When I began thinking about horror movie fathers, I began to realize how underrepresented dads are in this genre. Maybe it’s because fathers are symbols of strength and security that they tend not to appear in horror films. As I was brainstorming, I kept thinking about all the interesting maternal figures and about how many characters had fathers that were simply out of the picture. So let’s take a moment to highlight some of the best and worst fathers in scary movies.
The Best Fathers
Robert Thorn/The Omen
Although Robert Thorn is driven to commit the unthinkable (AKA: plunging daggers into his evil little “son”), he is the classiest, most intelligent father in horror movie history. He does everything he can for the wellbeing of Damien, including exterminating him from the earth since it’s all for the good in the end. Plus, there is a phrase that the best thing a father can do for his children is love their mother. Thorn loves his wife with all his spirit, as can be seen in the heartbreaking scene when he hears about her death over the telephone. He may not be the real father of Damien, but dammit, he sure deserves a real son that isn’t Satan’s spawn!
Loy Colton/Near Dark
Loy Colton searches high and low for his son, Caleb, after he is kidnapped by a group of vampires. When the police won’t help, Colton takes it upon himself to hunt down the kidnappers and rescue his offspring. If that’s not enough, when Caleb is finally returned to him, he ingeniously discovers a way to cure his vampirism. A father that can safely perform a blood transfusion with veterinarian equipment is a real winner in my book.
Mr. Collingwood/The Last House on the Left
Mr. Collingwood won’t just kill to protect his daughter…he will torture to avenge her. In fact, he is probably the only crazy father on this list that didn’t slip into the “worst” category. He is also the only father that really puts those Home Depot father’s day gift cards to good use. Perhaps we should all pick up a chainsaw for our dads this year in case they have to torture some miscreants for us.
John Russell/The Changeling
Poor John Russell. You only see his wife and child for approximately 3 minutes before they are taken from him by a runaway truck. In that short time, he already proved how wonderful of a father he was, laughing and joking with his girls. Months later, as he moves into a haunted mansion, his paternal characteristics push him to help the poor boy’s trouble spirit that lingers in the house. He is hardly afraid, as he welcomes the opportunity to save a child. Now that’s a father.
Note: I know this picture isn't from Dawn of the Dead, but it's the best I could find.
Frank/Dawn of the Dead
You may not even remember this character when I mention the Dawn of the Dead remake, or you may have wondered why I didn’t select Andre. The subtle courage displayed by Frank’s character is what really stood out to me. Father of Nicole, the girl who stupidly chases after the dog, he doesn’t let a desperate survival instinct take over as he nearly turns into a zombie. Instead, he bravely faces death so that he will not endanger his daughter.
The Worst Fathers
Jack Torrance/The Shining
Is an explanation really necessary? Jack Torrance is probably the creepiest father on this list, as he rampages through an isolated mansion, swinging an axe at his wife and son. Worst. Father. Ever.
100 Maniacs/A Nightmare on Elm Street series
How about a raving lunatic rapist for a father? Or how about 100 of them? Not only are these guys evil for raping a nun, but they are also responsible for creating out one of the most evil villains in genre history.
Jerry Blake/The Stepfather
It’s already bad enough when a stepfather becomes overbearing, but what about a stepfather that will murder you once you no longer fit his idyllic vision of a family? Now that sucks.
Dr. Génessier/Eyes Without a Face
Some men try too hard to be a good father. This is one of them. Murdering women that resemble his daughter so that he can surgically remove their face to place unto his daughter’s horribly scarred face is not what I would consider model behavior.