This Horror Icon may arch a few eyebrows, but I assure you she is worthy of the title.
Born Tara Donna Reid in Wyckoff, New Jersey on November 8, 1975, Tara began acting from a young age. Destined for greatness, she became a regular on the game show Child’s Play at age 6 as well as appearing in over 100 commercials.
At the age of 12, Tara appeared in Return To Salem’s Lot, a campy, over-the-top sequel to the television movie, Salem’s Lot.
Six years later, Tara made an appearance on the teen series, Saved By The Bell: The New Class. The following year she would return to television with a reoccurring role in Days of Our Lives with the role of Ashley.
1998 was a huge year for Tara with roles in major movies including The Big Lebowski, Girl, I Woke Up Early The Day I Died, Urban Legend, and Around The Fire. I could talk up The Big Lebowski and Girl, which saw Tara rub shoulders with some huge names in Hollywood. But seeing as I’m calling her a Horror Icon, let’s focus on the one film in that list that is actually horror related; Urban Legend.
I love Urban Legend. As far as 90’s slasher films go, this is one of my all-time favorites. Directed by Australian Jamie Blanks and starring Jared Leto, Alicia Witt, Rebecca Gayheart, and fellow horror icons such as Danielle Harris and Robert Englund (as well as an uncredited cameo appearance by Brad Dourif), this film sees a serial killer praying on college students and killing them off using urban legends passed down through the generations.
Quite a clever premise that leaves audiences guessing as to what is real and what’s not, not to mention a few twists and turns as all good legends should have. Tara portrays Sasha Thomas, a bubbly blonde that runs a nightly radio show devoted to sexual conduct. Think Cosmopolitan magazine if it were a radio show.
Without a doubt, Sasha was my favorite character in the entire film and her demise at the hand of the killer was quite haunting. Tara’s performance was exceptional. Urban Legend is highly recommended.
As 1999 rolled around, Tara appeared in arguably her most famous role to date; American Pie. As Vickie, Tara was the perfect combination of innocent, and seductive. This is a role she would reprise 2 more times in American Pie 2 and American Reunion. Do yourselves a favor and watch all three films. It’s worth the side-splitting hilarity.
She would also have a cameo in the provocative Cruel Intentions, as well as starring in another provocative film. Body Shots, a drama that revolved around sexual exploits of both men and women as they venture for a night on the town. A lot of people I know aren’t big fans of this film, but I don’t mind. Tara’s performance is quite convincing. Playing Sara, she has a hook up with Mike, played by Jerry O’Connell, which results in severe unpleasantness when she accuses him of rape. From there we get to see both sides of the story. Not a great film, but certainly the definition of a guilty pleasure.
In 2003 Tara returned to darker style films with Devil’s Pond. While not classed as a horror, it certainly holds a lot of horror elements. Devil’s Pond revolves around newlyweds, Julianne (Reid) and Mitch (Kip
Pardue) as they embark on their honeymoon. Kip takes her to a remote island cabin. Things take a sinister turn when Julianne wishes to leave and Kip refuses to let her go, stating that she’s now his wife and therefore she doesn’t leave unless he leaves. His insanity peaks, their boat sinks, and Julianne, who can’t swim, is left to fight off her husband in a battle of wits and determination. A very suspenseful plot that reminds me a lot of Misery. Tara’s performance is extraordinary. Devil’s Pond is a must see film for those who enjoy the more thriller-suspenseful horror style films.
In 2005, Tara found herself alongside Christian Slater in Alone In The Dark. Every culture has an end of the world story and Edward Carnby (Slater), a detective of the paranormal, investigates a mystery with recent clues leading to “Shadow Island” that brings him face to face with bizarre horrors that prove to be both psychologically disturbing and lethal. Tara plays Aline Cedrac, Edward’s ex-girlfriend and a gifted, young genius anthropologist. It had a good premise and a fantastic cast but the story lacked, causing this film to be easily forgettable.
