Movies + TV

Stylish Horror-Movie Villains: 8 Easy Costume Ideas

What's the biggest day for fashion nationwide? Try October 31, when 170 million Americans will don new threads—or admire the outfits of others—by celebrating Halloween (stat courtesy of the National Retail Federation). That's a lot of Batmans, Power Rangers, Harry Potters and Obamas. But the truth is: You'll stand out a lot more in a crowd, and actually look good doing it, if you dress like a bad guy. Below, a short list of sartorially gifted horror-film villains, all of whom had a killer sense of style way ahead of their time.

Frankenstein's monster, 1931 (Boris Karloff)
Just look at how his jacket plays with proportion in a charming, Thom Browne sort of way. Such short sleeves! Yes, Frankenstein's monster is officially a style trailblazer.

Key Costume Prep:
Finish off the look with a pair of creepers to add height. Add bolts to neck.

• • •

Psycho's Norman Bates, 1960 (Anthony Perkins)
He may have been the ultimate mama's boy, but when it came to style, Bates was his own man, casually pairing a cool sports jacket and button-down shirt with chukka shoes and a smart side-part hairdo.

Key Costume Prep:
Procure faux knife, practice nervous stammer.

• • •

A Clockwork Orange's Alex DeLarge, 1971 (Malcolm McDowell)
For such a sick, soiled mind, DeLarge nonetheless knew that minimalist, clean lines make the biggest impact, opting for crisp, monochromatic white pieces punctuated with a black bowler hat and combat boots.

Key Costume Prep: Add oversized lashes on your right eye and walk with a black cane.

• • •

The Shining's Jack Torrance, 1980 (Jack Nicholson)
He might have been slowly losing his mind, but Torrance often kept it together with his looks. Mixing and matching an array of plaid shirts, blazers, ties, turtlenecks, and sweaters, he showed serious skill at layering for the cold weather.

Key Costume Prep: Get yourself a fake ax, prepare your best maniacal grin, and rehearse your best "Heeere's Johnny."

• • •

An American Werewolf in London's David Kessler, 1981 (David Naughton)
When there isn't a full moon to turn him into a man-slaughtering werewolf, Kessler is a stylish backpacking student. His vibrant red puffer coat still looks as trendy today as it did more than 30 years ago, when the film was released.

Key Costume Prep: The red puffer coat or lots of fur.

• • •

A Nightmare on Elm Street's Freddy Krueger, 1984 (Robert Englund)
Krueger epitomizes how a wide-brimmed fedora and casual striped sweater can elevate any look, instantly lending an air of timeless menace.

Key Costume Prep: Wear Krueger's iconic razor gloves, and you'll look even sharper.

• • •

Count Dracula in Bram Stoker's Dracula, 1992 (Gary Oldman)
Some good looks transcend decade and even century: Dracula, for example, is a character out of the 1800s in a film from 1992, and yet you could make a statement even today wearing any combination of the Count's pieces, whether it's the Victorian gray suit, the top hat, the vest, or those round, blue glasses. Of course, Dracula wears these articles all at once, pulling it off as only a supernatural lothario can.

Key Costume Prep: Without fangs, your costume would absolutely suck.

• • •

American Psycho's Patrick Bateman, 2000 (Christian Bale)
A millennial interpretation of Bret Easton Ellis's 1991 send-up of 1980s Wall Street yuppies, American Psycho gave us Patrick Bateman, a Manhattan investment broker with a penchant for blood. He was a new type of serial killer; his slick and polished business suits being perhaps the most deceiving of masks.

Key Costume Prep: With a plastic ax and a Huey Lewis and the News CD, your costume will kill the competition. A big, old-school cell phone adds flair.

—Javy Rodriguez

• • •

Also on
Too Soon? When Can You Dress Like a Dead Celebrity for Halloween?
Ethan Hawke on Horror Films and His Role in Sinister

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