She’s badass. She’s a femme fatale. She’s a bitch. There is no denying I have a massive girl crush on Jessica Lange. At age 67 she’s still nailing it and destroys every single negative stereotype of older women in the entertainment business, hell, she was even the face of Marc Jacobs beauty in 2014 and was absolutely stunning.
Lange had her debut in the 1976 reboot of King Kong, playing the role of a damsel in distress, but she’s come a long way since then. Her role in the FX series American Horror Story proves how far she’s come as a powerful female actress, and exposes her talent to younger audiences. If you’re not familiar with the series, each season will tell a new horror related story with a new set of characters played by the same cast. And without a doubt, Lange’s inclusion is what made the show for me. She will often play the baddie, but you can’t help but admire her. No matter how evil or selfish her characters gets, I will still nod my head in approval.
Here is a quick reminder of her roles in each series:
Season 1 – Constance Langdon, the cunning Southern belle neighbour and former resident of the Murder House.
Season 2 – Sister Jude, the pious nun who runs the Asylum with a very firm hand.
Season 3 – Fiona Goode, the supreme witch of the coven with enough style to match Grace Kelly.
Season 4 – Elsa Mars, the owner of the struggling Freakshow and a disillusioned actress from Germany.
Now, in each series, Lange will play a different character, but take note that in each, she is in control. Whether it be in control of a mental asylum, or a coven, she is always the head figure, top of the pyramid almost. And this is what I love – there is a matriarchy. Long gone are the years of diminished female roles, especially in horror. This is what makes her so badass. She’s like the mother of evil (especially so in Murder House) with the power to ruin lives.
I don’t think any of her characters have ever been weak, powerless or lacking in grace. Even when Fiona Goode was dying in Coven, she never once seemed weak or pitiable. And not only is she a great actress, but she has a great voice too. Her powerfully moving cover of ‘Life on Mars’ in Freakshow is one I’m sure Bowie himself would have approved of. Is there anything this woman can’t do?!
As far as the horror genre goes, Lange has made a hugely positive impact on it, and especially the way in which women are perceived in horror. Whilst she may not be a typically scary monster like Leatherface or Freddy Krueger, her roles are just as powerful, and has more of a white-collar approach to killing. She shows us how to get the job done without getting a speck of blood on your Chanel dress. Lange has provided me with a lot of inspiration – but the most important word of advice I heed?
Wear something black.