When I sat down and thought about men in horror, I realized that hardly anyone ever writes about Scream Kings. Yes, females are the driving force in horror but there are several memorable male characters as well. So, in honor of the often overlooked male performances in the genre, I decided to compile a list of some of my favorite Scream Kings.
10.) Billy Zane
This bald beauty is the love of my life–he just doesn’t know it yet. The actor’s earliest role was in the campy, it came from outer-space horror, Critters, where he played the horny and doomed boyfriend. Later on in his career he would go on to star in one of my favorite horror movies, Demon Knight, where he played the charismatic and manipulative demon terrorizing a group of people. His role in the Tales From the Crypt horror is one of my favorite’s because he played it with swiftness and ease, perfectly combining humor with serious/intimidating bad guy. He made you feel as though one minute you could be besties and in the next he could totally rip your heart out–literally–if he wanted to. Unfortunately, Zane’s stardom never grew brighter and he has been left to B-movies often featured on Syfy. But that’s okay, Billy–I still love you!
9.) Michael Biehn
Mr. Biehn was pretty damn good looking back in the day and he still is now except, he’s old as hell. BUT he’s still appealing in the horror/sci-fi world. The actor gained geek praise for his most notable roles, The Terminator and Aliens, and he has been building up his nerd cred ever since. Biehn’s roles have secured him as a bonafide badass, most recently showcasing his awesomeness in films like Planet Terror and The Divide. The actor exudes a confidence and toughness that makes him so damn likeable while on and off the screen. All I know is this: if the world were ending, I’m pretty sure that I would want him on my side. He could definitely take care of me and then some (whatever that means).
8.) Bill Mosley
Bill Mosley has been around for a long time in the horror world but a lot of people didn’t seem to notice him until his amazing role as Otis Firefly in Rob Zombie’s A House of 1000 Corpses. The horror vet’s first big horror role was as Chop-Top in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2–which besides the leatherface radio station scene, was forgettable. But Mosley’s character stood out among the rest because he played crazy so well. The actor was in several movies following this performance, such as the remake of Night of the Living Dead, however, it wasn’t until 2003 that horror fan’s were introduced to one of the best character’s in the genre. Mosley reprised his role as Otis in The Devil’s Rejects, the much improved sequel to Corpses, and stunned audiences with his unrelenting performance of a psychopath. The actor has done several horror movies since but none of the roles seem to top his performance as Otis. That’s okay though; horror fans will continue to bow down to him at conventions year after year for giving us an awesome character to fawn over.
7.) Kyle Gallner
It seems that Kyle Gallner has been popping up on the big screen a lot lately–because he is awesome. The young actor first started off in TV with a reoccurring role on Veronica Mars. Although the show was far from horror, his character was the epitome of a horror bad guy. His character was multi-dimensional, often appearing shy and timid, until we later find out just how evil he truly was. Following this role, Gallner continued making guest appearances on shows, and eventually popped up on one of my favorite episodes of my favorite shows, Medium. Galler guest starred on an episode, The Boy Next Door, where he once again played someone who fully concealed his evilness to the outside world. With his ability to switch from super nice to totally insane in an instant, it is clear that Gallner is one to watch. The young star has finally been appearing in big screen movies, most recently the forgettable remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street, where he did his best to make the movie watchable. The actor, who makes you feel sympathetic for him just by gazing into his slanted, sad eyes, also had an awesome performance as a horny teen in Red State. I can’t wait to see more of Gallner in the future. He’s gonna be big!
6.) Jared Padalecki
Jared Padalecki is inhumanly beautiful, making him completely irresistible for girl’s to watch. Clearly, the producers behind Supernatural knew this and were smart enough to cast him as one half of the Winchester brothers. For 7 seasons we have been able to watch his character mature and evolve into someone completely different than who we started with. Other than starring in an awesome TV show, Padalecki has also popped up in horror remakes, House of Wax and Friday the 13th. The actor is perfect at playing the sensitive type that girls wish actually existed, mixed with the tough guy who could totally protect you from bad guys. Ultimately, he’s the perfect human specimen who puts all other men to shame.
