I think it’s only fair to spill the beans right out of the gate: I’ve been cheating on you.
You see, a week ago, I wrote a love letter to Joe Bob Briggs explaining how he’s the horror zaddy to end all horror zaddies. Something about his verbose eloquence, encyclopedic knowledge of film history, and rugged good looks, get me excited on more than one level . . . if you know what I mean, and I think you do. (If you’re reading this piece, Joe Bob, I promise that I won’t steal that joke anymore).
But I’ve seen the error of my ways, Jamie Lee, and I’m coming to you on bended knees begging, “Will you please take me back?”
For most people—myself included—you were the first. Every Halloween season, when parents sit their children down all across the world to watch their first horror movie, it’s probably gonna be one of yours.
As Laurie Strode in John Carpenter’s Halloween, and its subsequent sequels, you were our savior in the night, guiding us away from the relentless force of evil that is Michael Myers. As Hitch in Richard Franklin’s Road Games—one of the most underrated horror movies of all time—you provided levity amidst a high-stakes game of cat-and-mouse with a serial killer. In The Fog, Prom Night, and Terror Train, you snatched the wigs, stole the crown, and cemented your title as the mother of all Scream Queens. In Halloween (2018) and Scream Queens—the short-lived, horror-comedy series on Fox—you became an icon. You’re a gateway drug into the larger world of horror for most new fans.
Men get terms like “zaddy” to compliment them, but the closest thing women get is “MILF” or “cougar.” Those terms are kinda squicky and don’t sit right. “Zaddy” says a man has swagger, charm, and good looks without explicitly saying you want to f**k them. “MILF” and “cougar” don’t have the same connotation.
But, you know what? Those terms don’t quite fit you any way, Jamie Lee.
So kick back a couple shots of Activia, take a minute or two away from World of Warcraft, and brace yourself, because you’re a boss. But you’re not just any boss, you’re the horror boss to end all horror bosses.
So, if you’re not yelling, “Turn the damn computer off already! I don’t wanna read any more of that bullshit,” then let me tell you why I think you’re a horror boss.
Number One: You were a waitress on an episode of Columbo. I know, I know, I know—this is a super strange way to start off this list, but it’s true. Columbo is one of those classic shows that most millennials need to start binging, but your brief appearance in “The Bye-Bye Sky High I.Q. Murder Case,” showed you had the acting chops to go the distance. When Columbo—played by the incomparable Peter Falk—comes into your diner chomping down on a donut, you ask, “You buy that here?” and then one of the best gags of the series plays out. The scene is sparse on dialogue, but heavy on pitch-perfect mugging for the camera from you and Falk. Your commitment to the up-tight waitress makes the whole thing land.
Number Two: You were Helen Tasker in James Cameron’s True Lies. I’m not gonna talk about that scene where you strip for your husband—played by Arnold Schwarzenegger—in a staged spy mission where the would-be target is actually your husband in disguise, but I’m sure that it got a lot of girls and boys excited down in their nether regions.
In 1994, when True Lies debuted, the box office was ruled by male-driven action movies, but in walked Helen Tasker. Now, a lot of people probably wouldn’t consider Helen Tasker one of the best action movie heroines of all time, but a lot of people are wrong about a lot of stuff and this is one of them. Helen Tasker’s arc from a conservative, stay-in-her-shell woman to a brassy, take-no-shit-from-no-one badass deserves to be recognized as one of the best action movie heroines of all time.
Number Three: You sure are funny. Most people probably think of you as a Scream Queen first-and-foremost, but they’re really doing you a disservice. Your turns in Trading Places, A Fish Called Wanda, and Freaky Friday should be the stuff of comedy legend.
Number Four: I’m not gonna lie, Jamie Lee, I didn’t know about this one until I started researching this piece, but I think it’s something more people should know about you: you’re a prolific children’s book author. It just another thing that makes you even more super awesome.
Number Five: I mentioned it before, but I’m gonna call it out again because more people need to see this movie. You played Hitch in Richard Franklin’s Road Games. Franklin was hailed as the Australian Alfred Hitchcock—he even directed Psycho II—but to take a risk making this movie when your career was on the upswing, should be applauded. It’s charming, moody, beautifully filmed, and features outstanding performances from you, Stacy Keach, and a “dingo” named Boswell.
Number Six: You’re Laurie Strode in the Halloween franchise for god’s sake, ‘nuff said.
Welp, there you have it, Jamie Lee, those are just some of the reasons why I think you’re a horror boss. While Joe Bob is a close second, you’re definitely number one in my book, and I’m sorry for being led momentarily astray.
But if you and Joe Bob wanna get together and film something cool for Shudder or start your own podcast series, I won’t complain.
With love and kisses,