HORROR ICON OF THE MONTH: DANIELLE HARRIS

Rhiannon Irons, a.k.a Ahlephia, here with a special report.  It’s that time again where I take someone from the horror genre and give you a brief inside look into their careers.  This month, I’ve taken one sexy woman who is the epitome of Scream Queen and Horror Icon: Danielle Harris.

When it comes to Scream Queens, we all have our favourites, but there’s something about this young lady that cannot be denied. She’s talented, she’s sexy and she has a powerful set of lungs that have been having a work out since 1988 when she filled the shoes in the Halloween franchise left by Jamie Lee Curtis. Impossible, you say? Well, she did it and did it well. Ladies and gentlemen, this months Horror Icon is none other than Danielle Harris.

Born on June 1, 1977, Danielle Andrea Harris made her mark on the world. Often best known for being a Scream Queen due to her works in numerous horror movies, Danielle wears her horror badge with pride, thus making her ideal for my next Horror Icon.

Danielle was born in Queens, New York, and raised by her single mother, Fran, before moving to Port Orange, Florida, where she attended Spruce Creek Elementary School.

She was still living in Florida when she won a children’s beauty contest and found herself moving back to New York. Upon moving back to New York, Danielle began her professional career by appearing in television commercials while maintaining an A average. But her first major acting role came about in 1985, when she made her debut as little Samantha ‘Sami’ Garretson on ABC’s One Life To Live. This role Danielle would continue to play for three years.

In 1988, at the tender age of ten, Danielle auditioned and won the role of Jamie Lloyd, the niece of Michael Myers and the intended victim in the movie, Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers. (Fun Fact: Danielle beat out Melissa Joan Hart for the role) This was Danielle’s feature film debut and while it was aimed at teenagers and involved them being sliced and diced in typical slasher movie fashion, much of the film was devoted to Jamie Lloyd and her plight as she was pursued by Michael. The reason for Michael’s determination? Jamie was his supposed last remaining relative. (I’m guessing that means that Michael’s not really a family man)

The following year, Danielle returned to Haddonfield for a role in Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers. Halloween 5 didn’t perform as well as what Halloween 4 did, however the focus of the film was more on Jamie Lloyd and her recovery from her earlier trauma and her ultimate decision to confront her uncle. Yes, there were bodies of teens, but the film on a grand scale was all about a little girl.

As the 90’s rolled around, Danielle starred opposite Steven Seagal in Marked For Death as well as teaming up with Christina Applegate in the 1991 comedy, Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead. Also in 1991, Danielle teamed up with Bruce Willis and Damon Wayans in The Last Boy Scout before moving on to Free Willy in 1993.

In 1995, the character Jamie Lloyd returned to Haddonfield in Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers. Danielle didn’t return due to numerous disagreements regarding changes to her character and script. It has also been said that her requested salary couldn’t be reached either. Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers then went with J.C. Brandy as Jamie, who was promptly killed off early in the film in one of the most gruesome kills of Michael’s career.

1995 wasn’t a good year for Danielle outside of her career. She was stalked by an obsessed fan, Christopher Small, who wrote letters threatening to kill her. Small was later arrested after bringing a shotgun and a teddy bear to her home. On January 29, 2007, Danielle appeared on an episode of The Dr. Phil Show sharing her experience with other affected people. The stalker was obsessed with Molly, her character on the TV show Roseanne. Sadly, in October 2009, Danielle was granted a restraining order against Small, who began sending her messages on Twitter.

In 1998, Danielle found herself roomming with Alicia Witt in Urban Legend. Playing the Gothic roommate, Tosh Guaneri, Danielle was different to most of her previous characters. She was rude, abrasive and obnoxious. Her character was into “Gothic guys on campus wanting to hook up” as well suffering from manic-depressive disorder. (Fun Fact: It was because of Danielle’s death in Urban Legend that I was able to create the short story, The Roommate)

Danielle’s character was vastly unliked by the other characters in the film. Point check is when the medics are moving into the room and one of the students says “You better check her pulse, she’s looked like that for years.” (Fun Fact: This was Danielle’s first film with Horror Icon Robert Englund)

The following year, Danielle was all over TV. From an appearance in Charmed to loaning her voice as Debbie Thornberry in The Wild Thornberrys. (Fun Fact: The father, Nigel, in The Wild Thornberrys was voice by Tim Curry)

The next year, Danielle found herself starring alongside Burt Reynolds and Keith Carradine in the TV movie Hard Time: Hostage Hotel. This was the final story in the Logan McQueen (Burt Reynolds) series. This time we find the ex-cop having to rescue a congressman, his family, and Logan’s ex-partner from a kidnapper who has taken the group hostage in an old hotel. This is one of those films that divides people. Some of my friends loved it, others hated. Is it worth the watch? It is, as long as you don’t go into it expecting too much.

