An Artsy Ghoul Blog
Horror characters throughout history have graced our screens with such distinct and memorable costume designs. I think horror fans everywhere can admit that they’ve taken fashion inspiration from at least a couple horror movie characters at some point in their life. However, when we imagine a slasher villain in particular, our minds don’t necessarily paint a picture of someone with a great sense of fashion. We often expect a slasher to be a monstrous being who doesn’t care about their appearance or the weapons they use to kill. Nonetheless, some of the genre’s most beloved slashers have proven that you can be creepy as hell while still being super stylish.
Candyman (Candyman Franchise)
In 1992, the world was introduced to the infamous horror slasher “Candyman”, a supernatural being who appears and kills you when you say his name five times into a mirror. Those who dare to summon him are greeted by his haunting, yet enticing presence. He wears a long, dark brown trench coat lined with a fur collar, a white scarf around his neck, and for his weapon, a hook taking the place of his severed right hand. Before he was Candyman, he was Daniel Robitaille, an artist lynched by a racist mob for falling in love and sleeping with the white woman he was commissioned to paint. He died because of love, which explains the romantic charm of Candyman’s appearance. His outfit aids in his ability to manipulate and lure in his victims. The hook, however, is a painful reminder of the character’s tragic backstory. The brutal, bloody murders Candyman commits with this hook are quite disturbing and allow for gut-wrenching kills that wouldn’t be as effective with a traditional slasher weapon. Actor Tony Todd’s portrayal of the character makes him all the more terrifying, and is exactly why horror fans everywhere still refuse to say his name to this day, no matter how handsome he may be. If I had to give out an award for the best dressed slasher of all time, it would have to go to the legendary Candyman.
James Wan shook horror fans to their core with his 2021 horror thrill ride Malignant. Gabriel is the evil twin of main character Madison, whom he shares a brain with. He has the power to take control of Madison’s body and commit endless murders without her even knowing. When Gabriel is in control, he rocks a black trench coat with his weapon of choice strapped around his waist, a gold dagger made out of an “excellence” trophy that belonged to the child reconstructive surgery specialist who tried to remove him from Madison decades prior. It’s the coolest dagger you’ll ever see in a horror film, and the fact that Gabriel took the time to set up a crafting station in the attic and create this weapon for himself lets us know that he has amazing taste. He could have worn the clothes that Madison was already wearing and used random weapons, but he wanted to establish his own identity the way a supervillain in a comic book would. Even though Gabriel looks insanely badass, the idea of him creating this look for himself makes him so much scarier than he already was. This film makes me crave more supervillain-esque horror slashers who make rad costumes and weapons in their own evil lairs!
Freddy Krueger (A Nightmare on Elm Street Franchise)
One of the most popular horror slashers of all time is the nightmare king himself, Freddy Krueger. What makes him stand out among slashers like Jason, Leatherface, and Michael Myers, is his vivid personality which is elevated through his iconic appearance. Freddy’s outfit and weapon combo consists of a red and green sweater, black pants, brown fedora, and a gloved hand with four knives as fingers. It is one of the most unique and unusual looks you’d ever see for a horror slasher, but it works so well for the type of character Freddy is. He exists within the nightmare world and torments his victims in the freakiest, most fantastical ways. The red and green sweater reminds a lot of people of Christmas, but according to Screen Rant, director Wes Craven explained that the colors were chosen simply due to the fact that red and green are difficult for the human eye to perceive when beside each other. The two colors are known to cancel each other out, which makes them harder to see at the same time. This concept is genius for a villain like Freddy who exists outside of reality and likes to sneak up on teenagers in their dreams. The famous glove was custom made by Freddy himself, and he knows that they look awesome. It is the perfect weapon for someone who finds great amusement in teasing his victims before slashing them up.
The Driller Killer (Slumber Party Massacre II)
It’s no surprise that a horror film heavily inspired by A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) has its own stylish maniac slashing, or should I say drilling, his way through the nightmares of the main character. The bonkers sequel that is Slumber Party Massacre II (1987) follows a teenage Courtney Bates years after the events of the first film, as she is being tormented by her own fantasy version of The Driller Killer. He has the appearance of a rock n’ roll superstar, sporting an all black leather jacket and pants combo along with fingerless biker gloves and silver tipped boots. Shredded strips of leather line the arms of the jacket and pants legs, which are constantly flailing around as the Driller Killer dances and taunts his victims. Most notable of all, however, is his bright red rock star guitar which has an electric drill protruding from the neck of it. He is a flawless visual representation of the exact kind of killer that would come from the mind of a high school girl in a rock band. The design complements The Driller Killer’s chaotic energy and allows him to shine in the limited amount of screen time that this fun, comedic horror sequel gives him.
The Tethered (Us)
Jordan Peele’s 2019 film Us explores the horrors of what would happen if people had evil doppelgängers. These doppelgängers, called “The Tethered”, were created by the U.S. government and abandoned in underground tunnels until they decided enough was enough. Red, the leader of The Tethered, starts her own "Hands Across America" inspired revolution in which every Tether would wear a red jumpsuit accompanied by a shiny, golden pair of scissors. It’s a simple pairing, but is one of the most effective and thematic slasher looks in the horror genre. The Tethered could have chosen the color red in honor of their bold leader, or even to represent the blood they planned to shed across the country, but the color also illustrates the anger that the character Red feels toward her counterpart Adelaide for getting to live a happy life above ground. A vengeful fire sparks inside of The Tethered and they choose to wear these jumpsuits because they want to be seen. The scissors are significant in The Tethered's goal to become “untethered” because when they kill their counterparts, they are “cutting” their connection to them, thus freeing themselves. Also, the two blades of the scissors and their perfect symmetrical shape are symbolic of everyone in the film having a double. The Tethered definitely wanted to make a statement through their choice of clothing and weapon, and they deserve all the kudos for untethering in style.
Which of these slasher styles is your personal favorite? Have you ever cosplayed as these characters or dressed up as them for Halloween? Let me know on Twitter! @Artsy_Ghoul