Things can get pretty scary down here in the Forbidden Planet International social media dungeon. Surrounded by boxes of horror memorabilia, thoughts often turn to things that go bump, thud, slash and chainsaw buzzing in the night. In order to face our fears head on, we’ve been known to have one or two debates on horror history and are quick to jump on any online “best of” list that we feel is ignoring some un-sung horror villain.
So, in honour of Lionsgate’s Texas Chainsaw 3D opening in the UK this week, we’ve compiled a list of our five favourite horror villains. Sure, it misses some big names and includes some lesser-seen ones but it’s our list, so there! Agree with us? Disagree vehemently? Think we should have included someone else? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter or G+!
Leatherface – The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Even without our current week-long Texas Chainsaw 3D celebration in effect, we’d still include Leatherface on our list. Frequently and unfairly left out outside the 70s/80s “holy trinity of horror” (Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger), we think that Leatherface is actually much more important within the lineage of the genre. In terms of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s seminal psychological editing and the quazi-sympathetic psycho Leatherface, Texas Chainsaw Massacre rose above the ranks of Exploitation Horror – and set new standards that other scare flicks are still measured by today.
Find out our other four picks under the cut!
Candyman – The Candyman (1992)
In the horror pantheon, the Candyman is so underrated it’s depressing. Rooted to the existing Bloody Mary legend, and developed by Clive Barker, The Candyman preys upon superstitions that many of us may brush off in public while hurring nervously through the darkened corridors of our own homes at night in fear of the bogeyman. Maybe that’s just me though? The Candyman is also another sympathetic figure and his ferocious thirst for blood is made even more terrifying by understanding his tragic origins:
Candyman was the son of a slave, who became a well known artist. After falling in love with a white woman who became pregnant, he was set upon by a lynch mob, who cut off his painting hand and replaced with a hook. He was smeared with honey (prompting the locals to chant ‘Candyman’) from a nearby apiary, and the bees stung him to death.
Never seen it? Track it down on blu-ray or Netflix today and watch an oft-forgotten horror masterpiece.
The Alien– Alien (1979)
A lot of existing lists choose the “Alien Queen” as their Alien representative, but for us, there’s none scarier than the original deep-space people stalker in Ripley Scott’s sci-fi horror classic. The simple “unknown” element of the H R Giger designed monster is what made it so effective. Unseen for the majority of the movie, the alien is the perfect example of “the less you know, the more you fear”, so we’ve elected to use the ominous poster rather than an image of the creature itself. We love all the Alien sequels in their own way, but as more aliens and the name “Xenomorph” was introduced, expanding the audience’s understanding of the creatures, we couldn’t help but be less scared. Still would’t want to meet one in a dark alley though.
Doctor Matthew “Frankenstein” Logan – Day of the Dead (1985)
Sure, Captain Rhodes may be the biggest arsehole in Day of the Dead, but Doctor Logan is just so much more interesting. He may not exactly be a villain in the traditional sense but his scarily insane, clandestine experiments and defiling of the dead are one of the catalysts that lets all hell loose in the third of George Romero’s Dead movies. Much like his nick-namesake, there’s a noble scientific method to his madness, as he successfully “domesticates” lovable Zombie poster-boy By after realising that zombies may retain some of their past humanity.
Another Clive Barker character, this time played memorably by the great David Cronenberg himself in a rare lead acting role. As well as having a terrifying human skin mask that would make Leatherface and Buffalo Bill weep with jealousy, Dekker is everyone’s worst nightmare: a psychiatrist and a demented serial killer. What really makes Nightbreed is that Dekker’s not even the weirdest character in the movie, the protagonist Aaron Boone becomes a supernatural mutant during the course of the flick. If you’ve never seen Nightbreed, know that it’s a cult classic for a reason. Go in with no expectations and just enjoy 102 minutes of madness that will make you wince with horror, marvel with awe and maybe even giggle a few times along the way. Here’s the film’s Wikipedia article for more info.