ICYMI: Diora Baird: Queen Scream Queen

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In celebration of Women in Horror Month (now defunct unfortunately) Fatally Yours ran a series of articles focusing on the women of horror from guest contributors. Articles ran the gamut from spotlighting women authors, women filmmakers, female characters in horror films, scream queens, horrific artists and more and ran every Friday in February 2011. This was my contribution and dedication to horror bombshell Diora Baird. This article prompted a response by the Queen herself on Twitter thanking me.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono once presented a performance art routine that was most unorthodox. What they did was completely cover themselves from head to toe with a white amorphous body cover, and explained that the cover is meant to explore how human beings have biases whether they know it or not. Hearing a person talk without indication of their physical appearance is a much more interesting way of getting to know someone, especially when you’re not noticing blemishes, body language, and race. If we could listen instead of judge, we’d be able to learn so much more.

With the majority of beautiful women in Hollywood, if you covered them up and heard them talk, your first instinct would be to consult a learning annex about their apparent disability, or you’d zone out in a matter of twenty minutes. If you put an amorphous sheet over Diora Baird and just heard her talk for an hour, after constant laughter, there’s a great chance you wouldn’t really care what was underneath the sheet. Baird (while being so beautiful it sometimes reduces me to soft whimpers) is much more than just looks. Though she was at one time a Playboy model, she is without a doubt one of the most interesting figures in filmmaking and horror today.

She’s insanely gorgeous but hasn’t had it easy in Hollywood. She’s earned her licks and her credibility by starring in bit parts, and covering herself from head to toe in body paint, foam latex, and even filming in horrible conditions. And from the ground up Diora Baird has gone from another pretty face, to a woman who is trying her damnedest to be a huge star. And to her hardcore fans, she already is one. Go on her Twitter page, and you’re likely to find pictures of Diora that she takes for her fans. Sometimes she gives the fans a peek and will take a risque picture, and most times she’ll just take peeks in to her life for them (ooh, dogs!). More times than not you’ll see an obscene comment from someone about her breasts and her butt, and oddly enough Baird is never put off by the comments.

Sometimes she even takes pictures of herself at her worst. But, she just keeps letting her fans in to her life bit by bit to explain something they may never catch on to: She’s just a person paying her dues. And to boot, she happens to be a hilarious, witty, and clever person whose tweets about being mouth-raped by Smurfs and eating glass keep her followers chuckling incessantly. And I can’t be the only one who remembers her guest-spot on The Soup lampooning her role in Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning. It’s a far stretch from a woman who went into acting to overcome social anxiety and even considered a breast reduction. Many women get branded scream queens these days if they star in more than one horror film, but Diora Baird is a woman who fits the mold of scream queen perfectly.

She’s in the league of Debbie Rochon and Linnea Quigley; beautiful with a willingness to do whatever it takes to sell her part even if it means covering herself in blood or dressing in goofy outfits. She has a quirky, sometimes demented sense of humor, and she’ll be in any horror title if it grants her work and allows her a great experience. She’ll even go to extremes to sell her part (for Night of the Demons in 2010, she covered herself in body foam for her role as an ill-fated collegian who is transformed in to a demon after being sodomized by her demonic boyfriend). She’s not quite mainstream enough to be rejected by cult fans, but not too cult where she’s incapable of breaking out in to a big title with big stars.

Baird has earned her marks starring as extras, she once worked as a party clown for kids parties (no seriously), and identifies herself as the other green girl you almost saw in Star Trek. No, not Rachel Nichols, silly. Baird was unfortunately edited out of the final film. But that’s not to say fans of horror aren’t appreciative of her genre outputs. 2010 saw Baird fighting vamps and chugging booze in 30 Days of Night: Dark Days and what do you know? She didn’t show skin. However by the end of the movie she had it torn from its roots by hungry vampires, and in Night of the Demons she was given the honor of being raped by hell’s minions, and performed the infamous boob and lipstick trick for the camera. She can scream, she’s a queen, and I love her for it more and more everyday. Sure she’ll stray from genre fare to star in Young People F*cking and her upcoming heist film co-starring with Jim Caviezel.

But in spite of her apparent ambition and desire to break in to a role that will assure her legendary status, Baird is pretty much already there with a humility that’s admirable, and a humor that most people wish they had about themselves. She doesn’t acknowledge her apparent beauty, she knows that in Hollywood pretty faces are a dime a dozen, and her humor seems to be a wonderful form of coping with insecurity and social situations. Take for example her interview in FHM where she explained her inability to fire off a gun during the shoot of 30 Days of Night: Dark Days which resulted in the gun coordinator scolding her about acting responsibly. To which she responded with a witty retort!

Baird is the heir apparent to Linnea Quigley. And she’s the alpha female of the new generation of women in horror, setting the path for girls of this generation who can look incredible on-screen and have a good time, whether it’s fighting blood suckers, ghouls, or Leatherface.