Tony The Pimp Played by: Bobby Rhodes
Film(s): Demons (1985)
A Best Horror Characters list simply isn't complete without Italian B-movie badass Bobby Rhodes, flaunting his porno 'tache, fisting demons and spouting lines like, "Son of a bitch! Shit!" Now a cult figure, Rhodes has since starred in his own short movie from 2011 called - can you guess yet? - Tony The Pimp.
285 The Man Played by: Herk Harvey
Film(s): Carnival Of Souls (1962)
A white-faced, mad-eyed, wispy-haired ghoul who plagues heroine Mary (Candace Hilligoss) throughout her stay in a small town in Utah, The Man - played by director Herk Harvey - isn't some scheming cousin of The Joker, or even a flesh-eating zombie (although the film was a notable influence on George A. Romero's Night Of The Living Dead). Rather he's a messenger of sorts. It's just not the sort of message that Mary would particularly like to hear.
The Blob Played by: n/a
Film(s): The Blob (1958)
Irvin Yeaworth's gooey alien amoeba, smothering a small-town like a malevolent duvet of pink snot, was such a phenomenon that Burt Bacharach's "Beware The Blob" sat on the US charts for a year (true). Followed by sequels The Blib, The Blab and The Blub (false).
The Lady In the Radiator Played by: Laurel Near
Film(s): Eraserhead (1977)
In one of the few acts of Ronsealing in David Lynch's career, The Lady In The Radiator is a lady who lives in Henry Spencer's radiator, singing 'In Heaven, everything will be fine' while stamping on sperms in a way that suggests that everything won't be fine. In fact, everything will be as far from fine as can be. It's important to note that this is a lady who lives in a radiator inside Henry Spencer's world, and David Lynch's brain. The lady who lives in your radiator is probably much, much nicer. Probably.
The Child Catcher Played by: Robert Helpmann
Film(s): Chitty Chitty Bang-Bang (1968)
OK, he's not, strictly speaking, a horror movie character (although we're tempted to paraphrase Father Ted's Dougal and ask how a car flying around 'with a mind of its own' can be anything less than terrifying), but The Child Catcher belongs here, largely because he's scarier than most ghouls from legitimate horror movies. A hook-nosed, prancing fiend who can literally smell children and who likes to keep them in cages for reasons unknown, he was created by Roald Dahl specifically for the film, and played by the ironically named Robert Helpmann. He may catch children, but it's their adult subconscious that he truly ensnares. Bastard.
Father Halliran Played by: John Carradine
Film(s): The Sentinel (1977)
Meet an ancient priest who, despite being as blind as the proverbial bat, sits at the window of a New York brownstone and guards the gateway to Hell. Eat that, Buffy. John Carradine - looking like he's the sole survivor of an explosion in a flour factory - is barely in Michael Winner's demented Fulci-esque 1977 quote-unquote classic, but he doesn't need to be. Let's face it, he probably didn't want to be.
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein Played by: Gene Wilder
Film(s): Young Frankenstein (1974)
"It's FronkenSTEEN!" Gene Wilder has never been more manic, more repressed or, crucially, funnier, as a (relatively) good man trying to live down a bad rep in Mel Brooks' spot-on spoof.
279 Hans Played by: Otto Jespersen
Film(s): Troll Hunter (2010)
Just imagine the stones you'd have to have to hunt trolls. Not just the little ones or the keyboard-warrior kind, but the 200-feet tall Jotnar. Now imagine a little more. You're not even close to possessing the sheer willpower and courage of Otto Jespersen's, erm, troll hunter in this Norwegian gem - and he does it all with an incompetent camera crew sticking their lens in his face. Somebody set this guy on the kaiju. It'd be over in seconds.
Otis Played by: Tom Towles
Film(s): Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer (1986)
Henry's vile sidekick Otis, based on real-life serial killer Otis Lee Crenshaw, somehow comes across as even more nausea-inducing than his mental-head mentor. Maybe it's the comb over. Later, he's stabbed in the eye with a comb. Poetic hirsute justice prevails!
The Troll Played by: Frank Welker (voice)
Film(s): Cat's Eye (1985)
A vicious little fiend - actually a midget in a suit, clambering up oversized props - that looks like a distant cousin of The Rancor, The Troll is the Big Bad of the final story in Stephen King and Lewis Teague's anthology. He lives inside the skirting board of young Drew Barrymore's house, emerging at night to try to steal her breath, the utter BASTARD.
