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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Scary Masks Ranked!!!

A slasher is only as good as his mask.  This being October—I often refer to it was “Shocktober”—I thought it would be appropriate to rank horror movie slasher masks from least menacing to most.  I think you’ll be surprised to learn that this has never been done before.  Do a Google search.  The internet is completely devoid of horror movie mask rankings.  Weird, right?
It can be difficult to separate the mask from the violent actions carried out by the mask wearer when compiling a list of this sort, but I’ve tried my best to focus on my personal emotional response to each mask represented, and leave said masked killer’s actions out of it.  On occasion, I have made passing mention of the heinous acts committed by the “man (or woman???) behind the mask,” but I’ve tried to keep the proceedings relatively masked-focused, a real mask-fest, if you will.

11. Ghostface (Scream and its sequels)

The Ghostface mask is such a sell-out, man.  After Scream came out, you couldn’t go anywhere without Ghostface being all up in your face.  Everyone had a Scream mask!  I think they were used as cereal box prizes in some markets.

10. Animal-masked assassins (You're Next)

Animal masks, when donned by hulking men brandishing crossbows, are creepy and horrifying, but by themselves, they’re no big whoop.  The same masks worn, say, during a child’s Sunday afternoon tea party or a classy, upscale orgy at a sprawling country manor, would seem fine, almost necessary.

9. Jason Vorhees (Friday the 13th: Part 3 and beyond)

Iconic, but not scary, that is, unless you find hockey players inherently frightening.  Quick thought: what if hockey goalies, along with their hockey stick, also brandished a machete when defending the net?  Hockey players are already allowed to punch each other in the face whenever compelled, so why not up the violence factor and add sharp, deadly weapons to the proceedings?  It’s worth at least considering, right?  (Fun Fact: I thought the burlap sack from Part 2 was scarier.)

8. "Satan" (Satan's Little Helper)

One question that lingers as the delightfully creepy Satan’s Little Helper’s credits roll is what about the killer’s mask made the titular helper automatically think, “Yep, that’s Satan all right!” exactly?  Even before confirming the fact with said killer, Dougie is convinced he’s found the hero of his favorite video game/the Prince of Darkness, and in his hometown, no less!  To me this mask doesn’t scream Satan or Lucifer or The Devil.  It just looks like any of a hundred ugly rubber monster faces hanging from a hook at your local, pop-up Halloween superstore right this very minute.  It isn’t scary, but it’s ugly and it kind of gives me a stomachache. As much as I love horror movies, I have always had a very physical reaction to rubber monster masks, especially the ones that retain their misshapen, skewed and deformed appearance even after they’ve been placed over someone’s human head.  The Satan’s Little Helper mask is gross, but this list is primarily concerned with scary, so, here it remains at #8.

***BONUS MASK*** Jesus (also Satan's Little Helper)

Satan’s Little Helper’s murderous madman dons a trio of costumes over the course of the movie, and costume #2 involves an infinitely creepier mask that I felt kind of weird adding to the list proper.  By all rights, this mask should appear at the top of this and every scary mask list ever made for the rest of time, but, it's Jesus, guys, so, you know, c'mon.

7. God Mask (The Purage: Anarchy)

I haven't seen The Purge or it's sequel, but I know whenever this guy popped up on my TV screen in the weeks leading up to Anarchy's release, I felt really uneasy.  First, the mask looks like the kind your high school chum's faux-artsy mom would hang on the wall in the guest room.  It'd be part of, like, a whole ballet or theater theme, but it would actually scream, "I'm a crazy person who is definitely watching you while you sleep...and there's a good chance I'm wearing this mask while I do it."  Second, it's the crudely scrawled "GOD" across the forehead.  I haven't seen Anarchy, but I know what it's about.  This guy is playing the part of God on Purge night, and if you have the bad luck to encounter him and his creepy mask, you're not going to enjoy the results.

6. Henry Creedlow (Bruiser)

I don't remember particularly enjoying Bruiser, but this mask--holy crap, this mask!--still creeps me out.  It's those beady, pinhole eyes what do it.  

5. Mr. Mouse (Torment)

Scarier than the fact that this unstoppable, homicidal brute's mouse mask is a creepy, deformed mess, is the fact that said mask started out as the head of a beloved stuffed mouse.  Why did Liam's stuffed animals all have giant, irregularly-shaped heads?!?  A stuffed animal head should never fit comfortably on the head of a psycho killer.

4. Man in the Mask, Dollface & Pin-Up Girl (The Strangers)

The thought of people breaking into my home while me and my family are in it, terrifies me to the bones, and that is why I'm (oddly) drawn to home invasion horror flicks so much.  The Strangers is one of the scariest I've seen (The sun comes up...our heroes have survived the night...AND IT ISN'T OVER!!! NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!), and those masks are a big part of it.  

3. Leatherface (Texas Chainsaw Massacre and its many sequels)

This mask is made out of the flesh stripped from horny teens and nameless drifters.  This mask is worn by a slovenly, cannibalistic butcher with little to no discernible social skills.  Everything about Leatherface is filthy and diseased and sticky and gross, and that is pretty much a recipe for scary.

2. The Old Hag (Snow White and the Seven Dwarves)

Walt Disney's Snow White has the distinction of being the first animated feature film ever made.  It is beautifully animated, and remains a solid watch to this day.  It's also the source of all childhood nightmares and the lingering unease I feel whenever I'm around old people.  I watched Snow White with my three-year-old daughter recently, and, oh boy, did she not enjoy the Evil Queen in Old Hag mode.  Neither did I.  She is extremely unpleasant to look at.  It is a testament to Snow White's goodness that she is kind to such a disturbing--and clearly disturbed--character.  I'm not saying members of the elderly community should be disparaged and shunned because of their wrinkled skin, bony fingers, scraggly hair and toothless, gaping maws, I'm simply suggesting one think twice before accepting any fruit from one.  Stick to the individually wrapped hard candies they've got stashed in one of the many candy dish stations in their house.  Those probably haven't been poisoned.

1. Michael Myers (the Halloween series, at least the ones that aren't about Stonehenge and bugs coming out of people's faces*)
"What's that?  Giant Electric Penguin named my mask the scariest?  How do I feel?  How do you think I feel?!?  Like singing, of course!!!"

Haddonfield's own Michael Myers tops our list, because what's scarier than William Shatner's face turned inside out?  And don't say William Shatner's regular face, because that isn't very nice.

*And, yes, I know Michael has a cameo in Season of the Witch!  What do you take me for, an amateur?!?  Sheesh!

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