Horror icon

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A horror icon is a person or fictional character that is considered to be significant to horror fiction within mediums such as film, literature, television, or video games.[1][2]


Pre 1900s[edit]

Examples of early horror icons began with the Werewolf or Lycanthrope introduced in the 1500s,[3] the Frankenstein monster as introduced by Mary Shelley in 1818,[4] and Dracula as inspired by Vlad the Impaler and introduced into literature in 1897 by Bram Stoker.[5]

1900–1960s: Universal Monsters and early icons[edit]

Dracula is one of the original horror icons. (Image features, Bela Lugosi, as Count Dracula from the 1931 English language film, Dracula as part of what would later be known as Universals 30s horror cycle, or Universal Monsters.)

One of the earliest horror icons in film date back to 1913 with The Werewolf, which is one of the earliest werewolf films. In the 1920s, Dracula and Frankenstein's monster had movies released. Their presence in literary history led to them becoming among the most famous horror film icons. These films have had numerous sequels and remakes made, each one varying in success.

In the 1940s, sequels to Dracula and Frankenstein's monster were released, and when The Wolf Man (1941) was released a new horror icon had rose to prominence, the werewolf. In the 1950s, The Creature from the Black Lagoon led to the Gill-man becoming an icon. Another well known horror icon is Norman Bates from the Psycho franchise.


Many modern horror icons originate from the 1970s. Leatherface from The Texas Chain Saw Massacre went on to become a horror icon. The Phantom from The Town That Dreaded Sundown became an influential on some antagonist in many other horror films with the sack mask he wears. The same type of mask was used on Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th Part 2, and on one of the killers in The Strangers. In 1978, the influential horror film Halloween introduced the iconic Michael Myers.


One of the earliest 1980s horror icon is Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th franchise. Jason is featured in all of the films, as the killer or the motivation for the killings. Freddy Krueger from the hugely influential A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise instantly became an icon. Pinhead from Hellraiser and Tarman, a zombie from The Return of the Living Dead went on to become icons due to their unique designs. Chucky from Child's Play went on to become an icon. Some of the more notable horror icons from the 1990s, include Hannibal Lecter, Pennywise the Dancing Clown and Ghostface.


Real people[edit]




Make-up artists[edit]





See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Joshi, S. T. (2006). Icons of Horror and the Supernatural (Vol 2). Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 9780313337826. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  2. ^ Silver, Alain; Ursini, James (2007). The Gangster Film Reader. Hal Leonard Corporation. pp. 325–332. ISBN 0879103329. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
  3. ^ Stewart, Caroline Taylor. The Origin of the Werewolf Superstition. Library of Alexandria. ISBN 1465594337.
  4. ^ Young, Elizabeth (2008). Black Frankenstein: The Making of an American Metaphor. NYU Press. ISBN 0814797156.
  5. ^ Brodman, Barbara; Doan, James E. (2013). The Universal Vampire: Origins and Evolution of a Legend. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 1611475805.
  6. ^ "Stephen King's Desperation". New York Times. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  7. ^ a b c staff. "20 Greatest Horror Directors". Total Film. Retrieved September 26, 2014.
  8. ^ https://www.gamezone.com/news/horror-icon-and-creator-of-the-modern-day-zombie-george-romero-has-died-3455565/
  9. ^ http://cok.net/news/press-releases/horror-icon-rob-zombie-tells-usda-end-high-speed-slaughter-nightmares/
  10. ^ https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/news/the-walking-dead-season-7-john-carpenter-horror-a7119031.html
  11. ^ Clark, Mark (2004). Smirk, Sneer and Scream: Great Acting in Horror Cinema. McFarland & Company. pp. 100, 102. ISBN 0786419326. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  12. ^ Chibnall, Steve; Petley, Julian (2001). British Horror Cinema. Psychology Press. p. 83. ISBN 9780415230032. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Parker, Mary. "Top 13 Greatest Horror Actors". Horror News. Retrieved September 26, 2014.
  14. ^ POSTMODERN VAMPIRES: Film, Fiction, and Popular Culture - page: 185
  15. ^ https://movieweb.com/trick-or-treat-studios-tom-savini-zombie-masks/
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Francis, Jr., James (2013). Remaking Horror: Hollywood's New Reliance on Scares of Old. McFarland. p. 52. ISBN 9780786470884. Retrieved 26 September 2014.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]