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Iconic Pop-Culture Fashion Moments in Horror Films

The connection between horror and fashion has a long history, with many Halloween costumes drawing inspiration directly from the screen.

Our writers have joined forces to curate their top choices from the eerie and extravagant world of horror-inspired fashion in cinema. We're delving into iconic fashion moments that have left a mark on pop culture, examining characters from Megan Fox's Jennifer Check to Tim Curry's Frank-N-Furter.


Welcome to our exploration of style with a chilling twist, where the line between terror and trend becomes blurred.



Jennifer Check in Jennifer’s Body

Played by: Megan Fox

Chosen by: Ally McLaren


Hell is a teenage girl… who eats boys and serves looks!

 

This 2009 horror comedy is celebrated as a feminist cult classic for its storyline, witty dialogue and complex female leads. No movie moranster is as well-dressed as Jennifer Check, a demonically possessed high school student who eats boys in her class to survive and thrive.

 

The more boys she eats, the prettier she gets and the glowier her hair is. Her outfits also get more and more iconic, from quintessentially 2000s high-school to campy couture.

 


The movie starts by showing us classic Jennifer in her cheerleader’s outfit, followed by the lowest rise skinny jeans and crop tops complete with her BFF heart pendant necklace.

 

When Jennifer is sacrificed to Satan (which doesn’t work because she hasn't been a virgin since junior year), her outfit represents her faux innocence; shrouded in a white puffer jacket over a tank top, denim mini skirt and ripped red fishnet tights.

 


What better way to celebrate a murder than to rock up to school Later we see her wearing the skinniest low cut jeans, a hot pink velour jacket covered in hearts, with plastic heart earring and pink lace up high heels? 


A murderer has never looked so kitsch than Jennifer in her yellow and white hooded cropped jacket which she cutely dons to rip a boy limb from limb in the woods behind school.

 

And of course Jennifer’s dance dress is worthy of the one and only Snowflake Queen - the long flowing white lace and gloves with black trim makes her look truly vampiric for a monster battle.

 


Grace Le Domas in Ready or Not 

Played by: Samara Weaving

Chosen by: Ally McLaren


Ready to marry her rich fiance Alex, whose family has made their fortune in the board game industry, Grace is donned in a stunning white lace wedding dress. With long sleeves and a ruffled turtleneck design, this pristine white dress symbolises Grace’s innocence at the start of the movie.

 

But on their wedding night, she is forced to play a game of Hide and Seek with Alex’s family. Weird, right? It gets weirder - the family is cursed and they must hunt Grace down and sacrifice her before dawn or they will die instead.

 

Grace is able to escape his family and kill when needed, in her fierce new Final Girl look. She swaps her wedding heels for trainers, rips the long skirt of her dress to make it easier to run, and dons a belt of ammo to fire her newly acquired shotgun. To put it plainly, she is one badass bride.

 

As the movie goes on the dress gets more torn and soaked in her own and other’s blood, until it is almost unrecognisable from the start of the movie. It turns out, his crazy family was right, and they succumb to the curse and explode one by one.

 

Grace tells Alex she wants a divorce, before he explodes right in her face and covers her in a fresh splattering of blood. 

 

She then sits on the steps of the burning mansion, coated in blood, smoking a cigarette. When the police arrive and ask her what happened, she nonchalantly replies: ‘in-laws’. 

 


Lydia Deetz in Beetlejuice

Played by: Winona Ryder

Chosen by: Oana-Maria Moldovan


For the ones raised in the 90s and early 2000 there were only three ways to be a goth, you could have either been a Morticia Adams, with her vamp like style, a Nancy Downs, in the most chaotic way anyone can imagine, or you could have been a Lydia Deetz, the - almost - bride of Beetlejuice.

Lydia Deetz is a character from the 1988 film Beetlejuice, directed by Tim Burton and played by actress Winona Ryder.


Lydia's fashion style in the movie is distinctive and reflects her gothic and darkly eccentric personality.

As the film also takes place in the late 80s, when talking about alternative styles would have been reduced to post-punk or new wave, Lydia is the resemblance of what alternative individuals used to be seen as from the outside.


Any viewer can notice, even from her first appearance on screen that this character means to be a foil for her step mother. The latest represents a comical interpretation of a bimbo-esque woman of her times, so Lydia becomes the weird looking girl, with her teenage angst and her over the top attire.


Lydia's outfits often have a vintage and Victorian-inspired feel. She frequently wears dresses with high collars, lace detailing, and ruffled or puffed sleeves. Although today this would be seen as the definition of a goth, in the 80s that was not the case for most.

Miss Deetz' bright red wedding gown can be either seen as part of her alternative style or as a catalyst to her story, seeing how, in these scenes, she was supposed to marry the “bad guy”.


Some could even suspect that, given both her style and her personality - and in parts Burton's way of directing - Lydia might be an exaggeration of Allison Reynolds’ character from The Breakfast Club.



Carrie White in Carrie

Played by: Sissy Spacek

Chosen by: Oana-Maria Moldovan


Carrie White, the titular character from Stephen King's 1974 novel “Carrie,” has been portrayed in various film adaptations, most notably in Brian De Palma's 1976 film adaptation of the same name.


Today Carrie is known as the horror movie girl. Anyone under the sun, either them being a horror lover, someone passionate about pop culture or just a person who has been on the internet for more than half an hour in their life knows of Carrie's pink dress drowned in pig's blood.


Carrie's fashion style in the movie reflects her meek and reclusive personality, as well as her overbearing, religiously zealous mother.


