Horror cinema has always had strong iconography throughout the ages, especially where its myriad of movie monsters is concerned. Some have gone on to become true icons for the horror scene (think Freddie or Jason) whereas some just fade back to the black depths (Kindred anyone?) from whence they came. Here's the eatmybrains Top Ten list of Horror Movie Icons..
10 .Pinhead (1987) Designer bad guy with a modern look, pale complexion and, funnily enough, pins in his head. Just call him Doug.
First appearance - Hellraiser (1987)
Clive Barker's Hellraiser caused quite a reaction upon its late 1980s release, enough to spawn the dreaded sequels, which aren't as pitiful as some other franchise sequels out there. Considering he has relatively little screen time in the first film, he made such an impact that he became the face of the franchise. Hellraiser Fan Halloween Fancy Dress enthusiasts are advised to order a Pinhead rubber mask, rather than sticking nails into their faces as apparently this can be quite painful and may require treatment at your local emergency department.
9 .Zombie (1932) Decomposing corpse with appetite for human flesh. Can easily be avoided and outsmarted if you've seen as many zombie films as me. First appearance - White Zombie (1932)
'Bub' seems to be a good exemplary choice for perhaps our most beloved icon. The "undead piles of puss" have been the basis for so many good movies that it's simply wrong not to include them on this list. Screen zombies have been around since the 1930s but let's not kid ourselves folks, 1968 is where it really started, with Romero's groundbreaking indie success Night of The Living Dead. It seems that the cinema-going public were as hungry for zombies as the zombies were for them. The genre is enjoying a mainstream revival recently but if you look hard, you'll find that zombie films are being made everywhere, all the time. That can only be a good thing...
8 .Ash (1981) Tall, dark and amazingly chinned deadite-fighting hero. Half man, half chainsaw. Prone to self-strangulation attempts. Has bad luck with girlfriends. First appearance - The Evil Dead (1981)
With his first appearance Bruce Campbell became one of the most respected and liked figures in horror cinema history, and this is why. 1) His blood-soaked battles against the deadites have been cult hits the world over, with the second Evil Dead film (a remake of the first one) standing out as the best in the series. 2) Ash gets great lines that include "Gimme some sugar baby". 3) He gets a lot of respect for sawing off his possessed hand whilst maniacally shouting "That's right, who's laughing now?!!!" 4) He rises to a challenge fairly well and, let's face it, with Raimi as puppet-master, there's no shortage of challenges for him to deal with here.
7 .The Alien (1979) Slimy, surreal, deadly. Please don't come near me. First appearance - Alien (1979)
Ridley Scott must have been a happy bunny when he first saw H R Giger's alien design for the 1978 space terror masterpiece. With a much nastier mouth (and fangs!) than is necessary and dripping with excessive amounts of KY jelly, this acid-blooded killing machine left audiences stunned and exasperated upon its release in the late 70s. The sequels are generally of a much higher quality than the Freddie, Jason or Michael Myers vehicles although the franchise seems to be running out of breath of late with the most recent Alien: Resurrection. The cast in the first film is excellent though. Harry Dead Stanton AND John Hurt in space? You'd better believe it.
6 .Jason Voorhees (1981) The original hockey mask and machette Summer Camp killer wasn't in the original Friday the 13th, but ruled the rest. Sh-sh-sh-sh-shame. First appearance - Friday the 13th Part 2 - with a potato sack on his head (Jason didn't get the hockey mask until the next film in the series) (1981)
When Tom Savini was asked to reprise his role as SFX man for Friday the 13th Part 2, he told them where to go, pointing out that Jason rising from the dead to wreak revenge on the kids that killed his mother (who had been killing kids that teased Jason in the first place) was a stupid idea. Some agree with him, uh-huh, but 10 Friday movies later it’s hard to knock Jason’s financial clout or his popularity with the die-hard fans. And, with Jason vs Freddy being a hit, it won’t be the last time we see him either.
5 .Freddy (1984) Pizza faced, claw-gloved bastard son of a thousand maniacs, who visits people at night. A bit like the milk tray man, except without the chocolates. First appearance - A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Freddie apparently came to Craven from a true newspaper report on teenagers dying in their sleep and swiftly became the face of 80s horror after his demented debut showed him carving his way through a cast of screaming teens that included a young Johnny Depp. The resulting demand for Freddie masks and gloves (with plastic knives - for kids!) maybe diminished his nasty side a little, but Craven promptly brought evil Freddie back from the dead in the post-modernist horror Wes Craven's A New Nightmare, proving there's still much life in the old dog yet. "One two.. Freddie's coming for you..."
4 .Michael Myers (The Shape) (1978) White-masked 'boogeyman' who hates his family. And Donald Pleasance. Don't bother trying to kill him because it'll just give him an excuse to come back in yet another sequel. First appearance - Halloween (1978)
As a demonstration of how less can really be more, Carpenter and Hill's creation was a massive success and, as you probably know, spawned far too many sequels. While they are awful, they do reinforce The Shape's status as indisputable horror iconography, proving time and time again that "the evil" cannot die and will continue to kill and kill. He wears a William Shatner mask painted white and is perhaps one of the earliest icons to come with stock standard soundtrack, a bit like...
3 .Leatherface (1974) Hulking inbred hick with roaring chainsaw. Just run. Fast. First appearance - The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
The craziest fuck in the "annals of American history". Likes cooking and keeping a tidy house. Squeals like a stuck pig and probably smells worse. Wears other people's dead faces and a selection of (real) hairpieces, occasionally embellishing his already handsome features with blusher and lipstick. On days off he enjoys feeding Grandpa, carrying out door repairs and impersonating keystone cops. Doesn't like wrench-throwing truck drivers. Would like to meet a nice girl and settle down.
2 .Frankenstein's Monster (1931) Bolt-necked, flat-headed giant with a pained
expression. Don't upset him because he may throw you across the room then step on your face with his massive shoes. First appearance - Frankenstein (1931)
The role (and status as icon) belongs solely to the lisping Boris Karloff ever since his role-defining performance in the first instalment 1931. James Whale followed up with what is considered his true masterpiece - Bride of Frankenstein soon after in 1935. This is where Karloff really made his mark. His performance provoked both sympathy and fear and by the time of the second installment, James Whale was clearly taking the monster into unchartered territories with a surreal blend of horror, comedy and wacky fantasy.
1 .Dracula (1922) Bloodsucking Eastern European with bizarre features and a good taste in women and capes. He's quite old. First appearance - Nosferatu aka Terror of Dracula (1922)
Hungarian bat-lover Bela Lugosi played the suave Count to perfection in Tod Browning's 1931 Universal production Dracula. To many, he personifies everything that Count Dracula should be, from his distinguished accent to his peculiar physical gestures.
If you feel the 1931 Dracula film is somewhat dull and methadone-paced (see, I know my Lugosi, me), then for equal icon status you should check out the striking Max Schreck in Nosferatu (1922) - a truly freakish looking beast with great fangs and no hair. Shreck exudes a charisma all of his very own and has been seldom imitated. Egotistic, arrogant dickhead Klaus Kinski was the only one to be ballsy enough to give it a shot in Werner Herzog's ok 1979 remake.