Strange Ones: Celebrating 4 Awesome Heroes of Horror

Giallo Julian gives props to 4 of horror's greatest heros!

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Sure, I get it. When it comes to horror flicks/books/whatever, it’s super fun to talk about the villains of the story. Jason, Freddy, Michael, all the classics. However, the heroes that save the day are just as important as the fiends that try to ruin it! Especially when they’re engaging enough to root for more than the killer. I know that’s not usually the case, but there’s a solid number of horror heroes that one can’t help but love. Today, I’m going to talk about a few and give my thoughts on why I think they’re so fantastic. So load your pulse rifle and fill up your chainsaw, because we’re about to battle evil with some of the greats!

1. Ellen Ripley

(Aliens; 1986; Directed by James Cameron; Played by Sigourney Weaver)

Ripley - Strange Ones: Celebrating 4 Awesome Heroes of Horror

 “Fifty-seven years after surviving an apocalyptic attack aboard her space vessel by merciless space creatures, Officer Ripley awakens from hyper-sleep and tries to warn anyone who will listen about the predators.” – via IMDB.

You want to talk about a certified badass horror hero, look no farther than Lieutenant First Class Ellen Louise Ripley! She was so dedicated to kicking monster tail over the course the Alien franchise, she came back from the dead to raise her Xenomorph body count higher (we don’t talk about that movie, though). While a fantastic character in each film she’s appeared in, my personal favorite entry has to be James Cameron’s action-horror flick, Aliens.

Even though she was still tough-as-nails in Alien, I feel the sequel was where she bumped up from “resilient final girl” to “heroic badass alien-killer”, becoming the single biggest threat to the Xenomorphs (even more than the Predators). Between taping a M41A Pulse Rifle to a M240 Incinerator Unit and piloting a mech while wearing the sweetest pair of Reeboks ever, she solidified herself as one of the greatest horror heroes to ever hit the big screen. Hive of hostile aliens invading your colony? Nothing some napalm, a few grenades, and the complete destruction of said colony can’t fix! Giant queen alien wrecking your ship? Ripley says shoot it out of an airlock and call it a day!

Seriously though, Ripley is one of my favorite characters to have ever come out of cinema. Her no nonsense and logical personality when it comes to adversity is very refreshing in a genre where most characters tend to shoot first, think never. Speaking of which…

Watch Aliens digitally here or physically here.

2. Ashley J. Williams

(Evil Dead 2; 1987; Directed by Sam Raimi; Played by Bruce Campbell)

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 “The lone survivor of an onslaught of flesh-possessing spirits holes up in a cabin with a group of strangers while the demons continue their attack.” – via IMDB.

I feel like if I didn’t put “El Jefe” on this list, I’d have to turn in my horror fan-club card, and I already paid for the lifetime membership. So, the “strange one” himself, Ashley Joanna Williams, joins in to help fight the demonic entities that clamor to swallow all our souls! Can we be in any better hands? …well, yes, probably… but he’s the best we got. And, like many others, my favorite outing of his was Sam Raimi’s followup to his first big hit, Evil Dead II.

It was in this film that Ash really grew into a character capable of handling himself against the dark forces known as the “Deadites”. It cost him an arm and a leg… er, hand… but with that sacrifice, he became one of main oppositions against the armies of darkness! With his boomstick and chainsaw-hand, he managed to send the evil running back home to cry to momma (and get sucked into the Middle Ages, but we’ll get to that some other time)!

Now, despite being one of the best heroes when it comes to horror franchises, he isn’t exactly what we would call heroic. He can be cowardly and irresponsible, doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to saving people, and is reluctant to do his duty as savior of humanity. But when it comes down to it, he’ll at least think about saving the day. Then, after more coaxing, he’ll take the fight to the Deadites and kick their asses back to hell. Come get some!

Watch Evil Dead 2 digitally here or physically here.

3. Rick O’Connell

(The Mummy; 1993; Directed by Stephen Sommers; Played by Brenden Fraiser)

OConnell - Strange Ones: Celebrating 4 Awesome Heroes of Horror

“At an archaeological dig in the ancient city of Hamunaptra, an American serving in the French Foreign Legion accidentally awakens a mummy who begins to wreak havoc as he searches for the reincarnation of his long-lost love.” – via IMDB.

Okay, now hear me out. I know 1999’s The Mummy isn’t a horror film per say, but it is a remake of the original Universal Pictures film, one of the genre’s greatest classics. Also, it does have horror elements to it, just mixed in with a healthy dose of action comedy! Now that’s out of the way, let’s talk about O’Connell and how he’s on the right side of the river.

Rick O’Connell is pretty much the perfect embodiment of the pulp action hero from yesteryear. He’s a gruff, gun-toting, hot blooded adventurer whose first reaction to anything remotely seeming like trouble is to fill it full of lead, and not to stick around to see what happens next. However, he has the added bonus of having Brendan Fraiser’s charismatic personality bleeding through, giving him just enough to edge out above the rest.

Stubborn, excitable, but never backing down from a fight and quick on his feet; he’s proven to be more than capable of handling himself against almost anything being thrown at him. Will he stop the evil once and for all, saving the day? Probably not. These mummies usually take some sort of incantation to send back to the afterlife, and O’Connell’s not much of a reader. He will keep them distracted long enough for someone who can read ancient Egyptian to do it, though! And in this case, that’s enough.

Watch The Mummy digitally here or physically here.

4. Carl Kolchak

(Kolchak: The Night Stalker; 1974-75; Played by Darren McGavin)

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 “Carl Kolchak is a reporter for a Chicago newspaper. Through more accident than design he ends up investigating homicides, many of which involve supernatural forces. Ultimately, rather than reporting on the crimes, he solves them.” – via IMDB.

Ah, Carl Kolchak. The man, the myth, the legend! If you want to talk about my personal favorite hero of horror, look no further! …wait, I felt like I’ve said all this before… oh well. Anyway, Kolchak is a fantastic character that not only starred in two movies and his own show, but also inspired another little series called The X-Files.

This sarcastic reporter is just trying to make it to the big time, only to come face to face with horror after horror like he’s a monster magnet. Luckily, he’s just as good at monster hunting as he is at investigative journalism. Vampires, werewolves, moss monsters, satanic cultists: all have fallen to his readiness and quick wit! Or he’s at least been lucky enough that they managed to get themselves killed. In any case, he definitely hindered their sinister plans in some form or fashion.

So he’s a cynic and isn’t the most even-tempered man around. He really does want to do the right thing and help people, even if it means going into harm’s way to do it. And each time he does so, it comes at the cost of his boss ripping his story apart and telling him to write “normal” stories about “real” news. C’mon, man. Do you know how popular you’d be if ran a story about monsters in your columns? It’s almost like he doesn’t want to sell newspapers or something.

Watch Kolchak: The Night Stalker digitally here or physically here.

What a mighty bunch, risking their lives to ensure the nightmarish terrors that stalk humanity are kept at bay! These are just a few of a whole brigade, though. Don’t worry, I’ll give the others time in the spotlight somewhere down the road. Until then, fear not, as these champions of humanity will keep you safe from whatever goes bump in the night. Until next time. Ciao, friends!

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