Horror Movies With Masked Killers

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The horror genre has killers of all shapes and sizes, but nothing can beat one with a masked killer.

When it comes to some of the deadliest horror villains that have ever graced the silver screen, many of them have hidden their faces behind masks to deprive their victims of knowing the true identity of their killer. 

So grab a cup of something to drink, and let’s get started on the best horror movies with masked killers hunting their poor victims!

Into wet horror movies? Check out the article on horror mermaid movies.

Leatherface – Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

First up on the list is the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, easily the forerunner of what most would consider the slasher genre.

With a long-running franchise that started in 1978, Leatherface is known to anyone who looks at his mask made from the faces of various victims. 

He owns several different masks, and he occasionally replaces them as needed with the face of his latest victim if he takes a special liking to how they look.

However, Leatherface differs from many other killers on this list, specifically because he isn’t doing it for satisfaction or out of pure evil. 

The story of Leatherface is incredibly sad, as he was a child with multiple learning disabilities and was not given the chance to learn and grow as he should have been.

What makes it even sadder is that it’s based on an actual serial killer from Wisconsin. If you want to know more, check out 40 Horror Movies Based on True Stories – sometimes the truth is really scarier than fiction!

Instead, he has a family of cannibals who turned him into the face-wearing, chainsaw-wielding manic we see on screen.

So, while he may be one of the greatest masked killers ever created, it’s important to remember where he came from and his story. 

Ghostface – Scream (1996)

Up next is Ghostface, the face of slasher films and the one that most people think of when asked about slashers.

While the older Scream movies were more like horror comedies than brutal horror, Ghostface has remained the same throughout them all.

No matter who wears the iconic mask, they give up their previous identity when donning it, which is possibly the most enticing part about Ghostface.

Anyone can wear it; it doesn’t matter who you are or your goals. If you want to kill someone, the Ghostface mask is the perfect way to hide your identity.

The Scream franchise also does something fairly unique: having each killer pay homage in some way to those who came before the latest one.

It’s a way of keeping everything tied together in-universe, even though Scream has nothing against breaking that fourth wall occasionally. 

Speaking of being tied together and the Scream franchise, Gale Weathers and Dewy Riley are one odd couple you can read more about in Famous Horror Couple From Movies.

So, if you are looking for a slasher franchise that spawned the Scary Movies Franchise and a whole culture, check out Scream!

The Collector – The Collector (2009)

Moving away from the classic for a minute, The Collector gave his name to two films, with a third film that was supposed to be called The Collected but never got to see the light of day after creative dissent amongst the producers.

Nonetheless, we still got a great slasher movie with the first film and a passable movie with the second one. 

The Collector is a strange man who does not speak and wears a taut leather mask tied behind his head.

You only catch glimpses of it throughout the movie, but when the mask is shown, you can be certain it will be the last thing the Collector’s victims ever see before dying. 

And why is he called the Collector? Well, he not only collects bugs but also enters people’s homes in the middle of the night, booby traps their homes, and then either captures them alive for his human collection or takes some part of them after they fall prey to his traps. 

It is a terrifying home invasion slasher flick with a large body count and a premise that will leave you double-checking every lock in your home. 

Jason Vorhees – Friday the 13th: Part 2 (1981)

Jason Vorhees is another highly famous slasher villain in the Friday the 13th franchise with many horror films.

Not only has he killed people from multiple towns, but he has even made his way into space in the beautiful comedy Jason X, where he terrorizes people in the future. 

While he may not necessarily be the most powerful killer on this list, he is effectively immortal and can never truly be killed after being raised from the dead by his dead mother.

If you want the story on that, I recommend watching the first Friday the 13th movie. Otherwise, you can skip to the second one for Jason himself. 

Over the years, group after group of teenagers have arrived at the summer camp where Jason died, and more often than not, they find themselves killed before the end of the movie.

It has happened so many times Jason has become an urban legend that teenagers tell each other, not knowing the grave truth behind it.

Jason wears a hockey mask, and throughout the years, the symbols and design change a bit, but he always has his trademark hockey mask and a large machete perfect for chopping off limbs and heads.

While there haven’t been any new films of his for a while, they did do a recent reboot, and Jason may be returning before too long. 

Michael Myers – Halloween (1978)

Created by John Carpenter, the Halloween franchise features a masked killer, Michael Myers (or The Shape if you play Dead by Daylight), and takes place on Halloween night.

Rob Zombie also does several remakes and some additional remakes created by David Gordon Green, so the franchise’s lore gets a bit murky at times. 

While there are differing opinions on the order you should watch them, I recommend starting with the originals first, then deciding if you want to watch the Rob Zombie remakes or the David Green ones.

Regardless of your choice, you will watch Michael wear his ghostly white mask and kill his victims with his knife. 

It is a clever mask design and adds to the tension as he stalks and slowly walks after his victims, knowing that even if he doesn’t get them this year, he will return the next Halloween.

