Role in the horror community: Queen of the zombie sub-genre
Claim to fame: Leading lady of Night of the Living Dead (1968 and 1990)
Weapon of choice: Screaming and fainting. But every once in a while she uses a blunt object of some kind. Barbara isn’t much of a fighter until she pulls her shit together (at the last second) and surprises everyone by fighting a bit.
Why she’s bloody brilliant: Barbara, from the 1968 original, is one of the most important leading ladies in horror ever. Sure, she starts out as an unwilling participant (don’t they all?), but does her small part in the end. She always provides a reality check for everyone, too–there are friggin’ zombies outside!
Although people have criticized Barbara as being a burden, I like to think of her more as the surprise ending! She’s the face of the beginning of a hugely important sub-genre in horror and the subject of one of the most quoted horror lines in history (see below).
The ’90s version of Barbara is a whole other story. She gets the Terminator style makeover and a big ol’ gun. It seems like Tom Savini (the remake’s director) wanted to make up for Romero’s version by amping up Barbara’s badass side. These Barbaras aren’t even a bit alike and, honestly, the original Barbara is my favourite. She may not seem equipped for a zombie life, but she is the voice of reality and honesty.