Below are in my opinion a few of the wildest hairdos in “horror”, used here in a loose sense to include all manner of cult, exploitation, horror, drive-in and B movies. Personally, I’d love to see some of these looks make a comeback, but I’ll leave it up to you to decide which ‘dos are dos and which ‘dos are don’ts. I tried to cut deep with these picks, so you probably won’t find them on other such lists, if indeed there are any. Major spoilers below.
I may update this post with higher quality screen shots as I come across them.
From my Blood review: “It looks like someone just picked up a fistful of rabbit hair from the carpet and mashed it into his forehead. The actor here is a cabaret pianist by the name of John Wallowitch. I’ve Googled pictures of him, and he doesn’t actually have one of these. In this high-def screen shot from Exploitation TV, you can even make out Mr. Wallowitch’s real eyebrows underneath the hot mess. My question is whose idea was this, and what did they think it would add to the movie? Like, why?” Something else I’ve just noticed is that his hair wasn’t greyed all the way and is brown toward the bottom. A double whammy.
As a huge fan of Blood Shack, this makes zero sense. When the killer’s hood is pulled back and we finally see who it is, he has a painted-on mustache and diamonds on his cheeks like a half-assed clown. It isn’t explained why, and the makeup does nothing to conceal his identity. My question again would be why?
This one’s fascinating as Frank the cop starts the film with an actual mustache, then re-appears toward the end with whatever this is on his face. The reason for Frank’s sudden change in appearance is simple. The actor shaved off his ‘stache for another role, not realizing he’d be needed for pick-ups. The real mystery is what materials they used and why director Robert Hiltzik chose to draw attention to it by shooting in close-up. I always thought it looked like football player eye black some with pubes mashed into it, but that would be flat, and upon closer inspection, this does have some depth to it. Fan theories include electrical tape, clay, and even strips of felt. Your guess is as good as mine. I haven’t picked up the Sleepaway Camp Blu-ray yet, but I’ve read it’s impeccable. Maybe the hi-def picture quality sheds new light on this mystery.
The crushing weight of such a voluminous side pony would surely throw a lesser woman’s spine out of wack, but years of swimming, playing volleyball, and tilting her head to give bitchy looks has given Judy supernaturally strong neck muscles. Sadly, they don’t protect her vagina from curling irons. Not pictured here is the shirt she wears with her own name on it. Have you seen the meme going around claiming Judy’s side pony died for our sins? Well, it’s true. Pay your respects in the comments below.
It doesn’t translate the best in this screen shot (the interview scenes look to have been shot on video to resemble archival news footage), but writer/director/actor Jim Van Bebber is wearing a laughably fake biker ‘stache that flaps around while he talks. The worst part about it? Photography started in 1988 and ended in 2003, meaning Van Bebber had fifteen years to grow an actual ‘stache for this scene and did not. There’s no excuse for this fake one.
Van Bebber sports an even more bizarre hairdo as Ricky Kasslin in My Sweet Satan, based on the real-life murder of Gary Lauwers by teenage Satanist Ricky “Acid King” Kasso. Van Bebber’s head is shaved down the middle with a zig-zag pattern in back. Most of the hair on his right side is short, but one part is long. He has three rattails in back and two on his left side, all tied into braids. Some of his hair has a red tint to it. Kasso did not have this haircut; Van Bebber just wanted to look like this.
Alright, I know I said I was going to be impartial, but this is just bad. The actor underneath this abomination is the legendary Angus Scrimm, famous for playing “The Tall Man” in the much loved Phantasm series. Anyone watching this movie should already know who he is and that he was bald. It was part of his gimmick. Nothing about the character he’s playing here really necessitates having this hairstyle, making the decision to slap such an obvious terrible wig on him even more baffling. In a post on a site called the Classic Horror Film Board, member Red Gargon describes it as a “cumulus cloud of cotton candy” and that sums it up perfectly.
