The killers in horror movies are often measured on how scary they are or how big their body count is. Style conversations focus on methods rather than what they are wearing. Final Girls, the stylish best friend — who often ends up dead — and witches often dominate when discussing sartorial prowess in horror, because they are often the best-dressed characters on screen.
But this isn’t to say the killers themselves haven’t spent time crafting a look that sets them apart from other horror movie monsters. Some of these killers like to revel in their notoriety and want people to know exactly who they are, but a chosen ensemble can also help conceal their identity from the audience and potential victims.
Sticking to a specific outfit can also reinforce a terrifying brand. This is a messy hobby/occupation; is blood splatter going to ruin a perfectly good outfit on its first wear? Some form of cardio is also a factor to be considered. Constricting clothing could look good, but will it get in the way or be a pain at the worst possible moment?
Now, you shouldn't necessarily be taking style tips from the 10 horror icons below, but they have all crafted looks that make them stand out in a crowded field — and they are all dressed to kill.
Michael Myers (Halloween) - The Project Runway Award
Michael (Nick Castle) knows that his white hospital robes are neither inconspicuous nor the most practical for his Halloween plans. Instead, he finds an outfit that is both easy to conceal blood splatter and helps him blend into his surroundings. Michael makes it work with the resources he has, but instead of a trip to Mood Fabrics in New York City, he kills a mechanic and steals his coveralls. The mask isn’t ideal for a date that isn’t October 31, but he is very much on theme for this one night
Freddy Krueger (A Nightmare on Elm Street) - Just Like Us
It can be awkward when you accidentally dress like someone else, but even more so when that person is Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund). A striped sweater is a classic garment that everyone should have in their closet, but be aware that if you opt for green and red then you might get called Freddy — I say this from personal experience — especially if you pair it with a hat and some bespoke gloves.
Billy the Puppet (Saw) - Most Sophisticated
In the Saw franchise, a message from the tricycle-riding puppet means something bad is about to happen. But at least Billy — as he is referred to off-screen — is dressed for a grand occasion in a black tuxedo and white gloves. There is also strong cohesion in the choice of red accessorizing from the swirls on his cheeks to the Mary Jane shoes on his feet. A natty scarlet bow tie and pocket square tie it all together. Billy is pretty old school in his manner of dressing; it would be charming if he wasn’t so creepy.
Ghostface (Scream) - Best Cape
Taking inspiration from the Grim Reaper, the Ghostface ensemble is both chic and incredibly comfy. You can wear whatever you want underneath, but a sensible pair of boots is advised. It also doubles as a knife-cleaning garment and will hide all manner of stains.
Chucky (Child’s Play) - Cutest
A pair of denim overalls and a striped jumper — in horror, stripes are dangerous and stylish — looks just as great on a child as it does on an adult. It is also an incredibly disarming look for a murderous doll. What Chucky’s attire is saying is “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” as it might end up killing you.
Pinhead (Hellraiser) - Most on Brand Accessorizing
Sometimes the origin of a nickname is not all that obvious, but this is not the case here. Pinhead’s (Doug Bradley) look is part punk, part something that might get suggested on Goop as a great facial option. His black robes accentuate the whole evil vibe, but nothing will top just how dedicated he is to creating a scary aesthetic as his face accessorizing.
Mrs. Voorhees (Friday the 13th) - Most on Point for Fall
Talk about hiding in plain sight. The person you would least expect is the woman in the cable knit sweater, which is also probably homemade. Mrs. Voorhees (Betsy Palmer) is the perfect style inspiration for the coming cold months. Bonus style points awarded to Mrs. Voorhees for the expert layering; get that full ‘80s vibe by pairing a sweater with a turtleneck underneath. Baby blue is normally reserved for Final Girls or Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby, but this isn’t a total fashion don’t for a killer. Her son made the hockey mask his signature, but his mother comes first in the sartorial stakes.
Leatherface (Texas Chainsaw Massacre) - Dressing for Dinner Etiquette 101
Putting on a tie for dinner at home is no longer commonplace, but Leatherface (Gunnar Hansen) makes sure he has appropriate neckwear and jacket for when the Sawyer family has guests over. You've got to make a good impression, even if the person is less invited and more kidnapped. The tie also adds some flair when wielding a chainsaw, though it does present a danger of getting tangled up in the blade.
Ben Willis (I Know What You Did Last Summer) - Best Day-to-Night
There are times when you want to go out straight from work rather than having to go home to change your outfit. Ben Willis (Muse Watson) has found the ideal day-to-night solution by wearing his work clothes to conceal his identity when he gets his murder on. He is rather versatile, as he also makes use of the fisherman tools he uses on a daily basis — including a very effective large fish hook.
Pennywise (It) - Clown but Make it Fashion
Ruffles were a big spring ‘18 runway trend; Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård) was an early adopter, pairing them with the just-as-flamboyant leg-of-mutton sleeve. Pennywise takes the clown costume and injects some high fashion into his reign of terror, earning him the most couture award of our Best Dressed horror movie killers.