Top 10 Scary Movie Masks!
So, who's going to see YOU'RE NEXT this weekend? Shite looks pretty gnarly, right? It sure does, in no small part due to those savage animalistic masks the perps are sporting in the picture. What the hell are those things supposed to be anyway? Sheep? Bear? Rabbit? I don't care what it is, the whole thing's pretty goddamn disturbing. But is that really all that surprising? Hell no, creepy masks have been a horror staple since the dawn of the genre, many ascending to iconic hallmarks of pop-culture. Voorhee's hockey mask, Myers' stoic Bill Shatner mask, Leatherface's facade of human skin...all rightly enshrined in the horror hall of fame. And that got us to racking the ol' brain...what other horror movie masks deserve rank amongst the all time greats? The three legends mentioned above notwithstanding (too obvious), find out which made the cut in our Top 10 list ahead!
Pretty average movie, undoubtedly awesome mask! So consider this a collective coup for all the lesser known, micro-budgeted horror joints out there with dope masks that might otherwise go unnoticed (SMILEY, JUG FACE, etc). These aren't classics by any means, but definitely worthy when it comes to they're deeply unnerving killer visages. In the case of Chromeskull - a shiny skeletal mask with a creepy perma-grin - the character has become more famous than the film itself...which lets you know how successful the design is.
Since this sick f*cko has persisted for like 113 movies, why not cast some love toward the ugly visage of Jigsaw in the SAW franchise. Actually, we should give credit where credit is due, the Jigsaw design was clearly bitten from a murderous doll in the 80s flick TOURIST TRAP, just given some extra lipstick, puffier cheeks and a 4 year-old's scribbled spiral. Still, it's one unsettling appearance...especially given the creepily baritone voice and sadistic instructions spouted from behind such a silly childlike creation.
Ah, good old Button Face! The great Clive Barker clearly called upon a twisted hybrid of THE INVISIBLE MAN with a crudely masked Giallo killer (TORSO for instance) for his 1990 horror joint NIGHTBREED. And even better, he got his pal David Cronenberg to play the cross-eyed, zipper-lipped Dr. Decker in the movie. Looking back, it seems fair to say such a look inspired other sinister movie masks...WATCHMEN for one, possibly Scarecrow in BATMAN BEGINS for another.
I f*cking love the movie ALICE, SWEET ALICE (aka COMMUNION). It has a great 70s look and vibe, a solid performance by a young Brooke Shields, a mysterious whodunit plotline, and of course, one terrifying killer mask. I mean just look at those damn eyes! You can tell it's the kind of mask that has inspired others in the horror genre (THE PURGE anyone), even one or two on this list...the cherubic face, the waxy veneer, the hammerhead eyes. A frightening look from an unheralded must-see!
If for no other reason than its direct inspiration of a pre-hockey masked Voorhees in FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2, the holy burlap sack in THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN is a worthy villainous look. I mean, it's like homey's dome was swaddled in a filthy cheese cloth with ratty holes sliced out so he can see. Nothing you'd want to f*ck with! It's the kind of nastily memorable mask that no doubt attracted the likes of Gary Cole, Denis O'Hare and Edward Hermann for the 2014 remake.
A murderous miner's mask? How perfect is that? My man's blue collar killing it! Seriously, the overbearing gear worn by the slasher in MY BLOODY VALENTINE (original and remake) is the Darth Vader of horror masks...what with the big black bug eyes and incessant heavy breathing. I particularly like the headlamp and elongated breathing tube. Shite's far too cumbersome to wear on the regular, which makes the killer's homicidal handy-work all the more impressive. Dude's dedicated!
The superb slow-burning home-invasion chiller THE STRANGERS wisely employed a varied multitude of masks. The ringleader rocked a ghostly, loose-fitting cloth mask with cutout eyeholes and a slashed-across mouthpiece. His henchwomen, by contrast, appeared much more docile and innocent in their porcelain doll facades...punctuated by giant black eyes and rosy cheeks. Definitely not the crew you want to see show up on your porch. Now how about the sequel already!
Sure, its overexposure has reduced it to somewhat of a punch-line over the years, but the Ghostface mask made popular by the SCREAM franchise has earned its right as one of the all time scary movie masks. Like Jason's goalie mask or Myers' Shatner mask, Ghostface has become a ubiquitous Halloween time seller, cementing its status as a pop cultural mainstay. Based on Edvard Munch's classic painting "The Scream", Craven actually discovered the Ghost Face mask while scouting for filming locations in California and immediately had his prop department recreate the mask. Smart move!
Inspiring the Billy Idol song of the same name, the 1959 French flick EYES WITHOUT A FACE is one of the best foreign horror joints I've ever seen. And that surgery sequence? Forget about it! You see, a doctor kidnaps young women, slices off their faces and plasters them onto his daughter's naturally deformed facade...trying to create the perfect beauty. Of course, the Frankenstein method backfires and poor Christiane is left with a heinous hodgepodge of leftover skin-grafts.
The late great Stanley Kubrick understood masking - both literal and figurative - better than anyone in film. In terms of the former, just think of that weird ass bear/pig mask at the end of THE SHINING, or Alex's phallic disguise when raping that woman in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. Well, Kubrick culminated the motif in grand fashion during the unshakably eerie masquerade ball in EYES WIDE SHUT. Set to that dreadful Ligeti piano refrain, six successive close ups of creepily Venetian-masked men damn near make me piss my pants every time I see it. Truly terrifying!