In most horror franchises, the main draw is the monster/murderer/mysterious thing that goes bump in the night. You watch a Friday the 13th movie to see Jason brutalize dumb idiots around Camp Crystal Lake. You watch a Nightmare on Elm Street movie to see Freddy Krueger ridicule people before slaughtering them in their dreams. You watch a zombie movie to see hapless, faceless nobodies get torn apart by the undead. On the other end of the equation, it is actually quite difficult to pull off a true horror hero—one who really connects with the audience.
But it does happen. There are definitely series that have heroes who go toe-to-toe with the evil lurking in the shadows. These are people we’d want in our corner if something supernatural came to our town. What separates a lasting, likable hero from the usual horror movie protagonists is personality, brains, and style. Some rando good guy who just happens not to get killed does not a compelling hero make; we need someone who can hold the frame and possess the wherewithal and gumption to bump back.
For the purposes of this list, we’re focusing on horror movie heroes who appeared in three or more films (thus constituting true franchise players) and who are the proper protagonists of each of their outings. So while there are great horror movie heroes out there who appeared in one or two movies, or heroes who were in three movies but maybe died early on in one of them, they’re all sadly out of contention. Also, this is for movies only, so while Buffy is easily the best horror hero, she’s really more a TV character than a movie one.
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Images: Warner Bros, Hammer Films, 20th Century Fox, Dimension, Universal, Moustapha Akkad, Renaissance Films