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The Scream Queens of Film: Mary Elizabeth Winstead

August 3, 2012


Mary Elizabeth Winstead has been featured in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012), the remake/prequel of The Thing (2011), Grindhouse: Death Proof (2007), Final Destination 3 (2006), The Ring Two (2005) and Black Christmas (2006).  That’s one fictionalized horror period piece (Abe), two remakes, one exploitation flick and two sequels.  Quite the scream queen by her late 20s, huh?  She really impresses in Smashed (2012) and has proven she is mature, versatile and quite capable.

However, her performance in The Thing (2011) felt forced and gratuitous (just to add a woman to the cast, really–more a fault of the writers), and she really brought nothing to the table.  In Black Christmas (2006) her character was no more memorable than any of the other stale roles.  Is this her fault?  Maybe partly, but I’m tempted to say no.  She was basically cast as “scientist chick” and “sorority chick #2” in these movies, the writers gave her little to work with, and directors with limited vision likely restricted her ability flex her skills.

Most recently she has had significant roles in The Returned (2015 TV series) and now another pseudo-sequel 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016), the entire duration of which finds her in a tank top (check out this essay on Tank Top Horror; it’s a thing, I swear) and a considerable series of scene featuring her in her short boyshorts underwear.

10cl_poster 10-cloverfield-laneuntitled

But, despite being legitimately terrified, she is no helpless damsel in distress.  In his recent review of the film, Mark put it best: “What I love about Michelle is she is industrious, intelligent and believable. I’ve always been a fan of Winstead’s work and I was really happy to see her get a showcase role. She adds a maturity and toughness that doesn’t feel forced and you actually like her as a character. She is always looking to escape, but also realizes just how insane the outside world has become. She is stuck between a rock and a hard place, so she spends her time figuring out how to survive.”  –Mark Hofmeyer, MoviesFilmsandFlix founder


CONFESSION:  I recently discovered that I have a major crush on this woman. Also, this shot isn’t out-of-focus. Cameras made by man simply lack the ability to capture the excellence of how Mary fills a pair of jeans.

At 5’8” and boasting some classic pin-up features, she’s exactly what horror fans are looking for: the long-legged girl next door who’s always running away from something scary.  Hopefully she’ll maintain her current pace.  Winstead is a solid actress!

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)

Now that her career has been met with increased success I’d like to think she can shine no matter how short-sighted filmmakers may be.  I just really wish she could have broken through “bad movie” limitations like Sharni Vinson did in You’re Next (2013), another bad movie–Sharni SAVED that movie from utter failure.  The Thing (2011) was dreadful, but Winstead could have saved it in the same way–she had the skills.  It’s not her fault that she didn’t.  That movie really had no business being remade/prequeled yet anyway.  But oh how I wish…  As it turns out Black Christmas (1974) was a movie that was perhaps worthy of a remake.  Sadly, the inexperienced director helming the project had no business taking that on and Winstead was left drowning in the wake of his failure.  Oh, well.  Next time, Winstead.  Next time.  And with her spectacular success in 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016), I have full confidence in her abilities.  She has matured from a very good actress to a great one.  That said, I both look forward to her future forays into horror/thrillers, and still happily enjoy her earlier work as well.

Final Destination 3; wearing her friend’s blood on her face

Bring it, horror movie bad guys!

12 Comments leave one →
  1. August 4, 2012 12:46 pm

    Meg and I wanted more info about the Winstead. We love Scott Pilgrim and Live Free or Die Hard. She is one of those smart yet physically capable women that is perfect for brawling bad guys. What about the Perfect Getaway ladies?

    • johnleavengood permalink
      August 4, 2012 1:44 pm

      Well then one of you should write an Actor Spotlight on her. This is a Scream Queen page. There’s no room for feisty cop’s kids or emo Canadians with baggage here.


  1. The Scream Queens of Film [index] « Movies, Films & Flix
  2. John’s Horror Corner: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012) « Movies, Films & Flix
  3. Bad Movie Tuesday: Horror Czar: The Politics of Creating a Nickname « Movies, Films & Flix
  4. John’s Horror Corner: The Thing (2011)…that shouldn’t have been remade | Movies, Films & Flix
  5. The Best Horror Came from the 80s: Horror movies that stand the Test of Time and their more modern counterparts, Part 1 | Movies, Films & Flix
  6. Black Christmas (2006), a prime example of how exposition truly is the death of horror…that, and lousy remakes | Movies, Films & Flix
  7. The TOP 10 Survivors of Horror | Movies, Films & Flix
  8. The MFF Podcast #51: 10 Deadpool Lane | Movies, Films & Flix
  9. John’s Horror Corner: Final Destination 3 (2006), still loads of shocking gory fun, but missing the heart and soul of the first two. | Movies, Films & Flix
  10. Love, Death & Robots (2019), the animated Sci-Fi anthology series I’ve waited my whole life to see! | Movies, Films & Flix

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