For Your Consideration: Marilyn Burns for the FANGORIA Hall of Fame


As loyal and longtime readers of FANGORIA know, the FANGORIA Hall of Fame is one that holds significance among the horror community. To become a part of the Hall of Fame, you need to be voted in collectively by fright fans themselves, which is a much more difficult task than one might imagine. And while in the 35 years FANGORIA has existed, there are still some icons who have yet to make the list (such as Lugosi and Karloff), some of the greatest talents in horror history have made the list throughout the years, such as Stephen King, Christopher Lee, John Carpenter and Sigourney Weaver.

And while voting for the 2015 Chainsaw Awards now in session, only 2 names that will make it into the Hall of Fame this year. Therefore, the FANGORIA staff has decided to throw their recommendations out to the horror world as to shine a light on some of the criminally ignored horror icons who deserve the Hall’s recognition. Earlier this week, this writer suggested genre veteran Sam Neill for the Hall, and for those who thought otherwise, I’d like to nominate the original final girl: the late, great Marilyn Burns!

Burns, who unfortunately passed last year at the age of 65, is best known as Sally Hardesty in THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, one of the original scream queens and horror’s first final girl. It’s her committed and taxing performance as Sally that makes the film as effective as it is: her fear is palpable, her anguish is authentic and her hysterics are entirely empathetic. And against a genuine psychopath such as Leatherface, Sally proved that a victim in a horror film is not just a pretty face, but a flesh-and-blood character with a will to survive.


While Marilyn Burns does not have a ton of genre credits to her name, with Tobe Hooper’s EATEN ALIVE, Tom Gries’ HELTER SKELTER, Patrick Regan’s KISS DADDY GOOBYE, Ronald Moore’s FUTURE-KILL and bit parts in TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE NEXT GENERATION and TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D, Burns has always been faithful to fans of the horror genre. Besides being a warm and beautiful staple of the convention scene, Burns also was a major influence to every scream queen and final girl in the years since THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, laying the emotional and physical groundwork for the archetypes that horror fans know by heart today. And Burns took pride in that fact, but never showed her ego: even at anniversary panels and fan events, Burns was a warm and grateful woman who was nothing but appreciative of the credit she was given.

And yet while Tobe Hooper’s name resides among the FANGORIA Hall of Fame, Burns has yet to receive such an honor, and unfortunately never got the chance to do so while she was alive. Therefore, in light of her passing, this writer believes that Marilyn Burns should receive a posthumous induction in the FANGORIA Hall of Fame, if for no reason than for the fact that, 40 years later, her performance as CHAIN SAW’s Sally is as gripping and breathtaking as ever. A legend of the genre, the mother of all final girls and a humble woman, it’s about time that Marilyn Burns makes her way into the FANGORIA Hall of Fame.

If you would like to vote for Marilyn Burns for the FANGORIA Hall of Fame, check out the full ballot here and send your completed ballot to chainsaw@fangoria.com.

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About the author
Ken W. Hanley
Ken W. Hanley is the Managing Web Editor for FANGORIA and STARLOG, as well as the former Web Editor for Diabolique Magazine and a contributing writer to YouWonCannes.com. He’s a graduate from Montclair State University, where he received an award for Excellence in Screenwriting. He’s currently working on screenplays, his debut novel "THE I IN EVIL", and various other projects, and can be followed on Twitter: @movieguyiguess.
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