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

When someone mentions horror icons, you probably immediately think of Freddy Krueger, Frankenstein, Carrie, Ghostface, Ash Williams or Jason Voorhees. The impact these characters have had on the genre has been so memorable and profound that decades later we still remember and praise them. These entities earned their legendary statuses from either being absolutely terrifying, having dynamic and complex personalities, and/or serving as credible foes or heroes. Now, within the last 13 years some new icons have entered the breach. Ranging from a demons to an undead boys, who are these individuals and what's so special about them? Well, take a seat and hopefully you'll be pleased to see who made the list. Warning, there are spoilers.

5. Sam From Trick 'r Treat (2007)

Belonging to the cult favorite Trick 'r Treat, Sam was quite a cryptic and menacing character. His origins are unknown, but he's to Halloween what Santa is to Christmas. He makes sure that everyone follows the rules for the holiday, or else they'll pay a price. What's so remarkable about Sam is his unsettling obscurity and spontaneous urges to punish those who broke the rules or disgraced the season. You never knew what exactly he'll do and how he'll end these people's lives.

4. Selene From The Underworld Franchise (2003–Present)

Selene was something of an antihero. She was initially an enemy of werewolves, and she didn't hesitate to end their existence (this was all due to a misunderstanding). However, her positioned changed as she encountered a new werewolf, and she helped him escape certain death. Throughout the series, she's served as warrior who stands by her convictions and kicks ass while doing it.

3. Samara From The Ring (2002) & The Ring Two (2005)

This omen promises you certain death after you've seen a mysterious video tape (thank god VHS tapes are obsolete). On the tape, this creepy spirit of young girl can be seen climbing out of a well and staggering towards the screen (with her long hair shielding her face). This haunting visual has been cemented in many people's minds. This insidious spirit has the capability to possess people and use her psychic abilities to manipulate them.

Check out Samara's look for the sequel, Rings, coming out in October of this year!

2. Onryō (Kayako Saeki) From The Grudge (2004) & The Grudge 2 (2006)

Saeki was originally a wife and mother before she and her child were murdered by her jealous husband. After her death she became an onryō (she "consumed" malevolent spirits her mother exorcised from her patients), and haunted wherever the curse was transferred. As an onryō, Saeki was a vengeful entity who had a terrifying tendency to contort her body and spout ungodly sounds.

If you want to see Sadako and Kayako duke it out in The Ring vs. The Grudge, head over here for the trailer!

1. Jigsaw From The Saw Franchise (2004–2010)

Jigsaw is the "host" of a series of "games" victims must play to save their lives. Behind the puppet is John Kramer, a man who's suffered great tragedy and knows the infinite value that life has to offer. In his own demented way, he challenges morally corrupt people to fight for this gift. If they happen to fail, they will die in horrific and sadistic ways. Jigsaw's appearance is unsettling enough, yet it's his deep voice, and mercilessness, spooky presence that solidifies him as a horror icon.

If you want to learn more trivia about the first Saw movie, head here!

It's hard to live up to the classics. However, I believe these characters are worthy enough to be among the big boys and girls. They've proven themselves to be compelling individuals who are fun and frightening to watch on screen. It'd be simple to write bland characters and have them carry your movie. However, the filmmakers put in effort and creativity to make sure these individuals wouldn't be forgotten. Although they're still relatively new, the fact we still remember them goes to show their work payed off. So, here's to the new horror icons of our generation and may you be just as beloved decades later as your predecessors are now.


Who's your favorite modern horror icon?


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