It's the most wonderful time of the year! Halloween is creeping up on us, and many of you may be dusting off your horror collection for a scare (or several), and–in doing so–may be stumbling across some horrifying bad dudes and ladies whose true terribleness you previously overlooked or underestimated. Cradle Of Filth frontman and self-proclaimed horror guru Dani Filth supplied AP with the following chilling list of the top 10 horror villains he thinks just aren't getting enough cred for their evil-doings.
CONTRIBUTOR: Dani Filth
Prince Prospero (“The Masque Of The Red Death”)
First up we have the enigmatic, medieval Prince Prospero as exemplified in the role by Vincent Price in Roger Corman's “The Masque Of The Red Death” in which–ensconced from a terrible plague that ravages the countryside–the Prince holds infernal court. Here he indulges in all manners of horrid lasciviousness, totally indifferent to the suffering of the populace outside his walls until a young Christian peasant girl named Francesca falls into his evil grasp, whereupon he unwaveringly attempts to destroy her faith in God.
Vincent Price plays this role with real Satanic abandonment, revelling in the debauchery and depravity that life inside the castle walls provides until the Red Death (as the personification of himself) claims him.
Or, “Lead Cenobite,” as he was originally known in the first—and arguably best—”Hellraiser” movie, based on a short story by Clive Barker. Played by the inimitable Doug Bradley (who is a good friend of mine in real life, having guested on several Cradle Of Filth albums and shared a role in a cartoon movie I similarly undertook), Pinhead is part-demon, part-S&M guru and has a penchant for meat hooks, snazzy leather clothing and turning up at the behest of a cryptic box to regale its opener to an eternity of voluptuous suffering. Oh, and as his moniker suggests, he sports a noggin full of pins.
Unfortunately, having diluted the “Hellraiser” franchise to merely a shadow of its former self, in 2011 the Weinstein Company decided to release “Hellraiser: Revelations,” with a new guy playing Pinhead, finally driving the nails of mediocrity into the head of this iconic anti-hero.
What's there not to love about a cancer-ridden sociopath who builds the most incomprehensible traps for one dread single purpose? So, he might test those he deems morally unworthy to face the vilest assortment of tortures ever created (aside from those the Church devised.) Don't ever underestimate him, as one minute you'll be standing alone in a creepy parking lot and the next you'll be woken up by a horrid little clown on a tricycle, wrapped in barb wire and offered the chance of a game you won't want to play.
Death Itself (“Final Destination”)
Who can argue with something that methodically decides to kill all who escaped its omnipotent clutches in the most ludicrous, mishap-prone and, most importantly, gory, bloody way it can? And who would argue with Death Itself when it's all turned into a fun, ongoing game of splat and mouse?
Candyman, candyman, candyman, candyman, candyman…
In 1992, I went to see a film with my wife, which absolutely scared the shit out of me. Based on another short story by Clive Barker, “Candyman” is an urban myth about a hook-handed maniac who appears in a mirror if you call his name five times, which, during the course of the film he does, filling the room with a voice like heavy butter.
Incidentally, Tony Todd, the actor who played “Candyman,” originally narrated the part of Gilles De Rais for our Godspeed On The Devil's Thunder album, but left the studio in a huff, having not been filled in by his agent on the nature of the part to be recited. He allegedly found the subject matter (all taken from historical trial transcripts!) far too sensitive, so Doug Bradley completed the deal.
Dr. Heiter (“The Human Centipede”)
This guy is such a sick puppy and so creepy that he actually looks like a hungry snake even without the use of prosthetics. He is also clinically deranged and likes nothing better than to capture youthful tourist specimens to conjoin anus-to-mouth, thus creating a new species from humans linked by one digestive system. Not the absolute end of the world if you're at the front (though your knee ligaments are severed to help you crawl) since you wouldn’t have to swallow their pent-up excrement yourself.
Leslie Vernon (“Behind The Mask”)
Leslie Vernon is a perfectionist. His pet project is to have a film crew follow his slasher-movie killing spree, right until the penultimate moment that his nemesis 'survivor' victim is revealed to be the girl conducting the documentary. I say penultimate because his death has been planned to further his impending status as a horror icon. One small detail is overlooked though: the mask in question makes him look like green, bony bug-like gloomy guts and not the voracious pre-meditating monster he turns out to be.
Damien Thorne (“Omen” Trilogy)
Best portrayed by Jonathan Scott-Taylor in “Damien: Omen 2” and Sam Neill in “The Final Conflict.” Having been born of a jackal on the sixth hour of the sixth day of the sixth month, Damien gradually comes to terms with his identity as the Antichrist by killing anyone who stands in his way on the path to world domination—much like I do.
Mr. Barlow (“Salem's Lot”)
Like a taller, more hideous version of Count Orlok from the original Murnau Nosferatu (minus the cardboard fingers), even the mention of Mr, Barlow's name in “Salem's Lot” is enough to give you a dose of the willies long before you've even met his elongated vampire-rat face beset with Scary Mary eyes or felt his ragged crepuscular claws. Mr. Barlow is a proper Eastern European vampire with all the teeth and lanky midnight otherworld-ness. Properly fucking creepy then!
Jack The Ripper (Real Life)
And finally, last but not leashed, Victorian London's infamous and unidentified brutal killer of women: the legendary Whitechapel murderer who, because of the surgical nature of his mutilations, was often suspected of being someone in the medical trade (some conspiracy theorists also place him around the Royal Family.)
Having never been caught and surrounded in a whirl of mystery, folklore has blown up over the years since this incognito butcher roamed the smog-wrapped streets of London's infamous East End, 1888 being a damn good year for cutlets.