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The 666 Greatest Horror Characters
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96
96
The Alien
Played by: Bolaji Badejo
Film(s): Alien (1979)


It was written by Dan O'Bannon, directed by Ridley Scott, played by Bolaji Badejo, sketched by H.R. Giger and plucked straight from the blackest excesses of your nightmares. The Nostromo's reckoning is beautifully summed up by Ian Holm's Ash: "Perfect organism. Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility... I admire its purity. A survivor... unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality." Plus, it has a head shaped like a willy.


95 95 Father Karras
Played by: Jason Miller
Film(s): The Exorcist (1973)


Jason Miller's Damien Karras is a priest racked by guilt, fear, doubt, and memories - visions? - of his dead mother, descending into what looks like the Chicago subway and who therefore might as well be Hell. So he's the perfect person to take on the wily demon, Pazuzu. Miller is fantastic as a weeping wound of a man whose belief is slowly restored by exposure to the most awful proof that God does, in fact, exist. He returned as a form of Karras for the surprisingly excellent Exorcist III.


94 94 Mrs Voorhees
Played by: Betsy Palmer
Film(s): Friday The 13th (1980)


It's always been a mystery why the Friday The 13th series never resurrected Betsy Palmer's psychotic camp counsellor. Yes, she may have had her head lopped off at the end of the original movie, but she's so much more interesting than her son, Jason, and deserves to be remembered as more than just a trick question at the beginning of Scream.


93 93 Conal Cochran
Played by: Dan O'Herlihy
Film(s): Halloween III: Season Of The Witch (1982)


Played with chilling understatement by Dan O'Herlihy, this demented loon is perhaps the only toymaker on the planet who wants children to choke on the small moving parts.


92 92 Danny Torrance
Played by: Danny Lloyd
Film(s): The Shining (1980)


'Redrum... redrum'. Danny Lloyd has one film, and one film only (he also has a TV movie shot in 1982, but as that spoils the narrative let's ignore it), on his CV, but what a film, and what a performance. True, as Danny Torrance, the young boy blessed / cursed with the Shining in a hotel filled with ghosts that see him as a psychic Twinkie, Lloyd isn't called upon to do much more than ride a tricycle very fast and look afraid. But he does that like a champ, clamping his fingers over his eyes, mouth wide in terror. Wonder if Kubrick made him do each take 99 times?


91
91
Peter Venkman
Played by: Bill Murray
Film(s): Ghostbusters (1984)


The leader of the Ghostbusters is a chancer and a charlatan who uses science primarily as a tool to get into ladies' pants. He barely knows how to work his own equipment, and yet we wouldn't want anyone else by our side when it comes to showing prehistoric bitches how we do things downtown. Still Murray's greatest role.


90 90 Theo
Played by: Claire Bloom
Film(s): The Haunting (1963)


Claire Bloom's stylish, somewhat sniffy psychic (perhaps her sniffiness, in some perverse way, comes from being overlooked by Hill House in favour of Julie Harris' Eleanor) broke new ground for horror as an openly gay character. To this day, though, most lesbian characters in horror fiction remain, regrettably, buxom vampires.


89 89 Elvis
Played by: Bruce Campbell
Film(s): Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)


Bruce Campbell's finest non-Ash hour sees him as a resident in an old people's home who talks like Elvis Aaron Presley, claims he is Elvis Aaron Presley and, galvanised into action by a mummy that's picking off his friends, dresses like Elvis Aaron Presley. So he might as well be Elvis Aaron Presley, manning up and leaving the building in the manner that The King deserved. Campbell is brilliant, imbuing what could have been a simple caricature with dignity and genuine feeling. Thank you very much, sir.


88 88 Hans
Played by: Harry Earles
Film(s): Freaks (1932)


'CAN A FULL GROWN WOMAN TRULY LOVE A MIDGET?' blared the lurid tagline for Tod Browning's controversial 1932 film about a troupe of circus performers who take hideous revenge on the trapeze artist who betrays one of their own. Said midget is Harry Earles - part of the Doll Family - as Hans, who falls head over heels for Olga Baclanova's Cleopatra, only to have his heart broken and blood poisoned by her.


