We recently asked our readers to vote on the greatest horror icons of all time. Our question was very open-ended and we did not specify director, actor, writer or other. We left it entirely up to you our readers to choose what came to mind when we asked ‘Great Horror Icons’
We received thousands of votes with 191 important horror genre names nominated. Clearly since this is a film site the greatest were in the movie business but a few literary giants also made the list.
We have tallied the votes and this is the final list of the 25 most important and popular Horror Icons of all time.
Regardless of where the names appear on the list each one of these people have made a serious contribution to our genre without debate or question.
#25 Anthony Hopkins
Not many actors have had the careers that Anthony Hopkins has. He starred in the 1992 Dracula as Van Helsing, played one of the most iconic movie villains of all time in Silence of the Lambs and continues to wow movie goers throughout the world with his work as Odin in the new Marvel THOR movies. A very deserving person to have on this list.
#24 Lon Chaney
Lon Chaney starred in over 160 films in his career and for me is a favorite for his work in the classic Hunchback of Notre Dame. I think it says a lot for the depth and maturity of our readers that somebody like Lon made the list. Give yourselves a pat on the back!
#23 Jeffrey Combs
Jeffrey Combs really needs no introduction and really put his stamp on our genre with his work in Re-Animator but that is hardly his only role in the genre. He has contributed his acting chops and voice work to over 100 films in his career. One of my personal favorites was his role of the creepy FBI agent in Peter Jackson’s The Frighteners.
#22 Mario Bava
Mario Bava is a legendary Italian director and writer who is best known for films like The Evil Eyes, Black Sabbath and a Bay of Blood to name a few. He has over 37 film credits to his name and is one of the true greats in the horror genre.
#21 Jamie Lee Curtis
Jamie Lee Curtis is not only an icon she is a great symbol of women in the horror genre. Sure she may be best known as a Scream Queen but her interviews on and off camera have shown she is a strong woman with deep moral values and somebody we can all look up to.
#20 HP Lovecraft
HP Lovecraft wrote a whole slew of short stories [ 10 best HP Lovecraft Horror Movies ] in the early 1900’s which made him famous but he still managed to die penniless. Since his death his short stories have been adapted into over one hundred films and he has been given credit for inspiring many more. If you have not read his novel In The Mouth of Madness be sure you do!
#19 Bruce Campbell
I was hoping Bruce Campbell would land in the Top 10 of this list but it was purely for selfish reasons. I am a die-hard fan of Mr Campbell’s and his work in Evil Dead will always for me be nothing short of legendary. I am incredibly excited to see him hit the big screen again in Army of Darkness 2
#18 Tony Todd
Tony Todd is another name like Bruce Campbell that we all knew would make this list it was just never clear how far up or down the list. Tony Todd has starred in over 170 movies and is best known for his role in 2012’s Sushi Girl and the classic terror ‘Candyman’
#17 Lucio Fulci
Is George Romero the father of the zombie genre or is Lucio Fulci? We might be debating that one forever but there is no denying that italian director Lucio Fulci is an icon of our genre for his work on the gory and brutal zombie films aptly titled ‘Zombi’. Word of advice after the first two they get REALLY bad and Zombi 5 and 6 are not even about Zombies if memory serves me right.
#16 Doug Bradley
Doug Bradley is really known best for one role even though he has had a lengthy career in the genre and that role is Pinhead from Hellraiser. He will reportedly reprise that role in the upcoming Hellraiser remake which Clive Barker is working on.
#15 Kane Hodder
Just like Bruce Campbell and Tony Todd I figured Kane Hodder would get enough votes to land on the list and I was right. You voted this iconic tough guy to the #15 spot on the list. When you need a big bulky bad ass to play your creepy man in the mask or iconic monster Kane Hodder is your man! He has starred in everything from Brad Pitt’s SEVEN to Adam Green’s FROZEN. Kane Hodder is without question a horror icon!
#14 Alfred Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock is one of the true greats of the horror genre and his appearance on this list is no surprise. PSYCHO redefined the horror genre and he managed to pull off his movie magic over and over with hit after hit including The Birds, Rear View Window and many more!
