Join Us / Login

What Happened To The Age Of The Horror Icon?

Lance David Fier Lance David Fier
December 19th, 2016

Horror & comic Geek from Minneapolis

What Happened To The Age Of The Horror Icon?

Our Lance David Fier takes a look at why we don’t seem to see the birth of as many long standing new slasher icons in modern horror films.

What Happened To The Age Of The Horror Icon?

The horror film genre, often disregarded as tripe by many filmmakers and fans, yet as old as filmmaking itself.  Horror as a concept has a massively rich history which stems back centuries through story telling.  This was essential in human social development since the beginning of civilization.  Long before parents could depend on daycares, teachers, counselors, and police to keep their children safe, they simply told them horrifying stories of monsters that would carry them away if they misbehaved or wandered too far from home.

With the birth of film in the late 1800s, horror films became an immediate staple with such titles as Le Manoir du diable or The House of the Devil, by French stage magician Georges Méliès.  You see, Méliès believed film was the next evolutionary step for illusionists, as he created some of the very first eye popping visual effects while filmmaking was in it’s infancy.  Over 25 years later we get the birth of the movie monster with Nosferatu, the unlicensed German adaptation of Bram Stokers gothic novel, Dracula.  It wasn’t long before the “Age of the Movie Monster” came to pass with 1930s and 40s classics such as Frankenstein, Dracula and The Wolf Man.  The 1960s and 70s brought us demonic forces like Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist, and The Omen.  I could not discuss this era without also mentioning the great George A. Romero and his 1968 flesh eating classic Night of the Living Dead which launched the horror genre’s love affair with the zombie, eventually elevating the zombies to their own sub-genre.  Only 6 years later however, everything changed yet again when another brilliant horror director, Tobe Hooper, gave us a revolutionary new flavor of evil.


In 1974 Texas Chainsaw Massacre was released and changed the face of the horror genre in a more significant way than ever before and helped launch the “Age of the Horror Icon” as I call it.  It was a time when some of our most cherished and memorable horror villains were brought to life.  Sure the classic movie monsters like Dracula are still remembered but those stories of vampires and lycanthropes have been told for hundreds or even thousands of years.  The horror icons in the blink of an eye, about a 15 year window, exploded in a kind of horror renaissance.  First bringing us Leatherface the hillbilly cannibal, and Michael Myers, a terrifying mental patient that thinks like a demon, moves like a ghost, but kills like a man.  Soon there was an army of these modern fairytale monsters & even heroes.  Jason, Freddy, Chucky, Ash, Wishmaster, Pinhead, Leprechaun, Blade, Tall Man, Pumpkinhead, Sandman, Ghostface, and the list goes on!  These killers were terrifying, but made you want to root for them.  Fans couldn’t get enough and it led to each character getting in some cases as many as 9 or 10 sequels.  Just as quickly as this heyday of the horror film equivalent of comic book superheroes overflowed, it dried up.

Despite most of these horror icons continuing to be treasured and featured in sequels and reboots, the ability to create new ones that are as likable and sustainable seems to be a lost art, this is due partially to the natural flow of popular horror phases.  Whatever style of horror film that is currently popular and attracts the best talent and writing comes in waves.  It seems we are back in the thick of a paranormal demonic threat theme, which actually has several excellent entries recently such as The Conjuring.  Eventually tastes change of course, but there is more to it than that.  Many of the creators of these long lasting characters never intended them to be what they became, they simply wanted to make an impactful film with a terrifying villain, not necessarily a cultural phenomenon.  When John Carpenter was first piecing together Michael Myers for his film Halloween, he had no idea the character would spawn 7 sequels to date plus a remake, and 2 sequels to the remake!  Once other filmmakers and producers realized the staying power of these teen slashers, the genre became saturated with everyone’s own version of Jason Voorhees.  Some worked, but most failed, and by the mid 90s it led to the concept growing quite stale, but not yet dead.  The final nail in the coffin was just around the corner.

