TV & Movies

Horror Movie Masked Killers, Ranked By How Much They’ll Keep You Up At Night

From Ghostface to Michael Myers...

With the much-anticipated release of Scream VI - the latest chapter in Wes Craven’s legendary slasher series - fans can expect all of the franchise’s usual tropes: bloody kills, razor-sharp meta-commentary, Roger L. Jackson’s menacing phone calls, and last, but certainly not least, the iconic Ghostface mask. Of course, Scream is far from the first scary movie to centre on the ruthless murder spree of a masked murderer; disturbing facial attire has been an integral theme of the horror genre for many decades. Friday The 13th, Halloween, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre are just a few of the most terrifying examples. But, what is it about the horror movie mask that stays with audiences long after the credits roll, and which is the creepiest of them all? Below, discover five of the most recognisable faces in horror, ranked by how many minutes of sleep you’ll lose - because they’re sure to keep you up at night.

5. Jason Voorhees — Friday The 13th


Interestingly, it wasn’t until the horror franchise’s third chapter that Jason Voorhees first donned the Friday The 13th hockey mask - and it had nothing to do with his puck skills. Jason’s facewear of choice was in fact used to camouflage a medical condition for which he was ostracized from society for. What followed was the Camp Crystal Lake massacre and sparked 11 sequels-worth of terror. As well as being visually striking, the hockey design has become a fitting symbol of Jason’s sheer brutality, making this horror icon all the more intimidating.

5. Polite Leader — The Purge

Universal Pictures

This dystopian horror franchise is set during a fictional annual event known as “The Purge,” a 12-hour period where all crime – including murder – is made legal. However, it isn’t the many disturbing kills that have you hiding behind your pillow, but rather the film’s sinister “Polite Leader” Purge masks that, with their rosy cheeks and pearly white grins, offer a chilling contrast to the Purger's blood-thirsty plans.

3. Leatherface — Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Legendary Entertainment

Of all the horror movie villains, few are as genuinely frightening as Leatherface, the murderous figure at the centre of 1974’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The classic film follows a group of unsuspecting youngsters who fall victim to a family of cannibals and a chainsaw-wielding maniac with a mask made up of stitched-together human flesh. For that disturbing plot point alone, Leatherface more than earns his spot on this ranking.

2. Ghostface — Scream


Originally sold as a Halloween costume in the early ‘90s, the Ghostface mask became synonymous with the slasher franchise after Scream producers stumbled upon the design during a location scout for the original 1996 film. Along with its chilling resemblance to Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” painting, the true horror of the ghostly Scream mask lies in its anguished expression that mirrors the terror of the killer’s victims as they’re being sliced with Ghostface’s signature hunting knife or chased “up the stairs when they should be running out the front door.”

1. Michael Myers — Halloween

ITV/Shutterstock / 'Halloween'

John Carpenter’s Halloween is deemed the original slasher among many horror enthusiasts. The classic 1978 film (that went on to spawn 12 questionable sequels) centres on the knife-wielding psychopath Michael Myers, who terrorises babysitter Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) in his hometown of Haddonfield, Illinois, on Halloween night. Fun (and slightly unsettling) fact: Halloween’s trademark white mask is actually a distorted version of Canadian actor William Shatner’s face (producers sliced up a Captain Kirk Star Trek costume). Although, what really makes this OG slasher mask the creepiest of them all is the design’s haunting lack of expression which belies Myers’ ruthless determination to kill.