Horror movies are very popular. Even more popular are horror movie villains. But you never focus on the heroes. They deserve some attention. These characters have to face terrifying, terrifying foes, whether it's Michael Myers or Jigsaw or the Xenomorph or zombies or anything. So, to start off my Halloween rankings, I decided to rank my ten favorite horror film heroes.
10. Dr. Sam Loomis (Halloween)
Sam Loomis essentially acts as the wiser, more knowledgeable character in Halloween. He delivers all of these rich lines that are so memorable and so...iconic. Donald Pleasance absolutely nails the performance of this slightly mad doctor that knows what he's dealing with in Michael Myers. He is the only person in Halloween that understands that insane amount of danger that everyone is in when Michael comes home, and that makes his character really interesting.
9. R.J. MacReady (The Thing)
R.J. MacReady feels like an 80s protagonist in a horror movie, and I mean that in the best way possible. He is charismatic and charming, throwing out one-liners left and right in the Kurt Russell-sort of way. This dude is just a total badass. The way he fights off the thing, the shots of him blasting a flamethrower, all of it...it's so cool. He feels a little bit like John McClane. Not as great, mind you, but he's like a toned-down horror version of John McClane. And that's cool.
8. Chris Washington (Get Out)
Get Out is great. One of the many reasons it's great is Chris Washington, played to utter perfection by Daniel Kaluuya. Chris is in a really awkward position. Meeting the parents of your girlfriend for the first time is a scary thing. Well, it gets even scarier for Chris. He slowly gets the feeling that something is off in the Armitage household, and him being the audience POV character makes you feel off as well. You know so much about him through these little moments of great direction by Jordan Peele and absolutely perfect acting by Daniel Kaluuya. This is a good character executed to a T. That makes him a great character.
7. Nancy Thompson (A Nightmare on Elm Street)
Nancy was what I call the first horror movie "crazy girl". Everyone in this film thinks she's nuts. Nobody believes her about Freddy Krueger, but she knows she's sane. This makes for a compelling character that you are tracking with throughout the whole movie. A Nightmare on Elm Street can get pretty psychological and wild, but it's always grounded by Nancy. She just commands the screen and makes for one of the best final girls we've ever gotten.
6. Ellen Ripley (Alien)
Okay, okay. Ellen Ripley would be higher, but I've only seen Alien. I really want to watch Aliens, I just haven't gotten around to it. However, she immediately makes an impact in that first film. She sticks out as the one in the group who stays calm and calculated while trying to track down and fight the Xenomorph. She's clever. She's cool. She is another badass 80s protagonist (despite Alien being released in '79), and she is one of the most memorable.
5. Danny Torrance (The Shining)
Despite the picture being of a young Danny, this spot takes Doctor Sleep into account. Danny starts off as this haunted little kid that witnesses terrifying things at the Overlook Hotel. His dad goes off and tries to murder him and his mom. This trauma translates into Doctor Sleep, where he's become an alcoholic that has spent years trying to douse that experience with booze. He gets a new start and escapes his past...and then a little girl who has the shining shows up and needs his help. He finally faces his demons instead of running away from them and saves Abra from the True Knot. His arc is absolutely fantastic. I want to put him higher, but there are four fantastic characters above him.
4. Martin Brody (Jaws)
One of the highlights of Jaws is the three main characters. They're all amazing, but the best of them is chief Martin Brody, who is afraid of the water. I love that we never find out why he hates the water. He just does. But it doesn't matter. He pushes and pushes and pushes for Mayor Vaughn to close the beaches, and when that doesn't work, he goes out to face the shark and save his tiny town from being terrorized by this massive beast. He's fantastic.
3. Laurie Strode (Halloween)
Laurie Strode, like her movie, started the trope of the "final girl". And what a final girl she is. Jamie Lee Curtis's performance as the OG scream queen is great. She starts off as this good girl in Halloween and then progresses into this new trilogy forty years later. The trauma caused by Michael Myers has dominated her life and defined her relationship with her daughter. She finally faces the Shape in Halloween 2018 and will take him on for the last time in the upcoming Halloween Ends. She's a great character and the first of her kind.
2. Sidney Prescott (Scream)
Sidney gets this spot because she feels like the only final girl that is actively tries to survive. She doesn't do stupid things. She fights back against Ghostface and is willing to take him on every single time that he comes back. She is such a cool character. You always want her to survive, because she's fought so hard to be alive. I'm actually kind of glad she isn't returning in Scream 6. We don't need more of her character. She can rest alive and well.
1. Clarice Starling (The Silence of the Lambs)
The Silence of the Lambs is basically perfect when it comes to filmmaking. Part of that is the fantastic characters, particularly Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling. Clarice is the opposite of Lecter. She's young and naive. She's a trainee that is knee-deep in something that she cannot take on by herself. And she receives help from the most twisted of minds. The Lecter-Starling relationship is one of the best of all time. She's such a powerful character and such a great lead protagonist for this film. I absolutely adore this character, so she comes in at number one.