Is Dame Joan Collins really an indie Scream Queen?
Updated: Jul 22, 2021
Dame Joan Collins is known as a British and Hollywood icon, diva, and a glamorous actress that has spanned generations. Dame Joan Collins has taken on some incredible roles during her career. From playing the hair pulling queen of camp Alexis Carrington in the hit series 'Dynasty' which put her in the homes of millions on a weekly basis. Joan's film debut came in the short film "Facts and Fancies" (1951), and her feature film debut in "Lady Godiva Rides Again" (1951), where she played an unnamed Beauty Queen Contestant. She had supporting roles as the Greek maid Marina in "The Woman's Angle" (1952) and gangster's moll Lil Carter in "Judgment Deferred" (1952).
Joan had her big break when cast as juvenile delinquent Norma Hart in prison drama "I Believe in You" (1952). She was hailed as Britain's new "bad girl" and started being offered high-profile roles in British films. The next stage in her career started when cast as Princess Nellifer of Egypt in the historical epic "Land of the Pharaohs" (1955), an international production . Before Joan was offered a 7-year-long contract with American studio 20th Century Fox. Collins took the offer. Joan's film roles and notoriety continue to climb to amazing heights over many years. With over 130+ acting credits to her name. Growing up in the United Kingdom I was well aware who Dame Joan Collins was. But i never noticed until today that she had managed under the radar to earn herself another title (as well as the thousands of awards already owned). That is the title of a Scream Queen?
Here's the facts:
Dame Joan Collins first entered the horror world in 1971, starring in the film 'Inn of the Frightened People' also distributed as 'Revenge' and 'Terror From Under The House'. The film focuses on a British family that takes revenge into its own hands in avenging their recently slain daughter.
In 1972 Dame Joan continued into the world of horror appearing in 'Tales from the Crypt' set around five people that find themselves in a tomb. The Crypt keeper explains why they are there through a series of frightening stories. Based on the classic comic book.
The same year (1972) Dame Joan Collins starred in 'Fear of the Night' Dame Joan Collins takes on the character of Peggy Heller, who is dealing with a long recovery from a trauma of physical assault, suffered in her youth. When she marries Robert, he provides her with the love and reassurance she craved for and the two settle down in a pretty house in the grounds of the public school where Robert is the headmaster. But the headmaster of the school is not what he seems and Penny is convinced he means to harm her - is her fear a figment of her tortured imagination or are there forces at work that intend to manipulate her anxieties. Photo still from: 'Fear of the Night' (1972).
It appears the early 70's were non-stop horror movies for the Dame. In 1973 Dame Joan Collins appeared in 'Tales that Witness Madness' the synopsis is: Dr Tremayne is an enigmatic Psychiatrist running an asylum housing four very special cases. Visited by colleague Nicholas, Tremayne explains his amazing and controversial theories as to why each of the four patients went mad...cue four distinct tales each with a different set of characters.
Additionally in 1973 Dame Joan appeared in "Dark Places" which was focused on a scheming couple that plot to conceal stolen money from its rightful owner. The only problem is that the house they plan to hide it in is haunted.
In 1975 "I Don't Want To Be Born' was released, also released under the title of 'The Devil Within Her'. The story of the film is about a woman gives birth to a baby, but this is no ordinary little baby. The child is seemingly possessed by the spirit of a revengeful mother once spurned.
1977 brought about my personal favourite of Dame Joan Collins horror movies - 'Empire Of The Ants'. This movie oozes fun, slight cheesiness (but brilliant cheesiness) and I think holds up as one of the best cult movies of the late 70's. The story is about a less than honest scam artist who tries to sell phony real estate deals down in the Florida everglades. What she and her unsuspecting buyers don't know is the area has been taken over by giant ants. The effects are BRILLIANT, and for anyone looking for 70's creature feature this is the ONE!
It was not until 2018 some 41 years later that Dame Joan Collins returned the genre. Starring in Ryan Murphy's 8th season of the multiple award winning series 'American Horror Story'. Season 8 was titled 'American Horror Story: Apocalypse' which was set in the near future, nuclear missiles destroy the world and start a nuclear winter. Thanks to her family's private plane, billionaire socialite Coco St. Pierre Vanderbilt manages to escape the destruction of Los Angeles with her assistant Mallory, her hairdresser Mr. Gallant, and his grandmother, Evie. Coco's boyfriend Brock tries to meet with the plane but is stranded in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, an organization known as "The Cooperative" selects young adults to save from the apocalypse, based on their genetic makeup. Two of the selected, Timothy and Emily, are sent to Outpost 3, an underground base led by Ms. Wilhemina Venable and her assistant Ms. Mead. There, they are reunited with other survivors, including Coco, Mallory, Mr. Gallant, and Evie. Life at the Outpost includes strict rules and severe punishments. Eighteen months pass and the situation and food supplies are at critical condition at the Outpost. A man from the Cooperative, Michael Langdon, arrives and announces that he will judge who deserves to be truly saved.
I think Dame Joan Collins has all the credentials to be added to the monarchy of the horror elite royal family. What do you think? Do you agree? Let's wait and see if Collins continues to add to her terrifying legacy!