Most Iconic Movie Masks
Being a functioning member of society right now means that when you go to the grocery store or anywhere else that is open you wear a mask. Not a chin strap, not something that lets your big nose pop out of the top, but an actual mask to protect those around you. Through the history of cinema a number of famous masks have been worn by a number of characters so look to these if you need inspiration in for your own personal style.
Hockey Mask (Friday the 13th series): Though Jason did not find his iconic facewear until the third film, it has arguably become more associated with the hulking killer than the sport of hockey. Though he was not the first horror movie killer to put on a hockey mask (the honor goes to “the Bleeder” in 1982’s Alone in the Dark) Mr. Voorhees has worn it better than anyone else in movie history.
Demon Mask (Onibaba): A masterpiece of Japanese horror this 1964 film features two murderous thieving women living on the outskirts of society and the man who comes between them. What could have been a soap opera plot completely changes when a samurai wearing this terrifying mask roams through their territory. He claims the mask is to protect his good looks, though when he is killed and the demonic mask is taken we see that his face is a horrendous mess of sores. The older of the two begins to use this mask to terrify her accomplice, but as suspected the mask contains a supernatural curse and becomes permanently attached to it’s wearer.
“Face” Mask (Texas Chainsaw Massacre series): Putting food on the table has to be hard, and when that food is people it helps to hold the intimidation factor advantage. From a family of lunatic cannibals in the middle-of-nowhere Texas, Leatherface has sewn the faces of his victims into his very own mask. In each Texas Chainsaw sequel, reboot, or remake the chainsaw-wielding mad man has crafted a new face covering from the remains of his victims ready for any occasion.
Darth Vader mask (Star Wars series): Arguably the most iconic villain in cinema history is recognized for the mask which keeps him alive. With a respirator built in giving Vader his iconic heavy breathing, this mask strips away anything resembling humanity leaving those who have to interact with him dealing with a cold unfeeling Sith Lord. Sculptor Brian Muir drew inspiration from multiple sources in creating this mask.
The Shape (Halloween series): When director John Carpenter conceived of Michael Myers, he wanted the killer to have an aura of mystery to him. To that end as his prop makers searched for the perfect mask for their killer, they discovered a Captain Kirk mask which they modified to be the haunting pale image we all know today. In the four decades which followed, the different variations of the mask has been seen onscreen and in different states of disrepair. But they all adhere to the eerie expressionless look the original film made so famous.
Phantom Mask (Phantom of the Opera 1943): The incarnation of the Phantom seen before this version placed more emphasis on the make-up work beneath the mask. With this Claude Rains version of the story however, the famed actor was mostly seen in this now iconic face covering. Ever since every version of the Opera Ghost has taken inspiration from this version. Not only does it hide his disfigured appearance but allows the Phantom to look sharp and have a sense of mystery.
Zorro mask (Zorro series): Sometimes simplicity is the best, the smoothest swashbuckler from Spanish controlled California opts for a simple black mask. In his alter ego as Don Diego de la Vega, he is the son of a wealthy family who lives alongside the ruling elite who prey on the commoners. Needless to say with this notoriety he needs a way to disguise himself as Zorro. This simple piece of fabric not only does that trick but allows enough expression for him to convey his more charming nature.
Hannibal’s muzzle (Silence of the Lambs): For the length of this entire movie we have been led to believe that Dr. Hannibal Lecter was nothing short of a monster. This means when they have to take this dangerous man from the dungeon he has been stored away in and moved to Memphis he has to be restrained in every way possible. Because he ate his victims, this means a muzzle is necessary to keep him in check. While it prevents him from being bitey, it still allows the good doctor to verbally get under everyone’s skin.
Ghostface (Scream series): Before 1996 this mask could be found in any Halloween section of any department store. When director Wes Craven laid eyes on it he knew this would be the mask his newest slasher icon would wear. Through four movies, this mask has been worn by many people who sought to ruin the life of Sydney Prescott. This mask is brilliant in its simplicity where any psycho can pick it up at the store yet there is something undeniably eerie about it.
Bat Cowl (Batman series): One of the most popular figures in popular culture across all mediums, the Dark Knight cuts a silhouette that is instantly recognizable. Co-creator Bill Finger 80 years ago decided Batman’s cowl should resemble that of an actual bat and made history in the process. Onscreen we have seen variations in design (most notably in ear size) but in the end this is a key component of a classic costume.
The Mask (The Mask): Stanley Ipkis is a mild mannered bank employee who discovers a strange mask of ancient origin. When he places this mask on his face, Ipkis transforms into a real life cartoon character. Seemingly an ancient mask of Norse origin once it is put on it forms itself to the wearer and grants them a host of supernatural powers. In the case of Ipkis, it gives him the ability to turn into a living Tex Avery cartoon.