Horror legend Wes Craven (Yes, even his name is scary) first really hit the scene with the cult classic The Hills Have Eyes, about a family that becomes stranded on a road trip and is being picked off by another family of cannibalistic desert nomads.  Later Craven became perhaps best known for his brilliant 1984 film, A Nightmare on Elm Street.  Staring unarguably one of the top horror icons from this time, Freddy Krueger, a murderer returned from a fiery death for revenge who can enter your dreams and take your soul.  Then, 12 years later he delivered to us the self-reflective, genre deconstructing gem, Scream.  A huge breath of fresh air to a decaying horror concept but also an epic mic drop, one that brought a respectable end to a terrifying, fantastic, ridiculous, fun, and forever irreplaceable era of horror films.  Craven very sadly passed away just last year at the age of 76, but the impact he made in the horror industry will never be overlooked.

Scream introduced the slasher baddie Ghostface, who had a simple look, the somewhat common white plastic Halloween ghost mask with black nylon hood and robe.  Ghostface in the films was simply a series of disturbed people all dawning the same costume at different times.  They are psychotic horror fans, who follow horror film themes and rules to commit intentionally horror film style murders, and if they get caught they will blame the same horror films.  The killers and also the murder targets all seem to be subconsciously aware that they are in a horror film and use what they know about the genre to get away with murder or stay alive while a classic masked teen slasher is on the lose.  Still while engaging in all the same tropes of the genre of course, such as lots of parties and drinking.  Not to mention often referencing other iconic horror villains and films who’ve established these rules and tropes.  It was the perfect fan-service parody of an aging horror style that simultaneously honored and respected that style.  After Scream, the popular horror icons that had already been established were then immortalized and creating new characters that could capture the same spirit became extremely difficult.  There was actually a HUGE surge in teen slasher films that resulted from the success of Scream, all featuring masked or deformed killers with catchy names, but none stood the test of time.  The “Age of the Horror Icon” was officially over, and Silence of the Lambs had already ushered in the more sophisticated “Age of the Psychological Serial Killer.”

There are some minor exceptions to this rule, but even these stand out from the classic icons is some substantial ways.  Some may point to Rob Zombie’s, Devil’s Rejects series which can’t seem to figure out what it wants to be from continuation to continuation, and is more of a mash-up of the best of Rob Zombie’s favorite films.  And of course there is Jigsaw, the genius engineer/gamester from the Saw series.  The first Saw film from one of my favorite modern directors James Wan was excellent, but belongs more in the psychological serial killer category.  This was before the series just devolved into torture porn, which if you are not familiar is horror that is just disturbing brutality for the sake of being as disturbing and brutal as possible without any substance.

Story continues below

Nope, the horror icon era was a one of a kind.

Don’t get me wrong, I like modern horror.  We get a relatively good mix of the demonic threats, with the aforementioned Conjuring and also Insidious series.  We get great new modern movie monsters in films like The Babadook and It Follows, along with Universal Studio’s plan to reboot their classic movie monsters (Dracula, Wolf Man).  The studios certainly aren’t showing any signs of giving up on the classic horror icons either with new Friday the 13th, Halloween, and A Nightmare on Elm Street films amongst others that are in the works, but no new icons, just the classics from that one glorious pocket of time.  Those horror heroes and how they all came to be is just one of those unique film history anomalies.

Who knows?

Maybe one day we will see a resurgence, with a whole fresh new crop of indiscriminate murderers in a second “Age of the Horror Icon.”

(Visited 1,315 times, 1 visits today)


  1. article says:

    I simply want to tell you that I’m all new to blogging and certainly loved your web page. Likely I’m likely to bookmark your website . You surely come with terrific article content. Thanks a bunch for sharing with us your webpage.

  2. Between me and my husband we’ve owned more MP3 players over the years than I can count, including Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few years I’ve settled down to one line of players. Why? Because I was happy to discover how well-designed and fun to use the underappreciated (and widely mocked) Zunes are.

  3. Hello there, Could I export this post image and make use of that on my personal blog?

  4. Technology says:

    of course like your web site however you have to test the spelling on quite a few of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling issues and I in finding it very bothersome to tell the truth nevertheless I¡¦ll certainly come again again.

  5. Game says:

    You could definitely see your enthusiasm within the work you write. The arena hopes for even more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to mention how they believe. At all times follow your heart.

  6. Technology says:

    You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be really something that I think I would never understand. It seems too complicated and very broad for me. I am looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!

