The supernatural genre combined with some horror and thriller elements has always been a cash cow for Hollywood and is gradually becoming a strong ingredient for the same. With movies like Insidious (2010), The Conjuring (2013) and TV Series like Stranger Things (2016-Present) catching the mainstream, supernatural characters are getting traction, and in many cases a revival from their old selves to suit the new era. This is especially because of the 18-25 age group which has become more or less the primary target group for a lot of brands these days, and naturally Hollywood. Not boring you much, I present to you the front-runners of the supernatural gone. These supernatural characters have been entertaining us since the 1900s and continue to do so. Let’s have a look at the list of top supernatural characters created for movies.
Chupacabra -literally goat sucker- is an urban legend in South America and the regions close to it, particularly Puerto Rico and Mexico. It is described as a creature of the size of a small bear or coyote with spikes on its back and long sabretooth-like teeth. Chupacabra is believed to feast on the blood of livestock; its favourite prey being goats. The Chupacabra is a relatively less known legend in the U.S. and hence doesn’t have as many representations in Hollywood as the other entities on the list have. The best description and use of the creature were in an episode of Jackie Chan’s animated series in which Jackie fights the famed beast. Other than that the character has been adapted in, shall I say, weak and side roles in science-fiction and horror movies.
A little different from Werewolves, shapeshifters are beings expert in turning themselves into another animal or any other logical shape at will. The ability may be restricted to only one animal like a wolf in case of werewolves or different ones. There are few examples of entities that can turn themselves into any kind of animal like the Norse God Loki and of course the Greek God Zeus. In Hollywood shapeshifting is regarded as a magical power and quite often misrepresented to be a power restricted to magicians. Some examples include Sirius Black in Harry Potter Series, some mutants in X-Men series, vampires who can turn into a bat at will, and others. Shapeshifters, although not called by this specific name, are quite common in Hollywood as well as World cinema.
13. The Hunchback of Notre-Dame
Well, when it comes to the supernatural genre this character is not that popular. First made into a silent movie in 1911, the eternal love story of Esmeralda and Quasimodo is a heart-wrenching novel written by Victor Hugo in 1831. The half-blind and hunchback bell-ringer of Notre-Dame church, Quasimodo is not a true supernatural character. But the taboo and socially unaccepted love between him and Esmeralda is in itself something that supercedes normality. The story has been adapted into movies and TV Series including a 1996 animated adaptation by the Walt Disney Studios. The character is soon to be revived under the Dark Universe franchise of Universal Studios.
12. Dorian Gray
The eternal portrait of Dorian Gray is one of the comparatively less known tales and consequently less used supernatural character in movies. However, that doesn’t change the fact that the story of Dorian Gray written by Oscar Wilde is one of the most interesting, dark, and morally questionable stories you’ll ever encounter in life. Fearing that his incomparable beauty will one day wither due to old age, Dorian Gray sell his soul to the Devil. In return, he gets eternal beauty and the freedom to commit any sin without the effects on his person. In his place, a portrait of Dorian would apparently age and bear the mark of his sins. The character and the concept have been adapted into various live action feature films with limited success; the most famous being Dorian Gray (2009) starring Ben Barnes and Penny Dreadful starring Eva Green.
11. The Phantom of the Opera
“The Phantom of the Opera is there, inside your mind.” Well, I don’t know about the mind but the Phantom of the Opera has surely been on the silver screen. The superior musical production of Gaston Leroux’s novel ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ in 1986 by Andrew Webber is one of the best-known classics of the supernatural genre. The story revolves around Erik, an orphan deformed from birth who calls himself the Ghost of the Opera. Having learnt theatrical and circus tricks in childhood he appears as a masked man expert in the art of Opera and falls in love with his mentee, the beautiful Christine. The most famous adaptation of this beautiful love story is the 2004 film starring Emmy Rossum and Gerard Butler.
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10. Invisible Man
Your own Invisible Man is here. Based on the protagonist Dr John Griffin of H.G. Wells’ novel of the same name, Invisible man is an iconic character of the horror and thriller genre. Accidentally discovering a formula to render a human invisible, Dr Griffin wreaks havoc on the city of London when he is unable to turn himself back. Many movies and a handful of TV series have been inspired by this particular character, most notable being the Universal Monster Invisible Man of 1933 and Kevin Bacon’s character in the movie Hollow Man (2000). Universal Studios recently announced that it would be recreating the original movie with Johnny Depp in the lead role. I for one am very excited to see –or rather not see- Depp as the Invisible Man.
9. The Mummy
Originally portrayed by Boris Karloff in the 1932 version of the movie, Mummy or Imhotep was supposedly a high priest for the Pharaoh Amenophis who in order to resurrect his beloved, stole the infamous Scroll of Thoth. As punishment, he was mummified alive along with the scroll. He kept sleeping until accidentally resurrected by a group of archaeologists. The series and the character were cinematically revived in the 1999 movie ‘The Mummy’ with Brendan Fraiser and Rachel Weisz. In 2017, Universal yet again amped up the Mummy franchise under the Dark Universe mission which is meant to renew all the Universal monsters for the 21st Century. The movie starred Sofia Boutella as the infamous Mummy and Tom Cruise as the Egyptian God Set. We’ll surely see more of this quirky character in the upcoming Universal films.
