Horror, which over the years of history has turned from a legitimate source of entertainment into a cheap thrill in the public eye, is a genre I love. In terms of film, I love it for two distinct reasons separating any experience I get from a horror movie – If it’s not a good movie, I get honestly a great sense of cynicism tearing it apart from how it does not work, looking inside and figuring out how it represents the horror culture in the end to what always looks like its final grave. But then, when you find a real diamond in the rough, a real gem, something legitimately scary. Then you’re going to get somewhere with finding out how it makes your hair stand, your skin crawl, then you’re going to watch reactions after finding out and discover to your joy… the trick still works.
For the next 31 days, I will be giving a day by day review of select horror films in all of the spectrum, from slasher to “Gates of Hell”, from Poe to Barker, from Whale to West, from 1919 to 2014…
This is the 31 Nights of Halloween.
My fair followers, once again, the mountain of work I have drowned myself in has been overwhelming still – including the double feature video – and so now I will be presenting another gallery, but this time mixing it up between video and pictures.
While we, the audience, are experiencing the horror ideally within the cinematic realm, we are usually not alone. Someone else either joins us or is present in terrorizing our dreams and fantasies. And so, this is to the characters in a horror film that most place an imprint on me. It’s not necessarily the scariest characters (because I’d have to include characters not in a horror film), but the ones that make the film and most certainly would have been harmed under lesser handling from script to direction to makeup to effects to the actor.
Count Orlock (Max Shreck) – Nosferatu, Eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922)
If you don’t think he’s the most frightening thing on screen, you’re fooling yourself.
The Monster (Boris Karloff; makeup by Jack Pierce) – Frankenstein (1931) & The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
The most sympathetic beast put on screen and one of the greatest character arcs in horror.
Dr. Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive) – Frankenstein (1931) & The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Such a lunatic scientist at first glance that it’s a miracle we’re actually rooting for him. But he’s still human.
Hjalmar Poelzig (Boris Karloff) – The Black Cat (1934)
What a smug fucking shit. But no matter how I root for Lugosi, Karloff’s always got my intrigue in the film. That’s how dislikable he is.
Dr. Pretorius (Ernest Thesiger) – The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
For lack of better phrasing…. Soooooooo camp.
Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) – Psycho (1960)
The quintessential movie killer.
Rosemary Woodhouse (Mia Farrow) – Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Anybody opposing on the sweetness of this naive young girl? Hail Satan!
Minnie Castavet (Ruth Gordon) – Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
I’m damn sure Ruth Gordon was the Betty White of her time, but I don’t see Betty White hailing Satan.
Karel Kopfrkingl (Rudolf Hrušínský) – The Cremator (1969)
Nazis would get to anyone.
Bruce (design Joe Alves) – Jaws (1975)
Why would I not add the shark?
Quint (Robert Shaw) – Jaws (1975)
Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) – Carrie (1976)
Gawky, sad, and lonely, but she never stops being “creepy Carrie”. Only when she loses her cool do we find that we’ve been giving sympathy for the devil.
The Xenomorph – Alien (1979)
“Perfect organism. Its structural perfection is only matched by its hostility.” No-fucking-thank-you.
Count Dracula (Klaus Kinski) – Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (1979)
Not as frightening as Shreck was, but man, did Kinski know how to turn it to 11.
Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) – The Shining (1980)
I always maintain that Jack’s always been crazy and evil. That he’s always been at the Overlook.
Heinrich (Heinz Bennent) – Possession (1981)
What a slimy scumbag.
The Thing (design Rob Bottin & Stan Winston; too many actors) – The Thing (1982)
What could possibly be more frightening than your body’s own betrayal?
Gizmo (design Chris Walas; voice Howie Mandel) – Gremlins (1984)
How could something so adorable turn out so monstrous?
Ellen Ripley – Aliens (1986)
Because that’s where she gets badass (Although I do think she took charge in moments of Alien too.)
Barton Fink (John Turturro) – Barton Fink (1991)
I know calling it a horror is pretty dubious, but so is calling it anything else and really, the dude seems to be going through literal hell.
Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) – Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992)
You know how with every moment more you spend with someone you know is dead, you feel more and more how much they didn’t deserve to die. This is maybe one of the few fictional characters I feel that way for.
Ashley Williams – Army of Darkness (1993)
Two words: BOOMSTICK, SCREWHEADS!!!
The Mystery Man (Robert Blake) – Lost Highway (1997)
I’d rather not remember you. I’d rather not call my house. I’d rather not have the pleasure.
Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) – American Psycho (2000)
Fucker’s disturbed. Read enough Bret Easton Ellis books, you end up that way.
Selene (Kate Beckinsale) – Underworld (2003)
Okay, it’s a terrible movie and I hate it whole-heartedly, but can I also say that Beckinsale is so fantastic looking and this is where I love her most?