87 87 Grandpa
Played by: Barnard Hughes
Film(s): The Lost Boys (1987)


Everybody wants a Grandpa like Barnard Hughes in Joel Schumacher's garish and gory 80s comedy-horror. Sure, he's a cantankerous old sod, the sort of guy who's very protective of his own special shelf and who thinks a driving lesson involves turning the engine on and off again, but when it comes to wiping out damn vampires with a truck loaded with wooden stakes, he's your man. Plus, he wears a bandana. At his age. A bandana.


Stevie Wayne 86
Stevie Wayne
Played by: Adrienne Barbeau
Film(s): The Fog (1980)


The best big-screen DJ this side of Wally Banter, Adrienne Barbeau is magnificent once more for her then-husband John Carpenter as the velvet-voiced coastal town radio host who gradually becomes aware of the dangers lurking in the fog, and then spends the second half of the movie delivering the kind of weather updates that would turn Wincey Willis green. Topical reference, there.


85 85 Randy
Played by: Jamie Kennedy
Film(s): Scream (1996), Scream 2 (1997)


Given that he's been astonishingly unlikeable in virtually everything else he's done, it's a huge surprise that Jamie Kennedy's cine-literate Randy is so adorable in the first two Screams. Maybe it's because film fans so readily identify with him, just one more reason why Craven's decision to kill him (in broad daylight) takes Scream 2 to the next level. If Randy - or, essentially, the audience - is dead, then nobody's safe.


84
84
The Tall Man
Played by: Angus Scrimm
Film(s): Phantasm (1979)


Angus Scrimm, in a suit that's too tight for him to accentuate his slender frame, squints and scowls for all he's worth as the iconic bad guy of Don Coscarelli's completely (and we mean this with love) bonkers franchise. An inter-dimensional alien being who poses as an undertaker while he prepares to wage war with his army of psycho dwarves and flying balls (stop sniggering), The Tall Man is just one of many (maybe even millions), which makes him that much harder to stop.


83 83 Linda
Played by: Denise Bixler
Film(s): Evil Dead II (1987)


Denise Bixler - who made just one more film after this - has only a few minutes of screentime in Evil Dead II, but one hell of an arc. She starts off as Ash's loyal and loving girlfriend, is quickly turned into a raging demon, then a severed head spewing horrible rhetoric, then a dancing zombie complete with moves that would knock Bruno Tonioni's socks off, before becoming the first Deadite to test the righteous steel of Ash's chainsaw. Beat that, King Lear.


82 82 Dr. Génessier
Played by: Pierre Brasseurx
Film(s): Eyes Without A Face (1960)


Pierre Brasseur's surgeon scientist only wants to do what's right for his dear, darling, disfigured daughter Christiane. If that means kidnapping and, by default, murdering a string of young girls so he can conduct a revolutionary face transplant, then so be it. Brasseur is unforgettable as one of cinema's very best takes on Frankenstein in Georges Franju's classic.


Mark Lewis 81
Mark Lewis
Played by: Karlheinz Bohm
Film(s): Peeping Tom (1960)


Is it the soft German accent? His quivering presence? Those empty, wide, sad eyes? Karlheinz Bohm's subtle, timid killer plays a huge part in Peeping Tom's success, underplaying against Michael Powell's vividly voyeuristic kills, catching his victim's death throes on tick-tick-ticking camera. Either way, his demise is no moral triumph - it's tragedy.


80 80 Jenny
Played by: Kelly Reilly
Film(s): Eden Lake (2008)


Jenny is the nursery school teacher tormented by chavs in James Watkins' powerful debut. She sees her boyfriend tortured, spikes her foot, jumps in a bin... She'll be in need of a shower after that lot. Or... Maybe not.


79
79
Pale Man
Played by: Doug Jones
Film(s): Pan's Labyrinth (2006)


Nightmarish craziness from the mind of Del Toro, The Pale Man carries his eyeballs in his hands. Bizarrely, it's still all the better to see you with.


Lawrence Talbot 78
Lawrence Talbot
Played by: Lon Chaney Jr.
Film(s): The Wolf Man (1941)


Sorry Benicio. There's only room enough for one Wolf Man on this list and that goes to Chaney Jr., whose quiet, tormented dignity makes his monster Universal.


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