The horror genre is filled with long-running franchises that have introduced movie villains who have become iconic over the years and developed a loyal fanbase. These larger-than-life characters range from slashers and serial killers to monsters, aliens, and everything in between.
Many of these fan-favorite horror franchises have been running for decades, which can make it difficult for the same actor to stay under the makeup or behind the mask of some of our favorite villains. However, there are quite a few who have still managed to play the characters across the decades that we’ll be taking a closer look at today.
10 Christopher Lee Starred As Hammer Films’ Horrifying Dracula For Almost Two Decades
There have been quite a few actors who have portrayed the classic literary character of Dracula over the years, beginning with the iconic Bela Lugosi in 1931’s Dracula. However, one of the most terrifying and long-running versions of the character appeared in the Hammer Horror film series, played by Christopher Lee.
Lee brought a new edge to the character that he reprised across nine more films, beginning with 1958’s Dracula and continuing for almost two decades until the last Hammer entry in 1973, The Satanic Rites of Dracula. He later returned in 1976 for a horror-comedy take on the character in Dracula and Son.
9 Nick Castle Returned To The Role Of Michael Myers/The Shape In 2018’s Halloween
1978’s Halloween introduced fans to The Shape, the silent stalking killer who would later be referred to as Michael Myers. Nick Castle portrayed the blank-masked character in the original movie from John Carpenter, though he left the franchise and began writing and directing movies.
While other actors took over the role across the various sequels over the years, Nick Castle returned for 2018’s Halloween and 2021’s Halloween Kills to film select scenes as The Shape in a shared role with the new Michael Myers, James Jude Courtney.
8 Brad Dourif Has Voiced Chucky For Almost Every Movie In The Child’s Play Franchise
The original Child’s Play was released to theaters in 1998 and starred Brad Dourif first as serial killer Charles Lee Ray, and then as the voice of the possessed doll named Chucky. Dourif remained the voice of Chucky for the entire original franchise until his daughter Fiona Dourif became the new human vessel for the character in 2017’s Cult of Chucky.
While Mark Hamill took on the role of Buddi in 2019’s Child’s Play reboot, Dourif returned to the character for the Chucky TV series, with announced plans for even more installments in the cinematic franchise that are sure to include the Dourif’s in some way.
7 Felissa Rose Returned To Sleepaway Camp’s Angela Baker After Two Decades
While horror movies are known for their attempts at shocking fans with twist endings, none have accomplished that in quite the same way as 1983’s Sleepaway Camp, which starred Felissa Rose as Angela Baker. Baker was attending Camp Arawak for the first time when a mysterious killer begins offing other counselors and campers.
Angela is eventually revealed as the murderer, though the twist also reveals that she is actually Peter Baker, who was forcibly raised as Angela after Peter was killed in a boating accident. While the character took on new identities for the following sequels with different actors, Rose returned to the role 25 years later in 2008’s Return to Sleepaway Camp in the new identity of Sheriff Jerry.
6 Doug Bradley Portrayed The Cenobyte Pinhead Across Multiple Hellraiser Sequels
The first entry in the dark Hellraiser franchise hit theaters in 1987 and introduced fans to Pinhead. The monstrous villain was the leader of the leather-clad extra-dimensional beings known as the Cenobites who lived to bring horrifying torture and ecstasy to anyone who was able to open the hellish puzzle box known as the Lament Configuration.
Doug Bradley portrayed Pinhead in the original movie and most of the sequels, which quickly became a direct-to-video franchise that catered to a select fanbase. Bradley’s last outing as Pinhead was in 2005’s Hellraiser: Hellworld, almost 20 years after he made his iconic debut as the character.
5 Tony Todd Has Appeared As The Terrifying Candyman For Almost Two Decades
Tony Todd first terrified viewers as Candyman when the original movie was released in 1992. The movie explored the urban legend of Daniel Robitaille, an artist who was tragically killed by a lynch mob after they cut off his hand and left him covered in honey to die from bee stings.
Candyman haunted the public housing project in Chicago where his ashes were spread years before. Todd returned to the role for two more sequels in the 90s before briefly returning to the role almost 20 years later in Nia DaCosta’s Candyman continuation that was released in 2021.
4 Angus Scrimm Portrayed The Tall Man In The Long-Running Phantasm Franchise
1979 saw the release of the first Phantasm movie, which introduced fans to the town mortician known as the Tall Man for the first time. Angus Scrimm played the character, who was killing and reanimating residents of the town using a mysterious silver sphere that he controlled.
The Tall Man’s legend was built over 37 years and four sequels that continued the same story and explored the Tall Man’s mysterious origins. Angus Scrimm passed away in 2016, but he managed to finish off the franchise with a final outing in the terrifying role for 2016’s Phantasm: Ravager.
3 Roger L. Jackson Has Voiced Every Version Of Ghostface From Movies And TV
Scream is one of the newest long-lasting horror franchises, having debuted in 1996 to help restart a struggling horror genre with an exciting new villain who became known as Ghostface. While the killers behind the mask have changed with every movie, they all use the same voice-changing device which even carried over to the TV series on MTV.
Roger L. Jackson provided the voice of Ghostface in every appearance of the character across movies and TV and will be returning to voice the newest version of the character in 2022’s Scream continuation, marking 26 years as the iconic killer’s voice.
2 Robert Englund Played Freddy Krueger In A Nightmare On Elm Street For Decades
Writer/director Wes Craven first invaded the dreams of fans in 1984 with A Nightmare on Elm Street, which introduced Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger, the Springwood Slasher who haunted teenagers nightmares after he was burnt alive by their parents.
He returned for six continuations that allowed the unique horror movie villain to continue evolving into one of the most popular slashers in horror history. Englund’s last official appearance was in 2003’s Freddy vs. Jason crossover, though fans have been hoping to see him return as Freddy again after the disappointing 2010 reboot that cast Jackie Earle Haley in the iconic role.
1 Kane Hodder Has Spent Decades Playing Jason, Leatherface, and Victor Crowley
While there have been a number of actors who took on the roles of Friday the 13th‘s Jason Voorhees or Texas Chainsaw Massacre‘s Leatherface in their respective franchises, only one actor has portrayed both characters and more. Kane Hodder began his career doing stuntwork before he took on the role of Jason in 1988’s Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood.
He played that character until the franchise ended with Jason X in 2001, though he also played the gloved hand of Freddy Krueger in Jason Takes Manhattan. He did the stunts for Leatherface in 1990’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre III to further his horror resume. Finally, he played the murdering swamp monster Victor Crowley four times in the Hatchet franchise between 2006 and 2017.
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