When creating a Iconic horror villain who always seems to cheat death, one of the most important things to consider is how they will look. A classic horror villain needs the right appearance to intimidate and strike fear into the hearts of his victims. A mask and a sharp knife are good, but sometimes the situation calls for something more.
Horror characters have made several bizarre fashion statements over the decades, causing fans to pull these looks off the big screen every Halloween. From the striped sweaters and finger sheets to the full leather ensembles, these costumes are true haute couture.
10 Norman Bates – Psycho (1960 and 1998)
“A child’s best friend is his mother”, but wearing his clothes is another story. A gray wig and a negligee may not seem like too much in terms of a slasher movie costume, but because of its integral part in Alfred Hitchcock. Psychopath, Norman’s insane costume is certainly noteworthy.
The film is the cornerstone on which the slasher movie craze was founded, but it also came with a shocking fashion statement once the identity of “Mother” was revealed. Of course, shocking twists were Alfred Hitchcock’s modus operandi, and Psychopath it’s still a horror movie that stands today.
9 The Phantom – The Phantom of the Opera (1925-1998)
From Lon Chaney to Norm Lewis, many fabulous actors have donned the Phantom of the Opera mask. But no matter if it’s Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical version, Robert Englund’s bloody adaptation, or the original silent movie, the man in the mask cannot be mistaken for anyone other than the infamous Phantom of the Opera.
All proper renditions of the character feature two things: an ornate mask to hide his disfigurement and identity, and a sleek black cape for dramatic flair. For the most part, it’s a look that has remained as traditional and classic as the Phantom itself. If it is not broke, do not fix it.
8 Candy Man – Candy Man (1992 and 2021)
By Clive Barker the candy man It could be considered a modern goth horror movie, and there’s no denying that Tony Todd didn’t take at least a few notes from the previous character. From his calm and cool demeanor to the way he wears that gorgeous coat and bloody hook, there’s only one character he could be.
Despite the recent remake giving the character a more modern adaptation, Nia DeCosta was unable to separate the legend from the reinvention. In no uncertain terms, Tony Todd owns this role, from start to finish.
7 Pinhead – Hellraiser (1987, 1988 and 2022)
Hellraiser is probably Clive Barker’s best-known creation, and his Lament Configuration sadomasochistic demons are definitely some of the most recognizable of their kind. But the number one character who stands out among the leather-clad horrors is their insidious leader, Pinhead.
Leather garments can change on occasion, but there is only one horror character with a head full of nails and a nasty set of hooks and chains. It’s visceral, gruesome, gory, and it’s a look that is absolutely unforgettable.
6 Pennywise – It (1990 and 2017)
There is nothing funny about a clown after midnight, and it is more than likely true. Especially if it’s this sewer-dwelling cosmic horror that eats the children of one of Stephen King’s. Both Bill Skarsgard and Tim Curry each gave their own unique twists, but it’s the 1990 version that remains iconic.
The remake version was great, absolutely horrifying, but there is something so innately sinister and haunting about a character that it’s not “scary” until it’s too late. The original Pennywise was approachable, funny, and charming until it was time to show some teeth. Plus the brightest colors and craziest outfit make it stand out as the best That clown.
5 Leatherface – The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974-2021)
When it comes to dressing, Leatherface doesn’t just have one style to choose from. In fact, it has a whole basement full of faces for every occasion. He is one of those characters who has had a very long career, occasionally changing his appearance entirely for new sequels.
However, one thing that remains constant is his ever-growing collection of human skin masks and his affinity for power tools. With each different installment, Leatherface seems to have a new face for a new audience. Whether for better or for worse, it is certainly versatile in fashion.
4 Freddy Krueger – A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984-2010)
One only has to look at a set of red and green stripes to think of the infamous Freddy Krueger, a slasher villain full of cheesy phrases that have aged poorly. But unlike Leatherface, Freddy has remained consistent for most of his franchise, although his tone is another story.
The hat, sweater, and bladed glove are all items that made Freddy an icon, and he never had to change to suit fan cravings or scripts. It could have altered his physical form in the dream world, but the stripes could have been part of his skin as well.
3 Michael Myers – Halloween (1978-2022)
Sometimes the simplest approach is always the best. What people tend to forget about the original Hallowe’en movie is that it was an independent movie made on a tight budget. But even with that in mind, a set of overalls and a white painted mask ended up becoming one of the scariest faces on the silver screen.
Even with the popularity of the series over the years, Michael never changed his form. He could have found different skins with each movie, came back as a zombie, changed completely, but the filmmakers knew what the fans wanted. They wanted the Form in all its glory, and he has been the same ever since.
2 Jason Voorhees – Friday the 13th (1980-2009)
Michael walked so Jason could stalk, Crystal Lake’s resident killer might not even exist if it weren’t for Hallowe’en laying the groundwork for what a masked assassin needs. Friday the 13th and Hallowe’en share more than a few similarities, after all.
Comparisons aside, to this day there is only one true blue killer who can make that hockey mask work. Often imitated but never duplicated, Jason’s iconic look has been honored, parodied, and repeated in and out of the horror genre. While it may have suffered from some wear and tear over the years, it is still the classic boy’s look.
1 Ghostface – Scream (1996-2022)
While it may seem strange to classify Ghostface over Jason, consider the following. Think about how many times Ghostface’s personality has been adopted by other characters, how little it has been altered, and how it manages to continually appear in Halloween décor, year after year.
The costume and mask were designed with purpose, personality and practicality, which is why it has remained almost completely constant since 1996. Whether scary in Scream or fool in the Scary Movie franchise, is a look that has stood the test of time.
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