5.) Jensen Ackles
Ah, the other half of the unbreakable and beautiful Winchester brothers. Ackles has mainly focused his acting on the small screen, guest starring on show’s like Dark Angel and Smallville, where he gained nerd cred and a devoted fan base. His fanbase only grew much, much bigger once he landed the role of tough-guy Dean on Supernatural. Thanks to the success of his horror series, the actor was able to easily transition into film when he starred in the remake, My Bloody Valentine. The actor plays the brooding, tough-yet-sensitive guy to a tee. And I want him to be my boyfriend.
4.) AJ Bowen
I’m not sure why but AJ Bowen has been randomly popping up in my dreams. Hmm…maybe it’s because he’s so dreamy? Hehe. Anyway, the actor is quickly becoming my favorite in horror ever since seeing his performance as Lewis in The Signal. He played a complete nutcase in the film but even though he was doing horrible things and ruining things for the two main characters, he was so hard not to like! It’s very hard to play an evil character that people are supposed to hate, yet end up absolutely loving, and Bowen does that effortlessly. The actor followed up this performance with a small role in Ti West’s House of the Devil where again he played a psycho, but a different, more subtle psycho. Bowen appears in my favorite scene of the movie, involving a gun and a fateful question, “Are you not the babysitter?” The way he randomly appears, presenting himself as harmless, only to casually shoot a girl in the head as if it were nothing was completely terrifying. I actually think I should probably be afraid of AJ Bowen.
3.) Malcolm McDowell
Is it weird that I get a total boner for this old bastard? I’m sorry, but I’m not sorry. McDowell is an icon in my eyes, appearing in one of the most classic and terrifying films, A Clockwork Orange. Some may argue that the film isn’t exactly a horror but when you look at everything that the movie discusses and the violence that it showcases in the process, it is a horror. McDowell’s character is probably one of the scariest in film because he’s so unhinged and hell bent on causing chaos in a world he doesn’t approve of. His character was so real and he was someone you could easily run into on the street, which made it all the more terrifying. I can’t look at McDowell without picturing the infamous “Singin in the Rain” scene, which he delivered perfectly. Most recently, McDowell took on an iconic character, Dr. Sam Loomis, in the Rob Zombie remakes of Halloween. A lot of people have their own opinions on how well the film was or not but one thing is for sure, McDowell made Loomis his own, almost making you completely forget about Donald Pleasance’s performance. I said almost.
2.) Robert Englund
Robert Englund took a horror movie bad guy and took it to another level. He made Freddy Krueger an actual person with a personality while simultaneously violently murdering teens in A Nightmare on Elm Street. In the earlier films of the series, Englund was completely terrifying because he was unrelenting–he didn’t care how much you begged for your life or pleaded with him, he was still going to butcher you with his knife-fingers. Later on in the series he became more comedic but Englund still made the character memorable. Englund is actually a respectable actor with serious background and training, but he doesn’t seem to come off as pompous or douchey whenever he appears in the genre that made him famous. In every horror film he has done since the Nightmare series, the actor always seems to have fun with his roles, bringing everything he has to his performances. How can one not love the man who brought Fred Krueger to life?
1.) Bruce Campbell
Bruce Campbell is a B-movie God and horror fans everywhere can agree that he is awesome in all that he does. He first caught our eyes in his iconic role of Ash in The Evil Dead, where he played a guy who picked the wrong cabin to stay in while camping. Campbell made the character so memorable through the way that he performed, physically throwing himself into the role. His acting isn’t simply just dialogue between characters; Campbell brings his entire self and body into the performance, making for an unforgettable show. The actor is funny and on top of everything, he seems very relatable and approachable, which fans love. This guy clearly loves what he does and he’s not ashamed of his B-movie status, rather he embraces it and embraces the fans who love him. Oh, what a guy.
There are so many other male actors who are memorable in horror, most notably Vincent Price and Bela Lugosi, however, I wanted to make a more modern list of my favorites. Who are some of your favorite Scream Kings in the genre?