Also that year Tara found herself in another sequel to a classic film. The Crow: Wicked Prayer is the fourth film in this ‘franchise’ and saw her teaming up with Dennis Hopper, David Boreanaz, and Edward Furlong. Despite talented people, this film fails to live up to the success of the original. Although, I will say this; if you are going to subject yourself to this movie, David Boreanaz makes it worth watching as he’s gleefully wicked. Give this film a miss. If you have to watch anything to do with The Crow, stick to the original.
Incubus emerged in 2006. This B-Graded horror film had quite the interesting storyline. After a car accident in the mountains of Montana, six friends hunt for shelter to protect themselves against the cold night. With the exception of one girl, they break into a facility using a rope through the skylight. In true horror fashion, the rope breaks and they become standard in a laboratory where they discover two dead scientists and a third who is completely insane. But it’s the experiment known as the Sleeper that they should be afraid of.
If I had to describe Incubus it would be a low-budget knock off of A Nightmare On Elm Street. In saying that, it’s not without its merits. Incubus proved to be an enjoyable take-your-brain-out-of-your-head kind of movie, though it was a little disjointed in parts.
2008 saw Tara appear in Unnatural Causes (Clean Break), a thriller-esque film that does contain some horror elements, as well as the TV movie Vipers, which is actually quite an enjoyable film. Teaming up with Corbin Bernsen (from the 1994 horror film The Dentist), Tara finds herself surrounded by venomous vipers that have escaped a laboratory after being mutated (because they always are in these films). If you enjoy movies like Zombeavers, Mega Snake, and Ice Road Terror, Vipers is something to add to your collection.
In 2013, Tara made a triumphant return with a so-bad-it’s-good film. You know the one I’m talking about. Sharknado. From the minds at The Asylum, Sharknado sees one of the most ridiculous concepts ever created, a hurricane creating water spouts that are sucking sharks out of the ocean and dropping them on land.
It’s not an Academy Award winning film by any means, but Sharknado has a place in comedy-horror history for being both action-packed and campy. A fantastic TV movie that has spawned 4 sequels to date with a sixth installment recently announced.
In 2014 Tara found herself on my turf; in the outback of Australia, taking on a new legend of Australian horror. Teaming up with horror veterans, Bill Moseley and Kane Hodder, Tara and her friends found themselves up against a hulking man-mountain in Charlie Wilson (Nathan Jones).
Film near Gympie in Queensland, Charlie’s Farm was written and directed by Chris Sun and has a real The Texas Chainsaw Massacre feel to it. Tara is Natasha, an American living in Australia who travels with three friends out west to explore a haunted location known as Charlie’s Farm. The farm is supposedly haunted by the ghost of Charlie, the disfigured child of two terrible people who would kidnap backpackers, rape, and kill them before eating them.
If you’re a fan of Ozploitation films, Charlie’s Farm is a must-see. It has its moments that are laugh-out-loud funny, but then it shows just how gory a trip to our outback can be.
2017 was a busy year for Tara as the horror film Party Bus To Hell came to fruition. The storyline is simple; when a party bus on its way to Burning Man breaks down in the middle of the desert and in the middle of a group of Satanic worshippers, all hell literally breaks loose. A massacre leaves seven survivors trapped on the bus, fighting for their lives while wondering if someone, or someones, are not what they appear to be.
Party Bus To Hell is available now for pre-order and released on VOD platforms April 13th, 2018. From the trailer and sneak peeks I’ve had the pleasure of seeing, this looks like it’s going to be a fun edition to Tara Reid’s horror filmography.
The horror genre certainly hasn’t seen the last of Tara Reid. Currently in production, or soon to be released, are titles such as Dark Ascension, Cranial Sacral, Bleach, Ouija House, and of course, Sharknado 6.
Tara Reid is a beautiful blonde bombshell whose ability to play the victim, the heroine, and the villain really do leave audiences satisfied. She may have a lot of fans from her comedy days with movies like American Pie, Van Wilder: Party Liaison, and Josie And The Pussycats, but for this Aussie, Tara has solidified herself as a genuine Scream Queen.