Staff Picks: Horror Icons

Horror Icons
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Horror Icons

Horror Icons

Doctor Hannibal Lecter

Jesse Blume For me, there’s only one choice. It has to be Dr. Hannibal Lecter. I’ve always had a knack for asking people questions about their favorites, even as a child. I remember one occasion where I asked both my parents what was their favorite scary scene in a horror movie, and they both said “The Silence of the Lambs.” Then they started to tell me about the infamous Hannibal Lecter. They described to me how the truly scary thing about him wasn’t his cannibalism or how he had absolutely no value for human life, but how he could get inside your head. At the time, I didn’t really understand how that could be frightening, but then I finally saw the film. During the first few minutes of the film, Jonathan Demme did an excellent job building the character up, and when he finally show up on screen, he doesn’t disappoint in any way. Within a few scarce minutes, his keen eye, sense of smell, and psychological expertise tell him almost everything he needs to know about young Clarice Starling. Hours later, we come to find out how he convinced a fellow asylum inmate to commit suicide by swallowing his own tongue. That picture and that immaculate performance from Sir Anthony Hopkins left a mark on my psyche that will never truly fade.

 

Horror Icons

Jason Voorhees

Calibertholomew Winfield Obviously me, if you know your ol’ boy, sides with Jason Voorhees. The King, the KING of the slashers. Psycho was the original, Halloween invented the genre, but Jason, Jason made it mainstream. Ronald McDonald, Santa, Jason Voorhees. They’re all as recognizable.

I love every volume, including the black sheeps of the franchise, A New Beginning, Jason Goes To Hell, and Jason X. In the first 3 films he’s featured, he’s a scary motherfucker. Hulking, menacing, and brutal. Once he becomes an undead force of nature, he’s the hero of the film and we get a ton of the series’ most memorable kills, as well as adventures. Battling psychics & dream-demons, venturing from Crystal Lake to Manhattan to Hell to Space and back to Earth again for the reboot. It’s always something interesting & awesome with the greatest horror icon ever.

 

Horror Icons

The Hopping Vampire

Mike Luxemburg I talk about this business all of the time, but I’m bringing it back. The Hopping Vampire is simply the best. When it comes to bizarre mythologies you gotta look east my friends. Lecter is creepy as hell in his representation of pure madness, no doubt. Dracula is a really good metaphor for the libertine tendencies of the 19th century European upper-class – I feel that. Frankenstein conveys the fractured and subjective nature of human experience like a boss. Zombies can portray anything from the dangers of capitalism to the terrors of unchecked scientific progress. The shark in Jaws makes me nervous about nature like I’m Werner Herzog. The Hopping Vampire though? None of that symbolism. It’s just a reanimated corpse driven by consumptive tendencies. AND IT F***ING HOPS ERRWHERE. How do you stop them? Beheadings and glutinous rice. Will a hopping vampire kill you and your family? Did Ice Cube F*** around and get a triple double? YES TO BOTH. The best part about those movies is they manage to convey how dangerous this monster is, while still constructing one of the goofiest least symbolically driven icons in horror history. Watch Mr. Vampire, watch the sequels, watch Rigor Mortis. GET AT ME. I’ll be here with my jump rope, preparing to out hop any apparition trying invade my housing complex.

 

Horror Icons

Freddy Krueger

Tamica Phipps Freddy Krueger. That guy really got to me as a kid…he scared the mess out of me! It was years before I could say his name out loud and I had so many nightmares that I started to know I was dreaming when I saw him. I always noticed when someone wore a striped sweater with red in it….even if it wasn’t the exact same one. My friend’s brother would wear a similar sweater and chase us around. That guy both thrilled and scared me so bad that I was afraid of my bed being next to the wall and I was afraid of getting too close to the TV for fear the antennas would come alive and hands would grab me. I must have liked being scared because I kept watching the movies. Now when it comes on TV I watch it and laugh at how lame and corny he was but still…any guy who can have that kind of impact on a kid is a horror icon in my book. And I think Robert Englund played the part perfectly. You gotta admit..the idea of being tied down by a tongue is pretty freaky. The later movies weren’t so great but in the beginning….a freaky song sang by little girls, a tricycle, and a red door were chilling to my kiddie self.