  7. Automotive says:

    Thank you, I have recently been searching for info about this subject for a long time and yours is the best I’ve discovered till now. However, what in regards to the conclusion? Are you sure about the supply?

  8. Sports says:

    Heya i’m for the first time here. I came across this board and I find It really useful & it helped me out much. I hope to give something back and aid others like you helped me.

  9. Business says:

    I have not checked in here for a while because I thought it was getting boring, but the last few posts are good quality so I guess I¡¦ll add you back to my daily bloglist. You deserve it my friend 🙂

  10. Automotive says:

    I like the valuable information you provide in your articles. I will bookmark your weblog and check again here regularly. I am quite certain I’ll learn lots of new stuff right here! Best of luck for the next!

  11. Legal says:

    Hey, you used to write fantastic, but the last few posts have been kinda boring¡K I miss your great writings. Past several posts are just a little bit out of track! come on!

  12. I’m still learning from you, but I’m trying to reach my goals. I certainly enjoy reading everything that is posted on your blog.Keep the stories coming. I loved it!

  13. great submit, very informative. I’m wondering why the opposite specialists of this sector don’t understand this. You must proceed your writing. I am confident, you’ve a great readers’ base already!

  14. Good article and straight to the point. I am not sure if this is truly the best place to ask but do you folks have any thoughts on where to employ some professional writers? Thx 🙂

  15. Pets says:

    I simply wished to thank you very much all over again. I am not sure what I would’ve made to happen in the absence of those opinions revealed by you relating to this question. It absolutely was the daunting circumstance for me, but encountering the specialised way you resolved the issue took me to weep over contentment. Now i’m thankful for your work and even trust you recognize what an amazing job you were doing teaching men and women through your web site. I am certain you have never encountered all of us.

  16. Pets says:

    I am not sure where you are getting your info, but good topic. I needs to spend some time learning more or understanding more. Thanks for wonderful info I was looking for this info for my mission.

  17. Wow! This could be one particular of the most helpful blogs We’ve ever arrive across on this subject. Basically Fantastic. I am also an expert in this topic so I can understand your hard work.

  18. Business says:

    Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it. Look advanced to far added agreeable from you! By the way, how can we communicate?

  19. What a stuff of un-ambiguity and preserveness of precious familiarity about unexpected emotions.

  20. It’s proper day to get some schedules for the longer term. I have looked over this blog post and if I may possibly, I want to suggest to you you few remarkable recommendation.

  21. Science says:

    Some truly prime blog posts on this internet site , bookmarked .

  22. Law & Legal says:

    Thanks for another informative web site. The place else may I am getting that type of information written in such an ideal method? I have a mission that I’m simply now operating on, and I have been at the glance out for such information.

  23. Automotive says:

    Very nice layout and fantastic content material , very little else we need : D.

  24. Education says:

    I have recently started a web site, the information you offer on this website has helped me greatly. Thanks for all of your time & work.

  25. Gardenings says:

    I like this site very much, Its a really nice position to read and receive info . “Things do not change we change.” by Henry David Thoreau.

  26. divorcemind says: is a online divorce resource for divorce attorney, attornies and lawyers. You will find the best divorce information online. Divorce Mind will make your divorce or separation a quick, convenient and private.

  27. Woman says:

    What i do not understood is actually how you’re no longer actually much more well-appreciated than you might be now. You’re so intelligent. You already know thus significantly relating to this matter, produced me personally consider it from a lot of varied angles. Its like men and women don’t seem to be involved unless it is one thing to do with Girl gaga! Your personal stuffs excellent. Always care for it up!

  28. is a online divorce resource for divorce attorney, attornies and lawyers. You will find the best divorce information online. Divorce Mind will make your divorce or separation a quick, convenient and private.

  29. is a site with many hypnosis downloads. Whether you are looking for free hypnosis downloads, self hypnosis download for mp3, video and any audio files, Michael Jemery has the downloads for you. You can download hypnosis from apps, audio, mp3 and even youtube !

  30. is one of the leading crematorium services in the Sacramento area. Feel free to contact us regarding any questions on Sacramento Cremation Services or concerns you might have. Our staff will respond to you as soon as possible.