She is often seen wearing plain, modest, and outdated clothing. Her wardrobe typically includes dresses with high necklines, long sleeves, and long hemlines, emphasizing her sheltered and conservative upbringing.


It's important to add here, that in the book, Carrie was supposed to be fat, and at the time plus sized individuals were not seen as being stylish or were they trying to be seen as such most of the time. This is also why she was covered in pig's blood, her classmates seeing her as a pig.


However, the style most people associate Carrie with is the already mentioned princess-like pink prom dress and her golden tiara (more like a crown if we talk about the original movie).


Her entire prom attire was supposed to both embody her innocence and her naivete that was soon to be stolen by her classmates and how she actually wanted to be perceived by her peers: pretty and soft.


As we already established, that was not the case for a plus size nerdy girl in the 70s. She was never supposed to be pretty, not in their eyes. Carrie is the girl covered in pig's blood, not the girl in a pink dress. 



Frank-N-Furter in Rocky Horror Picture Show 

Played by: Tim Curry

Chosen by: Emily Duff


Frank-N-Furter, a character from the cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show, stands as an iconic figure in pop culture not only for defying gender norms but for his unforgettable fashion moments. 


One key moment is when he first appears to welcome innocent couple Janet and Brad - clad in lingerie and stockings.


The ‘70s musical comedy-horror film was an immediate choice for this list. With its devoted fan base and limits pushing visuals, it’s not only a classic Halloween movie but one I personally watch time and time again. 


Styled in lingerie and stockings, the looks plays an integral part in presenting Frank-N-Furter's character. With a seductive and rebellious persona, the outfit almost hints at whats to come from his first appearance on screen. 



Draped in black lingerie with matching corset, garter, and fishnet stockings, Frank-N-Furter's appearance challenges traditional norms of masculinity and femininity. It’s made waves not only in cinema but in the fashion industry itself with theatre performances being not only a reason to experience the screen in real life but an excuse to dress as our Frank-N-Furter alter egos. 


This iconic look represents a bold assertion of sexual liberation and fluidity, making it a symbol of non-conformity and self-expression. Frank-N-Furter's fashion choices and extravagant makeup, including his smoky eye shadow and bold lipstick, have become synonymous with self-confidence, audacity, and an embrace of one's true self, qualities celebrated within the LGBTQ+ community.



Jesse in The Neon Demon

Played by: Elle Fanning

Chosen by: Emily Duff


A lesser known 2016 indie psychological horror, The Neon Demon follows aspiring model Jesse as she attempts to make her way into the fashion industry. 


Visually stunning, it gives an exploration into the fashion industry's darker side and is the perfect fashion-lovers movie choice this Halloween. A look into the cutthroat industry, it’s gorey, mind-melting and insatiably stylish. 


While there’s many an amazing fashion moment throughout the feature length, one moment really takes the cake - the blue metallic dress she wears when she meets her tragic end. 


A striking fashion moment that leaves a lasting impact on the audience, the blue metallic dress is a pivotal part of Jesse's transformation from an inexperienced newcomer to a symbol of desire in the fashion world. 


The dress's shimmering material represents not only her physical allure but also the allure of the fashion industry itself. It's a symbol of the superficiality and glamour often associated with the art world in general. 


In a harsh almost ‘80s neon blue colour, what could be cliché becomes chic - presenting a commodification of youth through this almost childish colour choice.


As Jesse wears this dress during a pivotal moment in the film, it becomes a visual metaphor for the toll that the industry takes on her. The metallic sheen that once symbolized her ascent to stardom now takes on an eerie and haunting quality as she meets her tragic end.



Maxine in X and MaXXXine

Played by: Mia Goth

Chosen by: Lauren Pirie-Scott


Mia Goth has taken the horror genre by storm, becoming the latest horror film style icon, firstly in playing southern actress ‘Maxine,’ who lusts for fame. The dungarees, nude underneath, are symbolic of her past in the country and her job role now. However, what has really captured everyone’s attention is Maxine’s distinguishing makeup look. Whilst being incredibly simple, it is also strikingly unique. The no-brow look, blue eyeshadow and distinctive freckles, captured audiences and recreations of this face have been all over social media. The no-brow look also sparked a widespread resurgence of the Avant Garde bleached-brow look. We can credit hair and makeup designer Sarah Rubano for this, Rubano also worked on prosthetics for the aged ‘Pearl’ in X, who is, fantastically, also played by our star Mia Goth. Maxine’s iconic look in this film has been an incredibly popular Halloween costume, and we can see why. The simpleness of this look makes for an easy and affordable, yet beautiful and fun costume.



Pearl in Pearl

Played by: Mia Goth

Chosen by: Lauren Pirie-Scott


Equally iconic, is Mia Goth’s role in prequel Pearl, as young farm girl/aspiring dancer, ‘Pearl.’ Although during most of the film, the character sports dungarees and a blue shirt, the central fashion moment in Pearl is the red dress she wears for her failed dance audition, and subsequent murder spree. Many have also copied this look for Halloween, plastic axe in hand. Goth’s signature no-brow look remains, yet the makeup is more classic and stripped back, to reflect the time period. Here, it is smudged all over her face during her rage-fuelled episode. The light blue bow, matching Maxine's eyeshadow, ties together the two characters. These looks will go down in horror history, and Mia Goth's thrilling performances will not stop here.

Although there is not yet a release date, we know that A24 are working on a third film, MaXXXine, continuing this terrifyingly iconic trilogy.

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