Movie Poll: Who’s Your Favorite Horror Movie Icon?

MovieFanfare Movie Poll of the Week

View Results

To see a complete list of all movie polls, click here

  • Russell Gambino

    i said boris, because frankenstein is the character i always think of first…. but i really like bella lugosi, and dracula equally. i always choose frankenstein and or boris if i can only pick one. i kind of hate that but.. it is what it is. love it if there were a tie option or the like.
    — russ

  • doug streng


  • Sinisterkat

    How Can You Not Pick Vincent? The Ultimate
    Sinister Bad Guy From So Many Classic Movies.

  • S Geworsky

    I agree 100% with Mr. Russell Gambino. A tie would have made this choice a lot easer to make. My all time favorites are Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi. I really love the movies they would act in together, which brings to mind the great classic…”The Raven”.
    But, seeing I can only pick one, it will have to be none other than Boris Karloff.

  • Rufnek

    In the films in which they starred together, it was plain to see Karloff was a much better actor than Lugosi, plus he appeared in a much broader variety of roles, including an Indian chief (or medicine man) in one film whose title I can’t recall. Karloff was even good in comic roles as when he played the elderly father of the wife of Vincent Price who played a shady undertaker with only one coffin (reused for burial after burial as he and assistant Peter Lorre dumped the body into the grave after the morners left). Basil Rathbone was also in that film, but I’m having a bad day pm titles.

    As for Price being “the ultimate sinister bad guy,” while he played some good horror villains, Dr. Phibes being the best as the worst of the lot, I most remember Price as the debauched playboy suspect in the classic film noir, Laura, in which he is “out-sinistered” by Clifton Webb” and in a comic role in another mystery of that period in which he plays an Errol Flynn-like character hiding from his next ex-wife on a Caribbean isle in which he gets mixed up in helping good guys Robert Mitchum and Jane Russel defeat the bad guys involved in some international crime. Price even was in at least one western where he played a traveling roadshow entrepreneur who sells snake oil to crowds drawn by the shooting exibition by ex-gunman Clint Walker (the star of that film). These and other non-horror roles from early in his career are what I remember most of Price, many of which were much better than some of his later horror roles that, as I remember, started after he played the villian (with his helper Charles Bronson)in what many consider the first major 3-D movie, The Wax Museum.

    In my opinion, however, the truly ultimate horror film star wasn’t even listed in the poll–Lon Chaney Sr., who with his own imagination and makeup kit turned himself into worst looking monsters and villains than later stars were able to do with the best available makeup artists and new technology. How many of the other actors named in the poll were ever in their lifetime the subject of a popular tune like “Lon Chaney’s going to get you / If you don’t watch out….?”

    The best actor in the bunch listed in the poll, of course, is Claude Rains who for many decades played a wide assortment of villain and heroes in films like “The Adventures of Robin Hood” with Flynn, “Suspicion” with Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman, and “Casablanca” with Bogart and Bergman, any one of which was far, far better than his single turn as “The Invisible Man.”

  • Jill0704USA

    I always think of Boris Karloff and his Frankenstein characterization and also of Bela Lugosi and his characterization of Dracula. I like Boris and Bela equally, it tough to choose between the two but Frankenstein seems to always come to mind first when I think of horror creatures.

  • James

    I really wanted to vote for Boris Karloff because I rememeber FRANKENSTEIN as the horror film that changed my life. However, I don’t own 11 Boris Karloff DVDs. I own 11 Vincent Price horror movies on DVD, so I had to vote for him. His collaborations with director William Castle, HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL, being the most famous, and THE TINGLER, being my favorite, are movies I will never tire of watching. MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH will always be my favorite of his collaborations with director Roger Corman. Vincent Price in THE LAST MAN ON EARTH is preferable to any film with Chuck Heston or Will Smith.

  • RJ

    WOW! This is like the “Honor Roll” of Horror, Suspense, and Science Fiction. I ended up voting for Mr. Vincent Price. I felt he was the more rounded actor who has played various characters throughout his long movie career. Any one of these actors could hold the top spot.

