- Tara Kaye Judah
5 Scream Queens from Summer Bay
(Melissa George in Triangle)
When Janet Leigh screamed in Psycho’s famous shower scene she started something. The term “scream queen” comes from the slasher subgenre of horror films and has traditionally been a title given to ‘hot women’ who scream. So well established within its subgenre and familiar to fans it’s actually become more of a generic trope than an actress’s role.
But things are changing and it’s not always about watching beautiful women in distress – of course there are still films that fit that bill too. But I want to focus here on the positive instances where sexualised terror and the festishisation of female fear are being turned on its head. Better still, right at the helm are some of our very own home grown Australian actresses, who’ve since made their way to Hollywood.
From the sunny, sandy edges of Sydney, and more specifically Summer Bay, Home and Away has launched many successful international acting careers – some more so than others. Whether working in genre films is the final destination or just a pit stop on their way through the Hills on Mulholland Drive, these five former Summer Bay babes have shed their school uniforms and let their pigtails down to take up axes, run from the likes of machete-wielding maniacs, vampires, existential trauma and ocean liners full of their own corpses, amongst other things.
Starting with the cautionary tales here’s a crash guide to five Australian actresses trajectory of how to be more than just a scream queen after graduating from Summer Heights’ High.
The first in our list is Isabel Lucas who started out as Tasha Andrews, a young girl who could only speak pig Latin when she arrived in Summer Bay. Having adoptive survivalist parents she spent a fair portion of her time on the show looking for her biological parents before joining a cult called The Believers who later held her against her will and impregnated her.
From the implausible to the impossible, Lucas soon found herself working for the man responsible for cinema editing so fast you can’t see a thing: Michael Bay. At around the same time that she made Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) Lucas also had her horror genre debut with Aussie vampire plague movie Daybreakers (2009). A decent enough opportunity to display talent, Lucas was let down by a poor attempt at an American accent before the computer generated world burnt her alive with matched CG enhanced screams.(Daybreakers, 2009)
Due to the computer generated enhancement it’s difficult to gauge just how much of the performance should be credited to her and how much should go to the moguls in the post-production suites. Either way, in terms of future casting it paved the way for Lucas to earn roles in often forgettable and sometimes regrettable titles like The Waiting City (2009), The Wedding Party (2010), A Heartbeat Away (2011), Immortals (2011) and Red Dawn (2012) and not much since.
Lucas’ awards booty consists of a Logie and a Young Hollywood Award, unfortunately both subversion and talent appear to be missing from her list of achievements.
(Continued next page)
- Tara Kaye Judah