So a few months ago, I was chatting with Mr. Annandale on twitter about iconic horror characters in movies — something that myself and my wife have discussed many a time. Characters such as Frankenstein’s monster, Michael Myers, Jason Vorhees, Freddy Krueger, and Justin Bieber … OK, maybe not Bieber, but many others.* These iconic characters have been prevalent in the horror genre for many years, and with remakes/reboots over the years, these icons will always have their place within the genre, and quite frankly, deservedly so.
But where are the iconic characters of horror today?
There have been some fantastic horror films released over the last few years (and some not so good). Mostly, the films involve the classic Haunted House story, be it from a source of the supernatural or from a deranged serial killer, etc. Of course there is nothing wrong with that, as far as I’m concerned, but where are the Kruegers of today?
The iconic horror character is an enigma. It is humanity’s fears and terrors personified and reflected towards the audience, but it can also convey levels of empathy** to a certain degree. Of course the ever looming question is: why is X the way they are? The question is usually asked in a majority of horror films, in which the doomed victim faces their grisly fate and asks, “Why are you doing this?”.
So what? You may say. We got Zombies and Tornadoes carrying hordes of sharks. Why do we need an iconic horror character for this generation? Isn’t it all a bit passé?
Personally, I think not. Haunted House stories and the maniac that lives next door will soon become somewhat tiresome for the horror genre. So why the hell not? I’m not at all saying that we need a regurgitated hybrid of some of the classics, but I’m sure there are characters that are held in the form of notebook purgatory, sat in a drawer somewhere, that could fill the empty space.
We all remember when we sat down to watch Halloween. A mere glimpse of Michael Myers at the end of the street sent chills down our spines. When we first spotted Jason in Friday the 13th, we might have thought, “What the bloody hell is that?” These characters were a doorway for first time horror fans, and made us connect with events that played out on screen and led us deeper into the realms of horror. I’d love to see a character materialize for this generation that has a similar impact, and in years to come that audience member/s will remember the first time, say, a decaying mound of flesh called Jack Rumblegore appeared on screen and terrified viewers. That would be super cool. And I hope its something that we will see. (Note: Jack Rumblegore doesn’t exist).
Because sometimes even the monsters under the bed need a name, and they too, have a story to tell.
I shall leave you with a question: Is it the mask we are afraid of, or what lies behind the mask?
*The most recent that I could think of was Jigsaw & Billy The Puppet from the Saw franchise. But, Jigsaw is more of a voice attributed to more than one individual, and Billy is more of a symbol of the villains ideology.
**One of which is Candyman. Whose mortal life was full of persecution and tragedy.
Romeo Kennedy is from the beautiful county of Cornwall, United Kingdom. He is an as of yet unpublished writer. His blog talks about all sorts of things, from books and writing to good old fashioned randomness and the occasional sea monster. He is currently working on what will hopefully be his first fantasy novel series set in his home county of Cornwall.
When he is not writing, R. A. Kennedy enjoys spending time with his beautiful wife and their two dogs and three cats. He can usually be found amongst a pile of books, or noodling on the bass guitar, as well as watching plenty of films. He also enjoys walks on a sunny day. One careful owner.