Here’s What These Classic Horror Movie Characters Look Like Underneath The Makeup

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The likes of Freddy Krueger, Pennywise and Pinhead have terrorized audiences and haunted the dreams of children for years. But underneath such characters’ remarkable masks or makeup jobs, the actors who play them are actually as normal as you or me. Well… if you count dressing up as monstrous killers as “normal,” of course.

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20. The Pale Man (Doug Jones)


The 2006 Spanish-Mexican film Pan’s Labyrinth established contortionist Doug Jones as one of the hardest-working men in horror. Not only did he play the iconic Pale Man, but he also portrayed the Faun – both of which parts required five hours of makeup apiece. And Jones had to learn all of his lines in Spanish, too.

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19. Pyramid Head (Roberto Campanella)

To recreate the famous video game villain Pyramid Head in live action, the producers of 2006’s Silent Hill turned to choreographer/actor Roberto Campanella. Campanella spent three hours every day getting into the prosthetics and makeup needed to play the monstrous being – and then he did it all again for Silent Hill: Revelation.

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18. The Creature from the Black Lagoon (Ricou Browning)

Lots of people have portrayed the Gill-man, a.k.a. the Creature from the Black Lagoon, originally from the famous 1954 movie of the same name. But the only actor to have played him more than once is underwater stuntman Ricou Browning, who donned the suit for all of the famous movie monster’s aquatic scenes.

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17. The Xenomorph (Bolaji Badejo)


The Xenomorph from 1979’s Alien looks so, well, alien that it’s hard to believe any human was inside it. But there was: Nigerian art student Bolaji Badejo. Badejo’s immense height made him ideal for the role, but sadly Alien was his only movie. He passed away in 1993, aged just 39.

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16. The Torn Prince (Craig Olejnik)

The 2001 remake of Thirteen Ghosts was slated for pretty much everything except its makeup – which was rather impressive. In fact, we bet fans of TV show The Listener wouldn’t even be able to tell at first glance that behind the Torn Prince’s makeup was that show’s lead, Craig Olejnik.

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15. Michael Myers (Nick Castle)


Various people have donned the mask of Michael Myers over the years, but the first to do so was Nick Castle. Castle got the role thanks to his distinctive gait, though he was paid just $25 a day to play the character in – you guessed it – his classmate John Carpenter’s legendary 1978 movie Halloween.

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14. Dollface (Gemma Ward)

There aren’t an awful lot of female serial killers in horror movies. But Dollface from 2008’s The Strangers would still be one of the best even if there were plenty. She was played by model Gemma Ward, and although her real face is never seen, she’s pretty terrifying.

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13. Sloth (Michael Reid MacKay)


Of all the victims in 1995 crime-horror flick Seven, Michael Reid MacKay’s skeletal Sloth is probably the most horrifying. MacKay had to spend a whopping 14 hours in makeup every day, but it was worth it: the scene where the supposed murder victim wakes up and coughs is truly bone-chilling.

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12. Nosferatu (Max Schreck)

Arguably the first great horror film, 1922’s Nosferatu is a nightmarish creep-fest featuring Max Schreck as the titular character. And although Schreck – whose name is German for “terror” – actually looked nothing like the character he played, that didn’t stop the spread of a persistent legend holding that Schreck was actually a vampire in real life.

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11. Bub (Sherman Howard)


When Sherman Howard auditioned for the role of sympathetic zombie Bub in 1985’s Day of the Dead, George A. Romero liked him so much that he expanded his role. Howard’s Bub makeup was created by legendary horror movie makeup artist Tom Savini, who picked up a Saturn Award for his work.

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10. Pinhead (Doug Bradley)

Doug Bradley is the man underneath one of the most unsettling makeup jobs in horror: that of Pinhead in 1987’s Hellraiser and its sequels. Interestingly, Bradley eventually learned to apply the Pinhead makeup himself, and thus he’s credited as an assistant makeup artist on some of the films. Now that’s dedication.

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9. The Creeper (Jonathan Breck)


Jonathan Breck’s big break came when he was cast to play the Creeper in 2001 horror hit Jeepers Creepers. It wasn’t easy work, however; no, the contact lenses he had to wear rendered him blind on set, for one. Plus, after the movie came out, his makeup had been so well done that, naturally, no one even recognized him on the street like he’d hoped for.

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8. The Lipstick-Faced Demon (Joseph Bishara)

No, that’s not Darth Maul; it’s the Lipstick-Faced Demon from 2010’s Insidious. And, surprisingly, he wasn’t played by a professional actor, but rather by the film’s composer, Joseph Bishara. Part of the reason Bishara was cast was because he was comfortable with the bloody horror movie makeup.

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7. The Predator (Kevin Peter Hall)


The man beneath the alien in 1987’s Predator and its sequel was 7’2” actor Kevin Peter Hall, who sadly passed away in 1991. And Hall went through a lot to bring the famous monster to life; the suit, for example, was so suffocatingly hot that he was only able to wear it for two hours at a time.

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6. Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund)

Robert Englund will forever be remembered as Freddy Krueger from the 1984 horror classic A Nightmare on Elm Street and its sequels, but he’s okay with that. And it seems that he’s nothing like his Krueger character, either. In fact, makeup artists who’ve worked with him have said that Englund remains friendly and chatty even throughout long makeup sessions.

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5. Pennywise (Tim Curry)


Clowns are terrifying no matter what, but Tim Curry’s Pennywise from the 1990 mini-series It is the daddy of them all. That said, Curry almost didn’t take the role at first, fearing how long the makeup would take. It ended up taking three hours a day, but everyone’s glad that Curry bit the bullet.

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4. Cropsy (Lou David)

Cropsy in 1981’s The Burning was another Tom Savini creation, but he was given just three days to put it together and was never entirely happy with the look. Even so, actor Lou David thought that the makeup – which rendered his face horrifically burned and melted – was incredibly impressive.

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3. Pumpkinhead (Tom Woodruff Jr.)


To create the titular demon from 1988’s Pumpkinhead, poor actor Tom Woodruff Jr. was literally glued to the monster’s rubber skin. And he barely got a break from it, either: he had to remain inside the costume for as many as eight hours a day.

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2. Leatherface (Gunnar Hansen)

Really it’s a miracle that 1974’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre didn’t end in real-life tragedy as well. Why? Because Gunnar Hansen’s Leatherface mask was hard to see out of, and that killer chainsaw was a real one. Hansen has mentioned in interviews that it was only thanks to good luck that no one was hurt… or killed.

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1. Frankenstein (Boris Karloff)


Boris Karloff, the man behind the most famous monster of all time, would undergo five hours of makeup a day during the filming of Frankenstein and its sequels. And in those days, actors really suffered for their art. In fact, the process used to attach the famous Frankenstein bolts left the actor literally scarred for life.