)
You’d be lying if you said that The Fly (1986) isn’t an attractive film. Ok, hear me out… Geena Davis. If the practical effects aren’t enough to make you love and awe this film, then let the performances do that. Davis’ character trying to rattle some sense into Jeff Goldblum turns into a tagline used in modern conversation.
Header image courtesy of Bryanstan Distributing Company