8. John Constantine
John Constantine is a character of DC. An occult detective who does exorcisms and sends the sorry a**es of demons to Hell, Constantine is a badass at what he does. Having seen Hell at a very young age, he is an active force involved in maintaining the balance between good and evil on Earth. Several adaptations including a movie Constantine (2005) starring Keanu Reeves and Rachel Weisz alongwith a dedicated TV series created by NBC has proved that this one is as cheeky and interesting as any supernatural character gets.
7. Van Helsing
The archenemy of Count Dracula, this is Abraham Van Helsing. Based largely on the character of the same name portrayed in Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula, Van Helsing is primarily a vampire hunter. He uses various tools and weapons like a crucifix, holy water, and a silver stake to ward off the creatures of the night. He has according to many adaptations, a history with Count Dracula and is considered one of the few able to stand toe to toe with the king of the vampires. The character as a loose adaptation of the original version has been shown in Van Helsing (2004) and Penny Dreadful (2014-16). Other than that although being quite a strong character, he is largely dependent on vampires and Dracula for his portrayal in the movies.
A human with the ability to turn into a mindless wolf monster, a werewolf is a quite famous supernatural character. The human in question either willingly accepts the supposed werewolf affliction or is forced to do so by a curse. On a full moon, the curse within them activates and they are turned into a wolf leaving behind their true human self. Werewolves have long been a topic of interest for Hollywood, portrayed more often than not as enemies of vampires. Movies like Van Helsing (2004), Twilight (2008), The Wolfman (2010), and Underworld (2003) have tried to tap into the different aspects of the folklore. Due to their raw strength and deadly venom, werewolves are best suited to fight against vampires who are equally powerful. The only difference being that werewolves are not able to control when they turn into a wolf, whereas vampires are always their powerful self.
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Whether it is angels, archangels, or fallen angels; as a concept, Angels have been exploited a lot around the world in fiction. The filmmakers whenever working in the supernatural genre are bound to include these beings when they add a certain twist or excitement to the plot. Considered to be above humans but below the almighty in the divine hierarchy, angels are considered to be beings of supreme power made out of pure energy. Whatever side they may be angels certainly a spice to the ongoing direction of the plot. Whether it be the famous Archangels Michael and Gabriel, fallen angels like Lucifer Azazel, or minor ones like Amenadiel they all have been portrayed in form or another in Hollywood. Some of them include Constantine (2005), Lucifer (2015-Present), Fallen (1998), and City of Angels (1998). Most famous angel perhaps is Lucifer who is more often than not considered to be Devil or the Lord of the underworld in the Christian faith. Devil or Lucifer has been adapted in many horror movies as well as the superhit film The Devil’s Advocate (1997) starring Al Pacino and Keanu Reeves.
Friday the 13th is famous for many reasons. One of them is the mythical day when thousands of witches were burned at the stake in Salem by the Holy Roman Church. Witches have long been associated with the dark arts and are thought to be in a pact with the Devil in exchange for powers not meant for mortals. Or atleast that is the version the Church presents. On the other hand, many accounts reveal the so-called witches and wizards to be practitioners of science who far from the shadow of superstition dealt in logical reasoning. Well, whatever be the case, the infamous witches have been quite important characters in the horror and supernatural genre alike. Movies like Chronicles of Narnia, Maleficient, The Blair Witch Project, and Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters are a handful which portray a witch as the protagonist or antagonist. One thing is for sure though. I wouldn’t want to be caught in the hands of one, regardless of her being good or evil.
3. Frankenstein’s Monster
Contrary to popular belief Frankenstein is the name of the man who resurrected an assortment of dead limbs and torso sewed together. The name of the monster created by him was Adam. Based on a novel written by Mary Shelley in 1818, the monster is supposed to be bio-engineered by a mad scientist called Dr Victor Frankenstein to be unstoppable, indestructible, and practically immortal. Consequently, this monster has been a topic of interest in films and plays. Movies like Frankenstein (1931), I Frankenstein (2014), and Van Helsing (2004) alongwith TV Series like Supernatural and Penny Dreadful all showcase or expand the elements of Mary Shelley’s original work.
The bloodsucking creatures of the night are perhaps one of the most popular and overutilized supernatural characters. Though their origin stories differ from one source to the other, all of them agree on certain things. For example, vampires need blood to sustain their endless life and possess super strength and speed. Many of their weaknesses are associated with the symbols of Jesus Christ -the myth being Christian in nature primarily- like the crucifix, Bible, and holy water. Vampires as characters have been included in a lot of movies and TV series including some of the recent ones like Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, Underworld, and many more. Vampires have gradually become a major urban legend that has garnered a special and funky place in the modern society, largely due to the younger generation.
Speaking of vampires here comes the big bad one. Count Vladislas Dragulia Tepes better known as Count Dracula is one of the most famous supernatural characters in the history of fiction. In fact lately with the craze for vampires and werewolves being garnered among the young audience all thanks to Twilight and The Vampire Diaries, Dracula has managed to remain the go-to guy when the filmmakers want to up the ante in the vampire genre. Based partly on the crown-prince Vlad Tepes of Wallachia (1431-1476) and Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula, this character is considered by many origin stories to be the first and the most powerful vampire in the world. Deranged by his brutal upbringing and hostile environment, Vlad Tepes of Wallachia turns towards dark forces to aid him in his fight against the Ottomans and becomes the first vampire in the history of mankind. Many movies of various genre like Dracula Untold (2014), Blade: Trinity (2004), Van Helsing (2004), and Hotel Transylvania (2012) showcase the different facets of Dracula’s personality and life.
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