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The 20 Most Memorable Horror Film Performances

As a result of my inexplicable love of lists, I've thrown one together for your enjoyment or derision, whichever the case may be. I started thinking about some of the most memorable acting performances in horror films, and the next thing you know I had 20 examples. It's important to remember that this is a list of most memorable performances, not necessarily best performances (otherwise Edward de Souza would have made the cut for his role in the Hammer classic "The Kiss of the Vampire"). Some of the entries do represent tremendous instances of film acting, but that was secondary to how memorable these actors made their roles. In other words, the people and characters listed below are responsible for some of the most indelibly spooky moments I've seen in the genre, excluding such obvious cultural icons as Bela Lugosi's Dracula and Boris Karloff's Frankenstein monster.

Oh, what the hell. I'll even go out on a limb and list them in order. Enjoy!

The 20 Most Memorable Horror Film Performances

  1. Linda Blair as Regan MacNeil in "The Exorcist"

  2. Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance in "The Shining"

  3. Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter in "The Silence of the Lambs"

  4. Doug Bradley as Pinhead in "Hellraiser"

  5. Christopher Lee as Count Dracula in "Dracula" (a.k.a. "The Horror of Dracula")

  6. Jack Nance as Henry Spencer in "Eraserhead"

  7. Bette Davis as Baby Jane Hudson in "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?"

  8. Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates in "Psycho"

  9. Dennis Weaver as David Mann in "Duel"

  10. Rutger Hauer as John Ryder in "The Hitcher"

  11. Sissy Spacek as Carrie White in "Carrie"

  12. Piper Laurie as Margaret White in "Carrie"

  13. Ruth Gordon as Minnie Castevet in "Rosemary’s Baby"

  14. Boris Karloff as Anton de Bergmann and Gregor de Bergmann in "The Black Room"

  15. Timothy Hutton as Thad Beaumont and George Stark in "The Dark Half"

  16. Oliver Reed as Dr. Hal Raglan in "The Brood"

  17. Catherine Deneuve as Carole Ledoux in "Repulsion"

  18. John Barrymore as Dr. Henry Jekyll and Mr. Edward Hyde in "Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde"

  19. Peter Cushing as Rev. Dr. Blyss in "Captain Clegg" (a.k.a. "Night Creatures")

  20. Margaret Johnston as Flora Carr in "Night of the Eagle" (a.k.a. "Burn, Witch, Burn!")

Posted by Pete on January 12, 2006 9:38 PM
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