John Valentine Played by: John Lithgow
Film(s): Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983)
As the passenger who sees a gremlin on the wing of his plane in George Miller's Nightmare At 20,000 Feet, Lithgow delivers a masterfully modulated nervous breakdown. The man can sweat for England - or whichever country he happens to be flying over at the time.
Ryosuke Played by: Haruhiko Katô
Film(s): Kairo (2001)
The closest thing to a hero in Kiyoshi Kurosawa's emotionally devastating tale of the apocalypse triggered by the internet (trust us, that's extremely reductive; check out the film to see exactly what happens), Haruhiko Kato's student is a positive sort, desperate to cling to the good in humanity even as the shit is massively hitting the fan.com. Which makes what happens later all the more dispiriting.
Hjalmar Poelzig Played by: Boris Karloff
Film(s): The Black Cat (1934)
Boris Karloff again, using his gaunt features to good - well, evil - effect as a Satan-worshipping high priest who faces off against old adversary Bela Lugosi, initially on the chessboard and then in a fight to the death. Karloff had just rocketed to fame as the misunderstood and tragic Frankenstein's Monster; here, with the bolts taken off, he clearly relishes getting his teeth into a reprobate.
273 Dr. Vitus Werdegast Played by: Bela Lugosi
Film(s): The Black Cat (1934)
Just as Boris Karloff flipped his public persona to play the bad guy in The Black Cat, so did Bela Lugosi to play the hero. Well, hero of sorts. His Werdegast is still a largely sinister creation but, bestowed with a tragic backstory (he's been a prisoner in a notorious camp for fifteen years, for which Karloff's Hjalmar Poelzig was responsible) and juxtaposed with the irredeemable Karloff, he wins the audience's affection. Not Karloff's, though. The two don't exactly kiss and make up.
Elliot and Beverly Mantle Played by: Jeremy Irons
Film(s): Dead Ringers (1988)
This may be cheating, but given that the Mantles found it so hard to separate themselves, why should we fare any better? Jeremy Irons has never bettered this dual performance as the twisted twins, gynaecologists whose battle for the love of one woman leads to psychological and then physical selves-destruction.
Soo-hyun Played by: Byung-hun Lee
Film(s): I Saw The Devil (2010)
This year, South Korean heartthrob Byung-hun Lee has been mainly trying to break into Western movies with eyecatching turns in two Bruce Willis vehicles, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, and Red 2. But if you want to know what he's really capable of, check out Kim Ji-woon's astonishing, gruelling I Saw The Devil, in which Lee plays a cop who tracks down the man who killed his fiancee, captures him, lets him go, captures him again, lets him go again, captures him again... It's the ultimate game of cat and mouse, but Lee brilliantly captures the gradual emotional degradation that Soo-hyun experiences as he blurs the line between cop and killer.
Vera Cosgrove Played by: Elizabeth Moody
Film(s): Braindead (1992)
Let's just make this absolutely clear: Peter Jackson loves his mum. So don't go looking for any psychological overtones - Oedipal or otherwise - from Braindead, which features arguably the most monstrous screen mum of them all. Even before she is bitten by a Sumatran rat monkey, Vera (the late Elizabeth Moody) is a nagging pain in the arse. Afterwards, she turns into the sort of rapacious monster that even the most pampered of mummy's boys would struggle to love. Word to the wise: don't share her custard. We hear it's not that tasty.
Jeffrey Dahmer Played by: Jeremy Renner
Film(s): Dahmer (2002)
Jeffrey Dahmer was - is - one of America's greatest real-life monsters, a serial killing sadist who claimed 17 victims (all men) over a period of 13 years. Jeremy Renner is one of America's best actors who, long before he embarked upon his tour of the nation's multiplexes with the likes of Avengers Assemble and The Bourne Legacy, was chillingly effective as Dahmer (he was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award) in this serious and sombre biopic.
268 Santanico Pandamonium Played by: Salma Hayek
Film(s): From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
Empire, being a morally upright magazine that loves its mother and does its homework every night, doesn't frequent strip clubs. And Salma Hayek's Santanico Pandemonium is largely the reason why. The star attraction at somewhat insalubrious Mexican watering hole The Titty Twister, Pandemonium emerges in a bikini that's seemingly been painted on, performs a sultry striptease and then turns into a bat-faced fiendesse. Just in case that sort of thing happens at Spearmint Rhino, we're not going.