Drew Barrymore Says Janet Leigh’s Psycho Scene Inspired Scream Performance

Horror genre legends Jamie Lee Curtis and Drew Barrymore had a chat for The Drew Barrymore Show, addressing the release of the new film Halloween Ends. Now playing in theaters and on Peacock, Halloween Ends serves as the final chapter of a story that first began with Curtis making her debut as Laurie Strode in the original movie from John Carpenter in 1978. Her 44-year run in the role is far different from Barrymore’s place in the Scream franchise, which saw the actress shockingly killed off in the opening scenes of the first movie.

While Barrymore’s time in Scream was brief, her death scene remains one of horror’s most all-time memorable kills. Barrymore then explained how she took great inspiration from Janet Leigh, JLC’s mother who starred in Psycho, when it came to her Scream performance. At the time, Barrymore could not have predicted that Scream would become such a hit horror franchise, but she still saw the value in having herself introduced as presumably the film’s lead character and eventual final girl only to be slaughtered very early into the story, thanks greatly to Leigh in Psycho.


“It’s actually your mom, Janet Leigh, that when I got to do Scream was my big influence. To say, I think, what would be great about kicking off — we didn’t know it would ever be a franchise. It was called Scary Movie at the time, and I just thought that opening scene would harken back to When a Stranger Calls. I was like, ‘Janet Leigh in Psycho.’ When she leaves the film so early and you lose the star of the film, all bets are off. That means anyone is fair game in the movie, unlike Halloween, where you have been the ultimate reason why people should survive, because you don’t want to see them go. You want to see them go on and on, which is what you’ve done with this franchise.”

Jamie Lee Curtis Says Her Entire Career Is All Thanks to Halloween Fans

Universal Pictures

As Barrymore said, while there’s a place for characters to be killed off at the beginning of the movie in certain cases, there are others who horror fans want to see survive. That has been the case with the Halloween series, as there are still fans upset with Laurie getting killed off in the controversial sequel Halloween: Resurrection. If the horror fans love Curtis, the feeling is mutual, as she explains to Barrymore how she owes her entire career to the success of Halloween and the longtime love and support from the fans.

“The whole reason I have a career, Drew, is because of Laurie Strode. Totally. Everything in my life that’s good I owe to her, and the truth of the matter is my life is their life, because they ave given the support and ongoing support for Laurie Strode for all these years.”

Halloween Ends is playing in theaters and on Peacock.