From my Blood Feast review: “You can’t talk about Blood Feast without mentioning [Fuad’s eyebrows]. You just can’t. I don’t know if it’s ever been said what they used to gray the guy’s hair. To me, it looks like his eyebrows were coated with silver enamel paint. They’re completely unnatural looking, yet, Lewis focused so closely on them that we see every hair, pore, and sun spot on Mal Arnold’s face in perfect detail. I guess he knew there was no hiding how bad they looked.”
Schlockstar Ted V. Mikels came up with some truly memorable stories and characters over his fifty-three career as a writer/director, but none are more interesting than him. Following the success of his drive-in cult classic The Corpse Grinders, the Saint Paul, Minnesota native moved into a sprawling 27-room castle in Glendale, California where he built a functional torture dungeon and lived with multiple young beautiful women for ten to twelve years. Although he insisted nothing “funny” went on, stories of late-night S&M games persisted, making their way back to fellow exploitation director Don Farmer, who filmed Cannibal Hookers there. Mikels’ most recognizable features were his genuine boar tusk necklace and Salvador Dali-esque evil guy mustache, which he started at 22 and maintained for sixty-five years, never once shaving off until his death in 2016. Mikels revealed to a mustache forum (I guess those exist) in 2011 that he was partly inspired to grow said ‘stache by famed magician Leon Mandrake, who he briefly toured with at 17. What a life.
Speaking of Mikels, his good friend Wendy O. Altamura pops up in probably my favorite movie of his. Credited only as “Shanti”, the Las Vegas psychotherapist plays a remote viewing expert (someone who psychically sees past and/or distant objects). Her look consists of a buzzed head, curly sideburns, drawn-on eyebrows, tons of make-up, six earrings, and a head wrap. I don’t know if I’d feel comfortable opening up to this woman. She looks really intense.
Technically, he’s not so much a “character” as an extra who appears for three to four seconds outside of a club at the start of the movie. Another slightly more fleshed-out character rolls by in a van and yells “Punk assholes!” at the crowd of people, prompting this guy to flip off the camera. Maybe he’s one of those straightedge vegan punks; his scalp resembles a vegetable garden. I’m waiting for Mario to come along and pick the sprouts and throw them at Shy Guys. I especially love how his sprouts all appear to be varying lengths and thicknesses, and were tied using multicolored hairbands. His nose and ear rings really tie it together. Extra points for the pink squirrel’s nest on the right.
As the leader of New York’s most dangerous street gang, Manny Fraker has an image to uphold. He shaves his head down the middle to make room for a long red line that forms part of a “not equal to” sign (≠) he paints on his forehead. He keeps his remaining hemispheres of hair slicked back to each side. All the members of his gang wear this symbol. The funny part is that it’s been used by white supremacist groups in real life and the gang is mostly made up of minorities. Fraker may be a cold-blooded killer, but one thing he’s not is a racist.
In the very first scene of this movie, a leather-clad prison escapee with tape across her nipples named Osso is frozen in place by a boobed Grim Reaper and told to become the leader of an invisible motorcycle gang. Osso agrees, and is magically gifted a handlebar moustache that matches her frizzy orange pig-tails. It only gets weirder from there.
Michael Myers’ mask is one of the most iconic images in all of horror. While it changes perceptibtly from movie to movie, it’s always been white with brown hair. That’s why it’s so weird that a blonde mask (reminiscent of the one Ben Tramer wears in Part 2) pops up in two shots in Halloween 4. How does this happen, and why was it left in the movie? In Back to Basics: the Making of Halloween 4, makeup technician Ken Horn says when he was first hired for the film, he was shown a pink mask with white hair (not blonde). Knowing the mask wasn’t right, he ordered replacements from the son of the man who designed the original William Shatner mask John Carpenter altered for Part 1. Apparently, the replacements also came in pink and white, and nobody checked to make sure they were good until shooting began. Director Dwight Little says he “thinks” the inclusion of the pink and white mask was a mistake, implying he may have done it on purpose. He theorizes that somebody ran to the prop truck at 4 in the morning and grabbed an unaltered mask and everybody must have been too tired to notice. Then, he just brushes the whole mistake off, saying there wouldn’t have been time to reshoot it even if they did notice. I guess that explains the mask, but it doesn’t excuse it.