The Faces of Horror

by cookemd | created - 15 Jul 2012 | updated - 18 Jul 2012 | Public

They made horror

1. Vincent Price

Actor | The Abominable Dr. Phibes

Actor, writer, and gourmet, Vincent Leonard Price, Jr. was born in St Louis, Missouri, to Marguerite Cobb (Wilcox) and Vincent Leonard Price, Sr., president of the National Candy Company. He traveled through Europe, studied at Yale and became an actor. He made his screen debut in 1938, and after ...

2. Lon Chaney Jr.

Actor | High Noon

American character actor whose career was influenced (and often overshadowed) by that of his father, silent film star Lon Chaney. The younger Chaney was born while his parents were on a theatrical tour, and he joined them onstage for the first time at the age of six months. However, as a young man,...

3. Lon Chaney

Actor | He Who Gets Slapped

Although his parents were deaf-mutes, Leonidas Chaney became an actor and also owner of a theatre company (together with his brother John). He made his debut at the movies in 1912, and his filmography is vast. Lon Chaney was especially famous for his horror parts in movies like e.g. Quasimodo in ...

4. Boris Karloff

Actor | Bride of Frankenstein

Along with fellow actors Lon Chaney, Bela Lugosi and Vincent Price, Boris Karloff is recognized as one of the true icons of horror cinema, and the actor most closely identified with the general public's perception of the "monster" from the classic Mary Shelley book, "Frankenstein". William Henry ...

5. Bela Lugosi

Actor | Dracula

Bela Lugosi was born Béla Ferenc Dezsö Blaskó on October 20, 1882, Lugos, Hungary, Austria-Hungary (now Lugoj, Romania), to Paula de Vojnich and István Blaskó, a banker. He was the youngest of four children. During WWI, he volunteered and was commissioned as an infantry lieutenant, and was wounded ...

6. Edward Van Sloan

Actor | Frankenstein

US character actor; he of the close-cropped gray hair, thick spectacles and clipped, ominous tones who would serve most memorably as the nemesis of evil-doers and monsters in 30's and 40's horror movies and suspensers, antagonizing first the likes of Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff and then, years ...

7. Claude Rains

Actor | Casablanca

William Claude Rains, born in the Clapham area of London, was the son of the British stage actor Frederick Rains. The younger Rains followed, making his stage debut at the age of eleven in "Nell of Old Drury." Growing up in the world of theater, he saw not only acting up close but the down-to-earth...

8. Stephen King

Writer | Maximum Overdrive

Stephen Edwin King was born on September 21, 1947, at the Maine General Hospital in Portland. His parents were Nellie Ruth (Pillsbury), who worked as a caregiver at a mental institute, and Donald Edwin King, a merchant seaman. His father was born under the surname "Pollock", but used the last name ...

9. John Carpenter

Writer | The Fog

John Howard Carpenter was born in Carthage, New York, to mother Milton Jean (Carter) and father Howard Ralph Carpenter. His family moved to Bowling Green, Kentucky, where his father, a professor, was head of the music department at Western Kentucky University. He attended Western Kentucky ...

10. George A. Romero

Writer | Diary of the Dead

George A. Romero never set out to become a Hollywood figure; by all indications, though, he was very successful. The director of the groundbreaking "Living Dead" films was born February 4, 1940 ,in New York City to Ann (Dvorsky) and Jorge Romero. His father was born in Spain and raised in Cuba, and...

11. Tom Savini

Actor | The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Inspired by the film Man of a Thousand Faces (1957), a young Tom Savini became fascinated with the magic and illusion of film. He spent his youth in his room creating characters by tirelessly practicing make-up. Later, as a combat photographer in Vietnam, Savini saw first-hand the gruesome carnage ...

12. Robert Englund

Actor | A Nightmare on Elm Street

Veteran character actor Robert Englund was born in Glendale, California, to Janis (MacDonald) and John Kent Englund, an aeronautics engineer. Since 1973, Robert has appeared in over 75 feature films and starred in four TV series. He has starred alongside Oscar-winners Henry Fonda, Susan Sarandon ...

13. Wes Craven

Writer | A Nightmare on Elm Street

Wes Craven has become synonymous with genre bending and innovative horror, challenging audiences with his bold vision.

Wesley Earl Craven was born in Cleveland, Ohio, to Caroline (Miller) and Paul Eugene Craven. He had a midwestern suburban upbringing. His first feature film was The Last House on ...

14. Tobe Hooper

Director | The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

Honored with many awards for his films and achievement in the horror genre, Tobe Hooper is truly one of the Masters of Horror (2005).

Tobe Hooper was born in Austin, Texas, to Lois Belle (Crosby) and Norman William Ray Hooper, who owned a theater in San Angelo. He spent the 1960s as a college ...

