10 best Barbara Crampton horror movies

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Deadly shopping malls, glowing goop and vicious home invasions. These are the best films of Barbara Crampton’s iconic career.

By Anna SwansonPublished October 7, 2021

October is defined in the Webster dictionary as “31 days of horror”. Don’t bother looking for it; it is true. Most people think that means highlighting one horror movie a day, but here at FSR we’ve taken that up a scary notch or nine by celebrating each day with a top ten list. This article on Barbara Crampton’s best horror movies is part of our ongoing series 31 days of horror lists.


Put the queen in Scream Queen, Barbara crampton is a living legend like no other. His unmistakable horror career spanned decades and included some of the genre’s best schlocky and spooky entries. It’s tempting to associate Crampton with his 1980s production, and indeed, his early career was a tremendous feast of fear. But Crampton has also experienced a career resurgence over the past decade, allowing entries on this list to span from 1985 to last year. When we talk about scope, this is what we mean.

Crampton’s impressive career has spanned a wide variety of subgenres as well. So whether you love scary sci-fi, low-key thrillers, or gleefully gleefully horror, there’s a Crampton movie for you. From HP Lovecraft to Home Invasions, here are the top 10 best Barbara Crampton horror movies, chosen by Brad Gullickson, Chris Coffel, Jacob Trussell, Rob Hunter, Mary Beth McAndrews, Meg Shields and myself.


10. Culture shock (2019)

Culture shock

Gigi Saul Guerrero discusses immigration and the attraction of the “American dream” by Culture shock, his entry into Hulu’s “Into the Dark” series. Martha Higareda plays Marisol, a Mexican immigrant who crosses the border to the United States in the hope of a better life. Of course, this is America, so what she really discovers is a suburban nightmare masquerading as a pleasant utopia. Along the way, she wakes up in the pastel house of Betty, an all-American housewife cut from the fabric of Donna Reed played by the exceptional Barbara crampton. Betty is too nice and always too smiley. Pretty, blonde and healthy, Betty represents the face and personality America wants the rest of the world to see. But beneath this rather happy outer shell, something sinister awaits. And Crampton captures it perfectly. (Chris Coffel)


9. Road games (2015)

Road games

When Barbara cramptonthe name of appears in the credits, the whole way I watch a movie changes. I always record the story and the characters, but most of all, I wait for her to appear. And when she does, all of the concentration and energy is focused on the part of the frame she occupies. Mary of Crampton is a puzzle. It’s a friendly face, but there’s an electric charge behind every move. You wait for Crampton to crack, strike, and reveal a twisted nature and darker story. And he finally reveals himself, and Road games goes wild and crazy and tragically delicious. Everything You Desire In A Barbara Crampton Horror Reveals. (Brad Gullickson)


8. The Lords of Salem (2012)

Lords Salem

You don’t have to be dyed in the wool Rob zombie fan to enjoy lords of salem. As an ode to Italian superstars like Michele Soavi and Lucio Fulci – not to mention Ken Russell’s kaleidoscopic eye – the film exudes horror imagery that horror dogs haven’t really seen since the Maestri dell ‘ orrore stopped doing new work in the early 1990s.

Something else we hadn’t seen much since the early 90s was the actress Barbara crampton. She returned to the genre scene with 2011 You are next, followed the following year by her appearance as Virginia Cable in The lords of salem. It’s a brief, but substantial part in the context of the film, giving audiences a healthy dose of foreshadowing as we prepare for the city to be taken over by the dark magic of a witch clan. As shock-rock DJ Heidi (Sheri Moon Zombie), White (Jeff Daniel Phillips) and Munster (Ken foree) play a mysterious LP on their radio show, we watch a series of women – including Crampton – apparently become possessed by the show.

The problem is, Crampton’s role was not initially meant to be relegated to such a fleeting time. As horror websites reported before the film’s release, Crampton seemed to play a bigger role in the original film, but it’s clear that all of that was left on the editing room floor. Still, Crampton does a good job of quietly doing heavy work to help Zombie build the world his Massachusetts witch clan lives in. (Jacob Trussell)


7. Jacob’s wife (2021)

Jacob's wife

Whatever the decision to throw Barbara crampton as the sexy gothic vampire wife of a loyal small town minister, deserves a medal for her services. Larry Fessenden and Crampton are found in Travis Stevens‘second characteristic, Jacob’s wife, a heartwarming and bloody story about how church wise wife Anne (Crampton) finds her rhythm after being savagely ravaged by a Nosferatu lookalike at a sawmill. Emboldened by a new zest for the living dead, Anne and the titular Jakob (Fessenden) must negotiate a growing body count and an unexpected wrinkle in their power dynamics.

Filled with middle-aged female rage and a clever commentary on the restrictive expectations placed on women, Crampton is, as usual, an absolute delight, tilting fangs first into the gooey camp and relationship drama at the tender heart with equal vigor. Drenched in charm and… other fluids, Crampton makes it easy to stay by Anne’s side even as she inhales geysers of blood from her hapless victims. Jacob’s wife is Barbara Crampton’s horror with dizzying B-movie delights in spades, and it effortlessly elevates the whole shebang to a whole new bloody level. (Meg Shields)


6. We’re Still Here (2015)

We are always here

Ted geogheganhaunting ghost story We are always here presents a heartbreaking performance of Barbara crampton as a grieving mother after the tragic death of her son. She and her husband (André Sensenig) moved to a new home in rural New England where they could start fresh and begin to heal. But the inhabitants have other projects. While Crampton typically portrays more exaggerated characters, she plays a quieter, more low-key role here. It all depends on how she uses her eyes to portray that deep grief she feels as she grabs the hope that maybe her son’s ghost is really trying to talk to her. Here, Crampton really got to show off her acting skills and her ability to create complex characters. It was one of the performances that really marked the resurgence of her career as more than just a Screaming Queen. (Mary Beth McAndrews)

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Related topics: 31 Days of Horror Lists

Anna Swanson is a senior collaborator from Toronto. She can usually be found during a screening of the Closest Representative of a Brian De Palma film.

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