  31. If you’re still on the fence: grab your favorite earphones, head down to a Best Buy and ask to plug them into a Zune then an iPod and see which one sounds better to you, and which interface makes you smile more. Then you’ll know which is right for you.

  32. lawyers says: is a online divorce resource for divorce attorney, attornies and lawyers. You will find the best divorce information online. Divorce Mind will make your divorce or separation a quick, convenient and private.

  33. Click Here says: is one of the leading crematorium services in the Sacramento area. Feel free to contact us regarding any questions on Sacramento Cremation Services or concerns you might have. Our staff will respond to you as soon as possible.

  34. Do you have a spam problem on this blog; I also am a blogger, and I was wanting to know your situation; many of us have created some nice procedures and we are looking to exchange methods with others, why not shoot me an email if interested.

  35. The Zune concentrates on being a Portable Media Player. Not a web browser. Not a game machine. Maybe in the future it’ll do even better in those areas, but for now it’s a fantastic way to organize and listen to your music and videos, and is without peer in that regard. The iPod’s strengths are its web browsing and apps. If those sound more compelling, perhaps it is your best choice.

  36. Emeryeps says:

    Emeryeps is a SEO(Search Engine optimzation) and Internet Marketing company. They help businesses to get traffic from various search engine and online community. They have seo experts and consultants with many years of SEO Experiences. No matter where your business is located, can help your business to secure your highly convertible leads online.

  37. Very interesting points you have mentioned, appreciate it for posting. “The earth has music for those who listen.” by William Shakespeare.

  38. imsc says:

    IMSC SEO is a Singapore SEO Company. They provide comprehensive Singapore SEO services to help SG businesses to gain traffic from search engine. Their SEO agency has many years of experiences working with overseas companies on more competitive grounds. They are the best seo company in Singapore you can find. Their SEO expert and consultant understand exactly what search engine optimization your company need to gain search engine traffic.

  39. useful site says:

    I just desire to reveal to you that I am new to writing a blog and extremely cherished your website. Quite possibly I am going to save your blog post . You really have superb article materials. Truly Appreciate it for share-out with us your own web document

  40. check this says:

    Truly motivating points you have stated, a big heads up for submitting.

  41. Great web site. Lots of useful information here. I¡¦m sending it to a few pals ans also sharing in delicious. And certainly, thank you to your sweat!

  42. Click here says:

    I’m more than happy to discover this page. I wanted to thank you for your time due to this wonderful read!! I definitely liked every bit of it and i also have you book-marked to look at new information in your web site.

  43. bandar togel says:

    This is getting a bit more subjective, but I much prefer the Zune Marketplace. The interface is colorful, has more flair, and some cool features like ‘Mixview’ that let you quickly see related albums, songs, or other users related to what you’re listening to. Clicking on one of those will center on that item, and another set of “neighbors” will come into view, allowing you to navigate around exploring by similar artists, songs, or users. Speaking of users, the Zune “Social” is also great fun, letting you find others with shared tastes and becoming friends with them. You then can listen to a playlist created based on an amalgamation of what all your friends are listening to, which is also enjoyable. Those concerned with privacy will be relieved to know you can prevent the public from seeing your personal listening habits if you so choose.

  44. Very well written story. It will be beneficial to everyone who employess it, including yours truly :). Keep doing what you are doing – looking forward to more posts.

  45. whoah this weblog is wonderful i love reading your articles. Stay up the good paintings! You recognize, a lot of persons are looking round for this info, you could aid them greatly.

  46. Nice blog here! Also your site loads up fast! What host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my website loaded up as fast as yours lol

  47. Games says:

    There is noticeably a bundle to know about this. I feel you made various nice points in features also.

  48. Automotive says:

    I like what you guys are up too. Such smart work and reporting! Keep up the excellent works guys I have incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it will improve the value of my site 🙂

  49. Dog says:

    Hi there, I discovered your site by way of Google at the same time as searching for a similar matter, your site got here up, it seems great. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

  50. I simply had to thank you so much again. I am not sure the things I would’ve used in the absence of these tips and hints shared by you on such concern. It absolutely was a real scary matter in my opinion, nevertheless witnessing your skilled fashion you processed the issue took me to weep for contentment. Extremely grateful for this assistance and even have high hopes you are aware of a great job you were providing instructing many people using your blog. I know that you haven’t met all of us.