In 2000, Danielle found herself in movie entitled Poor White Trash. The basic plot is a white trash family must resort to crime to send their teenaged son to college. The only way I can sum this movie up is with the word quirky. It didn’t appeal to me, but there are friends of mine who love it.

In 2002, The Wild Thornberrys made it to the big screen and Danielle was along for the ride. The Wild Thornberrys Movie was a success, especially out in Australia. The film saw Eliza (Lacey Chabert) risk her powers of being able to talk to the animals when her sister, Debbie, finds herself in life-threatening danger. Regardless of if you’re a child or an adult, there’s something about this movie that you’ll enjoy.

In 2003, Danielle returned to the big screen as Debbie Thornberry when The Wild Thornberrys teamed up with the babies from Rugrats for Rugrats Go Wild. The film saw Danielle team up with Bruce Willis again who was the voice of Tommy Pickles dog, Spike.

In 2004 to 2005 Danielle was part of Father Of The Pride which was a story of the misadventures of a family of white lions who perform with Siegfried and Roy in Las Vegas. Danielle voiced Sierra while John Goodman (whom Danielle once worked with on Roseanne) voiced Larry.

Father Of The Price was short lived with only 14 episodes made, but it was entertaining. (Fun Fact: Each episode costs $1.6 million and takes nine months to make)

In 2007, Danielle returned to Haddonfield. Not as Jamie Lloyd this time, but as Annie Brackett in the Rob Zombie remake of Halloween. By now, we all know that I despised this remake, however, as I mentioned in the Brad Dourif article, there were three reasons why I saw this film. To see Brad play something other than an ugly red-haired doll, to see Danielle return to Haddonfield and to see Michael’s back story.

I won’t lie, Danielle as Annie was brilliant. She was beautiful and was the only character I had any sympathy for. The attack on her was brutal, but the way she performed it was outstanding. Her interaction with Brad, who played her father Sheriff Lee Brackett, was a father-daughter relationship much like my own. It was relatable and that’s what made Danielle’s portrayal of Annie ideal. She was relatable.

In 2009, Danielle backed up her outstanding performance as Annie in Rob Zombie’s second attempt at brutalising the Halloween franchise, Halloween II. I’ll be honest, I have no idea what the hell this film was about and if it was possible, I hated it more than the remake. But once again I watched it to see Danielle and Brad return. The dynamic between Brad and Danielle was just as strong as it had been in the first film, and it was heartbreaking to watch Danielle’s demise at the hands of Michael Myers. But if Danielle had indeed filled the footsteps of Jamie Lee Curtis then her fate in Haddonfield was already written. Jamie Lee’s character of Laurie Strode died in her fourth appearance. Danielle, whilst having played two different characters, died in her fourth appearance.

Also in 2009, Danielle tapped into her dark side for Blood Night: The Legend Of Mary Hatchet. Now I have to say that I bought this film solely because her name was in the credits and I loved it. Blood Night is about a group of teenagers celebrating the anniversary of the death of a local axe murderer suddenly find themselves face to face with the realities of this haunting urban legend.

Nate Dushku (the brother of Buffy star, Eliza Dushku) was the leader of the group while Danielle who played Alissa, was a young woman who was there because of a past friendship with someone before she moved. Long story short, this group discovers something about Mary Hatchet and fight to get the truth known before they die. Is it a ghost that’s behind the killings or is a human. Sadly, the film had potential to be a great ghost story with a Bloody Mary styled outcome, but instead they went with a flesh and blood killer and the ghost tale became the background to the story. Aside from that small flaw, Blood Night was rather enjoyable. And it was good to see Bill Moseley and Danielle team up again.

