13 Scream Kings
Article By: Tyler Doupe
The term ‘scream queen’ gets thrown around pretty regularly among horror fans and there are a multitude of top ten lists around the net that profile everyone’s favorites. But it is very rare to see the spotlight shined on their male counterparts who regularly perform in genre film. It may not be quite as catchy but for today’s purposes, we’ve dubbed these gents scream kings. To celebrate some of the men that regularly appear in horror pictures, we have compiled a top 13 list showcasing (in no particular order) 13 of our favorite scream kings. Be sure to let us know your thoughts on our Facebook Page.
1. A.J. Bowen
Actor A.J. Bowen is a frequent collaborator of Ti West and a familiar face to nearly any fan of contemporary horror. He has appeared in numerous genre pictures, including The House of the Devil, You’re Next, Rites of Spring, The Signal, and The Sacrament. No matter whether Bowen is playing a cult member, a college professor, or an investigative journalist, he always fully commits to the role he is playing and gives his fans a reason to keep watching his films. He is a bona fide scream king with a robust film catalogue under his belt. We look forward to a long and storied career from Mr. Bowen.
2. Robert Englund
Scream king Robert Englund’s performance as Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street has made him an icon of modern horror. Englund appeared in all of the original Nightmare on Elm Street films plus Freddy vs. Jason. He has also popped up in countless other horror films from Urban Legend to Wishmaster, to the modern meta horror classic Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon. No matter who he’s playing, Englund always turns in an arresting performance.
3. Doug Bradley
Horror fans perhaps best know Doug Bradley as Pinhead. The actor portrayed the Hell Priest in the first eight Hellraiser films. However, his contributions to the genre go far beyond his involvement with the Hellraiser series. Some of Bradley’s other noteworthy appearances include Wrong Turn 5, Pumpkinhead: Ashes to Ashes, and The Prophecy: Uprising. Bradley has earned the title of scream king over a long and impressive career.
4. Kane Hodder
Hodder has portrayed Jason in four Friday the 13th films. He is generally recognized as the fan favorite Jason. Although he came aboard the franchise when the series was at a low point, the way he brought Jason to life won fans of the franchise over almost instantly. Hodder has also appeared in a variety of other genre pictures, including Charlie’s Farm, Digging Up the Marrow, the Hatchet films, and Wishmaster. Hodder is a quintessential example of a modern scream king.
5. Patrick Wilson
Scream king Patrick Wilson is a frequent James Wan collaborator and has appeared in several films with which Wan was involved. Wilson’s genre credits include Insidious I and II, The Conjuring I and II, Bone Tomahawk, Prometheus, and more. Wilson also turned in an arresting and frightening performance in the horrifying crime thriller Hard Candy. He brings a serious and thoughtful quality to the roles he takes on and is always a welcome sight in any horror flick.
6. Anthony Perkins
Anthony Perkins was something of an underrated actor in his time. He played Norman Bates so exceedingly well in Psycho that he often found himself being sought for darker roles, thus leading to his classification as a scream king. Fortunately, he agreed to return for several additional installments in the Psycho franchise, the second of which is a brilliant and underappreciated sequel. Perkins also played a dark role in Murder on the Orient Express.
7. Jeffrey Combs
Perhaps best known to horror fans as Herbert West in Stuart Gordon’s Re-Animator and its sequels, Jeffrey Combs has earned his stripes as a scream king by also popping up in countless other horror pictures. He brings a unique charm to each role that he plays. In addition to Re-Animator, Combs has popped up in horror fare like The Frighteners, From Beyond, Would You Rather, Motivational Growth, and many more!
8. Zach Galligan
Zach Galligan is a scream king with a career that spans several decades. He appeared in both Gremlins and Gremlins II and Waxwork and Waxwork II. More recently, he turned up as a Sheriff in Hatchet III and has made appearances in a variety of low budget horror projects.
9. Bruce Campbell
kicking ass onscreen since the early eighties. And his popularity has only continued to grow with time. Campbell stars in the Evil Dead trilogy as Ash Williams and has recently reprised the role for the Starz original series Ash vs. Evil Dead. In addition to his work within the Evil Dead franchise, Campbell has also turned in noteworthy performances in My Name is Bruce, Bubba Ho-Tep, and The Woods.
10. Tony Todd
I’ve often said that Tony Todd and the Candyman character are both tragically underrated. Candyman often gets forgotten when the conversation turns to notorious horror film killers and just as often, Tony Todd seems to go unrecognized when the topic of legendary horror genre actors comes up. Todd is a prolific scream king that deserves recognition for his numerous contributions to the genre. In addition to playing Candyman in three feature films, Todd also popped up in Bernard Rose’s Frankenstein, and plays the undertaker in the Final Destination series.
11. Brad Dourif
Oscar-nominated actor Brad Dourif is responsible for bringing Charles Lee Ray (and the killer doll Chucky) to life in the 1988 film Child’s Play. He has fueled countless children’s nightmares since then and has appeared as the voice of Chucky in every subsequent installment in the series. Dourif also turned in an exceptional performance in The Exorcist III and appeared in the 1991 sci-fi horror film body parts. More recently, he appeared in Rob Zombie’s Halloween and Halloween II as Sheriff Brackett. Dourif’s résumé speaks for itself and he is truly a scream king for the ages.
12. Gunnar Hansen
Gunnar Hansen was a mainstay of the horror genre for years. He rose to prominence by playing the villain in the 1974 horror/grindhouse epic Texas Chain Saw Massacre but the scream king’s noteworthy contributions to the genre did not stop there. Hansen also had a secondary career as an author and documentary filmmaker. His tragic passing in 2015 took the horror community by surprise and the passage of time has not lessened the blow. In addition to Chain Saw, Hansen also appeared in Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers, Mosquito, Witchunter, Campfire Tales, and more.
13. Ray Wise
Legendary character actor Ray Wise is a jack-of-all-trades. His contributions to the horror genre are as numerous as they are noteworthy. Wise has appeared in Jeepers Creepers II, Chillerama, Excision, Suburban Gothic, Digging Up the Marrow, The Lazarus Effect, The Aggression Scale, and more. He also had starring roles on the genre-themed television series Twin Peaks and Reaper. Wise is a decorated genre vet and a legendary scream king in his own right.
Tyler Doupe is a film critic and journalist. He is the managing editor at Wicked Horror and an occasional contributor to Fangoria and Rue Morgue.