15. Peter Cushing

Actor | Star Wars

Peter Wilton Cushing was born on May 26, 1913 in Kenley, Surrey, England, to Nellie Maria (King) and George Edward Cushing, a quantity surveyor. He and his older brother David were raised first in Dulwich Village, a south London suburb, and then later back in Surrey. At an early age, Cushing was ...

16. Christopher Lee

Actor | Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

Sir Christopher Frank Carandini Lee was perhaps the only actor of his generation to have starred in so many films and cult saga. Although most notable for personifying bloodsucking vampire, Dracula, on screen, he portrayed other varied characters on screen, most of which were villains, whether it ...

17. Glenn Strange

Actor | Bud Abbott Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein

At various times in his life a rancher, deputy sheriff and rodeo performer, this huge, towering (6' 5") beast of a man was born George Glenn Strange in Weed, New Mexico, on August 16, 1899, but grew up a real-life cowboy in Cross Cut, Texas. Of Irish and Cherokee Indian descent, he taught himself (...

18. Gunnar Hansen

Actor | The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

He was born in Reykjavik, Iceland and moved to the United States at the age of 5. Gunnar lived in Maine till he was 11, then his family moved to Texas, where he went to high school and then the University of Texas. He majored in English and mathematics and then went to graduate school in ...

19. Kane Hodder

Stunts | Se7en

Kane Hodder was born on April 8, 1955 in Auburn, California. He is best known for his role as horror icon Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988), Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989), Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993), and Jason X (2001). He is...

20. Lionel Atwill

Actor | Mystery of the Wax Museum

Lionel Atwill was born into a wealthy family and was educated at London's prestigious Mercer School to become an architect, but his interest turned to the stage. He worked his way progressively into the craft and debuted at age 20 at the Garrick Theatre in London. He acted and improved regularly ...

21. Max Schreck

Actor | Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens

Max Schreck was born in Berlin. He worked in an apprenticeship until his father's death before enrolling into a school for acting. He toured the country with his peers and was a member of several theaters until he became a part of Max Reinhardt's group of innovative German actors. He played mostly ...

22. Dario Argento

Writer | L'uccello dalle piume di cristallo

Dario Argento was born on September 7, 1940, in Rome, Italy, the first-born son of famed Italian producer Salvatore Argento and Brazilian fashion model Elda Luxardo. Argento recalls getting his ideas for filmmaking from his close-knit family from Italian folk tales told by his parents and other ...

23. Mario Bava

Cinematographer | Reazione a catena

Italian director Mario Bava was born on July 31, 1914 in the coastal northern Italian town of San Remo. His father, Eugenio Bava (1886-1966), was a cinematographer in the early days of the Italian film industry. Bava was trained as a painter, and when he eventually followed his father into film ...

24. John Carradine

Actor | The Grapes of Wrath

John Carradine, the son of a reporter/artist and a surgeon, grew up in Poughkeepsie, New York. He attended Christ Church School and Graphic Art School, studying sculpture, and afterward roamed the South selling sketches. He made his acting debut in "Camille" in a New Orleans theatre in 1925. ...

25. William Castle

Producer | Homicidal

William Castle was born on April 24, 1914 in New York City, New York, USA as William Schloss. He was a producer and director, known for Homicidal (1961), Rosemary's Baby (1968) and Bug (1975). He was married to Ellen. He died on May 31, 1977 in Los Angeles, California, USA.

26. Roger Corman

Producer | Roger Corman's Frankenstein Unbound

Roger William Corman was born April 5, 1926, in Detroit, Michigan. Initially following in his father's footsteps, Corman studied engineering at Stanford University but while in school, he began to lose interest in the profession and developed a growing passion for film. Upon graduation, he worked a...

27. Jamie Lee Curtis

Actress | True Lies

Jamie Lee Curtis was born on November 22, 1958 in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of legendary actors Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis. She got her big break at acting in 1978 when she won the role of Laurie Strode in Halloween (1978). After that, she became famous for roles in movies like Trading...

28. David Cronenberg

Director | The Fly

David Cronenberg, also known as the King of Venereal Horror or the Baron of Blood, was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in 1943. His father, Milton Cronenberg, was a journalist and editor, and his mother, Esther (Sumberg), was a piano player. After showing an inclination for literature at an early...

29. Jesús Franco

Writer | Der Teufel kam aus Akasava

He was only six years old when he started composing music under the protection of his brother Enrique. After the Spanish Civil War he was able to continue his studies at the Real Conservatorio de Madrid, where he finished piano and harmony. Being a Bachelor of Law and an easy-read novel writer (...

30. Dwight Frye

Actor | Bride of Frankenstein

An extremely versatile character actor and originator of several memorable characterizations in the horror film genre, Dwight Frye had a notable theatrical career in the 1920s, moving from juvenile parts to leads before entering film. A favorite actor of Broadway theatrical producer-director Brock ...

