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Icons of Horror: Linnea Quigley

Icons of Horror

Prolific Scream Queen Reigns for 48 Years

By Elke Simmons

That Audacious Scream Queen Taught Us How to Die

“It’s too bad we had to kill her…I really liked the outfit she had on.” –Spider (Linnea Quigley) in Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama, 1988.

Undoubtedly, Linnea Quigley was and is still a relatively flexible actor. In the past, she’d acted in adult films and comedies and hosted films and television shows in addition to her roles in horror films. Her role in 1985’s Return of the Living Dead was the role that helped her to earn her “scream queen” title, and she even got engaged on the set of Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master as she played a soul reaching out of Freddie Krueger’s chest. The long list of films she has taken part in and her varied roles are evidence of her significance to the entertainment industry.

It’s been 48 years, and Linnea Quigley, the award-winning horror film scream queen, is still spreading fun in her films, television shows, and with her signature screams. The actress, producer, singer, model, author, and actress has more than 200 credits to her name, and she will do more. In addition, she still travels worldwide to horror conventions to meet her fans.

Linnea Quigley is a multi-faceted character in her own right. She has written two books, has modeled for a PETA campaign, and is a representative for the South Florida Wildlife Center. The most significant award she has won to date was in 2017 when Playboy Magazine named her “The Sexiest Scream Queen of All Time.” Quigley was the 1992 Winner of the Fangoria Horror Hall of Fame. Also, She won the 2014 Best Actress Award with The Underground Monster Carnival for the 2014 film, They Came From the Ether. Next, she was ranked ninth on Maxim’s “Hottest Women of Horror Movies” list. Linnea Quigley is a horror force to be reckoned with. She even has the quirky honor of having some extra unique death scenes, such as a showerhead going through her chest in the 1989 film, Witchtrap, and in 1984’s Silent Night, Deadly Night she was killed by being skewered on wall-mounted deer antlers. 

Was it the Tantalizing Toothpaste That Hooked You?

Linnea Quigley was born Linnea Barbara Quigley on May 27, 1958, in Davenport, Iowa, with a population of approximately 75,000. Her father was a psychologist and chiropractor, and her mother was a housewife. Heath and Dorothy Quigley moved the family to Los Angeles in the mid-1970s, where Linnea starred in her first television commercial advertising toothpaste. These early jobs are what gave Quigley the acting bug. 

Next, one of her first film roles was in the 1975 film Wheeler, later renamed Psycho From Texas when she played a barmaid. This film was one of her first nude scenes. But, her role in Return of the Living Dead in 1985 was her break-out role. From 1978 on, in most years, Quigley performed in at least two films – in some years, she performed more than ten films! From 1981’s Graduation Day to Silent Night, Deadly Night in 1984, to Shock Cinema: Volume 3 in 1991, to Kolobos in 1999, there weren’t too many B-movies she wouldn’t work. 

Besides those roles, it might surprise horror fans that Quigley was offered several parts in mainstream or A-list movies. In 1995, she was cast as a demon in the Clive Barker film Lord of Illusion, but her scenes were cut. She played a small part in the 1980 film American Gigolo, but it was cut too. Further, she was cast in a supporting role in the 1982 film Reservoir Dogs, but that role was removed from the script. She even turned down a role in the 1982 film, The House on Sorority Row.

Icons of Horror

Bloody Thrills Scream a Lifetime of Frightening Frills

Linnea Quigley created a unique career that will make her stand out from the crowd for a long time. The actress has different screams for different types of scenes. She demonstrates her different kinds of screams in interviews and her movies. Second, she has the distinctive reputation of being the scream queen, with possibly the largest number of nude shower scenes in all of horror B-movie history. In one interview, Quigley stated that she would not do an x-rated scene, but she was okay doing a nude scene if she was by herself and if it made sense in the scene. Quigley has admitted that she enjoys working on low-budget films because the actor has more say and doesn’t have as many people telling them what to do.

Obviously, she’s not ready to retire. In 2021, Quigley hosted her own paranormal show, Paranormal Truth, which is still streaming for free on Tubi and Roku. In 2022, she finished a sequel to one of her best-known movies, Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama 2. In this sequel, Quigley plays Mama Spider, the sorority house mother who is the sorority babes’ guide through their adventures. She completed at least nine projects in 2022. 

The Wild Perks of Fame in the World of Horror

Linnea Quigley has taken part in projects that are made especially for her or scream queens in general. In the 1990 horror/comedy Linnea Quigley’s Horror Workout, Quigley exercises as she fights chubby zombies and has a slumber party with her friends. In the 1993 documentary B-Movie Queens Revealed, she is interviewed about her comedy movies, the Vice Academy series. Quigley has admitted that she likes to do horror films that have some comedy because she likes to make people laugh. 

Still, Linnea Quigley felt she was labeled or typecast because of her roles in low-budget films and her previous nudity. She said during that time, if you got that typecast, people with higher-budget cinema didn’t want to use you. Quigley said she would have loved to act in Resident Evil (2002). 

The good news is now that many of her fans, who were small watching her earlier movies, are growing up. Some of these children now work in the entertainment industry and want to give jobs to their idols. Quigley is one of their idols. Quigley said she’s had some good jobs more recently, but they were still low-budget. She says she would love to try directing, but it would be easier if she were in Los Angeles. 

Looking to the future, when asked what other kinds of roles she might want to try, Quigley says she likes documentary-style movies and would like to play a non-fictional character. Quigley also said she loves true crime and wouldn’t mind hosting a true crime show. Quigley wants people to think of her more current roles where she plays a mother or interesting roles with no shower scenes. Quigley wants people to know that she is not just a scream queen. She is devoted to protecting animals, and her life in South Florida is full of animals and animal activism. 

For more information on all things Linnea Quigley, visit https://linnea-quigley.com.

Icons of Horror

The Return of the Living Dead (1985) Official Orion Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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Elke Simmons' writing portfolio includes contributions to The Laredo Morning Times, Walt Disney World Eyes and Ears, Extinction Rebellion (XR) News/Blog, and Dead Talk News.