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Top 20 Horror Movie Masks

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
The mask maketh the man. So here we are counting down Top 20 Iconic Horror Movie Masks of all time! When these creepy killers appear on the screen with these masks on, you can't help but reel in terror! We're talking Frankenstein Mask, Wax Mask, Ghostface Killer Mask, Babyface Mask, Surgical mask, Jason's Mask. SO MANY MASKS. Which Mask is you favorite?
Transcript
They’re creepy, they’re freaky, and some are downright terrifying Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down Another Top 10 Horror Movie Masks.



For this list, we will be looking at the most terrifying and memorable masks worn by those loveable cinematic killers, monsters, freaks, and psychos, that have sent chills down our spines and found their way into our nightmares.



#20: Frankenstein Mask
“The Funhouse” (1981)


Classic horror filmmaker Tobe Hooper starts off our list with this carnival of terrors. The minimalist plot has a bunch of teenagers doing what they do best in '80s horror flicks: which involves lots of sex, drugs and rowdy behavior, and ends up leading them to sneak into a carnival’s creepy funhouse to spend the night there. Clearly that’s a bad idea, and they end up witnessing the bizarre ride assistant murdering someone. Knowingly stuck with a masked murderer, the teens scramble to escape. There’s little explanation at first as to why this killer is walking around wearing a Halloween mask, but we soon find out there’s something more gruesome hiding underneath.



#19: Owl Mask
“Stage Fright” [aka “Deliria”] (1987)


This sadly under-seen and under-appreciated slasher film is mostly recognized today for the famous owl mask worn by the killer. The film takes place in a theater, where a group of actors have locked themselves in to rehearse a musical about a serial killer named the Night Owl. This unlucky group slowly realizes that locked inside with them is an actual recent psych-ward escapee… and an actual serial killer. As he wears the killer’s costume, which includes a huge, imposing owl’s head, he honors the play’s source material and goes on a killing rampage. Safe to say, there will be no opening night.



#18: Surgical Mask
“Eyes Without a Face” (1960)


Horror movie masks seem to be a more modern trope, growing in popularity with the rise of slasher flicks in the late ‘70s. This film’s early use of a mask to convey terror harkens back to the “Phantom of the Opera,” showing the audience a blank, expressionless face that’s hiding more sinister intentions. Our protagonist’s surgical mask may be hiding her deformed face from the world, but the evil intentions are her father’s, as he looks for victims whose faces he would surgically remove and give to his disfigured daughter. Having caused the car accident that disfigured his child, the insane father will go to any lengths to give her a new face.



#17: Wax Mask
“House of Wax” (2005)


What seemed like another typical teen horror flick turned out to be a surprisingly entertaining romp about a group of teenagers trying to get to a football game. Through a series of events, they all end up in a deserted town whose main attraction, the House of Wax, has a sinister past and a disturbing secret. While the clueless teens try to figure out why the wax figures seem all too real, they are stalked by two brothers who have been running this twisted wax museum. Vincent hides his disfigured face with an expressionless wax mask as he kills the innocent victims, who are destined to be the future stars of his museum.



#16: Animal Masks
“You’re Next” (2011)


Taking a cue from the classic “Wicker Man,” “You’re Next” takes innocent animal masks and transforms them into the stuff of nightmares. When a group of siblings and their partners visit their country home to celebrate their parents’ anniversary, the party is halted by a group of killers that seems to be stalking the family. Donning lamb, fox, and tiger masks, the killers are determined to use their arsenal of weapons to take out the family members one by one. Soon enough, however, the hunters in the animal masks become the hunted.



#15: Sack Mask
“The Orphanage” (2007)


As a general rule, every parent should be wary of their children befriending invisible kids… especially if he says they’re wearing sacks over their heads. This is what happens when Laura decides to move her family in to the now-defunct and incredibly creepy orphanage she grew up in. Her adopted son Simón befriends the ghostly Tomás, and it’s all fun and games until Simón goes missing. A plot involving a previous worker of the orphanage and the morbid history of the building unfolds in tragic waves, but ghostly little Tomás and his sack mask remain the tortured centerpiece of this horror drama.



#14: Green Mask
“Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon” (2006)


While there have been horror-comedies in the past, “Behind the Mask” succeeds in creating something utterly unique and mesmerizing. The main subject of the film being what truly lies behind a killer’s mask, this mockumentary shows us the daily life and intense preparation required to be a masked slasher killer. How do you create fear with a mask and carefully-timed power outages? Although the movie satirizes the lifestyle of a lonely copycat wanting to emulate his masked heroes such as Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers, Leslie Vernon ends up creating a believable and terrifying persona, and equally disturbing and emotionless mask.



#13: Grinning Masks
“The Purge” (2013)


With a plot that resembles a political thriller, the filmmakers took the backstory of a future America whose government has approved an annual Purge, and transformed it into a home-invasion survival horror film. The Purge allows all crime to be legal, including murder, for one night only. Although wealthier households have added the ultimate in security to keep Purge-supporters at bay, the Sandin family nevertheless becomes targets. Their attackers cannot be prosecuted during the purge, and therefore do not need to hide their faces. This makes their grinning masks more terrifying, as they are simply used for theatricality and pure intimidation.



#12: Sam’s Mask
“Trick ‘r Treat” (2007)


The movie that revitalized the horror anthology, 2007’s “Trick ‘r Treat” offers a fresh variety of ghoulish stories featuring everything horror can offer, from monsters to killers to Halloween goodness. The most memorable aspect of this cult hit – and the only thread that ties all stories together – is the mysterious little trick-or-treater, Sam. Is little Sam an ordinary kid looking for candy on Halloween? Wearing a now-iconic burlap sack and armed with a deadly lollipop, each subsequent story reveals more and more of the evil that is hiding behind those button eyes. Halloween-haters: beware.



#11: Doll Masks
“The Strangers” (2008)


Home-invasion films, along the lines of classic stalk-and-slash horror flicks, are a dime a dozen, and most seem to feature some kind of scary mask. What will make a killer’s mask scarier and a cut above the rest? Those four ominous words: “Inspired by true events.” With an incredibly simple plot ripped from the news headlines, a young couple comes back to their secluded vacation home, only to soon realize they are not alone. Offering up more tension than gore, this thriller introduces the world to the pin-up doll strangers and their bag-headed leader, who will easily be entering everyone’s nightmares for a long time to come.



#10: Button Mask
“Nightbreed” (1990)


In this Clive Barker film, you see subterranean monsters, disfigured humanoids, and undead creatures. However, this masked serial killer may just take the cake from all of them. While this movie may have flown under the radar as a cult classic, the button mask worn by its villain, Dr. Decker, is clearly the star of the show. Both the button eyes and zipper mouth really up the creep factor – which is saying something, as he’s already a knife-wielding murderer. Crazy? No, he’s death – plain and simple.



#9: Pig Mask
“Saw” franchise (2004-)


Pigs don’t generally inspire fear, but combine a somewhat unsettling representation of a swine’s head with brutal deaths, and gut-wrenching horror is bound to follow. Worn by Jigsaw and his accomplices to hide their identities, and also representing the zodiac year in which the killer began his reign of terror, this gruesome disguise dials up the dread in an already-horrifying scenario. Regardless of which one of his notorious games Jigsaw has you playing, seeing the pig mask is pretty much a sign that you’re screwed.



#8: Mrs. Tredoni Mask
“Alice, Sweet Alice” (1976)


Already an unnerving film to watch, this film’s creepy overall tone is heightened further by the appearance of a clear mask with a horrible makeup job. Not only that, but when paired with a violent yellow raincoat – well, to call it unsettling would be an understatement. In the hands of a child, it’s kind of eerie – maybe even a little disturbing. But on the face of a killer, that ghastly eye shadow and sinister permanent smile is the stuff of night terrors.



#7: The Hag
“Curtains” (1983)


Auditioning for a movie role is terrifying enough. But when you add a murderer to the mix, things become slightly more intimidating, to say the least. Coming from this Canadian ‘80s slasher flick, “The Hag” mask is nothing short of terror-inducing; with its deep, hollow eyes, and frown of murderous intent spelling trouble before the killer wearing it can even strike at you. A sickle, a few rival actresses, and lethal determination bring new meaning to the phrase “fierce competition.” Perhaps showbusiness isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.



#6: Babyface Killer
“The Hills Run Red” (2009)


While this mask might be a fairly recent addition to the horror genre, it certainly doesn’t skimp on the scare factor. It might be the shattered human jaw combined with the cracked, porcelain cheeks. Or the creepy baby-doll face. Or the fact that it’s held together with barbed wire. Or it might just be because there’s a vicious murderer behind the mask. Or more likely, a combination of all of those things. Whatever the case, this is definitely the film’s main freak-out, and it’s truly the stuff nightmares are made of.



#5: Hannibal Lecter
“The Silence of the Lambs” (1991)


The fact that this otherwise seemingly cool, calm and collected middle-aged gentleman has to be restrained with a straightjacket and muzzle says it all. Seething with cannibalistic intent and the curious appetite of a thousand stoners, Hannibal the Cannibal’s mask serves as a constant reminder that he can straight up kill you whenever he wants. And eat your organs with a complementary beverage. So if your occupation happens to be a census taker, you’d best stay away from him if you don’t want to become his dinner.



#4: Ghostface
“Scream” franchise (1996-)


Although this entry comes from a franchise that’s essentially a satire of horror film tropes, the Ghostface mask seems like it was designed to inspire the perfectly crafted scare. The gaping eye holes, the contorted mouth, the white-on-black coloring – it’s not a mask you want to see showing up in your dreams, or at your door. Or in any context, really. Despite originating from a campy, but clever film, the Ghostface mask has become synonymous with sharp scares and even sharper knives.



#3: Leatherface
“Texas Chainsaw Massacre” franchise (1974-)


As a general rule, cannibals tend to be a little off-putting – to say the least. A cannibal wearing a mask made of human faces and carrying a huge chainsaw is probably as bad as it gets. However, it’s this mask, made from the skin of his victims, that truly drives home the absolute bone-chilling fright of Leatherface. Of course, the chainsaw and his massive size pretty much mean instant death. So next time you and your friends go on a road trip, drive right back around the moment you see a man wearing this truly terrifying mask – or hear a loud buzzing noise.



#2: Michael Myers
“Halloween” franchise (1978-)


Who knew that a Captain Kirk mask could haunt the dreams of children, and most adults, for generations? Armed with a chef’s knife and almost supernatural killing abilities (and an almost supernatural ability to cheat death), Michael Myers is the killer that keeps on killing – and murder has been his bread and butter for four decades and counting. His super creepy mask, complete with matted hair and hollow eyes, delivers the kind of terror that makes you need a nightlight… as if that would really make much difference.



Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.



Satan

“Satan’s Little Helper” (2004)



Mannequin

“Tourist Trap” (1979)



The Prowler

“The Prowler” (1981)



#1: Jason
“Friday the 13th” franchise (1980-)


The third installment of the “Friday the 13th” film franchise forever changed the way we view sports equipment – and more specifically, hockey goalies. Jason Voorhees dons his trademark mask for the first time in this film, and thus, nightmares were born. The relative harmlessness behind a hockey mask is quickly washed away and replaced with homicidal bloodlust, as Jason kills teenager after horny teenager – all while sporting a mask he snagged from one of his victims. It’s an iconic horror mask that brings to mind menace, murder and machetes.



Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite horror movie mask? For more terrifying videos published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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