BY MICHELLE MEDFORD
Role in the horror community: Devoted damsel
Claim to fame: Playing Elliott’s mom in E.T. But for horror fans, she was much more, beginning with Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes in 1977, before moving on to the leading female role in the lycanthropic horror The Howling. With her pretty blonde tresses, tear-streaked face and high-pitched shrieks, she was the stereotypical damsel in distress in horror’s coming-of-age era.
Weapon of choice: She’d soon swap shrieks for guns
Why she is bloody brilliant: She has an interesting career arc in the horror world. Beginning with weak and frail roles, she moved into more protective roles, in E.T. and Cujo, before literally going guns blazing in the horror-comedy The Frighteners. Throughout the rest of the 80s, 90s and early 2000s, she stuck true to horror with an endless slew of B-movies, from movies about flesh-eating aliens (Critters), a murderer loose at a horror-thon at a local theatre (Popcorn), a gigantic alligator (Alligator II: The Mutation)–plus countless others, including shorts, that are next to impossible to track down. Most recently, she’s been making appearances in the Splat Pack’s works, including Ti West’s House of the Devil and Rob Zombie’s Halloween and The Lords of Salem. Not to mention, she also stars in the Canadian zombie flick Exit Humanity.
It’s clear that she has a passion for the genre, sticking with it for so long. She knows that she’s recognized for it and makes it a point to show up at conventions, speak to fans and mentor new actors. Watching her interviews, adoration is evidently reciprocated.
Note: This is the ending scene from The Howling.