5 Favorite Iconic Female Horror Performances Picked By ‘Proxy’ Director Zack Parker!!

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Director Zack Parker‘s controversial new film Proxy opens on April 18th on various VOD platforms via IFC Midnight. It will also be opening in New York’s IFC Center with a Nationwide rollout to follow. Check out our review here!

A very pregnant Esther Woodhouse is walking home after her latest OB appointment, when she is brutally attacked and disfigured by a hooded assailant. When Esther seeks consolation in a support group, she finds friendship and empathy in Melanie, another mother scarred with tragedy. Esther soon begins to believe that the horrific event might be a bittersweet act of fate. However, friendship and empathy can be very dangerous things when accepted by the wrong people.” Alexia Rasmussen, Alexa Havins, Halloween‘s Kristina Klebe, and The Sacrament and V/H/S‘ Joe Swanberg all star.

I’ll have an interview with Joe Swanberg up later this week, but first I wanted to share this list Zack Parker sent us. Proxy is a movie built around bold female performances, and we wanted to know which iconic films informed his choices!

Head below to check out Parker’s 5 Favorite Iconic Female Horror Performances!!

Mia Farrow – Rosemary’s Baby


“They say some actors are born to play a role. If this is true, it certainly applies to Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby. A film that has captured the inspiration and admiration of several generations of filmmakers, Roman Polanski’s gothic and densely atmospheric tale of a mother-to-be (who may or may not be carrying the spawn of Satan in her womb) set a new standard in intellectual horror. Farrow’s at first sweet and innocent Rosemary Woodhouse slowly becomes the only line of defense between her unborn child and the deceptive witches that live beyond her walls. Farrow captures the paranoia and maternal protectiveness of Rosemary with such charm and presence that her performance still unlocks layers of depth upon nearly five decades of viewing.”

Charlotte Gainsbourg – Antichrist


“If anything can be said about Lars Von Trier, it’s that he is a singular filmmaker who is making some of the most challenging and inventive films of our times. If anything can be said about Charlotte Gainsbourg, after working with von Trier on three films, it’s that she’s probably the bravest actress on the planet. I believe the most difficult thing an actor can do is to surrender themselves completely to a director. Gainsbourg leaves nothing, be it physical or emotional, behind in this somber and fascinating tale of a couple grieving and examining the loss of their young son. In my eyes, it’s one of the rawest, courageous, and most authentic performances I’ve seen by a woman (or man for that matter) on screen.”

Janet Leigh – Psycho


“I think few could disagree that that Janet Leigh’s Marion Crane in Psycho is anything less than iconic. Growing up, years before seeing the actual film, I already knew about “the shower scene.” Didn’t we all? While on the surface just another “Hitchcock Blonde,” Leigh was able to transcend this trope to create a character comprised of charisma and humanity. We believe without doubt that this strong and progressive woman will carry this story, and we must, otherwise one of the greatest and most daring narrative shifts in the history of cinema would never have worked.”

Piper Laurie – Carrie


“Yes, Sissy Spacek is absolutely amazing in Brian DePalma’s stylish and vengeful fantasy of anyone that’s ever fell victim to school bullies and humiliation, but Piper Laurie is on a whole other level. Portraying simultaneously the epitome of an overbearing mother and a religious fanatic, in my opinion Laurie steals every scene through her wildly insane and wicked hilarious performance of Margaret White. In what could very easily drift into extreme melodrama, Laurie creates an incredibly unique and colorful portrayal of a mother who is just trying to protect her daughter from the evils of this world, even if one of those evils is herself.”

Catherine Deneuve – Repulsion


“Another Polanski masterpiece, and in my personal opinion, his most underrated. Deneuve’s skillfully quiet and withdrawn Carol is easily one of the most accomplished introverted performances ever. Through virtually no dialogue, Deneuve executes a spiral of paranoia, compulsiveness, and mental fracture that is as much fascinating as it is horrifying. A must for, not only horror fans, but cinephiles alike, Polanski and Deneuve showcase the power that visuals and expression possess when used to sheer perfection.”

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  • djblack1313

    pretty good list! for me no one beats Cecile De France in HIGH TENSION. easily one of the best performances i’ve ever seen.

    but HELL YES(!!) to Piper Laurie (and i’d add Sissy Spacek to the list both for CARRIE). also…

    Alysson Paradis from INSIDE.

    Morjana Alaoui and especially Mylène Jampanoï (both from MARTYRS)

    Karina Testa from FRONTIER(S).

    as you can tell i’m a fan of French horror. lol.

    • Astroid_Andy

      I fully agree with your list except Frontier(s), that movie left me wanting so much more after all the hype was built up around it. I guess I desensitized myself with repeated viewing of Martyrs and A Serbian Film, but Frontier(s) was just a disappointment for me, and I’ve grown very fond of French Horror.

  • Evan3

    Ugh. I will never understand the adoration some people have for von Trier. He is a maniac and his films are barely coherent, let alone “good.” I don’t think that an actress simulating incredibly painful sex is particularly brave either. Boo to this list.

  • bluegrasslass

    I totally agree with djblack1313 on all counts; Piper Laurie is amazing. What about Billie Whatelaw in The Omen (1976)? – she exudes malevolence! Speaking of French films – Karina Ford as Yasmin and Maude Forget as Eva in Frontiér(s), play very different but very strong characters.

    • bluegrasslass

      Really? Try watching Dancer in the Dark and *not* be moved to tears.

  • bluegrasslass

    *Billie Whitelaw … fml