31. Donald Pleasence

Actor | Halloween

Balding, quietly-spoken, of slight build and possessed of piercing blue eyes -- often peering out from behind round, steel-rimmed glasses -- Donald Pleasence had the necessary physical attributes which make a great screen villain. In the course of his lengthy career, he relished playing the ...

32. Roddy McDowall

Actor | Fright Night

Roderick McDowall was born in London, the son of a Merchant Mariner father and a mother who had always wanted to be in movies. He was enrolled in elocution courses at age five and by ten had appeared in his first film, Murder in the Family (1938), playing Peter Osborne, the younger brother of ...

33. Alfred Hitchcock

Director | Psycho

Alfred Joseph Hitchcock was born in Leytonstone, Essex, England. He was the son of Emma Jane (Whelan; 1863 - 1942) and East End greengrocer William Hitchcock (1862 - 1914). His parents were both of half English and half Irish ancestry. He had two older siblings, William Hitchcock (born 1890) and ...

34. Tor Johnson

Actor | Plan 9 from Outer Space

Tor was a big guy, with a big heart. Tor Johnson was born October 19, 1903, in Sweden. Most of his adult life, he was a professional wrestler. Tor started appearing (uncredited, or bit parts) in movies as early as 1934. He was in 31 movies, usually as "Weightlifter" or "Strongman." Later, he got ...

35. Klaus Kinski

Actor | Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht

Klaus Kinski was born as Klaus Günter Karl Nakszynski in Zoppot, Free City of Danzig (now Sopot, Poland), to Susanne (Lutze), a nurse, and Bruno Nakszynski, a pharmacist. He grew up in Berlin, was drafted into the German army in 1944 and captured by British forces in Holland. After the war he began...

36. Nastassja Kinski

Actress | Tess

Nastassja Kinski was born Nastassja Aglaia Nakszynski on January 24, 1961 in Berlin, Germany, the daughter of German actor Klaus Kinski. In 1976, she met director Roman Polanski, who urged her to study method acting with Lee Strasberg in the United States. Kinski starred in the Italian romantic ...

37. Stanley Kubrick

Director | 2001: A Space Odyssey

Stanley Kubrick was born in Manhattan, New York City, to Sadie Gertrude (Perveler) and Jacob Leonard Kubrick, a physician. His family were Jewish immigrants (from Austria, Romania, and Russia). Stanley was considered intelligent, despite poor grades at school. Hoping that a change of scenery would ...

38. Anthony Perkins

Actor | Psycho

Anthony Perkins was born April 4, 1932 in New York City to Janet Esselstyn (Rane) and Osgood Perkins, an actor of both stage and film. His paternal great-grandfather was noted engraver Andrew Varick Stout Anthony.

Perkins attended the Brooks School, the Browne & Nichols School, Columbia University ...

39. Peter Lorre

Actor | Casablanca

As a youth Peter Lorre ran away from home, worked as a bank clerk and, after stage training in Vienna, made his acting debut in Zurich. He remained unknown, traveling for several years and acting in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, until Fritz Lang cast him as the psychopathic child killer in M (...

40. Ingrid Pitt

Actress | The Wicker Man

Best known as Hammer Films' most seductive female vampire of the early 1970s, the Polish-born Pitt possessed dark, alluring features and a sexy figure that made her just right for Gothic horror! Ingrid Pitt (born Ingoushka Petrov) survived World War II and became a well-known actress on the East ...

41. Roman Polanski

Actor | Chinatown

Roman Polanski is a Polish film director, producer, writer and actor. Having made films in Poland, Britain, France and the USA, he is considered one of the few truly international filmmakers. Roman Polanski was born in Paris in 1933. His parents returned to Poland from France in 1936, three years ...

42. Jacques Tourneur

Director | Out of the Past

Born in Paris in 1904, Tourneur went to Hollywood with his father, director Maurice Tourneur around 1913. He started out as a script clerk and editor for his father, then graduated to such jobs as directing shorts (often with the pseudonym Jack Turner), both in France and America. He was hired to ...

43. Maila Nurmi

Actress | Plan 9 from Outer Space

The original glamour ghoul herself, "Vampira", of late night 1950s television, was actually born Maila Syrjäniemi (later changed to the easier surname Nurmi) on December 11, 1922 in Petsamo, Finland. Her uncle was the multiple Olympic medal runner Paavo Nurmi. Maila arrived in the United States ...

44. Oliver Reed

Actor | Gladiator

Oliver Reed was born on February 13, 1938 in Wimbledon, London, England as Robert Oliver Reed. He was an actor, known for Gladiator (2000), Oliver! (1968) and Dr. Heckyl and Mr. Hype (1980). He was married to Josephine Burge and Kate Byrne. He died on May 2, 1999 in Valletta, Malta.