Some of the best Scream Kings to honor this Halloween

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Photo courtesy Paramount Pictures
Photo courtesy Paramount Pictures /

9. Anthony Perkins

“We all go a little mad sometimes” is one of my favorite movie lines delivered by an iconic scream king. Anthony Perkins would forever be known as “Norman Bates”, the role that typecasted him as a murderer, and labeled him a horror icon. He ended up playing Bates a total of four times in each of the Psycho sequels, one of which he got to co-write. Up until his dying day, and years after that, he’d be Norman Bates. He was even diagnosed with the illness that would eventually kill him in the middle of filming Psycho VI: The Beginning (1990).

Originally a comedic actor, Perkins brought a timid intensity to the iconic serial killer everyone knows to this day. At first, he loved making Psycho (1960) because it was a thriller that you could laugh at. He said that people were laughing hysterically when they saw it in theaters. They’re reaction prompted him to return for the sequel, and that was the beginning of his push into horror, and the start of his dislike for the Psycho franchise. No matter how many times he tried reverting himself away from the genre, his roles always ended up circling back to killers, but no matter who or what he played, he always brought his all to each performance.

His was in Daughter of Darkness (1990), Destroyer (1988), Lucky Stiff (1988), I’m Dangerous Tonight (1990), Edge of Sanity (1989).

Hell raiser
Doug Bradley as Pinhead. Photo credit: Dimension Films /

8. Doug Bradley

Most known for the terrifying “Hell Priest”, Pinhead, from the Hellraiser films, actor Doug Bradley hasn’t received much popularity outside of the famous villain that he portrayed a staggering number of eight times. Pinhead is definitely his most famous role, a role that made a lot of people scared of him, but he’s more than just a pinhead in leather. In fact, without Bradley’s influence Pinhead might have been very different.

The first Hellraiser movie is based on the horror novella, “The Hellbound Heart” by horror novelist Clive Barker, but the earliest incarnation of Pinhead appeared in Hunters in the Snow, a 1973 play directed by Barker with Doug Bradley in a role as an undead inquisitor and torturer. Bradley and Barker have been friends since the 1970s, having met in secondary school, and collaborated on multiple projects together. Though Bradley did not write the character, he was there when Barker thought of Pinhead and most likely served as some sort of inspiration for the character. In some of the films he was credited as an assistant make-up artist named Bill Bradley.

Bradley is additionally known for his role in another Clive Barker adaptation, Nightbreed (1990), in Pumpkinhead: Ashes to Ashes (2006), Exorcismus (2010), Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines (2012), Scream Park (2013) and The Reverend (2011).