Film and TV

Top 5 Face Turns in Horror

If you're not familiar with the term "face turn" I'll explain. In wrestling good guys are babyfaces or just faces, while bad guys are heels. So a face turn is when a bad guy suddenly becomes a good guy. I live for those moments.

You get them in horror franchises sometimes as well. Some villains that start off as, well, deranged murderers completely morph into the heroes as the franchise goes on. It's understandable. As a franchise progresses oft-times the bad guy is the only constant link, and audiences just begin to identify with him or her more.

Or, you know, lazy writers. That happens, too. Regardless, here are my favorite face turns in horror just in time for the horror movie Halloween season.

See also: Jason Voorhees: Dark Christ Figure?

5. Terminator: You could argue that Terminator isn't really a horror film, and that the sequels are definitely not, but I always felt that Arnold's killer robot deserved to be considered more of a Michael Meyers figure than anything else. Unstoppable, terrifying, and he even succumbs to the "unmask the killer" trope at the end.

Then T2 rolled around, and at the time we all thought it was awesome that Arnold was now on the side of good. If nothing else it birthed the greatest car chase scene in decades, though it was also responsible for some of the worst hackneyed adolescent dialogue on the planet until Episode I debuted.

In the end, I think turning our killer into the hero was a mistake. We went from an inhuman menace to a wooden action hero. While it was innovative at the time, and completely unexpected, it eventually drained the franchise of any sense of looming horror that had made the first film so terrific.

4. Hellraiser: Pinhead is one of the great epic villains. He's the Lord of Hell, or at least a reasonable facsimile there of. Unlike the silent stalkers and the quippy jokers, he knows how to make an entrance and bust out some real eloquence to go with the murder chain-hooks. He is, to quote my best friend in tenth grade, metal as shit.

In Hellraiser II: Hellbound we get a look at the man that became the leader of the Cenobites. He was Elliot Spencer, a soldier who lost his faith in God at the Battle of Flanders. Kirsty Cotton reminds him of his past thanks to an old photograph, and the revelation inspires Pinhead to lead a revolt against the newly-created and distinctly rapey/murdery Channard Cenobite.

Unfortunately, Spencer gets pretty much immediately bitchslapped to death in a very anticlimactic way that completely negates the awesome, "Let's go Team Torture" moment we had just moments earlier. The face turn doesn't last, though it did lead to some awesome moments in the next film when Pinhead and Spencer are separated from each other. Best part of a film that is otherwise made up of bad puns and stupid theme-deaths.

Piece continues on next page.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jef Rouner (not cis, he/him) is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner