All moviegoing human beings go through a horror fixation at some point, and part of that ride is discovering that scary movies feature pleeeeenty of hot men. Sure, it’s mostly the female babysitters and big-breasted sorority girls who steal most of the screen time, but tons of notable horror flicks feature hunks in key roles. And in key death sequences. Which is somehow therapeutic to me. Don’t ask.
In honor of October’s shadowy pall, here are the 10 greatest hunks of horror. Pay attention, because some of these gents may pop up again in our Best Movie Ever column this month.
10. Rider Strong, Cabin Fever
Cabin Fever is so gross, but so righteously bizarre. Part of its appeal is the eminently lovable Rider Strong, the Boy Meets World alum who rents a cabin in the woods with his idiotic friends and suffers the wrath of a disgusting virus. But before the bloody bombast takes over, we get a few nice shots of Rider’s soft, sexy physique and melancholic stare. Ben Savage, you wish you had this.
9. Rod Taylor, The Birds
To me, Rod Taylor was the no-nonsense version of Cary Grant. He had the same tawny exterior, but his energy was pure mensch and his speaking voice is just heavenly. (It’s no surprise that he voiced the valorous Pongo in 101 Dalmatians.) In The Birds, he’s the suave leading man whose mother doesn’t quite tolerate his socialite girlfriend Melanie, but that doesn’t matter because they all might be pecked to death. Lesson: Sometimes it takes a man of great posture to break the necks of rogue pigeons.
8. Richard Denning, The Creature from the Black Lagoon
The Affair to Remember thespian is one of my favorite ’50s blonds (take that, Kim Novak!), and you can see that his enviable bone structure and hot chest are enough to stun most grotto creatures. Richard Carlson, you’re not so bad either.
7. Skeet Ulrich, Scream
His stare was mighty and his bangs looked like a bouquet of parentheses. Skeet Ulrich’s austere visage is both overwrought and damn frightening, which is the perfect combination for a movie that’s both arch and horrifying. He makes the act of licking red corn syrup off your fingers seem like a tolerable XTube genre.
6. Johnny Depp, Nightmare on Elm Street
Love me some young Jack Sparrow. Johnny Depp met a wacky (and unsightly) end in Nightmare on Elm Street, but his precious and, uh, Bieber-licious face softened the harshness of this scary caper. I look at those gorgeous eyes and in my best Heather Langenkamp impresson exclaim, “This is just a dream, this isn’t real! This is just a dream, this isn’t real!”
5. Kevin Bacon, Friday the Thirteenth
Speedo. Cobalt blue eyes. Torturous death sequence. There’s no finer Kevin Bacon moment in the pre-Sedgwick era as far as I’m concerned, and although Mrs. Voorhees steals the show with her insane vindictive streak and lilac sweater, we’ll always remember Friday the Thirteenth as the movie that gave the world Kevin Bacon’s nipples.
4. John Hamill, Tower of Evil
I cheated a bit here because that first still is not from Tower of Evil, but the point is that British “physique model” John Hamill starred in many nudey-nude movies, including this nudity-laden 1972 pseudo-masterpiece. There’s nothing hotter than a naked, picturesque dude who clearly loves nudity and the subsequent attention.
3. Christian Bale, American Psycho
Now, I personally don’t understand enjoying this movie, but I can completely get behind the adoration of Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman, the coldest, most blood-splattered killer since Jack the Ripper. In fact, he should be called Jack the Ripped: Bale’s body is an insane, taut marvel in this adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ novel, and it’s safe to say he was never hotter. He’s a Newsie-gone-doozy, and a Fighter whose bod is tighter than a batsuit.
2. Ryan Phillippe, I Know What You Did Last Summer
Look, if you didn’t come of age in 1997, you might think this is a weird choice, but Ryan Phillippe was one of the more enigmatic Tiger Beat phenomena of the late ’90s. Sure, he mugged like Kellan Lutz, but his effete demeanor seemed to make that cool and mysterious. And frankly, if you saw the shower/locker room sequence in the all-things-considered-not-awful I Know What You Did Last Summer, you’d come of age right NOW. Man, dog tags used to be hot.
1. Anthony Perkins, Psycho
You might not know this, but I have a PHD (Perkins Hallucinatory Disorder). Not only do I believe Anthony Perkins is the most gorgeous man who ever lived, I think his pupils are endless galaxies of pain, brooding cynicism, and deep carnal awareness. It’s long understood that he was robbed of an Oscar nomination for his work in Alfred Hitchcock’s stark thriller, but few young moviegoers look past his neurotic pangs to see the truly gay-ass beaut beneath. The role of Norman Bates became Perkins’ signature (and only defining) role, but it’s an undeniably amazing one. God. He is heaven. For more Perkinsian roles of pseudo gayness, check out his Oscar-nominated work in Friendly Persuasion and his nefarious queeniness in Mahogany.