Top 10 Horror Movie Icons
Today, we’re shining a little light in the darkness with a list of the Top 10 Horror Movie Icons. These chillers, thrillers, and psycho killers have been giving us sweet screams on movie screens across generations. These creepy characters are downright iconic, from their masks, to their motives, to their murders.
Read along to find out if your favorite frightening faces made the list this week. Let’s get started!
10) Candyman (Candyman)
Candyman, or Daniel Robitaille, is the son of a slave, the ghost of an artist, and the star of his own self-titled film based on The Forbidden, a short story by Clive Barker. In the film, he is an urban legend figure summoned by saying his name five times, after which he will kill the summoner with a hook jammed in the stump of his right arm.
He was brutally murdered in 1890 by a lynch mob, had his painting hand cut off, and was stung to death by angry bees after being smeared with honey stolen from an apiary. Candyman is a terrifying figure whose actions work to serve his own legend and shows the power of folklore and storytelling in our fear and imagination.
Filmmaker Jordan Peele is currently working on an adaptation of Candyman for June 12th, 2020. Nia DaCosta will be directing from a screenplay by Peele and Win Rosenfeld, with Yahya Abdul-Mateen II reportedly in the cast.
9) The Tall Man (Phantasm)
The main antagonist of the Phantasm films, the Tall Man was a former mortician who developed a fascination with the difference between life and death. Inspired by the director’s own fascinations with how Americans handled the subject of death and burial, the Tall Man is a malevolent and powerful figure who seems to be able to control things with his mind.
He is unable to be killed and can shapeshift to suit his needs. He exhumes corpses from graveyards to do his bidding, and mainly relies on facial expressions to convey his emotions and intentions. In every film appearance of the Tall Man, he is portrayed by the actor Angus Scrimm.
8) Leatherface (Texas Chainsaw Massacre)
Leatherface earned his name for wearing masks made of human skin to cover his face. Portrayed by Gunnar Hansen in the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre film, he is an insane cannibal who terrorizes his victims, who become upholstery, home décor, or barbecue to be sold at a gas station. Both Hansen and Tobe Hooper stated that Leatherface was very much under control of his sadistic family, and shows fear of the unknown, lashing out in self-defense.
Still, his methods are brutal, and his revving chainsaw strikes fear into the hearts of hitchhikers everywhere. He has been featured in every Texas Chainsaw Massacre film, as well as original comics and even Mortal Kombat X.
7) Ash Williams (Evil Dead)
Created by Sam Raimi and portrayed by Bruce Campbell, Ashley J. Williams is known for his chin and his chainsaw hand, cutting through swathes of demon-possessed deadites. A fan-favorite hero of the horror genre, Ash Williams has been continually ranked among the greatest movie characters of all time, taking the #1 spot in Empire’s 2013 count of the greatest horror movie characters.
Charged with protecting the Necronomicon from falling into the wrong hands, he must fend off the Evil Dead in the form of a Kandarian Demon, who seeks to take over the realm of the living. Ash has featured in a number of video games and comics outside of the Evil Dead and Army of Darkness films.
6) Pennywise (IT)
As if clowns weren’t already bad enough… It is an ancient cosmic force of evil that torments the children of Derry, Maine. It can change forms, but most often appears as Pennywise the Dancing Clown to break down his victims with fear and horror.
Played by Tim Curry in the 1990 miniseries and Bill Skarsgard in the two-part film series from 2017 and 2019, Pennywise has adopted a number of horrifying forms to frighten the children of Derry and adult viewers alike, including a Headless Boy, a killer painting, and a floating manifestation of insanity and brightness called the “deadlights”. His high white forehead, wild red hair, and bright nose and terrifying smile are enough to unsettle audiences at any age. Watch out for storm drains!
5) Chucky (Child’s Play)
Charles Lee Ray, also known as Chucky, is a notorious serial killer whose soul inhabits a Good Guys toy doll in the Child’s Play franchise. The character has appeared in seven films so far, along with the upcoming 2019 remake of the film which imagines the doll as a robotic ‘smart toy’ whose sentience is unexplained.
His appearance has always been rendered on screen with clever practical puppet effects and some additional help from movie magic. He’s a wise-cracking and terrifying toy, and now he’s set to terrify an entirely new generation of children thanks to the vocal stylings of Mark Hamill.
4) Pinhead (Hellraiser)
Angel to some, demon to others, Pinhead is the leader of the Cenobites, former humans who travel to earth through a puzzle box called the Lament Configuration. He and the other Cenobites are famous for their sadomasochistic tendencies and shocking appearances.
Based on a Clive Barker novella, the character began as an amoral entity but morphed into an explicitly evil and demonic entity. He is articulate and intelligent, separating himself from other silent or wise-cracking killers.
3) Michael Myers (Halloween)
Coming home to Haddonfield, this quintessential slasher killer has also been referred to as The Shape. While many fans know his mask was created from a Captain Kirk mask, Michael Myers’s haunting, emotionless visage has frightened fans across the entire Halloween franchise except for Halloween III: Season of the Witch.
His signature weapon is a chef’s knife and he most famously tormented babysitter Laurie Strode on Halloween night, though she escaped and lived to fight back all the way into the 2018 Halloween film, a direct sequel to the original film that takes place 40 years later. Michael has also appeared in novelizations that expand the lore of this creepy killer.
2) Jason Voorhees (Friday the 13th)
Jason Voorhees is an interesting icon in horror, known for his signature hockey mask that didn’t even appear until the third film in the Friday the 13th franchise! After taking the reins of Camp Crystal Lake killing from mother dearest, Jason rose to prominence with a machete in his hand (though he’s extremely resourceful in numerous methods of summertime slaughter).
Originally, Jason was not intended to be the series main antagonist, but his popularity kept him slashing through 12 different films (there’s still time for a 13th!) as he took on campers, the future, and all of Manhattan. He has appeared in novels, comic books, crossover films, and even a notoriously difficult video game. His motivations and origins have even evolved with the films, making Jason a superhuman killer with an iconic mask that strikes fear into our hearts.
1) Freddy Krueger (A Nightmare on Elm Street)
Welcome to prime time! Freddy Krueger, the Dream Demon, the stuff of nightmares has clawed his way to the #1 spot on our list. This burned serial killer came back with a vengeance against the youths of Springwood, Ohio by infiltrating dreams- a sacred, otherwise untouched part of the human experience. Krueger is a shapeshifter and a wily murderer, but is known for his iconic burnt face, striped sweater, fedora, and clawed glove.
Made famous by Robert Englund, Freddy Krueger has jumped from the realm of dreams into reboots, video games, and even crossovers with Jason Voorhees and Ash Williams. He even evolved from a malevolent presence to a creative killer with wise-cracks to spare, as he became known for quips as he did away with his victims. Freddy is iconic in every sense of the word, irreplaceable, and the reason for countless sweet screams from generations of horror fans.
So, did we highlight your favorite horror film freaks? Or should we slash this list and start over? If we missed someone that you think should be on the list, let Your Geek SideShow and tell us in the comments.