Horror has many faces. It could be made of rotting corpses with bolts keeping the head in check, or it could be full of pins. It could be the innocent plastic face of a child's plaything, or it could be hidden behind a decaying hockey mask.
Throughout the years the horror genre has changed and the killers and monsters changed with it. But a few rose from the depths in each "season" as the cult classics and the faces of horror were molded into a few pinnacle characters. But just who is the best? Who has the most terrifying face of all?
I've decided to sift through the golden characters of horror who have become synonomous with the genre to determine who is the ultimate face of horror in what I have come to call The Ultimate Face of Horror Death Match. I've decided to start with the pinnacle of characters - the Universal Monsters between the 1920s and the 1950s.
Dracula - 1931
Starring: Bela Lugosi as one of the most famous horror masterminds of Dracula's stare,
Sequels: Dracula's Daughter, Son of Dracula, House of Dracula, and he even made an appearance in House of Frankenstein.
Signature Look: Pale skin, slicked black hair, fangs, black velvet cape, wild staring eyes.
Motivation: Dracula's motivation is purely blood-lust as he seeks to compell the visitor in his castle.
Death Count: 8 deaths in the early works
Frankenstein - 1931
Starring: Horror alum Boris Karloff is the original face of Frankenstein.
Sequels: Bride of Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, The Ghost of Frankenstein, Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man, and House of Frankenstein. He even made an appearance in House of Dracula
Signature Look: Green rotting skin, neck bolts, black hair, large build, chunky shoes.
Motivation: Frankenstein's monster is mad that it is seen as different from other people and just wants to fit in, but the fault lies with Dr Frankenstein putting the wrong brain in his monster.
Death Count: 9 deaths in Frankenstein and The Bride of Frankenstein.
The Creature From The Black Lagoon - 1954
Starring: Ricou Browning played The Gill Man in water for The Creature from the Black Lagoon but was replaced by Ben Chapman, Don Megowan and Tom Hennesy during land shots. Browning essentially is the real Gill Man though.
Sequels: Revenge of the Creature and The Creature Walks Among Us,
Signature Look: Dark green scaly body, amiphibious head, claws, gills.
Motivation: The Gill-man falls in love with one of the beautiful archeologists in the film.
Death Count: 9 deaths in the early movies
The Wolfman - 1935
Starring: Lon Chaney Jr, played Larence "Larry" Talbot in Werewolf of London
Sequels: The Wolf Man, Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, She-Wolf, and he had appearances in both House of Dracula and House of Frankenstein.
Signature Look: Humanoid figure and clothes but covered head to toe in hair. Wolf-like eyes, claws and fangs.
Motivation: The Wolfman is motivated by his transformation, which is seen as more of a curse than anything when he is bitten by another werewolf. Despite the fact he goes around killing people, you feel more sorry for The Wolfman than anything else.
Death Count: 4 deaths in the early movies
The Mummy - 1932
Starring: Boris Karloff of Frankenstein fame donned the bandages for The Mummy.
Sequels: The Mummy's Hand, The Mummy's Tomb, The Mummy's Curse, and The Mummy's Ghost.
Signature Look: Mummifed corpse and shriveled skin, covered in bandages.
Motivation: When an ancient spell awakens the Mummy Imhotep he beings to look to reincarnate the soul of his ancient lover Princess Ankh-es-en-amon.
Death Count: 12 deaths in the early movies
And the Winner Is..... Dracula!
Despite having Frankenstein and The Mummy overtake him when it comes to the overall death count in their earlier films, Dracula wins the Ultimate Face of Horror Death Match of Universal Monsters for several reasons:
To begin with, his motivation is purely evil. Sure he may have been turned into a vampire, but he has no issue biting and turning others, feeding on their blood, having a cohort of brides, and simply doing whatever he feels like thanks to his powers of persuasion. The other creatures, such as The Mummy and the Creature are motivated by purer acts of love, and characters such as The Wolfman and Frankenstein can simply not help the horrifying indignity of their ailments that nature has bestowed upon them. Dracula is the only character who kills out of pure satisfaction.
The deaths themselves aren't graphic due to the nature of classic black and white cinema, but blood-sucking is a dark thing to do. Sure The Wolfman mauled his victims to death and more of the deaths in Frankenstein were by accident or by fire, but drinking human blood is probably as dark as you could possibly get as a human.
Dracula is also the original Universal Monster and the most famous when it comes to talking about horror of supernatural creatures - maybe slightly moreso than Frankenstein, who would be the closest at taking the crown in terms of popularity. Bela Lugosi, Dracula, and the whole image is what pops into mind when you talk about classic horror, and for this reason Dracula comes out on top.
But how will the modern day killers fair? Find out on my next Ultimate Face of Horror Death Match!