Father’s Day is once again upon us, and what better genre of films to watch with the man who helped make you than horror, right? Nothing says, “I love you, Pops” better than blood, gore, and all-out mayhem.
With that, just as we did with Mother’s Day, we thought we would help remind you of some of the best fathers in horror movie history. These men are all interesting in their own way and cover the entire spectrum; from psychotic killers to heroes and everything in between. This is the 25 Greatest Horror Movie Dads Of All Time.
25. John Brumpton as Daddy Stone – The Loved Ones (2012)
Lola Stone asked Brent Mitchell to the prom, but Brent said no, and now he’s screwed. What happens when Lola doesn’t get what she wants? She enlists Daddy’s help to throw a prom of her own where she is queen and Brent is king, whether he likes it or not. Brent has become the prom king at a macabre, sadistic event where he is the entertainment.
As the evening progresses it turns out that Brent is not Lola’s and Daddy’s first abduction, particularly after she shows him an album of other missing boys to whom they appear to have given similar tortuous treatments in the past. This Daddy will do anything for his little princess.
24. Ralph Ineson as William – The Witch (2016)
Set in 1630 New England, a generation before the Salem witch trials, The Witch revolves around a small family that has been excommunicated from its plantation due to father William’s outspoken objections to what he sees as the community’s lax religious principles. William welcomes the chance to leave the plantation and practice his strict adherence to the Lord on his own, moving his family to a remote cabin near the foreboding woods. Soon enough, though, his family is torn apart by the forces of witchcraft, black magic and possession.
William is a particularly tortured creation; as the patriarch’s Christian guilt dovetails with his failings as a father and his emasculation as a hunter, the film allows him to crumble with the care of a controlled demolition. Hindsight being 20/20 and horror being horror, William probably should have resettled his family on the lip of a different forest.
23. Thomas Jane as David Drayton – The Mist (2007)
After finding his wife dead, coming across a giant monster the size of a skyscraper and finally running out of gas, David and the three other adult survivors agree that it’s best to take the easy way out with a bullet to the head. With only four bullets left, David shoots the three adults as well as his own young son, and then ventures out into the mist to be devoured by the beasts.
Just at that moment, the mist pulls back to reveal a military convoy passing through the area with survivors in tow, having effectively quashed the monster invasion moments earlier. And to rub salt in the wound, a woman who David and others presumed would die by running off to rescue her kids earlier in the movie is in the convoy, safe and sound with her children. David breaks down in front of the military personnel as the shot pulls back to reveal dozens of dead monsters. This is a father’s worst nightmare come to life.
22. Craig T. Nelson as Steve Freeling – Poltergeist (1982)
The Freeling family have been living in thee Cuesta Verde housing development for some time. Life has been comfortable and the family’s health and well being are in the green. For Steve Freeling his existence is a smooth rotation on an ideal axis. Until he wakes to find his youngest daughter, Carol Anne, communicating with voices in his television.
It’s all downhill from here as Robbie, the lone son, is attacked by an aggressive tree, distracting the family long enough to ensure that supernatural forces are successful in sucking Carol Anne into a completely different realm where troubled spirits dwell in abundance. Steve is not even remotely up to the task of doing battle with angry ghosts but he’s quite believable as a normal guy in way over his head but still willing to go as far as he has to in order to save his kids.
21. Robert Carlyle as Don – 28 Weeks Later (2007)
Don means well, but he’s pretty incompetent as a father and even worse as a husband. First, he abandons his wife in the midst of a zombie attack. Then, when she’s found alive, he is overwhelmed with emotion, sneaking past a security cordon to speak to her and plea for clemency. He can’t resist but give her a big kiss despite knowing full well what’s been going on around him.
Naturally, he turns into one of the infected, kills his wife extremely violently (pushing his thumbs into her eyes), before going on a rampage. Now zombified, Don goes after his son and daughter as if the little whippersnappers gave him lip and refused to clean up their rooms.
20. Brad Dourif as Chucky – Seed Of Chucky (2004)
In the fifth entry of the Child’s Play franchise, Glen/Glenda is the plastic, genital-free spawn of everyone’s favorite killer dolls Tiffany and Chucky (birthed at the end of Bride Of Chucky). Conflicted about gender, Glen(da) spends a good portion of the film wrestling with identity issues while the bodies pile up around the house.
Of course, as soon as Chucky learns that he has a son/daughter/whatever he pushes the young one hard to follow in his murderous footsteps – literally putting the knife in his hand. This backfires, though, as Glen/Glenda ultimately chooses dear ole dad to be his first victim in order to protect his mum. What goes around comes around.
