ByMara Mullikin, writer at
I'm an aspiring writer, filmmaker, actress and werewolf.
Mara Mullikin

Welcome to the second issue of Chills and Thrills! After you've finished reading the top five list, please make sure to check out my interview with director and founder of the production company Itsfearherself, Nicole Renee. There she'll chat about her intro to horror, directorial influences, and deliverher verdict on horror films from 2015.

Sometimes it's appalling to think that anyone can be as malevolent as the antagonists shown in films and TV shows (especially horror-themed projects). Yet, have you wondered where they got their evil streak in the first place? What was the inspiration behind our favorite slaughterers, cannibals and homicidal dolls disturbing quirks? Well, you know the drill. Read on and find out.

5. Leatherface

Believe it or not, Leatherface and Ed Gein share a few things in common. They're both socially awkward, insane, and prone to fashioning masks out of human skin. Gein butchered an unidentifiable number of victims, and dug up dozens of corpses from graveyards. He used their bones and organs to upholster his furniture and make clothing. Similarly, Leatherface killed countless people and he and his family turned their body parts into the same items or food. Interestingly enough, Gein inspired two other horror bigwigs: Norman Bates from Psycho and Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs.

4. Chucky

Chucky from the Child's Play series is one of the classic' 80s horror icons. He was originally a serial killer who transported his soul into a Good Guy doll to hide from the police, and save himself from dying. His birth name Charles Lee Ray is taken from three killers: Charles Manson (cult leader of the Manson family and conspirator of the Tate murders), Lee Harvey Oswald (fatally shot John F Kennedy) and James Earl Ray (assassinated Martin Luther King Jr.). Overall, he was modeled after 'Robert the Doll'. A toy that allegedly talked, moved and tormented his owners.

3. Hannibal Lecter

This psychiatrist turned cannibalistic serial murderer first appeared in Thomas Harris' novel The Red Dragon. His most popular appearance was in the film adaptation of Silence of the Lambs. There he was portrayed by British thespian Anthony Hopkins. In 2013, it was revealed by Harris that Lecter was characterized after a Mexican doctor who served twenty years in prison for murder. Harris gave him the eponymous Dr. Salazar to hide his true identity. Journalists later deduced that he was in fact Alfredo Ballí Treviño Trevino, who was incarcerated after he was convicted of hacking his lover into bits and putting them in a box.

2. Pennywise the Dancing Clown

In the novel It, Pennywise is a shapeshifting extra-terrestrial being who lures its victims by transforming into their biggest fear or a loved one, and then eats them. The character was incredibly spooky in his book form. However, it was Tim Curry's performance as the demonic clown in the '90s mini series of the same name that solidified Pennywise as a horror icon. Author Stephen King mentioned that the villain was partially based off of serial killer and sexual deviant, John Wayne Gacy Jr. Gacy had reportedly murdered thirty three people (these include children, teens and adults) during his lifetime. He'd also sodomized a number of young men, and one of these incidents landed him in jail for eighteen months. Eerily, Gacy would dress up as a clown named Pogo (a persona he created himself) and perform at children's parties and charity events.

1. Dracula

One of the top horror icons of all time. Dracula's a ruthless vampire who sucks his prey dry, and relishes terrorizing people. He was first introduced in Bram Stoker's book of the same name. Stoker took inspiration from a certain ruler from Wallachia (a region that's located in present day Romania)-Vlad the Impaler or Vlad Dracula. During his conquering days, Vlad was known for being power hungry, and for brutally disposing of his enemies and innocent people. Some of his disturbing methods included impaling them on stakes, beheading them and reportedly even feeding children to their mothers. Fortunately, Vlad got his comeuppance when he was staked himself.

Personally, the ONLY positive aspect that came from these savage and despicable human beings (except Robert the Doll, he just seems like a dick) are the legendary antagonists that drew from them. In a way, since they're based off of real individuals, it makes them appear even more terrifying and unsettling. So, thank you murderers and sickos of the world for your twisted and demented ways (sarcastic tone)! Now, it's time to listen to this short, but sweet interview from the wonderful and fabulous Nicole Renee. I hope y'all enjoy!


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