Unsung Horror Heroes

The chin of a hero

Out of all the villains in Horror, and there are a lot, who talks about the heroes. We all know about how great Ash of the Evil Dead series is. After the Freddy VS. Jason movie was released, it seems it wasn’t enough to have the Horror Heavyweights alone battle it out and people wanted Ash to have a go at the both of them, that’s how bad he is and people know it. Dude, his hand was evil until he CUT IT OFF HIMSELF and added a chainsaw to it. He’s awesome. Sam Loomis is another one, as the psychiatrist out to stop Michael Myers, or at least warn anyone who will listen.

But what about the even smaller heroes of Horror? Outside of the genre, people don’t necessarily know about Ash. So it goes without saying that the characters less popular than him are not only not going to be making hand prints in cement, but possibly not even in the mud. Who are these unsung heroes of Horror? Click to find out. Oh, and just surviving isn’t good enough. You’ve got to battle the forces of evil rather than just not die.

5. Jennifer Hills- I Spit on Your Grave (1978) played by Camille Keaton

Also known as Day of the Woman, the film centers around Ms. Hills, who travels to the countryside to get away from the stressful city life. While relaxing in her canoe on the lake, a couple of good ol’ boys straight out of Deliverance grab her boat and drag her to the shore, where over the course of the day, she is beaten and raped several times. Not to mention ridiculed, but by the time that’s happening, our heroine is out of it. The rest of the film centers on her systematically killing off her attackers in violent and often humiliating ways, one in particular involving Jennifer’s knife and a rapist’s manhood….*shivers*.  She not only takes every bit of evil and injustice forced on her, she survives and fights back. Oh men!

The film is still to this day cited as one of the most controversial films of all time as the images aren’t shied away from nor is the editing quick. The torture and beatings are long and drawn out, letting you feel like you might actually be watching a home video a la Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. Not for the squeamish.

 

4. The Frog Brothers- The Lost Boys (1987) played by Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander

Why would I put these two small town, comic loving, wish-they-were-intimidating Frog Brothers? Because they are so unprepared to fight the vampires they’re hoping to see that making it their mission to take on their enemy is either really brave, really stupid, or maybe both. I choose to go with both. These guys aren’t regular guys, they’re kids yet they go directly to the base of the enemy anyway. Honestly, I don’t want to give a spot to any character Feldman has played but I’ve gotta give it to him on this. And Newlander? Don’t know anything else he’s done so “unsung” is definitely the word for him. It’s basically a couple of the Goonies taking on vampires.

The sequels involving the grown up Frog Brothers aren’t sequels I’ve familiarized myself with but going off the first movie alone is good enough for me. Honestly, if it weren’t for them, everybody in the movie would have just died/become a vampire. As goofy as they are, they’re the only ones who ever seemed to know anything or have a clue as to where they should start. And what happens after ridding the town of their supernatural menace? Nobody really knows what they did so they really only have each other’s backs to pat.

 

3. Father Damien Karras- The Exorcist (1973) played by Jason Miller

We all know and and love good ol’ Father Karras, the old man who’s “experienced” in exorcising demons but what places Karras on this list of the unsung heroes is that while Merrin knows what he’s doing in trying to excavate the demon from 12-year old Regan Macneil, Karras takes special interest in the case even though he’s lost his faith due in part to his mother’s death. Still, Karras insists on helping and in the end, sacrifices himself for the girl who he never knew by taking the demon into himself and jumping through the window. Man’s got balls.

Originally, Jack Nicholson was thought to get the role but director Friedkin cast Miller instead after seeing his performance in That Championship Season, an original broadway play. He’s also the real-life dad to actor Jason Patric, star of The Lost Boys.

 

2. Tangina Barrons- The Poltergeist series (1982-1988) played by Zelda Rubenstein

No matter you read today, you will not read a name that is more out there than Zelda Rubenstein. Say it out loud so you know how it feels. Not only that, her character’s name is actually just as strange. When pissed-off spirits start haunting a house in the ‘burbs, they eventually get to the point of taking the youngest daughter. Roaches will do the same thing if you give’em the chance. It’s at this point, the family knows that they need the help of spiritual medium, if you will, Tangina Barrons. Throughout the course of the three films, Barrons assists the unfortunate family in defeating the evil spirit who is, incidentally, number one on my Unsung Horror Villains. By the end of the third, Barrons go so far as to sacrifice herself to end the hauntings for good. What a gal.

Barrons was played by the 4’3 Rubenstein (mother to all Hobbits) who achieved her highest degree of popularity through this film series although she’s also the voice of the whispered slogan for Skittles, “Taste the rainbow.” Knowing it’s her makes it kinda creepy.

 

1. Beast- The Hills Have Eyes (1977/2006) played by “Striker” in the 1977 version and Cerberus in 2006

Come on. You know that no matter how disgusted you were by either incarnation of these movies, the German Shepherd known as Beast is your favorite part. He IS the hero. After a family is stranded in the desert by a clan of mutant cannibals, they proceed to pick at the family for rations and supplies, murdering/torturing them all the while. After the family’s female Shepherd, Beauty, is killed, her male counterpart Beast, goes on the rampage.

In either movie, our man Beast gets the most kills of the mutant freaks. Ripping at their forearms, tearing out their throats, or even pushing them off a cliff, Beast is out for blood and he gets it. Yes, people being killed and beaten are terrible, but when you mess with the dogs, you know you’ve got a true villain on your hands. Beast knows this better than anyone and had all those mofos pay the price. He doesn’t even have to be told who to kill- he just knows.

 

Honorable Mention…

 

Sergeant Doyle- 28 Weeks Later (2007) played by Jeremy Renner

After NATO starts helping rebuild Great Britain after the “Rage” virus infected most of the country, it breaks out again thanks to Robert Carlyle. When an unknown number of the victims begin running amok, the military starts pulling their triggers with no questions. Sergeant Doyle, an American Sniper eventually meets up with, and decides to be an escort for the possible child that may hold the cure for said infection. Against his orders, he fights for his group protecting them from the infected as well as military personnel who have been given orders to shoot anyone on sight. Doyle sacrifices himself by trying to push start the car his group gets into to get out of the surrounding nerve gas as soldiers use flame throwers to burn him alive. Yeesh.

Terrible way to go, but heroic all the same. Would you allow yourself to be burned to death for a bunch of people you don’t know?

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