Now that Halloween has ended, [and so has weirdo’ween] one of the things I can talk about now is my love for masks. It’s become one of – if not the single most obvious – facts of horror movies: when you hide the face of the killer behind a mask: the fear, terror, and inhumanity goes through the roof. Sometimes, the mask itself becomes a legend, and turns into the stuff of nightmares for entire groups of people.. Sometimes, they’re used in order to hide the killer’s identity, while other times they hide a disfigured face underneath. Other times, well, let’s be honest: the production team just thought it’d look cool on screen. The idea is that it’s what hides beneath that’s scary, but a good horror movie mask is frightening in its own right.
As you could probably expect, there’s clearly many different types of masks – for different movies. I couldn’t help but think of some of the more memorable masked killers in film. Everybody knows the big name contenders, guys like Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, Leatherface and Ghostface. But if you were to dig a little deeper, you’ll find plenty of fearsome faces, and chances are – you saw a few of these on Halloween. So let’s look into it: a list of my personal top five favorite masks in horror, and why I like them. Also, because characters like Jason, Myers, Leatherface and Ghostface are extremely recognizable – and I’m planning on going the unique route today – they will not be featured on this list; even if I am a fan of their masks as well.
as worn by: Dr Hargreaves in The Abominable Dr Phibes:
Even if this frog mask isn’t that scary to look at, it’s what it does that gives it a sinister presence on this list. Rather than being used as a disguise for the killer, like most of the masks on this list will incorporate, this particular mask is designed for a victim: the way it works, is that it has a built-in mechanism causes the mask to tighten [around the head] until it crushes the skull of the one who wears it. Think of it as an early Reverse Bear Trap..kinda.
as worn by: Leslie Vernon in Behind The Mask: The Rise Of Leslie Vernon
[First and foremost, if you haven’t seen this movie – get on that!] Leslie Vernon knows better than most about how important a good serial killing mask is: he’s studied the classics and is working on building his own serial killer story. I’m a huge fan of the sunken in eyes, and the deeply cut mouth. Not to mention he chose a great shade of greenish-grey for the mask itself!
as worn by: Frank in Donnie Darko
Although not technically a killer in the movie, but Frank more or less pressures Donnie into committing all the crimes he did, so I think that counts for something. Imagine seeing that looking back at you from inside the mirror: you’d probably never want to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night again!
as worn by: Carly Beth in Goosebumps: The Haunted Mask
While not the scariest thing ever anymore, this specific mask used to scare the hell out of me. Besides the obvious fanged grin, I was always terrified by the idea that the mask would attach itself to Carly Beth‘s face; and not want to be removed. If it wasn’t creepy enough, they made the TV version [as seen above] into a two-part episode – making you wait to see if the characters ever got it off.
as worn by: Tomás in The Orphanage
Let’s get one thing straight: kids in horror movies are already creepy. In the case of The Orphanage though, it really steps the game up by having one of the kids [Simón] claims to be seeing a ghostly child who is only ever seen wearing a bag-like mask with rosy-red cheeks and darkened eyes. It gets depressing when you realize that the other children stole a mask that he wore to in order to hide his deformed face.
Now clearly these are just five of so many masks that have been featured in horror films. There’s creepy ones, but a lot of them have psychological reasoning behind them [okay, maybe not the wind up frog] which makes them more interesting than anything. Which mask was your favorite? Was it mentioned on this list? Maybe you had a different one in mind? If different, which one is it and why? I’d love to discuss the many styles of them, and who knows – Maybe this post gave you an idea for next Halloween!
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