Happy Friday 13th everyone. It’s the day when our superstitions come to the fore and we wait for the worst to happen.
The date is also inextricably linked to a long running franchise of horror films of the same name featuring a gentleman called Jason Voorhees whose love of hockey masks is matched only by his proclivity for dismembering incredibly stupid people in increasingly inventive ways.
In a tribute to Friday 13th and horror films, here’s my Top 10 horror film characters.
A quick note to horror film buffs before you burst a blood vessel – these are modern day horror movie characters, hence the omission of classics such as Dracula and Frankenstein.
WARNING: LIGHT SPOILERS, BAD LANGUAGE AND SOME PRETTY GRAPHIC DEATH SCENES!
1. Freddy Kruger (Nightmare on Elm Street)
The film that introduced us to Johnny Depp also brought us Freddy – THE character that kept me up at night when I was a kid. A sort of flambéed Wolverine with burned skin and knives for fingernails who could kill you while you dreamed. Freddy was a Wes Craven creation and definitely his scariest.
WARNING: GRAPHIC DEATH SCENES!
2. Norman Bates (Psycho)
Sigmund Freud would have had a field day with Norman Bates. We all love our mums, but Norman Bates’ obsession with his mother, who also happens to be dead is, at best, unhealthy. More unhinged than the creaky doors of the Bates Motel, Norman was never played better and more creepily, than by Anthony Perkins in Hitchcock’s original.
3. Jack Torrance (The Shining)
Bit of a cheat this one. I wouldn’t say Jack is the scariest character but The Shining is at the very top of my scariest film list. I say he’s not scary, but he is an axe wielding maniac who loses his mind in a remote, Labyrinthine hotel and tries to ‘correct’ his family by chopping them up into tiny pieces.
4. Jason Voorhees (Friday 13th)
Arguably the most iconic horror character of the last 40 years, Jason has been the star of a blood-soaked bevvy of films since his debut in 1980s, including teaming up with scary stablemate Freddy Kruger. Thanks to JV, a simple hockey mask is all you need to create the perfect Halloween costume.
5. Leatherface (Texas Chainsaw Massacre)
Kingpin of the dysfunctional Southern American family, this mute brute loves sharp hooks and of course, loud chainsaws. This arguably makes Leatherface king of the slashers both for the crude violence of his weapon of choice, but also because there’s no element of surprise with a chainsaw, no subtlety. When you hear it start up, just hope you can out run him.
6. Pennywise the Clown (It)
One for the coulrophobics. Taken from Stephen King’s book, Pennywise is arguably the creepiest character in this list. The genius of Pennywise is that he is genuinely scary to look at – one of the only horror characters that is scarier in the day than at night.
7. Anabelle (The Conjuring)
Doll. Possessed. Witch. True story. What more do you need to know?
8. The Babadook (The Babadook)
The most recent addition to the pantheon of horror characters. The Babadook is an evil entity who looks a like an emaciated version of Slash from Guns and Roses. He invades your life and it’s fair to say, he doesn’t like to leave. Like many films The Babadook uses the innocence of children to unsettle the audience. It does it brilliantly.
9. Damien (The Omen)
Damien – the prince of the demonic royal family. The Antichrist, he has an affinity with black animals and people close to him publicly hang themselves at children’s parties. He was one of the first to tap into the ‘kids are scary’ part of an audience’s psyche.
10. Mike Myers (Halloween)
Rivalling Leatherface for King of the Slashers, Myers appears in no less than nine films making him one of the most bankable baddies in horror film history. The template for a host of antagonists in subsequent – considerably worse – movies, Myers has quite literally been the poster-boy for horror film characters in the modern era.
Regan (The Exorcist)
Possessed child Regan is not scary per se, but I couldn’t compile a top list related to scary movies without mentioning the Exorcist.