Horror is one genre of movies that has had a religious and devoted following for the past three decades. One of the reasons for this following is the fact that there are so many memorable characters that have come from those movies. These characters were created and brought to life in order to strike fear into the hearts of not only the people in the movie, but in the hearts of those who watch the movies on the big screen. Gore, guts, and suspense – these slasher movies have it all thanks to the characters that make these movie tick.
Horror was around long before movies and many of the horror characters from the old stories were brought to life on the big screen. Memorable characters such as the Wolf-man and Frankenstein graced the silver screen and frightened us all. Probably the most famous of these older, more traditional characters was Dracula. Count Dracula was brought into the limelight and made famous by Bram Stoker and has gone on to have a multitude of movies made about him. He has also been portrayed in other movies and so much merchandise has been created around his character that even a breakfast cereal, Count Chocula, was created in his image.
Still, even Dracula didn’t bring horror to its pinnacle. No this role was reserved for some of the scariest and most horrifying characters ever to grace the big screen. There have been the thrillers, such as Manhunter and Silence of the Lambs, which brought the chilling Hannibal Lecter to our attention. This horrifying character sent chills down the spine of the toughest horror fan, a feeling made even more pronounced when one considers that his character is based on real-life murderer Ed Gein. Another thriller was the Exorcist, which is considered a time-honoured classic, thanks to the character Pazuzu, who possessed Regan.
We all remember Chucky from Child’s Play and Pinhead from Hellraiser. Michael Myers is a name to instill fear in even the stoutest heart and was the fixture of the Halloween movies. This character was bone chilling and everyone knew that Halloween night was reserved for only him. And what about one of the most classic horror movies of all time, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. None other than Leatherface created bone-chilling fear as he paraded around in his mask made of human skin. The fact that this character was also loosely based on real-life murderer Ed Gein makes him even more terrifying. Remember the hockey mask that belonged to Jason Voorhees? Jason, from Friday the 13th, sent shivers down the spine as well and he was so terrifying that even though he wasn’t officially introduced until the second movie people were still terrified of him in the first movie. The hockey mask that is his trademark didn’t even though it factor into the picture until the third movie.
Now Jason may be the most popular of the group just mentioned, but there is another one even more infamous, a character that Jason even met up with in the 2003 Freddy vs. Jason. You guessed it – Freddy Krueger from Nightmare on Elm St. This character has been merchandised for decades and is one of true terror, perhaps because he gets at people in their dreams. After all, we all have to sleep at some point; you can’t stay awake forever. Freddy’s glove is one of the most popular items from that frightening movie.
With all of this history and the characters that make your skin crawl, one might wonder where horror is going. Well, 2004 saw the release of Saw, a new horror film that features Jigsaw, a blood-curdling terror that brings with him a complex psyche and a life story to boot. This movie and its sequels have initiated a new interest in the genre of horror that is bound to last another 30 years so that many more generations of kids and adults can be scared out of their wits in front of the big screen. Just remember that no one makes these horror movies come alive more than the characters that slash, kill, and maim. Characters that you love to hate.