ByStephen Hampton, writer at Creators.co
Lover of horror and 80's divas.
Stephen Hampton

Horror movies over the years haven’t had their shortage of nightmare-inducing images. One of the most popular ideas is to have a murderous psychopath terrorizing an innocent while donning a super scary mask. It’s a popular idea because pretty much everyone can get creeped out by it! Let’s take a look back at some of the scariest masks we’ve seen on our screens.

10. 'The Wicker Man'

'The Wicker Man' [Credit: British Lion Films]
'The Wicker Man' [Credit: British Lion Films]

This cult favorite from 1973 has an abundance of creepiness. It centers on a virginal Edward Woodward investigating the disappearance of a young girl on a remote Scottish island. It’s incredibly strange and absorbing throughout. However, one of the weirdest moments is when some of the islanders suddenly crop up wearing You’re Next-style animal masks. The raw, homemade quality of the masks add to the disturbing factor, as well as the fact that they just come out of nowhere. The fish one particularly unnerves me. Who the heck would wear a fish mask?

9. 'Behind The Mask: The Rise Of Leslie Vernon'

'Behind The Mask: The Rise Of Leslie Vernon' [Credit: Anchor Bay Entertainment]
'Behind The Mask: The Rise Of Leslie Vernon' [Credit: Anchor Bay Entertainment]

This movie even has the word "mask" in the title, so the producers had to come up with something guaranteed to shred nerves — and they succeeded. The simplest can sometimes be the scariest, and the meta serial killer Leslie Vernon is certainly an example of this. His mask resembles a human face with two sunken eyes and a mouth that resembles more of a slash. There's a nightmarish and inhuman quality to this one; you certainly wouldn't want him standing outside of your window.

8. 'Saw'

'Saw' [Credit: Lionsgate]
'Saw' [Credit: Lionsgate]

And this little piggy drugged someone and set them up in a grotesque torture device! Pigs are normally tremendously cute, but in the hands of they're given a horrifying spin. The pig mask pops up in every movie and is worn by one of Jigsaw's associates. It's normally the last thing a victim sees before waking up in some disgusting, bloodstained room, and it frightens audiences too. I think it's the weird black wig that makes the mask terrifyingly surreal.

7. 'Donnie Darko'

'Donnie Darko' [Credit: Pandora Cinema / Newmarket Films]
'Donnie Darko' [Credit: Pandora Cinema / Newmarket Films]

There's a running theme here of twisted animals. Frank from is based on a rabbit and it looks absolutely petrifying. It's the big, white eyes, crooked teeth and twisted ears that make him look so arresting. Also, just the absurdity of seeing someone in a bunny costume is genuinely unnerving. It's a chilling film, and Frank the rabbit only adds to that.

6. 'Curtains'

'Curtains' [Credit: Jensen Farley Pictures]
'Curtains' [Credit: Jensen Farley Pictures]

This is one of those tragically forgotten slashers from the '80s that got lost among all the other Black Christmas/Halloween ripoffs. It's good fun though, and it features a group of actresses auditioning for a role in a mansion, only to find that a masked psychopath is picking them all off behind the scenes. The psycho also happens to be wearing a bizarre mask that looks like an elderly person's face. I don't mean to be ageist or anything, it just looks horrible, especially with that long ginger hair.

5. 'Alice, Sweet Alice'

'Alice, Sweet Alice' [Credit: Allied Artists]
'Alice, Sweet Alice' [Credit: Allied Artists]

Another obscure slasher that is surprisingly pretty good. What attracted me to watching it initially was the haunting mask and yellow jacket seen in the trailer. There's a childlike quality to it, which gives a disturbing edge — you don't see many kids wearing lipstick and eye shadow. In the film, it looks like a china doll that has sprung to life like in .

4. 'Smiley'

'Smiley' [Credit: Fever Productions LLC / MIJ Productions]
'Smiley' [Credit: Fever Productions LLC / MIJ Productions]

No one in their right mind would call a good film, but it does have one of the most terrifying images in recent memory. The look of the killer is based on a popular Creepypasta about a masked phantom on the loose, popping up next to people's beds. The jolly emoticon has been given a nightmarish spin with inhuman stitches being sewn on to a blank human face. It's a simple idea, but it's very effective.

3. 'Halloween'

'Halloween' [Credit: Compass International]
'Halloween' [Credit: Compass International]

The iconic mask from John Carpenter's slasher masterpiece is actually based on William Shatner. Who knew that the Star Trek actor could look so frightening? This is easily the most simple mask on the list, but its minimalism is what makes it so effective. It could be the face of any man, which leaves a lot up the imagination. When the holidays hit your town, you're pretty much guaranteed to see someone wearing this on their head.

2. 'The Poughkeepsie Tapes'

'The Poughkeepsie Tapes' [Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer]
'The Poughkeepsie Tapes' [Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer]

One of the scariest films I've ever seen is this little known indie found-footage flick. It showcases the terrifying tapes kept by a deranged serial killer who happens to have an array of disturbing masks. The worst one is the double mask with two faces; it's sure to give you nightmares for a good week. There's a long, surreal beak on one side, which suggests a terrible animalistic quality to this psychopath. The scene where he crawls on the floor is so scary you might just relieve yourself in your pants.

1. 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre'

'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' [Credit: Bryanston Pictures]
'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' [Credit: Bryanston Pictures]

Is there anything more disturbing than wearing someone else's face? The character known as explored this idea in the 1973 film, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. He's an absolutely horrifying villain, partly due to the nightmarish mask and partly due to his chainsaw. It's never looked more horrifying than in the original film, which was shot on an incredibly tight budget where saw actor, Gunnar Hansen wore the mask up to 20 hours a day.

Go under the mask of horror's most iconic villains in the video below, and be sure to watch more over at Movie Pilot Video:

Which of these horror masks do you think is the most terrifying?

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