Long ago I fell in love with a very specific horror trope and dream job all at the same time: the late night lady DJ.
This will be a character you have encountered a good few times if you’re a lover of scary movies, particularly the classics. The late night lady DJ works the graveyard shift and has a hypnotic voice that rings out strong and true into the night. She often narrates the horror as it unfurls before us – she’s a special final girl, the beacon of hope in a haunted night.
I really think I’d be good at this role. To be the voice in the darkness, the comfort and the calm, playing sad songs and angry anthems – taking calls from the lonely hearts and the insomniacs. Here are a few of my favourite inspirations:
I was walking by with my dog and I thought I would just come in and sit for a minute. Is that okay? Are you closed? ~ Heidi Hawthorne (to a Priest in a church)
I personally adore this movie and hold it in the highest esteem perhaps because of the character of Heidi Hawthorne. This Late Night Lady DJ is part of an on-air trio with her colleagues Whitey and Herman – and is a recovering drug addict. When she plays a mysterious record live on the radio one night, it triggers something in the women of Salem, something witchy and wonderful. But is all the weirdness that ensues in her newly drug-lapsed mind or is her connection to The Lords (a coven of Satan worshipers) very real?
Rob Zombie does not always get it 100% right but he did with Lords. I just love the imagery, which for me has the flavour of Kubrick’s The Shining. It’s genuinely creepy and Sheri Moon is the best she’s ever been. Heidi is a cool lady whose nice to her dog and does banter with the best of them on-air. I’d definitely like to be friends with her IRL – my favourite LNLDJ hero.
I don’t know what happened to Antonio Bay tonight. Something came out of the fog and tried to destroy us. In one moment, it vanished. But if this has been anything but a nightmare, and if we don’t wake up to find ourselves safe in our beds, it could come again. To the ships at sea who can hear my voice, look across the water, into the darkness. Look for the fog. ~ Stevie Wayne
Stevie might well have the coolest set up of all the DJs, broadcasting live from her lighthouse. When the mysterious fog starts to roll in (and with it a band of vengeful ghost fishermen), Stevie implores her listeners to rescue her son from her home on the mainland.
Her voice guides the locals (mostly) to safety as the terror unfolds but there’s only so much a girl can do. And all this while she rocks a lovely 80’s perm and plaid. BABE.
Vanita ‘Stretch’ Brock
I know nobody’s listening ‘cos you’re all looming, but I got a shot of hot rock ‘n roll for you anyway… ~ Stretch
I LOVE Stretch and have already said all I need to say about her here. I stand by everything still – she is a total and utter bad ass.
Oh, God. You’re gonna eat me soon, aren’t you? ~ Sydney Briar
Shock-jock Grant Mazzy (Stephen McHattie) might be the so-called star of the show but his station manager Sydney deserves credit for her bravery in fighting the infected horde who attack their small radio station – and are the reason the small town of Pontypool is current on lock-down.
Pontypool is an underrated gem as it is but Grant is the meat in a feisty girl sandwich as he also has a cool radio assistant in Laurel-Ann (Georgina Reilly). When it becomes clear that certain words in the English language have become ‘infected’ and are therefore contaminating the people who hear them, Laurel-Ann is compromised and it’s a waste frankly. But that’s the price we have to pay for the horror we love sometimes. Long live Sydney though, or should I say ‘Lisa the Killer’? (Just watch it).
My review is here.
Black men and a whole lota’ mother fuckin’ white men have had plenty fun adoring my ass. I don’t wear their teeth marks on my butt for nothing. ~ Jungle Julia
JJ isn’t quite the same as the others, in that we don’t see her at work in the studio but I feel like she had to appear on this list because I love Death Proof so much.
Jules is a sexy woman without a doubt, confident in her own skin with a voice to die for – she’s thoroughly enjoying her fame and having her face plastered all over billboards across the city. We don’t get to enjoy her for long, thanks to Stuntman Mike and she goes out in the most horrifying way – but she’ll always be one of the highlights of this movie for me. Gone but very hard to forget.