There will be SPOILERS for the following films. Please tread carefully, unless you don’t mind getting spoiled.
Horror films are known for many distinct elements: the blood, the gore, the setting and the atmosphere, among other things. What can constitute a great horror film, is its characters that it embodies. In the case of horror films, it’s usually the antagonist. However, sometimes the antagonist is a lot closer to home than we expect. Case in point, the fathers in the following films can be referred to as the villain and the central figure of their respective movies.
As a celebration for our dearly beloved fathers, I wanted to craft an article that showcased some of the worst parenting in horror film history. This of course will focus solely on the fathers in these movies. Here is my list of the top five worst movie dads in horror film history. Oh yea, and Happy Father's Day!
#5. Eldon Robeson “Daddy” ‘The People Under the Stairs’ (1991)
This pick may be cheating a little, because none of the children in this film are actually his kids. Nevertheless, this man is a terrible father. Wes Craven’s The People Under the Stairs is about a psychopathic family that houses children (you guessed it) under the stairs. While the film doesn’t really tell you where all of the children came from, you have to admit that these parents- particularly “Daddy,”- are here to make the children’s lives a living hell.
These children are forced to live in the basement under the main staircase, and are compelled to eat each other in order to survive. This man is one mean and nasty SOB, and is not a person you want to mess with at this household.
#4. George Lutz ‘The Amityville Horror’ (1979)
What should you immediately do once you find out your house is actually haunted? Uh, you pack your stuff and leave of course! Well, unfortunately that’s what George Lutz in this film failed to do until it was too late. At one point in the film, George gets possessed by a spirit residing in the house which tells him to kill his family. He constantly tries to fight this possession off, but to no avail.
George wakes up at the same time every night- 3:15 am, the exact time the previous homeowners committed the murders. George and his family should have packed their stuff and left when they had the chance. That should have been a no-brainer from the very start.
#3. Sir John Talbot ‘The Wolfman’ (2010)
After Benicio del Toro’s character is bitten by a werewolf, he himself becomes one. However, what audiences watching this film may not have expected, is that Anthony Hopkin’s character was actually the werewolf that we saw from the very beginning of the film. This werewolf killed his own wife and brother whilst embracing the power of the creature. Sir John Talbot believes that his son should do the same, as the strength of the beast will make him feel stronger.
So much for a father watching over and protecting his son! This goes to show that no one should be trusted, especially a father who was bitten by a werewolf and has since utilized its strength to his advantage. Instead of protecting his own son, the father would rather see his son become a werewolf like himself. If you're bitten by the creature, you become more agile, and your injuries heal quicker.
#2. Louis Creed ‘Pet Semetary’ (1989)
If your child was killed and you heard that you could possibly revive your child in a particular cemetery, would you? How about a pet cemetery that resides not too far away from an old Indian burial ground? That’s exactly what this father did when he tried playing god. Unbeknownst to the rest of the family, this didn’t work out so well for him. The child that Louis brought back ended up becoming a mass murderer. Even after being warned by a ghost named Victor Pascow, Louis tried doing the unthinkable and failed miserably.
Of course Louis refused to learn his lesson after his wife is killed. He also takes her to the cemetery believing it will work out better the second time around. However, he couldn’t have been more wrong and is killed by his wife Rachel as a result. Just think, this could have all been avoided had the family been watching over their kid like they should have.
#1. Jack Torrance ‘The Shining’ (1980)
You had to know that this choice would have been somewhere on my list. Indeed, my top spot must go to Jack Nicholson’s fine performance as the caretaker named Jack Torrance in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. Arguably my favorite horror film of all time, Jack is tasked with watching over the Overlook Hotel. What Jack eventually realizes though, is that this hotel is actually haunted by ghosts and has been known to make previous caretakers go a little crazy.
One owner in particular named Charles Grady 'went so crazy,' that the ghosts made him kill his wife and two daughters with an axe. The same thing almost happened to Jack's wife and child; however they were able to escape at the end of the film unharmed.
Even before Jack had all of these hallucinations, we already knew that this man wasn’t a good father to begin with. The film makes mention of a time where he physically assaulted his own son after coming home extremely drunk. He is also seen degrading his wife Wendy throughout the entirety of the film. In my opinion, Jack should be classified as the worst father on this list.
Did you agree with my list? What other fathers in horror films should have been on my list? I’d like to hear your thoughts in the comment section below! Once again, Happy Father's Day to all the wonderful dad's out there!