  51. Technology says:

    What i don’t realize is in fact how you’re not actually a lot more smartly-preferred than you might be right now. You are very intelligent. You recognize therefore considerably in terms of this matter, produced me for my part imagine it from a lot of various angles. Its like women and men don’t seem to be fascinated until it¡¦s something to do with Lady gaga! Your own stuffs excellent. Always take care of it up!

  52. Dentist says:

    Wow! Thank you! I permanently wanted to write on my blog something like that. Can I include a fragment of your post to my website?

  53. Automotive says:

    Hey, you used to write magnificent, but the last several posts have been kinda boring¡K I miss your super writings. Past several posts are just a bit out of track! come on!

  54. I have been checking out a few of your articles and i must say pretty clever stuff. I will definitely bookmark your site.

  55. Education says:

    You could certainly see your expertise in the work you write. The arena hopes for even more passionate writers such as you who are not afraid to say how they believe. All the time follow your heart.

  56. you are actually a good webmaster. The website loading pace is incredible. It seems that you’re doing any unique trick. Also, The contents are masterpiece. you have performed a fantastic process in this subject!

  57. Business says:

    I precisely needed to thank you very much again. I’m not certain the things I might have gone through in the absence of those ways shared by you about such subject. Previously it was the troublesome dilemma in my opinion, but understanding your well-written form you processed the issue took me to weep over delight. I will be happier for this information and then believe you know what a powerful job you were getting into educating men and women through your website. More than likely you have never come across all of us.

  58. Education says:

    Nice read, I just passed this onto a colleague who was doing a little research on that. And he just bought me lunch since I found it for him smile So let me rephrase that: Thank you for lunch!

  59. Technology says:

    Great goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff previous to and you are just extremely fantastic. I actually like what you’ve acquired here, really like what you are saying and the way in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still take care of to keep it sensible. I cant wait to read much more from you. This is really a tremendous web site.

  60. Automotive says:

    Thank you so much for providing individuals with such a special chance to read from this web site. It is often so lovely and as well , full of amusement for me personally and my office co-workers to visit your blog at a minimum thrice in one week to see the new issues you will have. And definitely, I am just actually amazed with the great tips you serve. Certain 2 ideas on this page are definitely the most suitable we have had.

  61. Finance says:

    I have been surfing online more than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all web owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the net will be much more useful than ever before.

  62. Finance says:

    This is really interesting, You are a very skilled blogger. I have joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your fantastic post. Also, I have shared your website in my social networks!

  63. Business says:

    I loved as much as you will receive carried out right here. The sketch is attractive, your authored material stylish. nonetheless, you command get got an nervousness over that you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come more formerly again since exactly the same nearly very often inside case you shield this increase.

  64. Useful information. Fortunate me I discovered your web site by accident, and I am shocked why this accident didn’t happened in advance! I bookmarked it.

  65. Business says:

    It¡¦s actually a cool and helpful piece of information. I am satisfied that you simply shared this helpful information with us. Please stay us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

  66. I¡¦ve read a few excellent stuff here. Certainly value bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how so much attempt you put to make the sort of fantastic informative web site.

  67. I have to show some thanks to you for rescuing me from this type of challenge. Because of exploring through the world wide web and getting ideas that were not pleasant, I figured my life was gone. Being alive devoid of the answers to the issues you have solved all through your short post is a crucial case, and those which could have adversely damaged my career if I hadn’t discovered your site. The natural talent and kindness in maneuvering the whole thing was helpful. I am not sure what I would’ve done if I hadn’t come across such a step like this. I am able to at this point relish my future. Thank you very much for your high quality and amazing guide. I will not hesitate to refer the blog to anybody who ought to have tips on this problem.

  68. Technology says:

    Definitely, what a magnificent website and enlightening posts, I definitely will bookmark your site.Best Regards!

  69. I’m so happy to read this. This is the kind of manual that needs to be given and not the random misinformation that is at the other blogs. Appreciate your sharing this best doc.

ComiConverse with us...

Yes No