Also in 2009, Danielle teamed up with past Horror Icons Kane Hodder and Robert Englund for Fear Clinic, a web series that saw some of our fears bought to life in nightmareish conditions. If you’ve been an avid reader of my past Horror Icon articles, you know that I rate this mini series very highly and if you can find them online, I highly recommend watching them. Danielle, as Susan, was afraid of the dark. And after watching her episode late one night, every time the light switches off, I begin to a have a small panic attack.

By the time 2010 rolled around, Danielle was already considered a Scream Queen, so it was no surprise that she took over the role of Marybeth in Adam Green’s Hatchet II. Starring along side Horror Icons Kane Hodder and Tony Todd, Danielle’s performance was gripping, leaving us wanting more. For the first time in a long time, I actually found myself cheering for the ‘victims’ and not the villain. If you haven’t seen it, find a copy and watch it. Hatchet II, while bloodier than the original, was also quite fun and funny with references to Jason Voorhees and even Leslie Vernon.

That same year, Danielle starred in Stake Land. Stake Land is about Martin who was a normal teenage boy before the country collapsed in an empty pit of economic and political disaster. A vampire epidemic has swept across what is left of the nation’s abandoned towns and cities, and it’s up to Mister, a death dealing, rogue vampire hunter, to get Martin safely north to Canada, the continent’s New Eden.

My friends and I have mixed reviews about this film, but over all I have to say that Stake Land is worth the watch. It’s highly entertaining and Danielle as Belle is a wonderful performance. Do yourself a favour, check this film out. If nothing else, you may learn some love tips for how to survive a zombie/vampire/alien apocalypse.

2011 was a busy year for Danielle. Starring in movies like Devil’s Flight, along side the new Fred in the Scooby Doo movies, Robbie Amell, The Victim, with her Jamie Lloyd counterpart, J.C. Brandy, and Cornered which was about a Los Angeles Homicide detective must stop a government trained serial killer before the agency that trained him can cover it up and, before the killer finds a new victim.

Also in 2011 Danielle found herself in another sequel: ChromeSkull: Laid To Rest 2. ChromeSkull is the sequel to the 2009 horror hit “Laid to Rest.” It brings back ChromeSkull, who barely escaped death in the first movie and is hell-bent on continuing where he left off… and forging a new path of terror and destruction.

This is one film that I do recommend. I felt it was stronger than the first, cast wise, but the film itself seemed to be a little complicated, especially when there is an expanded mythology centring around ‘the organisation’. Overall, it felt more mature to the original film, so it’s worth the watch. It’s a must see horror film. Blood, first. Story, second. Overall, pretty entertaining.

Now in 2012, Danielle is being kept busy. With movies like Hallows’ Eve, Hatchet III, Night Of The Living Dead: Origins 3D and her directorial debut, Among Friends looking to hit theatres and DVD in the next couple of years, Danielle’s Scream Queen career is only going to get stronger. Her passion hasn’t died, only getting stronger with each passing year.

Danielle Harris. A victim, a villain, a Scream Queen to the end. She’ll be scaring us for years to come and proudly stands among the others as a Horror Icon.

 

 

 

 

Ahlephia’s Top 5 Danielle Harris Films

1) Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers (1988) – See where Danielle’s Scream Queen career began.

2) Urban Legend (1998) – Small appearance and shocking death.

3) Blood Night: The Legend Of Mary Hatchet (2009) – Once you’ve seen this, you’ll know why I like it….

4) Fear Clinic (2009) – Not a movie, but a must see mini web series.  It will scare you

5) Hatchet II (2010) – Danielle taking on Victor Crowley…do you really need any more incentive than that?

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  2 comments for “HORROR ICON OF THE MONTH: DANIELLE HARRIS

  1. William
    June 2, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    Love Danielle Harris keep on bring the horror movies..

    William

  2. Dead
    January 23, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    Great article. I agree, Rob Zombie’s Halloween remakes were horrible. Danielle was the only good thing about them. Even Brad Dourif and Malcom Mcdowell, who are usually great, weren’t able to rise above the crap parts they were written. They just didn’t have anything to work with.

    And I’m really looking forward to Hatchet III. Adam Green has a knack for the genre and he’s one of the only guys even trying to deliver this kind of horror anymore. Movies like Hatchet keep the genre alive while too many filmmakers mire in found footage, torture porn, and home invasion cliches.

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