Ice Nine Kills frontman Spencer Charnas loves horror movies. He loves them so much that he based the 13 tracks on his band's recently released album The Silver Scream on 13 respective horror classics — from Halloween homage "Stabbing the Dark" to "A Grave Mistake," which nods to The Crow. Considering his passion for fright flicks, we asked Charnas to select his favorite horror-movie baddies — a task he took up with a level of enthusiasm that you could describe as bloodlust. Below are his picks.
He was the first horror villain I ever really got obsessed with. Halloween is the holy grail of what would become the slasher film, and there's something extremely terrifying about that white, expressionless mask. And it's been imitated millions of times, but none has matched the real, chilling nature of Michael Myers.
Obviously, [Jason Voorhees and Friday the 13th] came out in the wake of Halloween, but I think that it added a really cool twist to the slasher genre and the mythology of how he drowned in the lake — and his mother avenging his death, and then later him avenging the death of his mother, and [taking his revenge on] the counselors that neglected him and were responsible for his death. It sort of gave birth to the whole slasher subgenre of camp movies — you know, the Sleepaway Camp's and whatnot.
He came along after both [Michael Myers and Jason Vorhees] and brought a more supernatural element to the slasher genre because it featured a killer that doesn't haunt you at camp, or in Haddonfield, but in your dreams. And that was so terrifying. Because whatever you do, nothing can prevent you from eventually falling asleep and therefore, eventually, meeting your demise at the hand — or glove rather — of Freddy Krueger. Shout out, Wes Craven. RIP.
Silent Night, Deadly Night was released the same weekend as A Nightmare on Elm Street in 1984 — it even performed better at the box office the first weekend — but was removed from the theaters because annoying PTA groups across the country were upset at a major studio taking Santa Claus and making him into a mad slasher. There's just something really funny and sleazy about that film, and Billy is just a brutal killing force. Much like Jason, he was traumatized as a child and is on the loose, ready to fucking kill everyone.
I think the book It, by Stephen King, and then the subsequent movies that followed — the one from 1990 with Tim Curry and the one with Bill Skarsgård — all three pieces are works of art. It really put clowns on the map as being something that everyone's afraid of and it's lurking beneath the surface. Again, much like Michael Myers with other slasher imitators, there have been many "scary clown" movies, but none can top Pennywise.
The interesting thing about Ghostface, and what differentiates him from Michael Myers and Jason is that Ghostface is really a vehicle for murder. In every film, Scream 1 through 4, it's a different killer. They're just all using the Ghostface persona to do the killings. Hands down, the first one is my favorite, with part four following very close behind. But what was so cool about Scream and the killers is that it was self-referential and the killer and the victim knew what horror movies were and knew about the genre tropes and cliches. So seeing a killer who would question his victims about Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees trivia, and would kill them either way, if they got it wrong or right, was really cool.
[Leatherface] pre-dates all of the slasher villains I was referring to. When people think of that movie and Leatherface, they think of something violent beyond belief. But in reality, the first film didn't really have that much gore in it. It was shot brilliantly by Tobe Hooper, who knew how to use the camera to tell a story and prove that what you don't see can be sometimes more terrifying than what any special effects guy can show you.
I wanna shout out to Victor Crowley from the movie Hatchet, who was portrayed by Kane Hodder, who was the only actor/stuntman to ever play Jason Voorhees more than once. He became an instant fan favorite among Friday the 13th fans and gives an equally chilling performance as Victor Crowley in Hatchet. Particularly, in part one, [there are] some of the most brutal kills I've ever seen on film, including one with a belt sander.