Shawn S. Lealos My pick is Freddy Krueger. I just always liked him better than Jason or Michael Myers when it comes to slasher heroes. Instead of just being a zombie like mute who kills people, Freddy is a complete jerk – someone who wants to humiliate the kids before he kills them. It makes the Nightmare series a lot more fun than many of the slasher movies, and despite the sarcastic humor of Freddy, it remains a solid horror movie unlike copycat sequels like Child’s Play. One, two, Freddy’s coming for you…

Patricia Márquez My favorite horror icon is also Freddy Kruger. He’s so different from all other “monsters” and has so many horror elements going on for him, such as serial killing, a ghostly presence, burn scars+crazy weapon, and clear cut slasher intentions. We get a really clear notion of who this person was before his grotesque disfigurement. He talks a lot, chases you, and of course haunts your dreams. He’s a real person who comes off as clever and manipulative, like some other worldly demon who gets gleeful pleasure from making you slowly sink into madness and despair. The entire idea that you can’t sleep, not even for a little while, for fear of scissored mutilation from Freddy is perhaps one of the most unnerving and pervasive concepts in horror history. And of course, lastly, there’s a pretty catchy kids’ rhyme about him, adding just another creepy layer to the whole enterprise.

John “D-Rock” Dotson I’ve been debating in my head who to choose all week, and my brain comes back to only one clear winner… Freddy Krueger. His character definitely became sillier as the franchised continued, but as a child this dude truly scared the sh*t out of me. His face and voice just sent insane chills throughout me when I was younger, and the claws did nothing to help. My first intro to Freddy I was 6, maybe 7 and I saw him stuffing a girl’s face with food like a pig in the dream world, but it was happening in front of her family, and no one could do anything to save her. That sh^t does troubling things to a child. My second encounter, I was just a little older and I saw a girl go up to her dad thinking she was awake and safe, only to get clawed straight in the stomach. That’s the thing I hate about watching Freddy movies. You’re never truly secure at any moment. Every scene could potentially be a dream ready to ruin your day. Robert Englund’s portrayal of him will never be outmatched and will haunt my nightmares forever. Thanks for scarring my youth Freddy.

Honorable shout-out to Pennywise from IT.

 

 

Horror Icons

Ash Williams

Derek Johns This is a tough one but I think I’m going to have to go with Ash from the Evil Dead series. He’s an expert zombie killer, time traveler, has the best one-liners, a chainsaw for a hand and in case that’s not enough to make him awesome he’s played by Bruce Campbell. He may not be the smartest horror icon but to me he’s definitely the most bad-ass.

 

Horror Icons

Michael Myers

Rick Tym For this Renegade, Michael Myers is the best horror icon of all time. This is based almost exclusively on the original film. Imagine if they hadn’t milked that cash cow…a horror flick about faceless evil with an unknown motivation, one you can’t reason with or destroy. Man, that ending when they look down over the banister, expecting to see Michael’s body, only to find an empty yard with a hint of where he just laid…and the montage of his Haddonfield haunts as his masked breathing amplifies…man, that sequence still gives me the chills. I’m no complete detractor of subsequent Halloween films (except for the Rob Zombie reinterpretations; they were, to me, terrible) and enjoy them for what they are (yes, even Season of the Witch), but Myers was an icon as soon as John Carpenter committed his character to film in the first, the best, the classic…Halloween.

Caleb Masters There was never really any choice for me on this one. Michael Myers is the definitive horror icon in my mind. He may not have been the first and he may have become debatably the most ridiculous(see Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers), but there is something truly terrifying about a serial killer who stops at nothing…literally nothing to kill his prey.

The scariest reason is that he has no true reason(aside from the family angle). He just kills anything and everything that gets between him and his target. He has no soul, no physical boundaries, and no purpose other than to kill. The idea of this type of killer is truly terrifying because it could almost be real(if it weren’t for the whole indestructible thing). Freddy may be a lot of fun, Leatherface may be truly disturbing, and Jason may be the most creative, but none of them match the shear terror of the unstoppable killing machine that is Michael Myers.

 

Horror Icons

Norman Bates

Tony Beaulieu Norman Bates. Unlike cartoonish Freddy or force-of-nature Jason, Norman Bates brings a humanity that separates and elevates him above other horror slashers. His body count isn’t as high, Norman Bates isn’t some cursed soul or vengeful spirit — he’s like you and me. And that makes him infinitely more terrifying than any monstrous “other” you can throw out.

 

jarjar

Jar Jar Binks

Derek Ciapala Jar Jar Binks takes it for me. Every time I see him on screen, I have nightmares for weeks.

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About the Author

John "D-Rock" Dotson
is a film critic and film-maker from Dallas, Texas. He attended Midwestern State University where he received a Bachelor's in Business Administration in the field of Marketing. He's a huge lover of all things cinema... except The Last Airbender. Follow him on Twitter @DRockDot
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