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Articles of Horror: Facial scars in film

On Friday, Jonah Hex comes to theaters, the story of a horribly scarred confederate soldier who fights bad guys in the Old West, with a sort of sci-fi/supernatural twist. The scars on his face are what define his character, whether that be the anti-hero who doesn’t play by the rules or the true hero who shows bravery and courage.

Sometime, however, these scars can twist a man’s soul and turn him evil and make him a bigger villain than the one who inflicted it on him. We also have case where these people are born with these disfigurements. Their deformity has made them so ugly they go beyond human understanding to cover themselves up and shun the world, so they never have to deal with how they are treated. In this article we will go over the ten best examples of disfigured characters in cinema, whether they be hero, villain, or just a poor soul.
 


10. Leatherface – The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

I use the remake more so as an example than the original because it went into more detail about Leatherface being born disfigured and scarred. In order for him to feel accepted by his hillbilly family, he wears other peoples faces who are better looking than him so he can fit in. This of course is a lot of psychological turmoil in his brain that leads him to being one of cinema’s most ruthless and demented madmen.


9. Mason Verger – Hannibal

In the final chapter of Anthony Hopkin’s Hannibal Lecter saga, a billionaire named Mason Verger (Gary Oldman) is one of the only two living survivors of Lecter attack, hence why he looks like that picture. He hires some bounty hunters and the FBI to bring Lecter back to him so he can feed him to his wild boars. Like with Leatherface, Mason is messed up psychologically to no end. His scars run deep as he raped and sexually abused his sister and was in turn done the same by his father. Hannibal was his doctor growing up and he learned of what he did and cut him deeply in gruesome ways. Weird fact about the film is that Gary Oldman did not want screen credit for his portrayal as no one can even recognize him with all that make up on.

8. Peyton Westlake – Darkman

After
 two villans here is our first anti-hero. Created by Sam Rami, Darkman (Liam Neesen) is scientist Peyton Westlake trying to create a synthetic skin that works so well that people with deformities can no longer feel shunned by the outside world. Some mobsters show up and blow him up and now he uses it to become any one he wants in order to fight crime. The cool thing about Darkman is he’s not afraid to kill to get what he wants and poses as those he is trying to get back at. He also has kind of has a super power as he feels no pain in any part of his body and has somewhat low-level healing powers. They just don’t work on his face.
 


7. Two-Face – The Dark Knight 

In this film, Two-Face is a much darker character, albeit portrayed sympathetically along the lines of a tragic hero rather than an evil villain. Harvey Dent is the new district attorney planning to take down the mafia. When he’s kidnapped as part of the Joker’s plan to test Batman, he falls face-first into acid and half his face catches on fire. Unlike in the comic, he only wants revenge on those cops he feels are part of the mob. His two-of-evertyhing antics are left out of the film. Ironically, Two-Face was actually a name given to him before his accident.
 


6. John Merrick – The Elephant Man

Frederick Treves (Anthony Hopkins), a surgeon, discovers John Merrick (John Hurt) in a freak show in London’s east end, where he is managed by a tyrant of a circus keeper. Merrick is so deformed that he must wear a hood and cape when in public. Treves tries to show the world what a beautiful creature this man can be. It’s a touching story that really tries to show us the good that’s on the inside of someone who is very deformed. It’s also a movie with a deeper meaning we should all live by along the lines of not judging a book by its cover. This movie is based on a true stoy. There’s an old rumor that Michael Jackson owned the Elephant Man’s bones, which is not true.

5. Ernst Stavro Blofeld – Bond Films

Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Donald Pleasence) is arguably the best Bond villain mainly for the performance of the actor portraying him in
You Only Live Twice. In “Twice” you learn he is the founder of SPECTRE the terrorist organization that was the nemesis of the Connery Bond films. It’s this film that finally reveals his signature scar and protruding eye socket. There is no explanation why he has this facial feature and this is the only Bond film that shows him with it. It has been parodied in many other films, namely the Austin Powers movies. Blofeld also appeared even if it was just a hand or voice over a phone in these Bond films: Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Diamonds are Forever , Thunderball and Never Say Never Again.
 


4. Darth Vader

If not for being a whiney little brat in Episodes I, II and half of III, Vader would be the greatest villain in cinema history. His scars and disfigurement run all over his body. It makes him who he is and gives him part of the anger that allows him to control the Dark Side of The Force. In a real bad move on his part, he betrays the Jedi and then fights his older wiser and stronger master. Even after Obi-Wan tells Anakin he has the higher ground, Anakin doesn’t listen and lunges at him. Obi Wan cuts off all his limbs and leaves him for dead, burning to death on the side of a volcano. This would fully transform him into The Dark Lord of The Sith and require him to wear the all-black getup.
 

3. Henry Jarrod – The House of Wax (1953)

The famous horror film staring the late great Vincent Price was a true cinematic artwork. Its dark gothic settings and creepy villain make the movie work. Price plays Henry Jarrod, a curator of a wax museum. He was horribly scarred in a wax accident and wears a mask through most of the film. When his face is revealed its almost nothing more than a mess — only Skeletor could say it’s handsome. House of Wax was released is soon to be released in Digital 3-D next year.
 


2. Quasimodo – The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)

Lon Chaney plays a deformed (deaf and half-blind) bell-ringer of the famous Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. He was born with this deformity and in subsequent films later on through today the term for such a hunchback deformity is nicknamed Quasimodo. The Hunchback’s story is a classic Beauty and Beast story as well. He falls in love with the dancer Esmeralda, who then he has to save from an angry mob after being falsely accused of murder. Despite his unfortunate features and knowing the girl would never love him the way he wants, he still acts as a hero in the movie. It’s the rare case where the monster is not the villain. Please skip the Disney version its enough to make you wish you too were half blind.
 

1.The Phantom – The Phantom of The Opera (1925)

This was the greatest performance by Lon Chaney. This and the film mentioned before it would demonstrate he was one of the greatest actors of the 20th Century. “Phantom” would help make him the man of a thousand faces, after several other films in which he wore so much make up than you never saw his true face. The Phantom in this story is a poor victim of a terrible accident that twisted his mind. He threatens the Grand Opera in Paris if they don’t stop playing a certain score. His features are hidden behind a mask covering most of his face. He would stop at nothing to make sure the Opera does what he wants. His lair is also one of those repeated villain hideouts below the Opera itself.

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