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The 666 Greatest Horror Characters
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Show all 666 characters  |  Random character View A-Z by:  characters  |  films  |  actors

Hans Beckert
Played by: Peter Lorre
Film(s): M (1931)

Peter Lorre's bulging eyes and simpering voice have never been creepier as the loathsome, whistling child killer, compelled to carry on committing his heinous crime until he's hunted down by cops and criminals alike in Fritz Lang's classic German movie.

Lord Summerisle 114
Lord Summerisle
Played by: Christopher Lee
Film(s): The Wicker Man (1973)

The laird of a pretty little Hebridean island with which he shares his name, Christopher Lee's zealot looks great (kilt!), sounds great (baritone!), and has the best interests of his people at heart (benevolence!). We'll just brush that whole sacrificing-an-innocent-man-in-a-giant-wicker-contraption thing under the carpet, write it off as skylarking and horseplay.

Hadley 113
Played by: Bradley Whitford
Film(s): The Cabin In The Woods (2012)

Bradley Whitford's cynical office worker is the worst kind of monster: the kind of guy who can blithely condemn innocent kids to horrible deaths, and turn it into an office sweepstake. It was a toss-up, frankly, between him and Richard Jenkins' Sitterson for inclusion on the list, but Hadley's obsession with meeting a Merman, so beautifully paid off, clinched it.

Minnie Castevet 112
Minnie Castevet
Played by: Ruth Gordon
Film(s): Rosemary's Baby (1968)

Altogether now! "Neighbours. Everybody needs good neighbours / Especially when they're witches, leading a coven of Satan worshippers / In a fiendish plot to engineer the birth of the antichrist / By impregnating the nice girl next door with the seed of Lucifer himself! / In a role for Ruth Gordon/That won her an Academy Award / That's when good neighbours become good friends..."

Fran 111
Played by: Gaylen Ross
Film(s): Dawn Of The Dead (1978)

In Night Of The Living Dead, George A. Romero's previous female lead, Barbara, spent most of the movie in a catatonic trance before becoming zombie chow. Romero was clearly desperate to avoid that fate for Gaylen Ross' Fran in Dawn. She's the first major character we see, and even though she briefly retreats into the background while her boyfriend, Stephen, and his mates Peter and Roger run around the mall, there's no danger of her becoming mere arm candy. Her disintegrating relationship with Stephen alone puts paid to that, but Fran - in many ways a forerunner for the strong action heroines of the 80s and 90s - stands on her own two feet. For example, if she hadn't insisted on learning to fly Stephen's chopper (steady), the film would have had a Night-black ending.

Played by: Gary Oldman
Film(s): Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)

With a Romanian drawl that sounds 75% geographically accurate and 25% Lugosi riff, not to mention the most luxurious hairdo of any screen Dracula, Serious Actor Gary Oldman took his reinvention of Vlad very seriously indeed, interpreting the immortal vampire as a tragic romantic anti-hero, crossing oceans of time to be with his long-lost love, Mina. If only we could understand a bloody word he said.

109 109 Jerry Dandridge
Played by: Chris Sarandon
Film(s): Fright Night (1985)

As the neighbour from (literally, perhaps) hell, Chris Sarandon is arguably the suavest vampire of all time, and inarguably the sexiest. Don't believe us? Well, he pulls off a seduction scene while wearing a tight blue sweater, soundtracked to the very worst 80s synth-disco. The defence rests.

108 108 Gizmo
Played by: Howie Mandel (voice)
Film(s): Gremlins (1984), Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)

Don’t ask questions (how come he’s the only one of his kind?). Don’t poke the plot holes (if you can’t get him wet, how does he drink?). You’ll only drive yourself mad (as noted in Gremlins 2, how does feeding after midnight work if it’s technically always after midnight?). Just revel in the glorious cuteness and, especially in the madcap sequel, gritty Rambo-esque resilience of everyone’s favourite Mogwai.

107 107 Martin
Played by: John Amplas
Film(s): Martin (1976)

George A. Romero's one dip into vampire lore gave us the magnificently muddled Martin, an ordinary guy in all respects but one: he claims to be an 84 year-old bloodsucking fiend. Devoid of any supernatural trappings - he doesn't sparkle, for one thing - Amplas' Martin is, most likely, just a seriously disturbed fantasist begging to be put out of his misery.

106 106 Grampa
Played by: John Dugan
Film(s): The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

The doddery patriarch of the Sawyers' may be just a bloke in an unconvincing mask, but he's at the centre of Chainsaw's most disturbing scene, as he attempts to use a hammer to cave in Marilyn Burns' head. Thankfully, his octogenerian blows are too feeble.

The Birds 105
The Birds
Played by: n/a
Film(s): The Birds (1963)

Feathered friends become feathered fiends. These motherpeckers are as mad as hell and they're not going to take it any more.

104 104 Mrs. Baylock
Played by: Billie Whitelaw
Film(s): The Omen (1976)

The phrase 'nanny from hell' is bandied around a lot these days, but in the case of Billie Whitelaw's maniacal Mrs. Baylock, it may literally be true. The eyes, folks. It's all about the eyes.

Bruce The Shark
Played by: Bruce
Film(s): Jaws (1975)

Who cares if he's largely rubber? You're gonna need a bigger boat. Also, shorts.

102 102 Jacob
Played by: Tim Robbins
Film(s): Jacob's Ladder (1990)

Tim Robbins exposes his soul as the Vietnam vet dogged by hallucinations and what may be dark spirits as a result of exposure to a drug called The Ladder. Or is he? Or are they? Or was he? And so on and so forth.

101 101 Bill Murray
Played by: Bill Murray
Film(s): Zombieland (2009)

The greatest cameo of all time? It's up there, and Murray's willingness to poke fun at himself, from donning a Ghostbusters costume to ripping the piss out of Garfield, is utterly hilarious.

Max Schreck 100
Max Schreck
Played by: Willem Dafoe
Film(s): Shadow Of The Vampire (2000)

E. Elias Merhige's sly tale posits the theory that Max Schreck, the actor who played Count Orlok in F.W. Murnau's Nosferatu, actually was a vampire. Schreck is a wonderful character, hissing and grunting his way through the filming of Nosferatu, bumping off cast members and crew alike (in a wonderful dig at Hollywood attitudes, he constantly suggests eating the writer). Dafoe, slathered under layers of make-up, is having a whale - sorry, vale - of a time.

99 99 Frank-N-Furter
Played by: Tim Curry
Film(s): The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

Tim Curry has never been better as the Frankenstein knock-off who's really just a sweet transvestite from the transsexual planet Transylvania. Even smiling makes his face ache.

98 98 Father McCruder
Played by: Stuart Devensie
Film(s): Braindead (1992)

"I kick arse for the Lord!" announces Stuart Devenie's zealous priest, before proving - rather conclusively - that God is taking a sabbatical. Still, points for trying. Intriguingly, Zombie McCruder was played by a different actor.

The Thing
Played by: Various
Film(s): The Thing (1982)

Ravenous, toothy, shape-shifting alien bastard that could well be the other 665 characters on this list. You just never know.

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