Begin Screaming: 10 of the Scariest Horror Origin Stories
With 'Rings'revisiting its nightmarish demon Samara on February 3, we look back at when, where and how some of horror’s most terrifying icons became the monsters we love.
The Ring (2002)
We first met Samara in this film based on a Japanese movie whose concept involved a killer videotape. Since 1998, we've seen two American and five Japanese 'Ring' movies, with 'Rings' revisiting the concept of a video that can kill you.
On Halloween night in 1963, six-year-old Michael Myers stabbed his sister and her boyfriend to death. Why he does it is never truly explained, but 15 years later, he escapes a sanitarium and begins his 10-film reign of terror as “the boogeyman” -- the ultimate face of evil.
Friday the 13th (1980)
Famed for his hockey mask and unrelenting bloodlust, Jason Voorhees wasn’t even the villain in the original 'Friday the 13th' -- that was left to his mother, who sought revenge for her son’s drowning. But when mom herself was killed, that signaled it was time for Jason to return from his watery grave, and he’s been haunting us ever since.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Burned to death by the members of his community after a technicality allows him to walk on charges of killing 20 neighborhood children, Freddy Krueger makes a deal with the demons of the dream world and comes back as a supernatural agent of terror, determined to seek his vengeance on the people who served him vigilante justice.
Child’s Play (1988)
Fatally shot in a toy store by a cop, serial killer Charles Lee Ray uses a voodoo ritual to transfer his soul to a “Good Guy” doll and vows vengeance. Named “Chucky” by his six-year-old owner, he begins one of the creepiest yet funniest horror franchises around. A sixth movie, 'Cult of Chucky,' is set for 2017.
Hellraiser II (1988)
Disillusioned with humanity after seeing firsthand the atrocities of World War I, Captain Elliot Spencer finds and opens a mystical puzzle box that leads to a dimension of pain and suffering -- where he is transformed into Pinhead, the soul-stealing leader of the beings known as Cenobites.
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
The reanimated, flesh-eating corpses we typically call “zombies” have no real origin. Going back to the movie that started it all -- they just get up and start walking. And somehow that makes them the most terrifying monsters of all.
The Omen (1976)
Damien Thorn is a nice five-year-old boy and adopted son of one of the most important politicians on Earth. He was also born of a jackal, his real dad is Satan, and he’s come into the world to bring about the end times. Yes, he’s the Antichrist, and he was once a cute little kid.
Awakened by American nuclear testing in the Pacific, this forgotten prehistoric beast is both enraged and enhanced by radiation, becoming a gigantic, terrifying, fire-breathing force of nature. He emerges from his eons-long slumber to both stomp on humanity and protect the Earth -- not necessarily mutual interests.
The story of Frankenstein’s monster has been told many times, but the ghastliness of it remains the same: the creature is life created from death, a being made up of parts of dead bodies and activated via electricity by a scientist who dared to try and cheat death… never a good idea.