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Film

Five minor horror characters who stole the show

@Russellisation

Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers and Leatherface are known as some of the most terrifying horror villains of all time, inspiring genre fans for decades thanks to their respective lucrative franchises. Donning creepy masks and filthy costumes, such characters have burned themselves onto the retina’s of film fans worldwide, though sometimes they become secondary to a scarier prospect. 

Secondary characters have the opportunity to catch you off guard whilst you’re looking over your shoulder at the sight of Myers, Voorhees or Krueger in hot pursuit, with horror films throughout the history of the genre offering up strange moments that overshadow the main antagonist. Consider, for example, the ghoul at the end of Rec that is captured in night vision or the horrifying Dr. Satan from Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses, with both providing highlights to their respective horror films. 

Breaking down the world of horror cinema, we took it upon ourselves to find the greatest minor characters who broke through into superstardom despite being sidelined in their own films.

Looking at old slasher classics along with terrifying modern folk tales, take a read of our list below of the five minor horror characters who stole the show. 

Five incredible minor horror characters:

The Creature – Possession (Andrzej Żuławski, 1981)

Recognised as one of the greatest horror films of all time, Andrzej Żuławski’s psychological breakup movie stars Isabelle Adjani and Sam Neill as two feuding lovers whose relationship falls apart under surreal circumstances. 

As much a breakup movie as it is a piece of squirming body horror, the torment and terror of Possession is stolen by the appearance of the strange tentacled creature that appears at the film’s climax. Shown to be having a sexual relationship with Adjani’s Anna after she leaves her husband, in one particularly shocking shot we see the creature writhe on top of the woman as they engage in gooey, cosmic sexual intercourse. 

Black Phillip – The Witch (Robert Eggers, 2015)

Whilst the presence of a satanic force is prevalent throughout the runtime of Robert Egger’s modern folk horror, it is the eventual speech of the goat Black Phillip that remains the most memorable moment in the impressive film. 

Led by Anya Taylor-Joy as a young girl, Thomasin, plagued by the psychological torment of witchcraft, The Witch follows her existence among her paranoid family which includes her mother Katherine (Kate Dickie) and father William (Ralph Ineson). Having seen Black Phillip many times throughout the film as a mysteriously intimidating goat that roams the rural farm, later in the film, when Thomasin has given into the creature’s command, it performs a satanic speech that was so surprising on first viewing that it shone as the film’s greatest moment.

Grandpa Sawyer – The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Tobe Hooper, 1974)

There’s plenty to fear throughout Tobe Hooper’s iconic horror film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre with the dogged insanity of Leatherface being the biggest threat, though lurking in the background of several scenes is someone (or something) far creepier. 

Mute and immobile, the threat of Grandpa Sawyer, Leatherface’s strange decrepit family member may be somewhat nonexistent, but the sheer sight of his wrinkled skin and mouldy chair is enough to fill your mind with terror. Is he alive, or is he merely a taxidermied figure on a rocking chair? It’s unclear if one can make that distinction as he clings to life through his impossibly wrinkled white skin. In this strange reality in rural Texas, Grandpa Sawyer makes the viewer question if there may be something more supernatural afoot. 

Pinhead – Hellraiser (Clive Barker, 1987)

For those readers who have never had the joy of experiencing Clive Barker’s classic British horror film Hellraiser, you may be surprised to hear that the infamous advertised antagonist actually plays only a minor part in the ’80s film. 

Whilst we do see glimpses of the terrifying character throughout the opening stages of the film, it is not until the film’s conclusion that we get to see a good look at the iconic villain. Despite his brief time on screen, however, Pinhead walked away with all the glory in Hellraiser, captivating audiences with his enigmatic persona that made his hellish character all the more utterly abominable. 

The red-coated figure – Don’t Look Now (Nicolas Roeg, 1973)

Known as one of the finest and most enigmatic horror films ever made, Don’t Look Now is a deep, dark excavation of the enduring torment of grief on the livelihoods of a couple who are forced to live with such guilt, moving to Venice, Italy to start a new life.

At the centre of such a mysterious horror drama is the killer who stalks the streets and dark canals of the city, a figure who reveals herself to be a small woman in a red coat, killing the husband (Donald Sutherland) at the end of the film. As the key to such a compelling yet confusing mystery, the sight of the red-coated figure at the end of the film provides more questions than it answers but has kept horror audiences thinking for decades.