16 Horror Movie Villains And The 25 Actors That Played Them
Welcome to the scariest time of the year, spooky season. Everyone remembers their first horror movie. Mine was A Nightmare on Elm Street. My older sister thought it would be a great idea for her, my mom, and an 8-year-old me to watch a movie that would subsequently keep me wide awake for the next week, fearing that I would soon hear, “One, two, Freddy’s coming for you.” However, as we grow older, the terrifying monsters become the actors behind them. As adults, we know that although they may look like creatures from hell in costumes, they are just normal human beings outside of their roles. So here are some of the most iconic horror movie villains, both in and out of costume:
1. The Exorcist (1973): Linda Blair as Regan MacNeil (possessed by Pazuzu)
Here’s Linda out of costume at the 50th anniversary of the Saturn Awards in 2022.
2. The Ring (2002): Daveigh Chase as Samara Morgan
Here’s Daveigh out of costume at The Ring premiere in 2002 and as an adult in 2012.
Kelly Stables took over for Daveigh in The Ring Two, but the last person to portray the role was Bonnie Morgan in the trilogy’s 2017 movie Rings. Here’s Bonnie in costume and out of costume at the Rings premiere in 2017.
3. It (1990): Tim Curry as the original Pennywise the Clown
Here’s Tim out of costume at the It premiere in 1990.
Bill Skarsgård most recently played Pennywise in the 2017 remake and again in 2019 for the sequel, It Chapter Two. Here’s Bill out of costume at the It premiere in 2017.
4. The Grudge (2004): Takako Fuji (who portrayed the role in both the original Japanese and US versions from 1998–2006) as Kayako Saeki
Here’s Takako out of costume at The Grudge 2 premiere in 2006.
5. Insidious (2010): Joseph Bishara as the Lipstick-Face Demon
Here’s Joseph out of costume at the premiere of Insidious: Chapter 2 in 2013. He also appeared out of costume at the premiere of The Conjuring in 2013.
7. The Nun (2018): Bonnie Aarons as Valak (The Nun)
Here’s Bonnie out of costume at The Nun premiere in 2018.
8. Jeepers Creepers (2001): Jonathan Breck (who portrayed the role in the first three movies of the franchise) as The Creeper in Jeepers Creepers 2
Here’s Jonathan out of costume at the Jeepers Creepers 2 premiere in 2003.
Jarreau Benjamin most recently played The Creeper in the 2022 movie Jeepers Creepers: Reborn. Here’s Jarreau out of costume in 2017.
9. Friday The 13th (1980): Ari Lehman as the first (unmasked) Jason Voorhees
Here’s Ari out of costume at the Hollywood Autograph Show in 2019.
The first portrayal of Jason in a hockey mask was given to us by Richard Brooker in the 1982 movie, Friday the 13th: Part III. Here’s Richard out of costume at the Hollywood Show in 2009 (he passed away in 2013).
Derek Mears most recently played Jason in the 2009 Friday the 13th remake. Here’s Derek out of costume at the Friday the 13th premiere in 2009.
10. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974): Gunnar Hansen as the original Leatherface accompanied by Hitchhiker, Grandpa, and the Old Man (The Cook)
Here’s Gunnar out of costume at the Monster Mania Convention in 2012 (he passed away in 2015).
Mark Burnham most recently played Leatherface in the 2022 Netflix movie, Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Here’s Mark out of costume at a screening series in 2013.
11. Halloween (1978): Nick Castle and Tony Moran both played the original (masked and unmasked) Michael Myers
Here’s Nick (masked Michael) out of costume in 2018 at the Halloween premiere.
Here’s Tony (unmasked Michael) out of costume at a Halloween festival in 2017.
James Jude Courtney has most recently played Michael Myers since 2018. Here’s James out of costume at the Halloween premiere in 2018.
12. Predator (1987): Kevin Peter Hall (who portrayed the role in the first two movies of the franchise) as the Predator
Here’s Kevin with his wife, actor Alaina Reed Hall, and their children at the premiere of Predator 2 in 1990. He passed away in 1991.
13. Sinister (2012): Nicholas King as Bughuul
Here’s Nick out of costume at ScareFest 8 in 2015.
14. Barbarian (2022): Matthew Patrick Davis as The Mother
Here’s Matthew out of costume at a special screening of Barbarian in 2022.
15. Hellraiser (1987): Doug Bradley (who portrayed the role in the first eight movies of the franchise) as Pinhead
Here’s Doug out of costume at Monsterpalooza in 2018.
Jamie Clayton most recently played Pinhead in the 2022 Hellraiser reboot. Here’s Jamie out of costume at a special screening of Hellraiser in 2022.
And finally, let’s give a round of applause to the man who showed me what nightmares are truly made of:
16. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984): Robert Englund as the original Freddy Krueger
Here’s Robert out of costume at the Sitges Film Festival in 2022.
Jackie Earle Haley most recently played Freddy in the 2010 A Nightmare on Elm Street remake. Here’s Jackie at the A Nightmare on Elm Street premiere in 2010.
Are there any horror movie villains whose out-of-costume appearances shocked you even more? Let me know in the comments, and Happy Halloween!