The LWOS Life Horror Mount Rushmore

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Horror Mount Rushmore
Photo: The Shining (1980) / Warner Bros.

It’s Halloween time again! This means that nights are drawing in; leaves are changing color; temperatures are dropping and costume making companies are making millions – if not billions – of dollars. It is also the time of year where the age old question of the horror villain Mount Rushmore comes into play; a type of challenge where horror movie fans will attempt to narrow down the endless amounts of horror villains to the four best, or most iconic, of the genre.

It is all subjective, of course, as there are many different sub-genres within the broader horror genre – meaning fans of one sub-genre might not like another, meaning favoritism can lead to arguable greats from other sub-genres being overlooked. Additionally, these type of Mount Rushmore challenges tend to only include slasher villains; a crime which greatly ignores some of the best and most iconic villains of horror. To break away from this norm, we have decided to put together our own Mount Rushmore of horror villains from four different sub-genres. No easy task, we can assure you – but we are giving it a go. Of course, this is one person’s opinion, so the inductees into the LWOS Life Horror Mount Rushmore will be here on the basis of both how iconic they are and how well liked they are by the writer (which is me). Let’s begin.

Slasher Horror: Michael Myers – First Appearance: Halloween (1978)

Must-See horror movies for Halloween
Photo: Halloween (1978)

As mentioned in our opening paragraphs, picking an ultimate slasher villain is no easy task. There are plenty to choose from, ranging from the cannibalistic, chainsaw wielding Leatherface to the supernatural dream demon, Freddy Krueger. Additionally, Jason Voorhees of the Friday the 13th movies is potentially the most iconic villain of all time, so leaving him out is no easy task. Norman Bates is arguably the original slasher and could just as easily make this list. However, Michael Myers takes up the slasher spot for a couple of simple reasons: he is potentially the most realistic and, with all due respect to the rest of those mentioned, he probably has the best movie track record (though far from perfect). The original, 1978 Halloween movie holds up as one of the best horror slasher movies ever and the realism of Myers – that being a living, evil human being terrorizing a town with a blade whilst hiding behind the elusive mysteriousness of a mask – makes him all the more frightening. Yes, there were plenty of bad Halloween films and yes, we all remember Myers getting whooped by Busta Rhymes; but the original Halloween’s greatness – with the addition of a couple more good films, such as 2018’s Halloween – means Michael Myers can take up the slasher mantle in our Mount Rushmore.

Honorable mentions: Freddy Krueger (A Nightmare on Elm Street), Leatherface (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), Jason Voorhees (Friday the 13th Part 2) and Norman Bates (Psycho).

Supernatural Horror: Pazuzu – First Appearance: The Exorcist (1973)

Photo: The Exorcist (1973) / Warner Bros.

This one proved to be a two horse race between Pennywise and Pazuzu. However, we went with Pazuzu because The Exorcist holds up as arguably the greatest, most terrifying horror movie of all time – and this is largely down to Pazuzu’s role in the film. This is no disrespect to Stephen King’s It, either – the 2017 version, particularly, is an excellent, worthy supernatural horror which somehow managed to outdo its predecessor (sorry, Tim Curry) and has assumed the distinction of being the highest grossing horror movie of all time. Furthermore, Pennywise has become an iconic, literary/movie incarnation of coulrophobia and will forever haunt our dreams. However, Pazuzu – who in the 1973 classic possesses young Regan – is such a terrifying portrayal of pure, otherworldly evil and through taking the form of a young girl, he shows himself to be far more twisted and sadistic than most other horror movie villains. This evil, combined with the excellence of the original film (though a shout out goes to The Exorcist III), means Pazuzu just edges Pennywise.

Honorable mentions: Pennywise (It), Pinhead (Hellraiser), Sadaku (Ringu).

Science-Fiction Horror: Xenomorph – First Appearance: Alien (1979)

Photo: Alien (1979) / 20th Century FOX

This proved to be another two horse race. This time, it was a two monster shootout between The Thing from The Thing (1982) and the Xenomorph, who we all know as the monstrous alien from the series of Alien movie films. We ultimately went with the Xenomorph because, of course, it has been in far more horror movies (as well as video games and comics) than The Thing and therefore, we figured the Xenomorph is probably more iconic. Additionally, the Xenomorph has proven to be a true master villain of horror; always managing to make a comeback, as well as expand its horizons through the process of multiplication. The generally terrifying appearance of the Xenomorph, complete with its abilities and method of killing, means the Xenomorph is worthy of taking the science-fiction spot on this Mount Rushmore.

Honorable mentions: The Thing (The Thing), Predator (The Predator)

Psychological Horror: Jack Torrance – First Appearance: The Shining (1980)

Horror Mount Rushmore
Photo: The Shining (1980) / Warner Bros.

This was perhaps, along with the slasher pick, the most difficult one to choose. Psychological horror boasts some of the most notably great horror movie villains ever; with the likes of Hannibal Lecter (The Silence of the Lambs) and the Armitage Family (Get Out) being standout examples of fine horror movie villains. Additionally, psychological horror is perhaps the horror sub-genre which most lends itself to other sub-genres, so the likes of Freddy Krueger and Norman Bates, especially, could just as easily feature here. However, we have gone with The Shining’s Jack Torrance who is potentially the most iconic horror movie character we have mentioned, as well as being one of the most iconic movie characters period. His slow, drawn out descent into insanity (played masterfully by the almost real life version of Jack Torrance in Jack Nicholson) has been parodied and paid tribute to as much as any other character ever. Jack, like Michael Myers, also benefits from being a living, non-supernatural person and what makes Jack scarier than Mike is that Jack has his own loving family to terrorize for much of the film. For this reason, we are more than happy for Jack to complete our horror Mount Rushmore.

Notable mentions: Hannibal Lecter (The Silence of the Lambs) and the Armitage Family (Get Out).

More From LWOS Life

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