Since I’m limited in my blog posts this week, I wanted to create a quick list of horror characters (from both film and TV) that I find to be the coolest, scariest or most badass in all of the genre. I have no doubt that I am overlooking some equally great characters but I can’t list them all or my list will never end! So here are ten characters, in no particular order, that I think are among some of horror’s finest.
ASHLEY J. WILLIAMS
Hail to the king baby! Ashley J. Williams, better known as Ash, is one the greatest cowardly heroes of all time. He’s fought off deadite after deadite with his trademark boomstick and chainsaw hand and the world is better for it. Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead trilogy was the perfect playground for Bruce Campbell to ham it up for the camera. He does it so well that it’s impossible to think of anyone else ever taking over as the self-indulgent womanizer turned fighter of the undead. Easily one of the most entertaining and quotable characters, Ash will always remain one of my favorites.
While the easy, and obvious, character from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer universe would have been Buffy herself, Wesley Wyndam-Pryce is one of my personal favorites and his character arc through Angel was heartbreaking, tragic and most definitely awesome. He goes from a by-the-book, uncoordinated and slightly naive Watcher to a dark and angry badass that would shoot you where you stand if you hurt someone he cared for, no hesitation. Through his evolution as a character, one thing remained constant, his love for Winifred Burkle. It made me incredibly happy to see Wesley get his due with Ms. Burkle which in turn made it even more heartbreaking when she was taken from him. Wesley Wyndam-Pryce is a battle-hardened warrior that you’d want on your side when the apocalypse comes.
There are three characters in horror that I consider to be among the most iconic, Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees and Freddy Kreuger. Myers, in my opinion, is the best of the bunch. Kreuger is a lot of fun with his snarky mouth and his creative, dream-induced kills. Jason is brute force that can dismember your body with his machete. Michael Myers, however, is evil simplified. He has a kitchen knife and he wants to kill you. It’s not hard to imagine yourself being stalked by someone with a knife and that’s one of the reasons why he works so well. The mask, from John Carpenter’s original, is by far one of my favorite masks worn by a horror villain. It’s blank and featureless and allows you to project your own fears upon him. Michael Myers is the quintessential boogeyman.
THE CRYPT KEEPER
What would horror be without this wisecracking, bad pun-making bag of bones? The Crypt Keeper represents the fun, tongue-in-cheek side of horror. Normally, something as hideous as that face would gross most people out, but not me, I love seeing that wonderful piece of animatronics and hearing that diabolical laugh. Tales From The Crypt is chock full of EC comic goodness and this horror of hosts harkens back to a form of storytelling that is not often seen today. I wish the Crypt Keeper was still on television giving us his ghoulish threads of terror but I’m happy to have the seven seasons of it on DVD to playback every Halloween. I’ll finish this part off with a quote from the bones himself, introducing one of his many tales, “Tonight’s foul feast will begin with mashed potatoes, then onto some shrieking duck and finished with a nice kill-basa. I call this tasty tidbit, Mournin’ Mess.”
I love the movie Child’s Play. It’s a shining example of 80s horror done well. Before he became all scarred up and his movies went to the crapper, Chucky was an awesome and scary icon in horror. He still holds his iconic status in my mind but he comes off as more of a joke after sequels like Bride of Chucky and Seed of Chucky. I think a killer doll can make an excellent horror villain as dolls tend to have a natural creepy factor to them. I happen to know someone (Mel Dale, cough cough) who is so creeped out by the idea of a killer doll, that he refuses to watch Child’s Play with me much to my dismay. I know there are rumblings of a Child’s Play reboot with the intention of returning the tone of the movies to that of the original. This is something I really hope they do, I would love to see a new terrifying Chucky tale. Until (and if) that happens, go watch the original again if you haven’t seen it in awhile, it’s really friggin’ good.
Mrs. Baylock, the caretaker of Damien from The Omen, is one scary looking woman. While Damien is ultimately the most evil character in the film, being the antichrist and all, it’s his watchful nanny that shines as evil incarnate. Damien is born evil and can’t help himself, Mrs. Baylock, however, made the choice to protect, love and cherish Satan’s spawn and she relishes it. There are many scenes in the movie where she sets her gaze upon Damien’s “father,” Mr. Thorn, and you know there is something sinister going on behind those piercing eyes. She is most definitely not someone to take home to mother.
THE COUPLE FROM THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS
These two characters don’t have any names in the The People Under The Stairs, they are simply called “man” and “woman.” Right off the bat, these two ooze creepy charisma. You assume of course that they are man and wife but as the movie goes on, you realize their relationship is a lot more twisted than you thought. These aren’t people you want as neighbors and if you got trapped in their house, you’d more than likely end up chewed by their vicious dog, pumped full of lead or fed to the people under the stairs! This uber-creepy couple would have anyone running for the hills.
Ghostface is the most iconic villain to be created since Freddy Kreuger. I think that Ghostface is going to be well remembered in the future and will sit beside the likes of Myers, Voorhees and Kreuger as a classic horror icon. Besides Michael Myers mask, Ghostface’s is easily one of my favorites. It’s simple design makes me think of an elongated skull that seems to want to taunt you. It kind of has a sad look to it, but in a way that mocks you as if it’s expressing the thought, “See how sad you’ll be as I’m gutting you like a fish?” I love the Scream series, even its weaker entries, and Ghostface is definitely one of the reasons why.
SHAUN AND ED
Shaun and Ed are brought to life by the very talented and very funny Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (through the deft direction of Edgar Wright). If a zombie apocalypse were to happen, I’d want to be where these guys are. We’d geek out over great movies, comics and video games in between bashing in the brains of the undead. Shaun of the Dead remains one of the zombie genre’s standout films, a lot of which is credited due to these two loyal friends.
Trick ‘r Treat was a delightful anthology horror film that introduced the world to Sam. Sam is a small, kid-sized mischief maker that seems to bring horrible death to those who are around him, even if they don’t know he’s there. Sam is a character that I really hope to see in a sequel to Michael Dougherty’s directorial debut. It is filled to the brim of Halloween charm and sits high on my list of horror anthologies. I don’t know too much about the character of Sam but I love his design and his personality. If you have not seen Trick ‘r Treat yet, you better hurry up and find yourself a copy.