Ten Frightening Fashion Icons to Stream this Spooky Szn
Being a huge enthusiast of both film and fashion, my vision board is filled with stills of some of my favorite movie stars, like Grace Kelly in Rear Window (1954), Su Li-zhen in In the Mood for Love (2000), and Anna Karina in Bande a Part (1964). Halloween also happens to be my favorite holiday, and during my spooky pre-Halloween movie marathons I couldn’t help but notice that many of the female leads and supporting characters have impeccable taste.
In the recent revival of Y2K and early 2000s fashion, we’ve all re-obsessed over Megan Fox in Jennifer’s Body (2009) and the goth schoolgirl fits in The Craft (1996), but read on for a few more spooky fashion queens.
1. Veronica Lake as Jennifer in “I Married a Witch” (René Clair, 1942)
In this rom-com, Veronica Lake plays a 17th century witch who comes back to life in the 20th century to terrorize the handsome young descendant of the man who sentenced her to death. At the time, Lake was famous for the dramatic sideswept bangs that obscured her right eye, and the hairstyle became hugely popular during the early 1940s. As women began working in manufacturing plants during World War II, the style became physically dangerous and disruptive in factories — to the point that Lake had to make a PSA discouraging women from wearing the style!
Where to stream: HBO Max, Apple TV, Kanopy, Prime Video
2. Jaroslava Schallerova as Valerie in “Valerie and Her Week of Wonders” (Jaromil Jireš, 1970)
Schallerova plays a teenage girl who begins a simultaneously mystical and sexual awakening when she tries on a pair of magical earrings. I have spent multiple summers looking for a white dress like the one she wears in this film, and have yet to find anything nearly as chic.
Where to stream: Prime Video, YouTube, Vudu, Kanopy, Apple TV
3. Jessica Harper as Suzy in “Suspiria” (Dario Argento, 1977)
I will forever stand by the 1977 original, although the 2018 take on this horror classic was pretty impressive. In addition to director Dario Argento’s highly saturated visuals, the crocheted cardigan, beige dress, and fresh-faced makeup that Suzy dons in the film is an absolute 70s look. And don’t even get me started on that perfectly coiffed lob.
Where to stream: Prime Video, Vudu
4. Every character in “The Neon Demon” (Nicolas Winding Refn, 2016)
Okay, this is to be expected, because The Neon Demon is a horror/thriller take on the fashion industry, but every single outfit in the film is impeccable. I especially appreciated the contrast between the bold, experimental clothes that the models wore when they were working and the muted, nude tones they wore during their off-time.
Where to stream: Prime Video
5. Samantha Robinson as Elaine Parks in “The Love Witch” (Anna Biller, 2016)
People on Instagram seem to finally be giving this film the recognition it deserves. I adore everything about this film’s 1960s aesthetic and Elaine’s flawless execution of the Priscilla Presley look. I don’t want to dress like Elaine Parks for Halloween — I want to look like that every day of the year.
Where to stream: Prime Video, Kanopy, Vudu, fuboTV, Pluto TV
6. Teri McMinn as Pam in “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (Toby Hooper, 1974)
The perfection of Pam’s outfit in this film is, perhaps, overshadowed by how horrific her death scene is. Although the way she was filmed is a prime example of the male gaze in horror films, I can’t help but envy that backless halter top and those bright red shorts.
Where to stream: Tubi, Hulu, Sling, Showtime, Prime Video, fuboTV
7. Véra Clouzot as Christina Delassalle and Simone Signoret as Nicole Horner in “Diabolique” (Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1955)
Not only is this one of the best thrillers of all time, but it’s also one of the most compelling uses of fashion as a means to convey character. In the film, Christina plays a long-suffering wife and dresses in a more matronly, traditional way than her husband’s former lover, Nicole, whose sharp boy-cut and modern style complements her cunning personality.
Where to stream: Prime Video, Kanopy
8. Kim Novak as Madeleine Elster/ Judy Barton in “Vertigo” (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)
Hitchcock was so intentional about the fashion in this film that he used details like Kim Novak’s hair, her makeup, and the colors she wore to set the mood and further the plot.
Where to stream: Hulu, fuboTV, Showtime, Vudu, YouTube, Prime Video, Sling, Apple TV
9. Sheila Vand as The Girl in “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night” (Ana Lily Amirpour, 2014)
This Iranian feminist vampire flick is one of my favorite films, hands down. Our main character, a vampire known only as The Girl, adores music and rocks a flawless punk rock look. Give it a watch for some serious eyeliner inspiration.
Where to stream: Kanopy, Prime Video, Vudu, YouTube, Apple TV
10. Fay Wray as Ann Darrow in “King Kong” (Merian C. Cooper & Ernest B. Shoedsack, 1933)
That dress! That hair! That perfectly executed, Cupid’s-Bow-accentuating lipstick! If you Google “Fay Wray King Kong,” “dress” is the one of the first suggestions that follows. While this film has rightfully been critiqued in recent years for its racist subtext, Anne Darrow’s look remains one of the most memorable in early horror cinema and set the stage for Kong remakes that seek to get the Kong universe right.
Where to stream: HBO Max, YouTube, Apple TV, Vudu, Prime Video