A Bloody Good Time 12.06.12: Top 20 Most Memorable Minor Horror Characters, Part 1 (#20-11)
Posted by Joseph Lee on 12.06.2012
From the Wire Twin cenobites in Hellraiser to Yvonne in Shaun of the Dead and more, 411's Joseph Lee begins his look at the top 20 most memorable minor horror characters with #20 - 11!
Opening Logo courtesy of Benjamin J. Colón (Soul Exodus)
Welcome to A Bloody Good Time.
Last week we looked at how to survive a haunted house movie.
Before I get to this week, I have a plea to my readers. The end of the year is fast approaching and that means the best of 2012 horror column is also coming up. I'm going to be completely honest. This year, Hollywood has not stepped up. I've got maybe three to four big budget Hollywood movies that could potentially make the list and then a lot of crap both mainstream and indie. So I need your help. Have you seen a really kick-ass horror film from this year that I need to check out? Let me know in the comments! I'm cultivating a list and will soon marathon these things over the weeks to make this list all the better. Here's what I have from your suggestions last time, so you don't suggest the same movie again: Excision, Cockneys vs Zombies, V/H/S, Sushi Girl, American Mary, Found, Father's Day, Killjoy Goes to Hell. I may not get to all of these (as I still have my own list on top of it), but at least they're on my radar now. If you have more, please suggest them!
As I was watching some slasher films, I noticed a character or two that I thought was really interesting. However, the character left after a season and had absolutely nothing to do with the story. That doesn't change the fact that the character was one of the most memorable parts of the movie. So it got me thinking about the minor characters of horror. For the next two weeks I will count down the twenty most memorable minor characters in horror!
There's going to be some wiggle room and bickering here, but here is the criteria I'm using. I'm going for minor characters, not supporting. There is a difference between Dwight Frye's Renfield and the maid he scares into fainting. For a non-horror example, think about Jesus from The Big Lebowski. He has a very brief time on screen but he gets quoted a lot by fans. They have to be a character that either has one or two scenes or doesn't do very much at all with the time they're given. In some cases, the movie can survive without them. But if you remember them and enjoy the brief moments they were on, then they were worth putting in the film. These characters are interesting, sometimes more interesting than the movie they were placed in.
So let's get this list underway!
#20: The Cat Lady (Eileen Brennan) in Jeepers Creepers
Overall, the scene with the Cat Lady in this movie is only there to increase the Creeper's body count and provide a creepy moment before the climax. The lady herself doesn't serve much of a purpose other than to be a victim. However she always stuck out to me because something seems off about her. Yeah, she lives alone with a bunch of cats, but she's also very mean. She's mean-sounding enough that you almost get the sense that if this were a different kind of movie that Trish and Darry would have just as much to fear from her as an ancient monster.
I'm not sure if it was the intent to create a one-off character that causes a sense of dread but she does. When I first saw the movie, I was convinced it was going to be a Hills Have Eyes twist and she was working with the Creeper the whole time. I'm glad they didn't go that route, but it always made me wonder why they made the choices they did with her character. Of course, I could be completely alone in this and no one else even remembers there was a cat lady. But she stuck out for me, and that's good enough to kick this list off.
#19: Yvonne (Jessica Stevenson) in Shaun of the Dead
One day, I'd like to see at least a short film about Yvonne's own journey through zombie-infested London and how she managed to get the Army to save the day. I know why she's in the movie, but it seems like Spaced was the only reason to have her. We know a few things about her. She knows Shaun and seems to be good friends with him. We also know that she has a group of her own friends that look very similar to Shaun's. That's really all we get before she disappears and comes back at the end of the movie to save the day.
I don't see Edgar Wright revisiting this world ever again, but a nice little short film about her own struggles would be neat. What happened to all of the people with her, were they killed too? How did she manage to get the Army involved, and if she did, why did they let her ride around with them to kill zombies? Did she know Shaun was still at the Winchester and told them to go there? I know she's just there as a deus ex machina again but I am interested to know more about her.
#18: Sergeant Botnick (Andrew Robinson) in Child's Play 3
I've been a fan of Andrew Robinson ever since I saw him in Hellraiser, so of course I thought he was one of the most memorable parts of a sequel that's mediocre at best. There's not much to Sgt. Botnick. He's a jerk barber that takes way too much pleasure in cutting off the hair of the new recruits of Kent Military School. You almost wonder if this guy has a thing for hair and/or bald people, because he really enjoys his work. No barber in the world is as satisfied with their job as this guy is.
Another thing we know about Botnick is that he apparently has nothing better to do with his life. He finds a doll in his shop, left behind by Roland, and decides that this doll should have its hair cut too. But this doll happens to be Chucky, and Chucky likes his hair just the way it is. Presto! Sgt. Botnick is dead. The movie wasn't that great, but I enjoyed Botnick's very limited screen time.
#17: Billy Cole (Jonathan Stark) in Fright Night
Billy is Jerry Dandridge's carpenter and daytime protector. Throughout most of the film, you assume he's human because he can appear in sunlight and he has a reflection. Then Peter Vincent shoots him and it does absolutely nothing. That fact is why I include him on this list. Is he supposed to be a vampire? I'm not sure. He dies with a stake to the heart but he doesn't share any of Jerry's weaknesses. At the same time, he's also fiercely loyal to Jerry, because he could easily kill him in the daytime if he wanted.