19. James Whitworth as Papa Jupiter – The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
The family of hill-dwelling cannibals in Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes is headed by the burly Jupiter, who guides his clan’s efforts to kidnap, rape, murder and eat anything that crosses their inbred path.
Papa Jupiter is unseen for most of the film, but his presence is enough to scare the most hardened of the mutants in his gang. His backstory is also pretty nuts. He was the son of a hillbilly named Fred, who realized how evil Jupiter was when he killed his sister and all the animals on his farm. Fred took Jupiter to the hills after his daughter’s death and he tried killing Jupiter with an iron, but it failed. Years later, Papa Jupiter got with a prostitute who was insane, and he had children with her, mutant offspring who were also, yes, quite insane.
18. David Hess as Krug Stillo – The Last House On The Left (1972)
The level of violence is as shocking today as it was back in 1972 with the sick son of a gun Krug leading the mayhem as he vents his sadism on two teenage girls – Phyllis and Mari – along with his equally heinous acolytes Weasel and Sadie who are both perverted and violent deviants.
Krug is such a degenerate, he gets his own son, Junior, addicted to heroin so he can control him, and in the later stages of the film, he goads him into shooting himself in the head – “BLOW YOUR BRAINS OUT!”. Imagine coercing your kid into suicide. The scum factor is off the charts.
17. Richard Towers as Dr. John Collingwood – The Last House On The Left (1972)
After the aforementioned Krug and his band of psychopaths off their female victims, by pure coincidence, they end up at the house of one of the victim’s parents. And once the parents find out what happened to their little girl things turn (rightfully) ugly for the gang.
In short, Mr. Collingwood won’t just kill to protect his daughter… he will torture to avenge her. Also, he is the only father that really puts those Home Depot Father’s Day gift cards to good use. Perhaps we should all pick up a chainsaw for our dads this year in case they have to torture some miscreants for us.
16. John Saxon as Lt. Donald Thompson – A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
Lt. Donald Thompson is not only the father of our main protagonist, Nancy, in the original Nightmare On Elm Street but he is also the one investigating the string of murders that has taken over the town. Don ignores Nancy’s claims about a resurrected Freddy Krueger killing her friends in their dreams, but ultimately learns the truth the hard way.
In NOES 3, we learn that Nancy’s relationship with her father has been strained since the events that occurred in the previous film. When Nancy first approaches her father for help in battling Freddy, we find Donald in sad shape – drunk and unable to deal with the situation he had been put in. He brushes her off until the third act when he’s forced to step up in order to save his estranged daughter’s life. His final acts in Dream Warriors come at a hefty price, and Donald meets his untimely fate by the hands of skeleton Freddy in the junkyard where Krueger’s remains had been hidden for the previous few decades.
15. Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger – Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991)
In what was supposed to be the final installment of the Nightmare On Elm Street franchise, about midway through, we are introduced to perhaps the lamest plot twist of all time. In The Final Nightmare it is revealed that Freddy has really been doing all this killing for all these movies to get revenge against the ones who took him from his daughter. Yup, Freddy has a daughter, apparently. Suddenly Freddy’s Dead turns into a tale about bad parenting.
Maggie has not seen her dad, Freddy, since she was a little girl. She was the one who told the authorities about her demented dad, which led to his arrest and his “death” by fire from a mob of angry citizens. He had, you see, strangled to death her mother after her mother found his secret murder room in the house. With that, the obvious question becomes: who would have thought that Freddy’s daughter would have grown up to be so hot?
14. John Dugan as Grandpa Sawyer – The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
The patriarch of the cannibalistic Sawyer family, Grandpa isn’t as strong or as agile as he used to be when he swung a sledgehammer for the ole slaughterhouse. In fact, he can’t even brain a woman when she’s laid out right in front of him. So sad. But he’ll always be evil in our eyes, and he passed those evil genes onto a capable litter of psychopaths who kill in his name.
Indeed, we don’t see Grandpa for very long but he’s quite hard to forget. In the most disturbing family dinner in any film, the audience is left absolutely disgusted and puzzled by the old man. What is he? How is he alive? What’s his backstory? The word creepy doesn’t even begin to cover it.
13. Jon Lormer as Nathan Grantham – Creepshow (1982)
Seven years ago Nathan Grantham was murdered (just before he was to receive his annual Father’s Day cake) by his daughter. She got away with the crime and the family has come together on Father’s Day for their annual dinner.
Unfortunately for them, Grantham has a bone to pick and isn’t going to let a triviality like death get in the way. Rising from his grave, he picks off the very 80s cast one by one seeking to get the Father’s Day cake he missed out on seven years earlier. And it’s a glorious thing to behold.
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