13th SHE’S STILL GOT IT
Born – May 27 1958 Davenport Iowa
Active – 1978 – present
Status – SCREAM QUEEN!
Linnea is the ultimate scream queen. A stalwart of low-budget horror and exploitation in the 1980s and 1990s, and has appeared in over 100 acting roles. She moved to LA in the late 1970s and began a career in modelling. She was soon spotted (after appearing as an extra in a number of films) and given her first role in Fairy Tales (1978, dir Harry Hurwitz), a sex comedy in which she played Sleeping Beauty.
Of the role, Linnea recalls “I remember writing in my diary ‘I’m a star’ and I thought I was really going places.”
Linnea’s first horror movie audition was for Don’t Go Near The Park (1981, dir Lawrence D Foldes). Linnea had yet to even take an acting class at this point, so the audition both excited and scared her.
“There’s a lot of things that you’re not prepared to do, like looking at nothing and being petrified, or in love, or sad…but especially scared. You feel kinda dumb…and if you’re not a good screamer then it sounds really bad. It’s embarrassing”
Linnea was thrilled to get a part in the movie, as she was a fan of horror movies, watching Saturday night ‘Creature Features’ at home with her girlfriends.
A slew of horror and exploitation roles would follow, including Troma production Graduation Day (1981, dir Herb Freed); Savage Streets (1984, dir Danny Steinmann) and Silent Night, Deadly Night (1084, dir Charles E Sellier).
There was one role in particular that cemented Quigley’s reputation and made her familiar to horror fans the world over, in Dan O’Bannon’s 1985 horror comedy Return of the Living Dead. This was one of 3 iconic Scream Queen roles that gave Quigley a chance to show off not just her body but her acting chops, bringing a unique sense of comic timing to help raise the following films to cult status:
Linnea knew the role of Trash in Return of the Living Dead was something different, something exciting: “I read for the directors and did the scene with the famous line, ‘Do you ever wonder about all the different ways of dying?’ and they loved it and I so shocked and happy. I really loved the movie and loved the idea of punk rock and being a tough chick, which was so fun.”
Quigley would go on to cement her Scream Queen status in a number of low-budget exploitation movies such as Creepozoids (1987, dir David De Coteau), Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama (1988, dir David De Coteau), Blood Nasty (1989, dir Richard Gabai, Robert Strauss) and Robot Ninja (1990, dir J R Bookwalter).
Her next big claim to fame would come in Linnea Quigley’s Horror Workout (1990, dir Kenneth J Hall). The video is both a celebration and parody of Linnea’s status as a Scream Queen, and of the various low-budget horror and exploitation roles she made her own. Sending up cheesy celebrity workout videos as much as movies, it features Linnea in choreographed workouts with zombies, sorority sisters and an extended shower sequence for the mandatory nudity.
Linnea Quigley continues to star in genre cinema to this day. She has written three books on her life in B movies. Linnea is a vegan, an animal rights activist and an active member of PETA.
All Hail Linnea Quigley!
REFERENCES AND FURTHER READING:
Dangerous Minds (2015) Scream Queen Linnea Quigley’s Horror Workout
McCrown-Levy, Alex (2015) What’s it like to be a horror movie scream queen?