I decided to compile a list of the top 50 actors to ever grace the horror genre. Now, naturally, this isn’t something that can be done in a “matter of fact” manner. It’s very subjective. Please keep in mind that this is a list of the Top 50 Horror Genre Actors, according to me, and may not reflect your own opinion of others
Let’s go in reverse order, beginning at 50 and working our way up to the top spot.
This will be Part 1 of a 2 part article. We’ll go from number 50 and countdown to number 26. Part 2, counting from 25 to numero uno will follow soon.
# 50 – Irwin Keyes – (“Friday The 13th”, “House of 1000 Corpses”, “Wrestlemaniac”) Best known as Hugo on TV’s “The Jeffersons”, Irwin has become one of the most recognizable faces in the horror genre.
# 49 – Tor Johnson – (“Bride of the Monster”, “Plan 9 From Outer Space”, “Beast of Yucca Flats”) Tor’s image became one of the top selling Halloween masks of all time.
# 48 – Danny Trejo (“Maniac Cop 2”, “From Dusk Til Dawn”, “Machete”) Trejo’s ability at portraying some of the most memorable characters in movies was finally rewarded, when Robert Rodriguez cast him to star in Rodriguez’s homage to exploitation films.
# 47 – Tony Todd (“The Crow”, “Candyman”, “Hatchett”) Tony became a genre favorite due to his portrayal of Clive Barker’s “Candyman”.
# 46 – Ken Foree (“Dawn of the Dead”, “Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III”, “The Devil’s Rejects”) Ken is one of the silver screen’s most intimidating bad asses.
# 45 – Andrew Howard (“The Devil’s Chair”, “Blood River”, “Pig”) Howard is the star in his friend Adam Mason’s films and is capable of portraying a variety of killers, madmen and psychopaths.
# 44 – Tobin Bell (“Brown’s Requiem”, “Black Mask 2”, the “Saw” franchise) Bell has a way of making you love him, no matter how evil or “bad” his character may be.
# 43 – Tom Atkins (“The Fog”, “Escape From New York”, “Halloween III: Season of the Witch”, “Night of the Creeps”) Every horror films needs a strong cop type good guy. Atkins is a real pro at this.
# 42 – Dieter Laser (“The Human Centipede (First Sequence)”) Laser played Dr. Heiter in Tom Six’s controversial horror film “The Human Centipede”. For many genre fans, Laser’s portrayal earned him the label of greatest mad doctor in the history of horror movies.
# 41 – Andrew Bryniarski (“The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2003”, “The Curse of El Charro”, “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning”) I may be a tad biased when it comes to Andy. He was a classmate of mine in high school. But that doesn’t change the fact that I found his performance as Leatherface to be even more terrifying than what Gunnar Hansen had done in the original film.
# 40 – Crispin Glover (“Willard” 2003, “The Wizard of Gore” 2007) Glover’s portrayal of Willard in the remake was nothing short of eerily amazing.
# 39 – Tadanobu Asano (“Ichi the Killer”, “Tokyo Zombie”) Asano, who played Kakihara in “Ichi the Killer”, is set to appear in the feature film adaptation of “Thor”, which should launch a huge career in the states.
# 38 – Srdan Todorovic (“Srpski film” aka “A Serbian Film”) Anyone who has seen “A Serbian Film” can surely attest to the commitment that Todorovic gave to playing a retired porn star who is forced back into the business, with disastrously heinous results.
# 37 – Doug Bradley (the “Hellraiser” franchise, “Nightbreed”, “Pumpkinhead: Ashes to Ashes”) The man played Pinhead. I think that’s all there needs to be said.
# 36 – Gunnar Hansen (“The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 1974”, “Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers”, “Murder Set Pieces”) Hansen was the original Leatherface, a role that changed to face of horror forever.
# 35 – Brad Dourif (“Blue Velvet”, the “Chucky/Child’s Play” franchise, “Alien Resurrection”) Dourif has one of the best “sinister” voices in the business, which is the main reason behind the success of the Chucky franchise.
# 34 – Kane Hodder (Jason in 4 “Friday the 13th” films, “Wishmaster”, the “Hatchet” franchise) Kane is arguably the greatest actor to play the Jason Voorhees character. He brought a new sense of angry and emotion to the role that hadn’t been as deeply explored by the actors who had previously played the part.
# 33 – Bill Paxton (“Aliens”, “Near Dark”, “Frailty”) They say that Jeff Goldblum plays the “Jeff Goldblum character” in each of his roles, a character that he has molded so well that it’s become a part of him as much as he’s become a part of the character. I believe Bill Paxton has managed to do the very same thing. He plays, what I call “the Bill Paxton character” in nearly all of his films, yet he is able to add certain nuances specific to each particular role that he plays. His performance in “Frailty”, a film that he also directed, is frighteningly believable.
# 32 – Sid Haig (“Spider Baby”, “House of 1000 Corpses”, “The Devil’s Rejects”) Sid Haig is one of the baddest yet most lovable actors to ever appear in a film. His performance as Captain Spaulding in Rob Zombie’s “House of 1000 Corpses” and “The Devil’s Rejects” is one of the most memorable characters of all time.
# 31 – Mal Arnold (“Blood Feast”, “Vampire Cop”) Mal Arnold played Fuad Ramses in Hershell Gordon Lewis’ classic exploitation film “Blood Feast”, a role that is as frighteningly crazy today as it was when the film was released.
# 30 – Ben Chapman & Ricou Browning (“Creature From The Black Lagoon”) To bring a larger than life character like the Gil-Man to life, how could it take any less than 2 actors to play him? Well, Ben Chapman, who played the big scaly green dude on land, and Ricou Browning, who played him during underwater scenes, combined to create one of the most iconic characters to ever grace the silver screen.
# 29 – Jeffrey Combs (the “Re-Animator” franchise, “Cellar Dweller”, “Frighteners”) Combs has an uncanny knack for playing creepy little men who make you squirm while watching them. He’s a true living legend.
# 28 – Michael Berryman (“The Hills Have Eyes I & II”, “The Crow” (Unjustly, his scenes were deleted), “The Devil’s Rejects”) Mr. Berryman is one of the most versatile genre actors ever. He can play a psychopathic hillbilly in “The Hills Have Eyes”, making your skin crawl, and he can play a lovable loser like Cleavon in “The Devil’s Rejects” who you can’t help but love.
# 27 – Peter Cushing (the Hammer films, “Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope”) I’m sure many fans are pissed that Mr. Cushing isn’t higher on my list, but to be honest, I cannot stand the Hammer films. He’s a great actor, and he was Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars. That’s why he’s THIS high. I know, it’s ridiculous of me, but oh well, this is MY list. ;)
# 26 – George C. Scott (“The Changeling”, “Firestarter”. “The Exorcist III”) George C. Scott is one of the most gifted actors ever born and he could play any role and be 100% believable in said role.
So, that does it for Part 1 of my countdown of the top 50 horror genre actors. Please stay tuned, well, check back soon for Part 2, where I’ll countdown from number 25 to the top spot.
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