Adrienne Barbeau is an actor who starred in the 1980 horror film The Fog. John Carpenter, who wrote and directed the film, (he was also married to her at the time) cast her as Stevie Wayne, the local radio host. Her character was almost like an unofficial narrator who helped move the story along. A mysterious fog brings the dead to life to avenge past wrongs committed by the city forefathers in Antonia Bay- a small fishing community in California. Along with Barbeau, The Fog also starred Jamie Lee Curtis and her mother Janet Leigh.
It was a commercial success grossing over $21 million in North America alone. That solidified Barbeau’s genre status right there. In 1981 Carpenter cast her again in his next film Escape from New York. Barbeau played Maggie, the smart ass half of a couple struggling in a dystopian future. Harry Dean Stanton (The Brain) was cast as her boyfriend. Of course it starred the one and only Kurt Russell as Snake Plissken. In the movie she’s one tough character who doesn’t take any shit from anyone. Once again like The Fog, Escape From New York was a commercial hit and is now considered a cult classic. It’s influence in pop culture has been felt from videogames to books to other movies and music.
Barbeau’s next horror project was Creepshow – a movie written by Stephen King and directed by George A. Romero. Creepshow was a 5 part anthology paying homage to old EC styled horror comics. Barbeau (“everyone calls me Billy”) was in story number 4 entitled ‘The Crate’. She’s married to mild mannered small town college professor Hal Hobrook (also in The Fog). They have a terrible marriage and he resents her bitterly because of her constant emotional abuse and alcoholism. Billy is the type of character that deserves some kind of comeuppance. And it arrives via the mysterious contents of the crate. She was memorable as the asshole wife who emasculates her husband.
Continuing her run of genre movies – her next role was in Wes Craven’s Swamp Thing. A creature feature based on DC Comic characters. Barbeau plays government agent Alice Cable who travels to a Louisiana swamp to learn more about a bio-engineering experiment scientist Dr. Alec Holland (Ray Wise) is working on. Once there she finds herself falling in love with him. A rival group of scientists try to steal Dr. Hollands’s formula and in the process douse him with his own concoction. He turns into Swamp Thing. Cable spends the rest of the movie trying to get away from the bad guys. It’s a total tongue in cheek movie with a few laughs and plenty of swamp thing violence. Adrienne Barbeau is my pick for women in horror month day 24 – she’s had a successful career in both television and film (and then there’s Maude!) and has appeared in some awesome horror movies.