#13 Tobe Hooper
Tobe Hooper also makes the list and you voted him #13. This man deserves to be on the list for a dozen different reasons but the one that stands out most is that he directed and wrote one of the greatest horror movies of all time The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
#12 Tom Savini
Tom Savini is a polarizing man with his fans but love him or hate him he is a legend in the genre not only for his special effects talents but also for his work behind the camera on the Night of the Living Dead remake and in front of it in over 50 different movies including From Dusk Till Dawn, Dawn of the Dead and Machete.
#11 Peter Cushing
Once again our community shows that you they have some serious depth when it comes to the genre as Peter Cushing gets voted into the #11 spot. Peter Cushing is best known to mainstream movie fans for his role in Star Wars but for the rest of us horror movie fans its his work in The Horrors of Dracula and the Curse of Frankenstein that make him an icon of the horror genre.
#10 Dario Argento
I am going to anger a few people by saying Dario Argento is not one of my favorite directors but I do agree he is an icon. He deserves to be on the list for his consistent creepy contribution to the horror genre including Suspiria, Tenebre, and Demons just to name a few. He is also father to another genre icon that did not make the list, can you guess her name? Asia Argento of course!
#9 Clive Barker
Not many directors have not one, not two, not three but a handful of award worthy horror films under their belt. Clive Barker is an icon because he brought us Candyman, Hellraiser and The Midnight Meat Train … just to name a few.
#8 Christopher Lee
Christopher Lee is best known to modern film fans for playing Saruman in Lord of the Rings but horror fans who know the genre respect him for his work in classics like The Horror Of Dracula, The Mummy, The Curse of Frankenstein and more. Once again our readers show their depth by voting Christopher Lee a relative unknown to new horror genre fans into the Top 10.
#7 Stephen King
Stephen King is best known for being one of the most important horror authors of our time. He is also well-known for having most of his movies completely ruined on the big screen. Stephen King recently made his triumphant return to the big leagues with his second chapter to The Shining titled ‘Doctor Sleep’
#6 George Romero
George Romero is not only an icon but is also a hero of mine. I have met him on many occasions and he is such a likeable and under stated man. As of late he has become a bit infamous for trash talking The Walking Dead but that doesn’t take away that he is the father of the modern zombie genre.
Would there be a Walking Dead without George Romero? Hard to say but without question he paved the way.
#5 Robert Englund
Robert Englund is best known for playing the ultimate nightmare Freddy. He parlayed that role into a staggering and in-depth career totaling over 140 acting roles. Much like many of the other names on this list Robert Englund needs no introduction.
#4 Bela Lugosi
Between 1917 and 1959 Bela Lugosi starred in over 110 films including 1939’s Dracula, 1935’s Mark of the Vampire and 1934’s The Black Cat. When it comes to classic horror genre icons Bela Lugosi is without question at the top of the heap. You all voted him to #4 and I defy anyone to disagree.
#3 Boris Karloff
Boris Karloff much like Bela Lugosi is a genre icon from back in the day having starred in such iconic genre films as 1931’s Frankenstein, 1932’s The Mummy and 1935’s Bride of Frankenstein to name a few. Boris Karloff had over 200 movie credits to his name before he passed away and is a deserving name on this list.
#2 Vincent Price
Those of you who love the genre and know it well were probably wondering when and if Vincent Price’s name would appear on the list. He gets the very prestigious number two spot on our list. Vincent Price starred in more movies than we can count including The Last Man on Earth, 1953’s House of Wax and the 1958 science-fiction terror The Fly.
#1 John Carpenter
Number one on the list is the incredibly talented John Carpenter and as much as I love every name on this list of genre icons I think that the #1 choice that our readers made is bang on. He has contributed so much to the genre and created some of the greatest genre franchises including Halloween, The Escape From franchise, The Thing, They Live, and so much more!
John Carpenter is a phenom and I can not think of a single movie of his that I do not own and love!
Who do you think our readers missed and who would you add? Remember the question was open ended and the votes were plentiful but the answers are conclusive!