While we might know the story of how young Jason Voorhees drowned in Crystal Lake before rising from the deep to slaughter generations of hormonal teens, or how the Xenomorph slithered off a derelict spacecraft, we don’t know much about the actors who played these awesome roles. There’s a lot more to being a cinematic monster than waving a prop machete at a fumbling babysitter. It’s time we turn off the gore for a little bit and look at the people behind the masks of some of our favorite Horror Movie Monsters.
1. Pennywise played by Tim Curry
No offense to any of our white and red paint-wearing readers, but clowns creep us out. It’s a common fear, and for a generation of Horror film fans, a lot of that can likely be attributed to the 1990 made-for-TV miniseries It. Based on Stephen King’s bestselling horror novel of the same name, It told the story of Derry, Maine, and its ongoing haunting by a supernatural being that manifests itself as the worst fears of anyone It encountered. Pennywise the Dancing Clown, played by Tim Curry, was a favored form taken by this nefarious spirit (its real form was later revealed as some kind of ginormous spider or something). By this point in his career, Curry was known for playing the Lord of Darkness in Legend and Dr. Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. While ABC’s TV restrictions, overall bad acting, and skipping the book’s best parts resulted in It being a clunker, Curry’s captivating performance was the miniseries’ saving grace. Whatever they do with the upcoming remake, the next Pennywise actor has some rather large shoes to fill—and not just because he’s a clown.
2. Jason Voorhees played by Kane Hodder
We know, we know: lots of people have donned Jason’s mask. He wasn’t even the main killer in the first Friday the 13th movie, and he didn’t start wearing his iconic hockey mask until the third film, so we’ve seen the character go through some dramatic changes over the years. 10 actors have played the character so far, but we’re going to have to choose Kane Hodder as the definitive Jason Voorhees. While he didn’t even sign onto the series until Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood, Hodder’s role helped bring Jason into a new age of slasher flicks and made him the hulking, unstoppable menace that we all love and remember. Furthermore, he’s had the most experience playing Jason, as nearly every movie prior to Part VII had a different actor in the part. Donning the mask for four films (Part VII: The New Blood, Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, and Jason X), Hodder remains a Horror Movie heavyweight champion in our books. He also played Leatherface once (kinda, as a stuntman and stunt coordinator for Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III).
3. Freddy Krueger played by Robert Englund
We just had to include the man of your dreams on this list! As much as we liked Jackie Earle Haley in that Nightmare on Elm Street remake, only one actor’s name resonates with horror movie nightmares: Robert Englund. We’ve seen Englund wear the glove for nearly two decades, playing Freddy Krueger in eight films and even in the character’s own anthology horror series, Freddy’s Nightmares. Sure, Freddy got a lot funnier and sillier as the years went by, but Wes Craven’s New Nightmare was a proper return to form for the supernatural slasher. We just hope one day Englund dons the fedora, sweater, and bladed glove one last time for a final trip down Elm Street.
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