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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Tuesday Top 10: Favorite Horror Movie Characters

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.

6. Eli
"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.

5. Tarman
"More brainsss!!"
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...

3. Bub
"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.


BJ Colangelo said...

Bruce Campbell...how you make my lower regions beg for your company...


B-Sol said...


Ms Harker said...

Another list... You go balls of steel! So glad to see Eli making the list, the scene when she looses permission to enter the house AWESOME! Count Orlock classic...


B-Sol said...

Yes, what can I say? Lists are my strong suit, and I figured, why let Bloody-Disgusting have all my brilliance? :-)

Wings1295 said...

Great list! Count Orlock is something almost otherwordly!

B-Sol said...

Almost? Oh, he is COMPLETELY otherworldly. And the same goes for Shreck the actor as well!

Frank White said...

This list might need sub-dividing into categories. Villains, final girls, badasses, etc.

Jon said...

Great list, and I'm glad to see Bride of Frankenstein getting some love. I think it's one of the savviest horror films ever made.

CRwM said...

Grady is a brilliant choice.

Your list gets my nether regions all swampy as well – but that probably doesn't sound like such a compliment when I say it.

B-Sol said...

Knarf, don't you worry, these lists are gonna be a regular feature from now on, so there'll be plenty of time to get to all that stuff.

And yeeaahh CRwM... somehow that sounds decidedly less appealing coming from you than it does coming from BJ-C. Call me crazy.

Jonathan said...

To quote the closing song from Evil Dead the Musical:

S-Mart shoppers:
You are the man.

I bitchslap evil with my one good hand.

You're our hero.

I shake down Deadites like they owe me dough.

I saw that demon trying to ruin your shopping day, so I grabbed my 12-gauge and I blew her awaaayyyy!

Anonymous said...

RayRay - Once again, you exceed all expectations. Delbert Grady - you shouldn't have, but you did. Wonderful. Of course, my two cents are as follows:

1) Interesting that all on the list were either monsters or villains [usually of the monstrous kind], except Ash. Ahh, Ash, the patron saint of ass kicking. How we love him so.

2) While Capt. Spaulding is an incredibly entertaining character, I was a big fan of his fellow Firefly, Otis B. Driftwood. Sorta like H. Lechter multiplied by Slayer.

3) Inasmuch as there was a dearth of horror heroes, let me get a jump on the competition: Ellen Ripley, the first female action hero and interstellar ass whipper, and R.J. McReady, Antarctic chopper pilot and computer chess champion extraordinaire.

BJ Colangelo said...

UHH B'SCUSE ME PEOPLE. BUT THIS IS LIKE, HIS OPINION OF THE TOP 10 CHARACTERS...or just some cliche characters he knew we'd all like *scoffs*

Hey, every list needs an butthole commenter. =]

B-Sol said...

Yes, and thank you for filling that role so expertly...

Senzo said...

Thanks for adding sweet, sweet Eli, the most intriguing vampire since... Well, since there were child vampires.

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