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Top 10 Mute/Silent Horror Movie Characters!

Silence can be powerful. So powerful in fact, John Krasinski has turned such a simple premise into a promising new horror picture, A QUIET PLACE, which opens everywhere today. In all the press and promo material I've seen, it seems the movie is either going to be really great or really awful, with little room in between. It's good to see the film has been largely banking the former sentiment from those who've seen it.

But what of the others? What about all the mute/slient characters found in horror movies over the years? There have been many. Thing is, silent characters can be both sympathetic, as we've seen in multiple protagonists, as well as scary, as we've seen in a number of evil antagonists. Powerful indeed. Go ahead and slam it below to peep our Top 10 Mute/Silent Horror Movie Characters!

#1. JASON VOORHEES (FRIDAY THE 13TH FRANCHISE)

The man. The myth. The mask. How my favorite murderous maniac was able to savagely tally corpses well in triple figures without mustering a single utterance - over the course of 30 odd years mind you - is downright commendable. Admirable even. Indeed, good old Jason Voorhees is the ultimate silent stalk-and-slash maestro, icily exacting a decades-long killing spree, often victimizing a spate of obnoxious motormouth teens along the way. It's almost as if he's less intent on avenging his mother's death than quashing those pesky kids interrupting his peacefully secluded quietude. The louder you get, the deader you become. Pure poetry!

#2. MICHAEL MYERS (HALLOWEEN)

The sinister quiescence of Michael Myers, aka The Shape, in John Carpenter's HALLOWEEN, is one of the all time most effective uses of silence as a weapon. He slinks, skulks and sneaks around in the darkness, undetected, and when least expected, strikes down with cold, lethal precision. Yet, while it's true Myers never strings together too many words in any film he's seen in, let's not forget how deeply disturbing and downright terrifying the sounds emitted from his heavy breathing, the kind we hear at the end of the original movie. Talk about speaking louder than words! This excessive breath connotes omnipresent life, which is exactly what Myers intends to extinguish in his lifework!

#3. ELISA ESPOSITO (THE SHAPE OF WATER)

Man oh man, how cool was it to see Guillermo del Toro's finest film to date, THE SHAPE OF WATER, earn the man Best Picture and Director awards at the Oscars last month? Billy the Bull, we're proud of your ass! Of course, such plaudits may never have been bestowed on the film without the radiant heartbeat of the picture, Sally Hawkins' Elisa Esposito. Your heart absolutely breaks for this girl and the profound romantic connection made with her organically kindred lover, Mr. Amphibian. The level of emotion Hawkins is able to convey with her eyes, body and hand gestures speaks in far greater volumes than what she could have in a vocal tone. I still haven't shaken that final shot!

#4. FRANKENSTEIN'S MONSTER (FRANKENSTEIN)

Poor Boris. Look at him up there, helplessly chained up as a massively misunderstood monster-man. It's not his damn fault Dr. Frankenstein patched his ass up in such terrifying tatters. Or failed to give him function vocal chords to explain his odious actions. No, we cannot fault this childish ghoul, but instead sympathize for what an untenable longing the monster can't quite articulate as the story unfolds. The iconic scene of him tossing the little girl into the lake, unable to cry for help, unable to speak of unspeakable tragedy, unable to express himself the way he wants to, is so powerfully depicted by director James Whale.

#5. EDWARD (EDWARD SCISSORHANDS)

Okay okay, so I'm pretty sure Eddy Scissorhands utters at least a word or two throughout the course of the Tim Burton classic. And if not, he should have said something when the goddamn nerd from THE BREAKFAST CLUB was kicking his ass up and down the lot. Good grief. All jesting aside though, the character inspired by 1920s German expressionist films is the perfect Gothic outlet to communicate sans much dialogue. Johnny Depp gives a tour-de-force, using his entire body, face and eyes to convey emotions words couldn't come close to encapsulating. Moreover, when he does finally speak, whispering the heart-shattering line "I can't" when Kim asks him to hold her, the impact doubles!

#6. ONE EYE (VALHALLA RISING)

How many of you have yet to see Mads Mikkelsen in VALHALLA RISING? The hell you waiting for, this flick is all kinds of badass. Indeed, the Nicolas Winding Refn Euro-arthouse period-piece is unflinching in its acts of violence, but excels most in the silent performance laid down by Mads as One Eye, a tattooed Viking warrior-cyclops who will go to any length to escape a life of servitude en route to the holy promise land. Mikkelsen is so domineering here, so commanding, so able to use his brute physical strength to express what words cannot, that we almost forget he never says a single word. Hell of a film!

#7. RYU (SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE)

Before f*cking the world up with OLDBOY a year later, superb Korean filmmaker Chan-wook Park was incurring heartfelt SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE in a complicated tale of deadly kidnap and life-saving medical procedure. Remember, our embattled lead, Ryu (Ha-kyun Shin), is a deaf/mute factory worker who has recently been laid off. In order to pay for his lover's dire kidney transplant operation, Ryu decides to kidnap the daughter of a former boss' friend and extort ransom money. It's almost a DOG DAY AFTERNOON situation, where sympathy, compassion and love springboard a criminal endeavor. Yet by making Ryu unable to hear and speak, the sympathetic stakes are raised even higher!

#8. BILLY HUGHES (MUTE WITNESS)

How many of you have seen the solid 1995 Russian slasher flick MUTE WITNESS? Do wise and cop a peek ASAP if you've not already, as it's not only a truly underrated slasher joint, it features one of the most compellingly conflicted mute characters in any horror movie ever made. The setup is too simple to rebuke. A mute makeup artist working on a slasher flick in Moscow is inadvertently locked inside the studio after hours. Inside, she soon witnesses a barbarous murder, and must mount an escape before the killer captures and kills her too. Marina Zudina plays Billy Hughes, the titular witness unable to hear the assailant coming or scream at the top of her lungs for help. See this damn movie already!

#9. MADDIE (HUSH)

One of the more exciting new horror voices in the realm of horror cinema is Mike Flanagan, the guy behind such solid and varied genre joints as OCULUS, OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL, GERALD'S GAME and the soon to be SHINING sequel, DOCTOR SLEEP. But one flick of his that may have gone unnoticed is HUSH, the superlative two-handed thriller starring Flanagan's wife Katie Siegel and John Gallagher Jr. This is a very simple, focused, economically told home-invasion piece about a deaf writer who must fight for her life in total silence when a masked maniac breaks into her secluded cabin with deadly intentions. The way in which Maddie skirts her disability at times, and the way she wisely uses it in others, is what makes HUSH fascinating from start to finish.

#10. DOT (THE QUIET)

I can't front, one of the most disturbing horror movies that continues to stay with me years after seeing it is THE QUIET, a bold and ballsy tale of profound domestic sexual abuse. In fact, bank on an impending Black Sheep article on this very title, it deserves one. Camilla Belle stars as Dot, a mute teenager who just lost her father and moves in with her godparents. While there, Dot slowly begins to uncover a deep-seeded family secret involving their daughter Nina (Elisha Cuthbert), who therapeutically confides such to the deaf/mute Dot. Yet while the unspeakable tragedy may fall on deaf ears, in the end, a pact between the two girls are made that will alter their lives forever.
Tags: Hollywood

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