Is he a daywalker like Blade? Is he more like Renfield, only with super-human strength? We aren't really given any details about him, and we don't need to be. He's just a strong vampire (maybe) that works for the villain. He's the Bowser Jr to Jerry's Bowser. You have to beat him first in order to go to the main boss. Not many horror films have that, and if they do, they are underlings without any memorable traits whatsoever.
#16: Duke Henry the Red (Richard Grove) in Army of Darkness
Henry the Red isn't leading but two things right now, and one of them left town. We first meet this guy in the same situation as Ash, and learn he's a Duke and he's at war with Lord Arthur. Ash, because he's sick of the primitive screwheads, sets the guy loose and we don't see him again until the end of the film. I think the reason I've always liked Henry is because he seems so jovial, especially when he get set free. If you can watch him literally laugh in the faces of his captors and ride away merrily without laughing, you're watching this movie wrong.
As it turns out, it's a good thing Ash let Henry free, because he's one of the reasons the good guys win at the end. Arthur's forces are smaller than he'd like to battle the Deadites, so Ash suggests a truce against a common enemy. At the end of the day, peace is maintained and all evil is destroyed. For a guy that was about to become deadite food at the beginning of the movie, Henry did pretty well for himself.
#15: Patrick (Michael Rapport) in Black Christmas
There are a lot of foul-mouthed characters in Black Christmas, but I think Phyl's boyfriend Patrick takes the cake. He has a particularly memorable scene in which he plays Santa (because he's the fattest member of the cast) to a group of kids and doesn't necessarily hide his dirty language from them. He's kind of a jerk and you're not sure why Phyl is with him, and he's one of the ones that gets to survive the entire movie! That's probably because he has one memorable scene and then disappears at one point.
There's not much I can say about this guy. He cusses in front of some kids, and I find it funny. He's the very definition of minor character, but his scene is memorable enough that I think he should be on this list. Considering we have a cast that includes cursing from Margot Kidder and the Killer, the fact that his own take on Santa's famous laugh can stick out at all says a lot, I think.
#14: Darrell (Michael Alcott) and Clevon (Michael Berryman) in The Devil's Rejects.
These two tie because their most memorable scene is together. The Devil's Rejects is a very dark film, but there are moments of comedy that stand out probably because the movie is so dark. One of these is the moment in which the Rejects get some ice cream. Another is the moment that Charlie (Ken Foree) decides to take Clevon to buy some chicken from Darrell. It's at this moment that we get a bizarre and hilarious scene in which Darrell spontaneously asks the two if they're going to have sex with his chickens.
Charlie's reaction is priceless, but it's Darrell's to the point accusations and Clevon's over-the-top anger that really sell it. Clevon is definitely not going to have sex with a chicken. He's upset that you would even think that. Darrell, meanwhile, says he's thought about it before, but he thinks Clevon is sexually frustrated and might actually do it. If you haven't seen it, do yourself a favor and watch. It's not for everyone but then again, so is The Devil's Rejects.
#13: Springwood Teacher (Matthew Faison) in Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare
Freddy's Dead has a lot of weird cameos, but I don't think they get much weirder than the insane teacher who teaches Freddy 101. I say this knowing that Roseanne and Tom Arnold make an appearance. I realize that Freddy killing off all the children has made most of the people loony, but this guy really seems to have lost it. He's teaching a class to absolutely no one about Freddy's life, mixed with real world facts. Apparently Freddy was around in 1494.
He's only there there provide exposition and let the heroes figure out that Freddy had a daughter. But like the nanny earlier in the film, he's absolutely insane. Unlike her, I found him more memorable and his moment always stuck with me. He also narrowly beats out Alice Cooper's cameo in the same film, just for how nutty he is in this scene. Not only does he teach these non-existent kids, he gets mad when they don't answer him. And this is a crucial point, people!
#12: The Wire Twins (Lynn Speier and Patricia Kara) in Hellraiser: Inferno
I thought about including one of the first film's cenobites but I decided they had too much screen time in order to count. That's not the case with these two, as they don't even have a real scene. They have a single moment that is bizarre and just part of Joseph (Craig Sheffer)'s first experience with Hell after opening the Lament Configuration. The "Wire Twin" cenobites are some of the most memorable of the entire franchise outside of the main four.
They show up and begin rubbing their hands over Joseph's chest. That wouldn't seem to be anything of note at first glance. I forgot a crucial detail. When they rub his chest, they're rubbing the inside of chest after puncturing his skin. It's very visceral even if it's not the most graphic or gory moment this series has produced. Considering Inferno is one of the best sequels, it's surprising that such a small moment is still memorable after all this time.
#11: Reverend Jackson P. Sayer (Carmen Filpi) in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers
This guy is the reason I made this list. He has no bearing on the story whatsoever. The only thing he accomplishes is give Dr. Loomis a ride to Haddonfield as well as a small drink. I think the thing I gravitate with these main characters is how interesting they are, and Mr. Sayer is definitely interesting. He's obviously just a crazy preacher, but he seems so convinced that he's actually hunting "Armageddon".
He provides a funny moment and a rare occasion when we see Dr. Loomis smile (when he's not scaring the hell out of kids). For a guy that's had as much trouble as Loomis has had, it's nice to see him get a moment's happiness. He's just a super religious nutcase but he seems nice enough. He did get Loomis to Haddonfield to protect Jamie, so at least he's a useful religious nutcase. I wish he stayed in the movie longer, but he probably would have just been killed by Michael.
That's it for me. Leave some comments here on or my Twitter. Next week, we have some minor characters that are a little more iconic, as we count down the top ten!
Closing Logo courtesy of Kyle Morton (get your own custom artwork and commissions at his Etsy account)
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