IT’S ALMOST HALLOWEEN! Seriously, this is just about my favorite time of year. The kids are gearing up for trick or treating. Haunted houses are popping up everywhere. I try in vain to get my wife to dress up as a sexy Bert or Ernie.
But, most importantly, this is the time of year where I get to watch far too many horror movies. Horror movies are just about the best thing in the world and October is the perfect time to get onto the Internet and argue about them. Which ones are the scariest? Which ones are the funniest? Which ones will deprive me of sleep for the better part of a month? Talking about horror movies is a beloved pastime of mine and I’m so glad MamaPop has given me the outlet to do so since everyone I know in real life is tired of hearing me extoll the virtues of The Descent.
But today I want to head down a different path when it comes to horror movies. I want to talk about Horror Movie Heroes. A good horror movie hero is not exactly easy to come by. Typically you’re not rooting for a “good guy” in a horror movie. You’re usually either screaming at a girl not to go up into the attic or you’re cheering the murderer on as he plows through one insufferable character after another. But the best scary movies, to me, usually have some character who is actively trying to end the horror. A good horror movie hero is a character that you genuinely do not want to see die by the end of the movie as they actually try to go about the task of saving lives and stopping the monsters. Like one of the first horror heroes, Dracula’s Van Helsing, a good horror movie hero is not just a survivor, they’re a fighter.
So, I’d like to present to you my personal Top 15 Horror Movie Heroes. For the purposes of discussion, I’m trying to stay away from characters that merely managed to survive their horror movies, like Halloween’s Laurie Strode or Scream’s Sidney Prescott, I’m mainly focused on characters that decide to actively pursue the evil that’s chasing them. BEWARE OF SPOILERS BELOW. Here we go:
A bit of a sadistic choice, but don’t tell me there’s a part of you that didn’t want to see Sheriff Quincy take out all of the titular Rejects with a taste of their own terrible medicine. NOTE: If you haven’t seen this movie, it’s a really tough one to get through. Not for the weak of constitution.
14 – Jeepers Creepers 2 – Jack Taggert, Sr. and Jack Taggert, Jr. (Ray Wise and Luke Edwards)
Don’t get me wrong, Jeepers Creepers 2 is not a very good movie, BUT, man, did I love the Taggerts. The monster in this movie is like Moby Dick to Ray Wise’s Captain Ahab (quite literally, with a harpoon and all). Definitely a character you want to see come out on top.
13 – Blade, Blade II – Blade (Wesley Snipes)
Yes, he’s a comic book character, but the Blade movies still count as horror IMHO. Except for Blade 3. That counts as nothing. Watch the first Blade and tell me that you don’t enjoy watching someone finally take the fight to a bunch of uppity hip vampires.
12 – From Dusk Till Dawn – Seth Gecko (George Clooney)
Seth Gecko is a very bad man, but the last thing he’s going to do is get eaten by a bunch of Mexican vampires without killing as many as he possibly can first. Also, “I will turn this place into the motherf&^%ing Wild Bunch,” is pretty much one of the greatest lines ever.
11 – A Nightmare on Elm Street – Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp)
Now, Nancy almost qualifies as just being a survivor of her horror movie, but she is the one who decides that the only way to survive is to actually go after Freddy Kreuger. That and she’s like the MacGuyver of home defense traps.
10 – The Silence of the Lambs – Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster)
Not only is she actively pursuing a lady-murdering skin-stealer, she’s got the moxie to stand up to a twisted cannibal in order to do it.
9 – The Exorcist – Father Damien Karras (Jason Miller)
Father Karras stares down a demon, which is not too shabby for a man who was previously losing his faith. Father Karras is kind of a tragic character for a horror movie hero, but The Exorcist would have ended very differently were it not for his sacrifice.
8 – Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, Friday the 13th: A New Beginning, Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives – Tommy Jarvis (Corey Feldman, John Shepherd, Thom Matthews)
Tommy Jarvis was the first person to successfully “kill” Jason Voorhees. In fact, Tommy Jarvis is the only person in the world Jason Voorhees can’t seem to kill, which is no easy feat. Of course, he is responsible for 1 Jason Voorhees resurrection, but I’m willing to forgive him for it.
7 – Jaws – Chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider)
I know some people feel that Jaws is more of a “terror” film than a horror film, but I certainly count Chief Brody as a horror hero. Chief Brody, even though he’s afraid of the water, manages to do what not even the crusty old sailor Quint could do…make that son of a bitch smile.
6 – They Live – Nada (Roddy Piper)
He’s here to kick ass and chew bubble gum…and he’s all out of bubble gum. They Live is also the home of one of the greatest best-friend fight scenes EVER.
5 – Alien – Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver)
Alien, unlike Aliens, is definitely a horror movie. Ellen Ripley was fighting those pesky xenomorphs way before Prometheus confused us all thoroughly about them.
4 – The Thing – R.J. MacReady (Kurt Russell)
If you know me then you know I try to get John Carpenter’s The Thing on to pretty much any list that I write. It could be a list of the Best 18th Century Chamber Dramas and I would get The Thing on there. Kurt Russell’s R.J. MacReady is one of the best horror heroes ever. MacReady is the perfect blend of rough not-give-a-f%$#-itude and noble self-sacrifice.
3 – Halloween – Dr. Samuel Loomis (Donald Pleasance)
Halloween’s Dr. Loomis is a unique horror hero. He’s Michael Myers’ former doctor, he’s genuinely terrified of him, and he has decided, after MANY years, that the best thing to do for everyone’s sakes is to put a bullet in him.
2 – Night of the Creeps - Ray Cameron (Tom Atkins)
I LOVE Night of the Creeps. Ray Cameron is probably one of the most under-appreciated horror heroes of all time. He’s tough-as-nails, kinda suicidal, and he’s got his own catchphrase – “Thrill me.”
1 - Evil Dead, Evil Dead II, Army of Darkness – Ashley J. Williams (Bruce Campbell)
Ash is not only my favorite horror hero, he’s pretty much one of the best movie characters of all time. Not that I’m biased or anything…
Ash, on the surface, is not much of a hero. He overreacts, he’s prone to cowardice, and he’d rather be doing anything else but be a hero. But when the blood hits the floor, Ash is always there to take on any array of zombies, skeletons, demons, or whatever…usually after everyone else has died…but still…
Well, that’s what I’ve got, what about you? Who is your favorite horror movie hero? Have I completely botched this list? Or is it groovy? Leave your thoughts below!