When it comes to horror and science fiction movies, a good monster can make or break it. Nowadays, every monster is CGI heavy, but before we could rely on technology, there were actual people wearing heavy costumes and pounds of prosthetics to deliver us the creepiest characters.
These are the real-life—and pretty darn good looking—faces behind the creepiest, most horrifying monsters in movie history. Continue reading to find out just what Pennywise looks like behind the makeup...
The Amphibian Man From The Shape Of Water
The Shape of Water made waves in 2018 for being one of the strangest love stories audiences had seen in a while. It was all thanks to the giant, scaly amphibian that was played by actor Doug Jones.
The costume for the Amphibian Man was a giant one-piece suit that Jones said made him feel like "a nursing home patient." Why? Well, because once he was in the suit he couldn't use the bathroom, so he had to be sure not to have any accidents.
The Creeper From Jeepers Creepers
The main horror monster from the three Jeepers Creepers films evolves to be even scarier with every film. From just your run-of-the-mill horror baddie to a flesh-eating flying monster, he definitely gives us the creeps. Luckily, the man behind the mask is the exact opposite of creepy.
Jonathan Breck is as normal looking as you can get and is a talented enough actor to land other roles (without a mask) on shows like JAG.
The Nun From The Conjuring 2
Even though The Nun only appears a few times in The Conjuring 2, she's one of the scariest characters in the film. She even got her own spinoff in 2018 thanks to her terrifying stare. Both films hired Bonnie Aarons thanks to her distinguishing features.
When she's not wearing the habit, Aarons has starred in much less creepy roles like as the Baroness from The Princess Diaries that tries to steal the crown.
Pale Man From Pan's Labyrinth
Doug Jones strikes again with one of the original terrifying monsters. The Guillermo Del Toro movie was ahead of its time for the use of CGI, but the Pale Man was all thanks to complex makeup.
Jones said it took about five hours each day to get him into character, and that the iconic horns weighed ten pounds and left him exhausted. Oh, and his only way of seeing was through the characters' nostrils.
Dren From Splice
The idea behind Splice was always about having creepy, genetically modified characters, but Dren ends up looking beautiful (in a weird way). It's probably thanks to the actress, Delphine Chanéac, who plays the character.
Even though Dren is a weird humanoid with a tail, wings, and triple-jointed legs, the actress managed to turn her into the prettiest movie monster we've seen. The director even admitted that they felt doing small changes to a human figure was much more jarring than a full-body mask or suit.
The Silver Surfer From Fantastic Four
Up until now, it might have been easy to assume that the Silver Surfer was entirely CGI. Nope, it was just our old friend Doug Jones. The same guy who played the Amphibian Man is also the super-jacked guy who looked like he was covered in shiny metal.
It's notable that Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer used Jones because they just wanted his tall and lanky physique. It was Laurence Fishburne who proved the character's voice.
Pennywise From It (1990)
Tim Curry brought Steven King's killer clown to life in 1990 when he played the character in the miniseries. The oversized forehead, terrifying makeup, and strange outfit was a nightmare for children. At the time Curry was cast in the role, he was best known for The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Despite playing the creepy clown, after the miniseries debuted, Curry landed a series of very normal roles that actually showed him in a different light.
Pennywise From IT (2017)
When you see the photo of actor Bill Skarsgård without the creepy clown makeup, it's hard to imagine how he landed the role. Aside from his sunken eyes, what sadistic features did producers see in the charming young model?
We'll never know, but we do know that it worked. Skarsgård got the chance of a lifetime when he was cast as Pennywise in the 2017 adaptation of the novel. He's managed to simultaneously creep us out and turn us on. Bravo.
Leatherface From The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Andrew Bryniarski can thank his intimidating physical size for why he landed the role of Leatherface in the 2003 remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Apparently, the director simply wanted to hire the biggest guy who auditioned.
All Bryniarski had to do was put on the Leatherface mask and walk around as slow as possible. Bryniarski later told fans online that he feels he was "born to wear the mask!"
Jason Voorhees From Friday The 13th
Another classic movie villain was chosen yet again for their size and stature. Kane Hodder got cast in the first Friday the 13th film and he's been the title character in every film or spinoff since.
Hodder is so connected to the machete and hockey mask that they used him for motion capture to create a Friday the 13th video game. Who knew being tall and walking slow was such a marketable skill in Hollywood?
Pinhead From Hellraiser
Doug Bradley is the head behind Pinhead in Hellraiser and he held that title for eight straight movies. The role was Bradley's first job in Hollywood and he became an expert at it. Over the course of eight films, he even got so good at putting on the makeup and taking it off that he was credited as an assistant makeup artist.
When he stopped playing Pinhead, Bradley moved on to other scary roles like voicing the Sith Emperor in multiple Star Wars video games.
Frankenstein's Monster From Frankenstein
Boris Karloff was the bonafide king of Hollywood horror in the 1930s and 1940s. The first film he managed to blow our minds with was Frankenstein. Karloff was a seasoned actor at the time and had already been in 80 movies, but said Frankenstein was one of the most difficult thanks to the costuming.
He had to wear a huge, bulky suit to make him look like a monster, and four-inch platform shoes that weighed 11 pounds each.
The Werewolf From An American Werewolf In London
Werewolves have a long history in folklore and film, but the one portrayed by David Naughton set the tone for Hollywood werewolves. The transformation from human to wolf was beyond its time thanks to hours in makeup.
Naughton said that when he met the film's head of special effects and told him he'd be playing the werewolf, he said: "I feel sorry for you." That was probably thanks to the pounds of plastic molds that went all over Naughton's body, that was best described as "suffocating."
The Xenomorph From Alien
Bolaki Badejo was a Nigerian born artist who specialized in making the creepy costumes in Hollywood. He became an unlikely star when he was drafted to play the Xenomorph in Ridley Scott's 1979 film, Alien. Part of why he was chosen was because of his towering height—Badejo was 6-foot 10-inches tall.
It also helped that he knew how to create and maneuver the heavy and intricate Alien costume. Despite the success, Badejo never actually reprised the monster role for the Alien sequels.