They are the monster under your bed. The hooded killer hiding in your backseat. They are what go bump in the night and wait for the right moment to strike. These are the villains of horror cinema. The cornerstone of the genre, they are what your movie is almost based on. If your monster isn’t good you might as well throw in the towel. Now it being Halloween I figured there was no better time than the present to reveal my list of TOP 6 VILLAINS. Why Top 6? Well, I’m just kind of lazy like that.
I realize the title is a bit vague but the logic is simple enough. Who are the top 6 scariest beings to walk the cinematic earth. The ones that make you look over your shoulder as you leave the theater. Now I’m sure I’ll skip some but hey, I can’t see EVERY movie ever made. Not without getting paid anyway. I’d also like to rule out the classics. Otherwise the list would consist of nothing but the classic Universal monsters. They’re amazing but I that would just make my job easier and nobody wants that. Now without further adeu, lets get started on the list!
I know, I know I JUST said that I wouldn’t mention the classics but this was just too big to pass. Gaining major prominence in 1964 with George Romero’s classic Night of the Living Dead they’ve been eating through society ever since. What really gets them on the list is the fact that they’re so versatile. They walk, they run, they swim, they can do everything but fly. I’m sure that’ll happen in the next off-continuity Day of the Dead sequel. And that’s what keep them so low on the list. With so much overexposure and their impact has been weakened. To the point where they’ve been spoofed multiple times (Shaun of the Dead, Dance of the Dead) and the bad movies outweigh the good (Day of the Dead 2: Contagium, basically all late Romer). Still with such a cultural impact and some of the greatest scenes cinema being about them I had to put them on the list.
I’m guessing that of all my choices, a decent portion of you haven’t seen Takashi Miike’s Audition let alone know who Asami Yamazaki so here’s a quick recap. Several years after his wife did, widower Shigeharu Aoyama poses auditions under the guise of a movie producer for a new film. Immediately Asami Yamazaki captures his imagination. The ex-ballerina has a quiet charm about her that just captivates him. It’d make for a good Jennifer Aniston movie if it weren’t for the fact that she’s completely and utterly insane. As the movie slowly burns the tension builds greater and greater. And unlike Paranormal Activity it more than delivers in the in.
What is basically Takashi Miike’s masterpiece, his mix of amazing cinematography, cryptic dialogue and pure shock value makes it hard to argue.
In all honesty it was terribly hard to pick a single slasher film villain. Nevertheless, it’s hard to argue against anybody BUT the bastard son of 1000 maniacs. Sure there were slashers before (Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees to name a few) and even more after but Freddy was special. From the very beginning he brought something a style and charisma that was sorely lacking in the slasher genre. Born out of vengeance, he was killed by the Springwood, Ohio after not being convicted for child murder and came back for revenge. Typical, sure. But unlike every other slasher villain he killed the remaining ‘Children of Elm Street’ through their dreams. Sure you could drive out of Haddonfield or leave Camp Crystal Lake but you had to sleep eventually.
Once introduced he became a cultural phenomenon. From tv shows and 900 numbers to dolls and children’s pajamas, Fredy was everywhere. He became less the star of your dreams and more into a Muppet Baby (a crossover we sadly missed out on). Despite this oversaturation he was still a truly memorable character that could not only pull off the one liners but some of the best kills in horror history. I’m also a big mark for puns.
First and foremost, yes, Se7en is a horror film. Don’t let the shelves Blockbuster fool you into thinking otherwise. Qutie frankly, one of the better horror films of the last couple of decades. Crazy killer? Check. Made to create suspense and shock? Check. Kills more unique than your average Gerard Butler thriller? Check. All the key notes you hit in horror. Anywho, back to the list.
Of all of the entries, I find this the hardest to write about. Mainly because in the end, we have little to nothing on the guy. We can’t even say he has a name because nobody can identify him. He’s just this seemingly normal guy that does some of the most disturbing acts in film history. Really, I think that’s what gets him so high on my list. He could be anybody you see on the street. For all you know it could have been the guy you were sitting next to in the theater. John Doe not only has annomity but he seems truly justified in what he was doing. He wasn’t killing random teen A or police officer 12. He was taking down people that seemed to deserve it. That’s truly scary.
Lets jump back in the time machine to the year 2000. I was with my friend Jacob and we were sitting in a full theater for The Exorcist: The Director’s Cut. The lights dimmed down, tubular bells played throughout the theater and comedy ensued. That’s right, comedy. Between seeing a little girl telling a preacher “your mother sucks c**k in hell” and the spider-walk it just wasn’t scary. Flash forward 10 years and I’m here again. Well not exactly. I decided to watch it in the comfort of my living room thanks to Netflix. I have to say, my perspective has changed since.
Yes, the same things are still funny and it still feels a bit hokey. But now that I’m older I’ve noticed much more. The atmosphere and makeup alone makes you close to crapping yourself. Add in a script that makes posession seem plausible and the amazing performances from Max Von Sydow and Linda Blair and you have the classic I’ve been lead to believe. Real credit should go to Mercedes McCambridge, though. When you hear this crazy voice coming out of this scarred little girl you can’t help but think “Okay, we are officially f****d”. Something definitely missing for horror today and worthy of being number 2 on my list.
I’m really not sure why this needs explaining. Lets look past the fact that he’s basically the first iconic film serial killer. Psycho is one of Hitchcock’s best. He released a black and white film that seemed out dated at the time yet scared people across the country. Making men and women alike fear going into the shower. Even today, 50 years later, it is a compelling thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat. All the while, with mild mannered Norman Bates at it’s center.
Throughout the film you continue to ask yourself if this man is an innocent bystander or an evil mastermind. If he’s just a guy caught in a bad situation or a man teetering on the edge of sanity. Anthony Perkins does an amazing job and makes you feel for a clearly sick man. The ultimate mother’s boy, Norman Bates really does deserve the top spot.
And there you have it, my Top 6 Horror Villains catagory. If you could get through the whole list, you truly are a great human being. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to check soon. I’ll have one more update before the end of the month reviewing a truly terrifying film.