I was recently tagged by D.J. Heinlein (if that isn't your real name, it should be) over at Matte Havoc as part of his "Ten Favorite Movie Characters" blog meme. So I figured I'd tweak it just a bit for The Vault, and use it as an excuse to unveil my new weekly feature, the Tuesday Top 10 (sorry, BJ-C, not trying to steal your Tuesday thunder--it's all about the alliteration, kid.)
And so, without further ado, I give you my Top 10 Favorite Horror Movie Characters:
10. Capt. Spaulding
"Why don't you just take your momma home some chicken, and then I won't have to stuff my boot all up in your ass!"
Nearly as entertaining as the Groucho Marx character from which he takes his name, Sid Haig's character in Rob Zombie's House of 1,000 Corpses and The Devil's Rejects is a joy to behold. You can keep Freddy Krueger, Hannibal Lecter and Patrick Bateman--for my money, the good captain is horror's most charismatic psychopath.
9. Dr. Pretorius
"To a new world of gods and monsters!"
It takes a special kind of man to out-crazy Dr. Frankenstein. And by gum, Pretorius is that man. His bizarre experiments with tiny "homunculi", and unholy desire to continue Frankenstein's work on the reanimation of dead tissue even have ol' Henry himself calling for a time-out. And you have to love any guy who can sit down to a chicken dinner inside of a crypt.
8. Delbert Grady
"Perhaps they need a good talking-to, if you don't mind my saying so. Perhaps a bit more."
Is he a figment of Jack Torrance's warped imagination, or an honest-to-goodness phantasm? It's tough to know for sure--although the infamous food locker scene leans me toward the latter--but whatever he may be, ol' Grady is one hell of a riveting co-creation of King and Kubrick. And if you don't agree with that, I might just have to... correct you.
7. The Hitchhiker
"My family's always been in meat."
This backwoods wackjob did for roadside hitchers what Jaws did for sharks and Fatal Attraction did for side poon. Leatherface may hog all the glory when it comes to the TCM family, but I'll take this hand-slicing, weird facial birthmark-having, photo-burning fruitcake any day of the week. Too bad he was the only family member who didn't survive to make it to the sequel.
"Please Oskar... be me, for a little while."
Just for the record, if I was a 12-year-old boy and she moved next door to me, I would happily run off with her and become her pint-sized Renfield. Without looking back. Sorry, Mom and Dad... Thanks to an enigmatic and chill-inducing performance by remarkable child actress Lina Leandersson, Eli is the most fascinating movie vampire since Bela walked down those castle steps.
By now, my unconditional love for all things Return of the Living Dead is a well-known fact (expect a big announcement pertaining to this soon). And hands down, the coolest thing in the whole movie (aside from Trash's graveyard dance) is this walking-and-talking gelatinous cadaver. The only thing that pissed me off is how easily Bert disposes of the big guy. Batter up!
4. Renfield (as played by Dwight Frye)
"I'm loyal to you Master, I'm your slave, I didn't betray you! Oh no, don't! Don't kill me! Let me live, please! Punish me, torture me, but let me live!"
One of the most criminally underrated character actors of the 1930s, Dwight Frye turns a minor character in Stoker's novel into arguably the character who steals the whole damn movie. You can live for a hundred years, but if you've seen Tod Browning's Dracula, you will never forget the image of Frye grinning from the below the deck of the Demeter, emitting that iconic laugh...
"Hello, Aunt Alicia."
Speaking as a connoisseur of all things Romero, I can say with confidence that this was the maestro's finest zombie creation. Ditto goes for makeup wizard Tom Savini. Day of the Dead has its problems as a movie, and may not quite be in the class of its two predecessors, but Howard Sherman's character makes it a must-watch, it's as simple as that.
2. Ashley J. Williams
"Gimme some sugar, baby."
Alright, so it's always cool to namedrop Ash for horror street cred, but you know what? There's a reason for that. The guy is legitimately the single greatest bad-ass in the history of fright flicks. I love him and his boom stick in Army of Darkness. I love him fighting his own hand in Dead By Dawn. Hell, I'll even take the more timid, boyish Ash of the first Evil Dead. That's how much I love him.
1. Count Orlock
"Blood! Your precious blood!"
It's been said before, but it may still very well be that F.W. Murnau's 1922 classic is the finest Dracula adaptation of them all. Yet, Max Schreck's Orlock is an entity all on his own, with a distinct persona and look that virtually transcends horror cinema, if not cinema as a whole. The rising out of the casket, the unforgettable shadow-walk up those stairs. This, readers, is the stuff of cinematic horror immortality. It gets no better.
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