He has killed more than one group of friends, and nothing will stop him from murdering more. 

Hannibal Lecter – Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Hannibal Lecter barely counts as a masked killer, as he rarely kills while wearing a mask. Instead, he is normally only featured with a mask in captivity, with the mask being fairly uniquely styled.

It covers Hannibal’s lower face and has several small metal rods that allow people to see his mouth, preventing Lecter from biting anyone.

Unlike a normal serial killer, Hannibal Lecter prefers to take bites out of his victims and consume their entire beings as he is a sophisticated cannibal. Since he is so formal, though, that most of the time, as long as you treat him properly, he won’t lay a finger on you. 

But if he wants to kill you, then your fate is sealed. He was a psychologist before turning into a serial killer, and he is highly intelligent, making it easy for him to play mind games with those he views as toys or simply as food.

You can watch plenty of that in the movies, as Hannibal shows off his superior intellect whenever possible.

Sam – Trick ‘R Treat (2007)

Trick ‘R Treat is the only horror anthology film on this list because while it is a sort of anthology, it is also one cohesive film.

It tells the story of Halloween night through the eyes of multiple people, with each one cutting back and forth, leaving you wondering what belongs were and when certain events occurred. 

If you are not big on paying attention to the movies you watch, this is one where you have to pay attention.

Even a moment of lapsed attention can lead to you missing various plot points, leaving you even more confused than ever. But you’ll find it hard not to watch when the cutest killer on the block shows up. 

The killer is none other than a little demon child who wears a scarecrow outfit and is essentially the spirit of Halloween. Obey the rules of Halloween, and you won’t have to worry about him. Break them, though, and you may meet a fate worse than death. 

The Strangers – The Strangers (2008)

The Strangers are the only names given to three masked killers who break into a young couple’s home one night.

They are never given names, rarely speak, and wield weapons like an axe and a large knife. Their only reason for trying to kill this couple is that they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

It is a truly terrifying concept and gave a lot of people nightmares about home invasions because of how untargeted it was. 

And the masks didn’t make it any better. Each of the killers wears a mask, with the only male wearing a sack mask and the two females wearing different doll-styled masks.

Everything about the movie is uncomfortable and makes you double-check your locks and refuse to open the door for anyone. 

A second film was made a decade after the first, though it didn’t reach the same level of notoriety as the first one.

Regardless, The Strangers is one of the best-known home invasion horror movies you can watch, so if you want some paranoia tonight, give it a watch. 

Pig Mask – Saw (2004)

The Saw franchise has had a long and storied history, with the franchise still going strong in 2023.

In this franchise, Pig Mask is the name given to the various Jigsaw apprentices who wear the customary pig mask they use whenever kidnapping victims for Saw traps. 

Alongside the mask, the apprentices tend to wear red and black cloaks, which are the colors that are often associated with Jigsaw throughout the movies.

While he occasionally wears the pig mask, you will normally only see his apprentices becoming the unknown assailants that kidnap those he wants to test. 

Saw may be mostly focused on the traps, the gore, and the amazing plotline, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t still have one of the most iconic masks ever seen in horror movie history.

If this isn’t enough for you, check out these extremely disturbing horror movies.

Leslie Vernon – Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)

If you are looking for a great psychological thriller that combines slasher, found footage, and mockumentary, then look no further than Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon.

By the way, if you’re into this type of movie, you should also check out the article Best Movies Like The Poughkeepsie Tapes. Many of these also combine found footage with slasher and mockumentary style.

This movie tells the story of a serial killer learning the trade from two retired killers in a small town. 

He tends to prey on young women but kills anyone he deems a proper target.

To spread awareness of the serial killer job, Leslie allows a young woman and her camera crew to observe him as he goes about his days, killing, talking, sleeping, eating, etc. 

It is masterfully done and lulls you into that sense of What if this is real? While you know it isn’t, there is still a part lingering that thinks maybe, just maybe, it is.

Besides the movie being so well done, Leslie also wears one of the most creepy masks that horror movie villains have ever worn. 

The mask is a simple design, a blueish-gray color, with large eye holes and a frown on it.

If that was the last thing you ever saw, it would be burned into your mind for whatever eternity you may spend after death.

In Closing

Horror movies with masked killers have been essential to the horror genre for decades.

From the iconic hockey mask of Jason Voorhees to the ghostly face of Scream’s Ghostface, these masked characters have left an indelible mark on pop culture and continue to inspire new generations of filmmakers.

Whether you’re a seasoned horror fan or a newcomer to the genre, these films are must-watch horror classics and a staple of horror cinema.


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  • Jan Sørup

    Jan Sørup is a indie filmmaker, videographer and photographer from Denmark. He owns filmdaft.com and the Danish company Apertura, which produces video content for big companies in Denmark and Scandinavia. Jan has a background in music, has drawn webcomics, and is a former lecturer at the University of Copenhagen.

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