Top 10 Horror Movie Masks

Continuing our month of Horror-themed lists to celebrate Halloween, here are 10 of the scariest masks from horror movies.  This list varies from horror icons to B-movie killers, and is based purely on the appearance of the mask itself, not how scary the movie or the character themselves were.

#10. You’re Next

You’re Next premiered at film festivals in 2011, but was only released in the US on August 23rd of this year.  It has already grossed about $24 million, with a budget of only $1 million.  The film has garnered praise from some critics and, along with The Purge, has been mentioned as a key part in helping masks make a comeback in the horror genre.  However, not all the reviews have been positive, with one critic calling the film, “idiotic” and “practically insulting.”  The movie features three home invaders, with the masks being a lamb, a tiger, and a wolf.

#9. Smiley

  Smiley was a low-budget 2012 movie that only gets a 3.5 on IMDb.  The plot revolves around a serial killer stalking teens who type in “I did it for the lulz” three times online.  So why is it on the list?  The movie become a cult hit purely because of the terrifying mask of its main character.  The mask is a blank human face with a smiley face brutally carved into it.  The company saw a chance to make money off its terrible movie, and promptly began to sell Smiley masks online.

#8. The Purge

The Purge, released earlier this year, had one of the most original horror movie plots in a long time.  In the near future, the government has decided to make crime completely legal for 24 hours, lowering crime statistics in the rest of the year.  The movie capitalized on the recent resurgance of masks to gain popularity using creepy masked psychopaths.  The masks are clearly human, but are distorted just enough to give the feeling that something’s off. I’ve got to be honest, I think of Julian Assange every time I see the masks.  The success of the movie caused a sequel to already be announced, although no details have been revealed.

#7. Hannibal Lecter

The #1 villain in movie history, according to the American Film Institute, Silence of the Lambs‘ Hannibal Lecter is famous for his psychopathic behavior.  His mask, a restraint to prevent him from biting anyone, has entered pop culture as a classic horror symbol.  Lecter’s famous quote, “A census taker once tried to test me.  I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chanti.  Like most movie serial killers, Lecter was based on a real-life killer, the infamous “Monster of Florence”, who terrorized Italy from the 60’s to the 80’s, and was never caught.

#6. Sam

Trick r’ Treat was a rather average 2007 horror movie containing four separate stories.  The only thing that made the movie gain any popularity was its main villain, the creepy Sam.  A small trick r’ treater, Sam wears a burlap sack and attacks anyone who violates Halloween traditions.  In one scene, his mask is ripped off, revealing a terrifying face that resembles a cross between a burn victim and a jack-o-lantern.  It’s hard to say whether he’s creepier with or without his mask!

#5. Jason Voorhees

Jason didn’t feature as the villain until the second Friday the 13th, and it was only in the third movie that he wore his famous hockey mask.  When the crew was trying to imagine what mask Jason could wear, since the script specifically called for a mask, the 3D effects supervisor pulled out a Detroit Red Wings hockey mask, since he was  a huge hockey fan.  The director, Steve Miner, instantly loved the idea, but he wanted to tweak the mask a little.  He made it slightly larger, punched a few extra holes, and painted red triangles to differentiate it from the original mask, as well as make if more creepy in appearance.

#4. Leatherface

What’s creepier or more sadistic than a mask made of human skin?  In the 1974 classic, a member of a cannibal family, known as Leatherface, uses the skin of his victims to stitch together his mask.  Whatever mask he is wearing determines his personality, as if he takes on his victim’s characteristics.  The character was widely inspired by infamous serial killer Ed Gein, who wore a mask made of the skin of his victims.  Leatherface was also revealed in later movies to be horrifically disfigured, and he uses his terrifying masks to hide his true face.

#3. The Strangers

I strongly believe The Strangers is the most underrated horror movie of all time, it never got the credit it deserved.  The three psychopathic killers are wearing the most simple masks possible, but this movies proves that simple is sometimes better.  The pin-up doll masks are terrifying in their own right, however the real star is the burlap sack mask.  It gives the impression of the killer being inhuman.  Liv Tyler, the daughter of Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler starred in the film, and did an outstanding job.  She confirmed she would return for the sequel, scheduled for release next year, but said she had a minor role.

#2. Ghostface

Perhaps the most iconic mask of all time, and certainly the one the most kids wear on Halloween, is Ghostface’s mask from the Scream series.  The mask was inspired by Edvard Munch’s painting The Scream, and the cover from Pink Floyd’s The Wall.  The mask’s creators wanted it to portray a person screaming and crying at the same time. Over the course of four movies, spanning 15 years, Ghostface has terrified viewers, becoming one of the most beloved horror movie villains.  A fifth and sixth film have been mentioned by Craven, and MTV have reportedly begun to create a television series.

#1. Michael Myers

You may not realize it, but you have William Shatner to thank for the iconic Michael Myers.  The prop department went to a department store and came back with two masks, each a dollar because of Halloween‘s tight budget.  The one was a clown mask, which was rejected, and the other was a Captain Kirk mask.  The crew decided they preferred the Captain Kirk mask, and after spraying it white, dying the hair a richer brown, and widening the eyes, they showed it to John Carpenter, who was absolutely thrilled.  As they say, the rest is history.  This is actually the third list Michael Myers has topped, you can see the other two here and here.

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