    Except for maybe Robert Englund, who I feel has not yet had the longevity as these other actors have. I wonder how many people know that Robert Englund played the character “Willy” on the original miniseries “V”.

    Most of these actors expanded their career’s by not being in just one type or style of movie. With all of the different movies that these actors have been in, I think it made them able to interact better with all of the weird and unbelievable things that happen in horror, science fiction, and suspense movies. Who can forget the classic B movie “Plan 9 from Outer Space”, Bela Lugosi’s last film.

    So if you have never seen any of their movies, I would suggest that you rent or purchase one and really see what they have to offer. Then go and watch other movies they’ve been in, and I’m sure you will be very surprised by what you see.

  • DeMeio

    My, you certainly collected a roster of actors that have all appeared in a “horror” film, but most of them are equally as well known in other types of movies, too. To me, horror is not created by a scary false face, but is a sense of fear created by a good actor. I have to give my vote to Christopher Lee. It is unfortunate that we hear “horror” and think “Karloff”, forgetting that he was one of the best “”Father Darling/Captain Hook”s ever on the stage. Lugosi became a caricature of himself as did Vincent Price As a child I was terrified by the Mummy regardless of who was playing it. Maybe a better quiz would have been “what do you consider the most horrifying character/movie you’ve seen”.

  • Anthony G. Bajada

    Noticeably absent from the list, and a tribute to the ladies, is Barbara Steele, THE QUEEN OF HORROR.
    She not only appeared in horror movies but is a very capable director as well.

  • George C

    One actor who was a common thread in many of the classic horror movies was Lionel Atwill. He might have been a better candidate than Claude Rains in the pantheon of horror stars.

  • Leonard Fio

    Bela is my favorite because of his intense acting style. His eyes always seemed to burn right through you.

  • Toby Glenn

    I agree that it’s hard to pick just one from such a list. Since I’m a huge fan of 4 of those on the list, I didn’t vote. Boris K., Vincent Price, Anthony Perkins, and the spectere of Elm Street himself, Mr. Robert Englund. I did know that Robert E. played Willy in V, and how about the fact that Boris K. narrated one of the great Christmas classics, How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

  • Charlie Ray

    I decided to give Bela a little love, but really it’s hard to choose between Boris, Bela, Lon Sr, and Vincent. Together they were the heart and soul of classic horror!

  • Greg Herman

    Lon Chaney Sr. by far. He not only acted in many of the classic silent horror movies (The Phantom of the Opera & THe Hunchback of Notre Dame) he also created the makeup for these and many of his other films. If you want to see a movie on his true genius, watch “Man of a Thousand Faces” starring James Cagney. As for acting ability, it also takes a true genius to express the emotions Lon Chaney Sr. expressed through silent films. He also got the audiences on the side of his “monsters.” making the audiences actually feel for them. A much harder task in silent films than through the spoken word. A true “icon” not just in the horror genre.

  • DIRK

    I think perhaps this could be a generational thing: meaning that my parents would say Bela or Boris, I said Vincent Price, and my kid would say Robert Englund.

  • danny

    “I never drink … wine.”

    “It’s alive. It’s alive! IT’S ALIVE!”

    I can’t vote for a tie?

  • adelaide

    love it

  • Pingback: This Week In Film History, 09.12.10 | MovieFanFare()

  • Barbara Rocco

    Vincent Price – was always a great actor in everything he stared it but when it came to horror, he was the best – I might add, I enjoy all the other actors, but he’s always been my favorite. So, why didn’t they come out with a huge boxed set or sets, of all his horror movies???Somebody missed the boat.

  • Grand Old Movies

    wouldn’t consider Claude Rains really a horror star, because his reputation rests on his non-horror roles. But one horror icon who *should* have been included in the list is the great LIONEL ATWILL, who made the great pre-Code shockers DR. X and MYSTERY OF THE WAX MUSEUM; plus he was the one-armed Inspector in SON OF FRANKENSTEIN, and many others.

  • badleg60

    Claude Rains a horror star? NO WAY!Great actor. You have included John Carridine, Lionel Atwill and George Zucco. Heck even Michael Gough and Donald Pleasence