Counting Down the Top 5 Horror Heroes
By: James Gillett on June 10, 2009  |  Comments ()  |  Share 

Since I took a look at the Top 5 Oz Horror Villains in the last Counting Down, I decided to follow it up with a look back at some of Horror's greatest Heroes. Some were chosen for their iconic status, others for their ability or willingness to face danger and some just cause they kick all kinds of ass. Regardless of their various strengths and virtues, they all have one thing in common: their ability to engage and entertain.

Just a quick note: As tempting as it was to include someone like Ripley (one of cinema's greatest heroes) or Nada from They Live, this list needed to be all about the horror cinema. So no sci-fi, no comic books and no TV. Just Ass Kickers from the genre we all love.

# 5: Dr. Sam Loomis (Halloween 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 & Halloween 07)

LoomisSam Loomis is one intense, persistent guy. To him, Michael Myers is his responsibility and he'll stop at nothing to prevent him from harming others. His entertainingly crazed demeanour coupled with his unflinching dedication and willingness to put himself in "Evil's" way ensures his place on this list. It didn't hurt that the great Donald Pleasence originally played the role. His performance was always a highlight, especially as the numerous sequels rolled on.

Great Line (Halloween): Talking about Michael Myers: "I met him, fifteen years ago. I was told there was nothing left. No reason, no conscience, no understanding; even the most rudimentary sense of life or death, good or evil, right or wrong. I met this six-year old child, with this blank, pale, emotionless face, and the blackest eyes... the devils eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him, and the another seven trying to keep him locked up, because I realized what was living behind that boy's eyes was purely, and simply...evil."

Memorable Moment (Halloween II): Dr. Loomis, in a desperate attempt to stop Michael Myers at the films climax, sets off an explosion in a hospital with no regard for his personal safety, burning them both.

# 4: Police Chief Martin Brody (Jaws 1+2)

Brody

Hates the water, loves a drink. Chief Brody is your everyman with a job to do. It just happens that job involves protecting the good people of Amity Island from a giant man-eating shark. Brody was written with just the right amount of cowardice and heroism to be identifiable and Roy Scheider pulls it off brilliantly. A great character all the way. Not to mention he lays claim on one of the most recognisable quotes in movie history.

Great Line (Jaws): On first seeing the shark: "You're gonna need a bigger boat."

Memorable Moment (Jaws 2): Sitting in an observation tower, Brody sees what he thinks is a shark near the swimmers. Running down onto the beach, he screams for everybody to get out of the water before firing his gun into the waves, only to find it was a school of fish.

# 3: Ben (Night of the Living Dead 1968)

Ben

This is one cool cat. Even with the dead rising from the grave this guy keeps his head straight. In fact he seems the most logical character in all the chaos. With Duane Jones' commanding performance as the resourceful everyman, he easily draws your sympathy and belief. His unyielding drive to keep the house and its inhabitants safe at any cost makes him a hero, but did he make the right decisions?

Great Line: To Harry after he locks him out with the zombies: 'I ought to drag you out
there and FEED you to those things!'

Memorable Moment: After defeating a 'Ghoul' inside the farmhouse, Ben drags the body outside and sets it on fire, warding off the other approaching zombies.

# 2: Van Helsing (Dracula - Various)

VanHe's the Ultimate Vampire hunter. Born in Bram Stokers novel in 1887, he's now kicked ass in well over 30 movies and counting. Bringing with him the strength of knowledge and courage, Van Helsing has become about as iconic as Dracula himself. I've always favoured Peter Cushing's Hammer Era embodiment but whichever you prefer, it's undeniable he's one of cinemas great horror heroes, if not the most prolific.

Great Line (Hammer Era): "Only God has no fear." Brides of Dracula.

Memorable Moment (Hammer Era): After been bitten by a Vampire in Brides of Dracula, Van Helsing acts quickly; heating an iron in a bed of hot coals, he cauterizes the wound before cleansing it with Holy water, stopping the infection.

# 1: Ashley 'Ash' J. Williams (The Evil Dead Series)

AshWith a chainsaw for one arm and a line for every occasion, Ash is the ultimate ass kicker. Bruce Campbell's iconic performance ensured genuine cult status. Despite only three movies as Ash, he still can't be separated from the role. He made him funny, memorable and above all, constantly engaging. An enduring fan favourite and a truly great character. Hail to the King, Baby.

Great Line (Army of Darkness):  After shooting a man's sword in half, Ash stands in front of a crowd of confused medieval townspeople and holds up his gun "Alright you Primitive Screwheads, listen up! You see this? This... is my boomstick!"

Memorable Moment (Evil Dead II): Ash constructs his signature chainsaw arm in a series of close-ups, montage style.

Special Mention: Tommy Jarvis (Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter)

JarvisIt may have been closer to insanity than heroics, but Tommy is a little kid who had enough balls to grab a machete and go to town on Jason's face. After shaving his head and going all nuts-o, Tommy became one of my personal favourite horror heroes, and a damn entertaining foe for old Jason. The Character was carried over as a teenager for both parts V and VI of the series; but it's only really in this particular entry he stands out from the pack.

Great Line: As he slashes at Jason dead body: "Die, Die Die, Die."

Great Moment: Despite the doctor's reassurance that Tommy will be fine after his violent outburst, the final shot (a close-up during an embrace) shows his disturbed emotionless expression.

Want more? Here's another 10 great Horror Ass Kickers that deserve an honorable mention:

R.J. Macready (The Thing); Father Merrin (The Exorcist); Reggie (Phantasm Series); Jack Crow (Vampires); Det. Ray Cameron (Night of the Creeps); Seth Gecko (From Dusk till Dawn); Lionel Cosgrove (Braindead); Alice (Resident Evil); The King (Bubba ho-tep); Pvt Cooper (Dog Soldiers).

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