21 October 2009

Top 10 Horror

I'm so damn The current mood of augustdreams at www.imood.com

I love me some blood, horror movies and Halloween goodness. So I've decided to create a list of my personal top ten scariest horror movie characters. (I'd say villains, but it's not always the villains that scare me.)

My manuscript is still languishing somewhere in the bowels of Citadel and it's really frustrating. But the bigger part of my joy in writing is the process itself, and later sharing my art and hoping somebody out there enjoys it. Natural high, baby. But I digress. As usual. On with it!

In no particular order...

Top 10 Scariest Horror Movie Characters:

10. Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre:

Sometimes, you can bargain with murderous lunatics. But Leatherface? To this guy, killing you isn't fun, a turn-on, or even mildly interesting. He puts on his apron, punches in for the day, crushes your cranium with a mallet the size of Warwick Davis and his only concerns are that now he'll have to clean your blood smear off his floor and that his 401k really hasn't been doing all that well lately.

Few things are more frightening than dehumanization. We're all the stars of our own little horror comedies (good luck convincing me life, for the most part, is anything less than a mix of sick comedy and sheer horror) and the thought that someone could kill us with the same bored disinterest we feel when we slap a mosquito is scary right down to the primal core. Still terrifying 35 years after the buzz began.

9. Danny Torrance from The Shining:

Yeah, I know. Jack Nicholson plays the bad guy. But let's face it, even when he plays a psycho, Jack is still Jack. He rocks. You want to go have a drink with the guy. But that rubber-faced kid? Sweet jesus, that little bastard gives me the willies. Scariest scene for me? The one where the parents are busily ensuring the kid will need years of therapy by screaming at one another and otherwise arguing violently and the kid's lying in bed with his mouth open in a silent scream. GAH! Creepy. Little. Fucker.

First of all, he's got a mouth like the illegitimate son of Steven Tyler. Second, I swear he unhinges it like a snake. Third... look, I'm freakin' myself out here. If I keep this up I'll start thinking the little nutter's screaming silently in my closet again and I'll be too scared to get up in the middle of the night to pee so I'll have to get the coffee can out again and... where was I? *ahem* Moving on...

8. Billy the clown puppet from the SAW movies (Yes, that's the puppet's name. I sincerely apologize for knowing that, but had to do my research. Let it never be said I don't suffer for my art!):

Let's get one thing straight. I fucking hate the SAW movies. Plotholes the size of Grenada, logic fails, annoyingly self-righteous bad guy and situations where the plot depends on the characters acting like utter morons. HOWEVER... that clown puppet the killer uses to deliver most of his messages? DO. NOT. WANT. He is a creepy, creepy motherfucker. Imagine a knock at your door at 2am. You open it to find that freaky little bastard riding a tricycle creakily up your driveway. Yeah. Did I mention I loathe clowns?

7. Kathy Bates from Misery:

Not the character, mind you. The actress herself. There's something about her that just scares me. That's not an insult, I'm just creeped out by her ability to play a psycho so convincingly. Even when K. dragged me to see Titanic (For the record, next time we hit a movie together, I want a safeword.), I shuddered every time she was onscreen.

I'm not a writer of any real fame, so don't have fans (unless ya count friends who read my silliness on a regular basis. And let's face it, you guys are just faking it because I can still provide discounts on booze) but it's my goal to one day make a living with my craft. And I've read about and spoken to enough writers who have actual fanbases to know it's almost a given you'll get at least one psycho. I'm terrified that mine will be Kathy Bates with a fucking sledgehammer. Probably because she somehow made a typo on a Google search and read this.

6. Uncle Frank from Hellraiser:

The Cenobites? Granted, they're evil bastards. But sadists with knives just equal a really good Saturday night for me. Creepy relatives? Now that shit is the stuff of nightmares. That he may have an unsavory history with a younger Kirsty is only hinted at in the movie, but they make it just clear enough to really get under my skin. (Pun not quite intended.)

The original (they're remaking Hellraiser and even with Clive Barker at the helm, I'm wary) had a gritty charm that only comes from having a lower budget than most of the slick, Hollywood crap that passes for horror these days. And for my money, the scariest parts of that film were all Frank.

5. Kid with the Rabbit mask in Trick 'r Treat:

If you haven't seen this yet, check it out. Not particularly scary but it's got a great atmosphere. I'd rank it up there with Something Wicked This Way Comes on the list of movies that seem to melt down the very essence of October and splatter it onto your screen. (Also on that list: The Lady in White and, of course, the original Halloween).

Psycho kids really freak me out. Put them in masks and it's even worse. Put one of them in a fucking big-toothed rabbitesque mask that'd make the bunny from Donnie Darko wet its pants? You win, movie. I am effectively disturbed.

4. Norman Bates from Psycho:

The guy may only be frightening when he's wearing a wig and a dress but those mommy-complex boys are cuckoo for cocoa puffs (credit to Kim). One minute they're being charmingly shy and discussing the weather with you. The next? Stabbing you repeatedly with a kitchen knife while screaming about how their testicles make it really uncomfortable to wear a thong or some such thing.

All the more scary because 'Psycho' was inspired by real life mama-lovin' sociopath Ed Gein. Up to that point, most of American horror focused on threats from "outside" - be they pod people, mad scientists or semi-intelligent carrots from space. But after police found furniture made from body parts and a local lady dressed out like a deer in seemingly mild-mannered Eddie's place, all that went out the window. Suddenly the boy next door might be the thing you should fear more than fear itself and the genre, not to mention the world, got a whole lot scarier.

3. That Damn Clown Doll from Poltergeist

Again with the clowns. Murderous, unfunny bastards, the lot of them! True story: I had a doll that looked like the one from this movie when I was a kid. After seeing Poltergeist I became utterly convinced that it wanted to eat my soul. Probably after first feasting on my feet and eyes (what? I was a weird kid! Which should surprise no one).

I threw it in the very back of my closet and hoped out of sight would mean out of mind. Unbeknownst to me, my mom chose that next day to clean all the closets in the house. Thus, when I came home from school, what was sitting on my bed, glaring balefully at me? Yep. That damn clown doll. Now I KNEW I had pissed it off. There was only one thing to be done... wait til everyone was asleep and sneak it outside with the trash so as to be rid of it before it could wreak its bloody vengeance on me.

I don't know where the doll is today, but I'm pretty sure it's carrying a grudge.

2. Baby Firefly from House of 1,000 Corpses and The Devil's Rejects:

Complete psycho chick. And not in the fun way. Unfortunately, we're all likely to be too busy admiring her goodies in those assless jeans to notice she's got a knife behind her back and a serious case of the batshit crazies.

Otis and Spaulding? Come on now, there's no excuse for dropping your guard around them. Otis looks like one of those guys who can go from zero to stabbing you in the head just because you insulted their football team or it's Tuesday. And Spaulding's a clown. Second only to mimes in the kill-it-on-sight-with-fire category.

But Baby? Perfect example of how deadly things in nature usually look all bright-colored and fetching.

1. The subtle scares in The Exorcist:

One of my favorite "serious" horror movies. It's not so much the spider walk or head-spinning, pea-soup spewing as it is the sublte touches in this one. The movie is at its scariest when there's only sounds of scratching in the attic and an atmosphere of dread. Once the possession action begins in earnest, the scares kind of stop for me. Fortunately, there's a pretty good story there to hold your interest. Those medical testing scenes are fairly disturbing too.

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