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Scream Queens of Today Whole Different Breed from Past

Boo! When Halloween is upon us, there is nothing scarier than turning on the television and seeing "Psycho's" Janet Leigh getting stabbed in the shower or her daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis, being chased by Michael Myers in "Halloween." For many years, these were two of the women who held the Hollywood title Queens of Scream. But what of today's top scream queens?

First of all, we must broaden the definition, what with the new millennial trend toward fraternization with socially acceptable vampires and other monstrous types. Yep, these days, rather than trying to run away from the scary guys, our heroines often run toward them. For real.

Kristen Stewart as Bella in teen-favorite "Twilight"

You don't see Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan scream so much as appear stressed, greatly stressed or stressed beyond reason in her love for vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and really strong like for werewolf Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner). Sometimes, she is startled and a slight "ah" may emerge from her lips. Yet how could anyone leave Stewart off their list of today's top scream queens? She just won the Best Fantasy Actress award at Spike TV's Scream 2010 awards, and she has "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1" due out next year. In it, we'll see Bella and Edward's daughter! Stewart and Pattinson are a real-life couple, as well, in case you somehow managed to escape the news.

Anna Paquin — same thing. Sookie Stackhouse of HBO's "True Blood" is a fraternizer, all right, and her lover, vampire Bill Compton, is played by Stephen Moyer, whom Paquin married in real life in August. The Oscar winner is also among the stars of next year's hotly anticipated big screen "Scream 4." She must be on the Scream Queens list.

Nina Dobrev is torn between the affections of two vampire brothers — Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley — on the CW's "Vampire Diaries." Not surprisingly, there are rumors out there that she's also being romanced by one or the other in real life. Paparazzi captured photos of Dobrev and Somerhalder at LAX. But it turned out they were just flying to location.

In 2009, Evan Rachel Wood of "True Blood" was dating Alexander Skarsgard — you guessed it, her vampire boyfriend on the show — if you believe Socialite Life and other gossip outlets. But she got back together, until August, with her on-again, off-again fiance Marilyn Manson, which is almost the same as having a vampire boyfriend.

But back to the issue at hand — about those scream queens of today.

We have Milla Jovovich in the "Resident Evil" movies, but she's not screaming in fear of zombies — she's taking the suckers out. And sure, we hear Katie Featherston scream in the "Paranormal Activity" movies, but it is she who is the thing to be feared.

Scream Queens 2010 style — it's a different world.

JOKES, INTERRUPTED: Comic Doug Benson likes the idea of breaking the mold and "doing standup comedy in a different way" — a fact he makes clear in his "The Benson Interruption" show that launches on Comedy Central Nov. 5 at midnight. The show captures Doug interrupting other comedians in the middle of their acts, a bit he's been doing live at comedy clubs for a while.

Benson pals Adam Carolla, Nick Swardson, Patton Oswalt, Brian Posehn, Thomas Lennon, Mary Lynn Rajskub and Eugene Mirman are aboard for the initial six episodes. Explains Doug, "When you put comics together in front of an audience, you just say 'go.' It becomes about who is the alpha comic.

"It's a cross between fun and awkward. If you smash those together, you get 'fawkward,' a new thing, a word that goes over the title of the show and lets people know that it's not all going to go smoothly."

Benson has certainly ventured into "fawkward" territory before. One of his comedy bits that gained an oddball popularity had him calling actor Willem Dafoe a $#!@-head for no good reason. Fans made T-shirts. "It could be terribly unsettling, even for a well-known actor, what I did," he acknowledges. Doug quit doing the bit. He says he's never met Dafoe and guesses that "he's blissfully unaware of what I was doing. If I did meet him, I would just have to explain to an extremely scary-looking man that he's a fine actor who's been in a lot of downright successful or peculiar movies and no one would say that about him. That's why I called him a $#@-head."

Maybe you had to be there.

HERE 'N' THERE: Jason Alexander's donning his theatrical director hat again — for a revival of "Gigi" for L.A.'s busy Reprise Theater Company, of which the one-time "Seinfeld" foil has long been an integral part. The show opens in February.

They're looking for identical twin girls, ages 10-12 years, to play the daughters of Rashida Jones in Jason Segel's new "The Muppets" movie for Disney. And over at MTV, casting forces have been busy talking to 16- and 17-year-olds, casting for a new series called "The Inbetweeners." Youth continues to be served.

To find out more about Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith and read their past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.


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