Top 10 Things You Didn't Know About Iconic Horror Villains
VOICE OVER: Kirsten Ria Squibb
WRITTEN BY: Nancy Roberge-Renaud
Do you know why Stephen King chose a clown form for Pennywise? For this list, we'll be looking at interesting, little-known facts about the genre's most popular icons. Our countdown includes villains Michael Myers, Leatherface, Chucky and more!
Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Iconic Horror Villains. For this list, we’ll be looking at interesting, little-known facts about the genre’s most popular icons. Do you have any interesting facts to add? Let us know in the comments!
#10: The Inspiration Behind Ghostface’s Mask
“Scream” franchise (1996-)
The now-infamous Ghostface mask comes with some interesting behind-the-scenes anecdotes. According to various reports, producer Marianne Maddalena discovered the item while during pre-production for the film. She then brought it to director Wes Craven. From there, the director set about getting into the final movie. He initially had designers make a variation of the mask that can still be spotted in the film. A great example of what it would've looked like is seen when Principal Himbry looks in the mirror in the first “Scream”. However, Craven was eventually able to strike a deal with the costume company Fun World for the rights to use the original mask. It’s safe to assume the movie brought a lot more attention to this costume piece.
#9: The Inspiration Behind John Kramer [AKA Jigsaw]
“Saw” franchise (2004-)
Inspiration can come from a number of sources for writers. “Saw” writer Leigh Whannell had an interesting epiphany during a potentially distressing situation. When Whanell was struggling with a series of migraines, he sought medical help to make sure he was alright. While he was in the midst of this, he came up with the idea for John Kramer AKA Jigsaw. The fictional character is a terminally ill man that was told by doctors to make the best of his time remaining. He then creates situations that force strangers to solve sick obstacles in a limited time in order to survive. Considering that this concept has spawned 9 films and counting, it’s mind-boggling to think that it all started with bad migraines.
#8: Jason’s Musical Thoughts
“Friday the 13th” franchise (1980-)
Although Jason Voorhees is all sorts of creepy already, an interesting fact regarding his well-known theme music really adds to his frightening performer. The original film’s composer, Harry Manfredini, added some breathy, whispered bits of human sounds into the mix. Casual listeners have heard “ch ch ch, ah, ah, ah.” during Jason's exploits. In an interview, composer harry Manfredini revealed that those aren’t just random sounds. In fact, he personally whispered “ki, ki, ki, ma, ma, ma.” These monosyllabic utterances are intentionally shortened versions of the words “kill” and “mommy”. They’re meant to echo Pamela Voorhees’s line in the 1980 film: (INSERT broll for“Kill her, mommy!) While the score was creepy enough to begin with, we now have this to ponder every time Jason is on the prowl.
#7: Leatherface Wears Three Different Masks
“The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (1974)
When we say “Leatherface”, there’s usually one mask that comes to mind. His poorly-stitched face covering constantly haunts our dreams. But Leatherface actually wore three separate masks in the first film. They were known as the “Killing”, “Old Lady” and “Pretty Woman” masks, respectively. These are meant to indicate ole Leathery’s moods and intentions: “Killing” mask was fittingly for aggressive actions. The “Old Lady” is worn with an apron to represent domestic chores. Lastly, the “Pretty Woman” mask is worn for dinner with a woman’s wig. The latter is obviously the best choice for a deranged bachelor like him. It’s a little strange to think of him running to change his masks. We’e also left wondering if he had more for other hilariously specific occasions.
#6: McInspiration for Pennywise
“It” franchise (1990-)
Though many have thought that John Wayne Gacy must have been the inspiration for Pennywise the Dancing Clown, it apparently wasn’t so. Stephen King has confirmed that he chose a clown as children are very often frightened of them. And an experience he had on an airplane undoubtedly aided in cementing the character. King was once on a flight that was slightly delayed for a late passenger. That person was wearing a full Ronald McDonald getup . Shortly after, the clown ordered a drink, smoked cigarettes (since this was the late 1970s) and sat beside King. The bizarre encounter definitely pushed Pennywise to the forefront of “IT”. Now we can’t see the golden arches without thinking of the horrifying clown.
#5: Michael Myers is “The Shape”
“Halloween” franchise (1978-)
Most people will just know him by his iconic name: Michael Myers. However, in the first “Halloween” film, the intimidating villain was referred to as “The Shape” in the credits. Reports indicate that director John Carpenter initially called the villain that when putting the script together. Although it seems a little odd, it makes sense when you consider that Michael Myers most often appears as a sort of dark, spectre-like shape until he gets really close. Incidentally, harmful spirits were referred to as “shapes” during the 1690s Salem Witch Trials. It’s safe to say Myers would fit in with that dark and possibly magical vibes considering how many times he escaped death. But we still don’t think we’ll start calling him “The Shape” anytime soon.
#4: Cenobite Design Inspiration
“Hellraiser” franchise (1987-)
When it came time to design the Cenobites for Clive Barker’s “Hellraiser” film, his team was instructed to create “magnificent super-butchers” that depicted a “repulsive glamour.” Barker also wanted the creature's looks to remind people of everything from Catholicism to S & M at once. The design team definitely delivered.as the Cenobites are pretty much horrifying butcher priests that definitely have an affinity for leather. When it came to the design for Pinhead, it took a few attempts to get it right. The team eventually thought pins covering his entire face in a geometric pattern would be the best and create an interesting shadow. However, since the pins didn’t pop on camera, nails were used instead.
#3: Practical Effects & Multiple Chuckys
“Child’s Play” (1988)
When the original “Child’s Play” film was produced in the late 1980s, seamless digital visual effects were still much a thing of the future. What they did have back then, was impressive practical effects. The Chucky doll was a nice blend of animatronic technology coupled with some forced perspective tactics. Since the filmmakers needed it to display different attitudes and move in certain ways, multiple dolls were created. Some could even be controlled via remote control to move the face. And thanks to a combination of real actors playing the doll, and more than a few puppeteers, Chucky’s movements felt real. Getting the horror icon to look scary was far from child’s play.
#2: Freddy’s Killing Tool
“A Nightmare on Elm Street” franchise (1984-)
The character of Freddy preys on the fears of his victims. A similar line of thinking led Wes Craven to find his inspiration for the ghoul’s iconic knife glove. During the early script stages, he watched his cat just messing around with its natural claws. He also thought far back to the beginning of humanity and thought about the various clawed animals they would’ve been afraid of. These ideas eventually translated into Freddy’s iconic glove. While it still sends chills down our spines, we can’t deny how cool it is to see the villain scratch the walls with his homemade claws. We’re really glad that Wes Craven was a cat person.
#1: Death By Sunlight
Remember Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”? He would die if he was exposed to direct sunlight, right? Surprisingly, that’s not the truth. The idea that vampires turn to dust in sunlight is far more recent than you think thanks to “Nosferatu”. In the book, Count Dracula is merely weaker during the day, turning full vampire only in the nighttime hours. Creatures of the night were not averse to taking a stroll in the afternoon sun. But in the 1922 film “Nosferatu”, a vampire dies via sunlight for the first time. Although many copies of the film were destroyed due to a legal dispute with Stoker’s estate, the idea of a sunlight weakness stuck. It’s wild to think that generations of vampire stories were affected by one movie.