Happy Father’s Day, horror fans! You know, it’s hard to decide who gets a worse rap in horror movies: Mom or Dads.
They’re both prone to dipping their toes in the psycho pool when they aren’t outright telling their kids that they’re just imagining something evil is going down in the neighborhood–even when the parents are the ones who unleashed the evil to begin with.
Still, in honor of the holiday, we thought we’d shine a light on a few of those sometimes well-meaning horror movie dads!
***Author’s Note: For the purpose of this list, we’re focusing on the dads who actually tried to do something good, even if their good intentions went south. For that reason, you won’t see, for instance, the old bastard father from Creepshow on this list. That dude was just evil from the start!
#1 Ed Harley, Pumpkinhead
You can hardly blame Ed Harley (the always delightful Lance Henricksen) for wanting a little revenge on the kids who killed his son, admittedly by accident, and then fled the scene. Who wouldn’t want to see them pay?
But maybe, just maybe, going to the old witch, Haggis (Florence Schauffler) and asking her to set loose the ultimate evil on them was a step too far!
Regardless, he’s the kind of dad that goes all in for his kid, and we’re wishing Ed a very Happy Father’s Dad with a condolence letter attached.
#2 Lt. Thompson, A Nightmare on Elm Street 1 & 3
Remember those dads who just ignore the problem and insist they’ve got everything under control that I mentioned above?
Nancy Thompson’s police officer dad (John Saxon) fits that bill perfectly. Nancy told that man, who if you’ll remember was part of the mob that exacted a little vigilante justice on one Freddy Kreuger once upon a time, numerous times exactly what was going on, and he spends the rest of the first movie running around trying to arrest a teenager.
I don’t know…maybe it’s just too hard to look your own dirty deeds in the face. Maybe you just can’t believe something supernatural.
Regardless, Lt. Thompson did show up in the third film and reluctantly tried to make up for some of what went down in the first round so I guess we can give him a little credit anyway.
Happy Father’s Day, Lt. Thompson! Hope you sleep well at night.
#3 Frank, 28 Days Later
Now, Frank (Brendan Gleeson) here, is an MVP among horror movie dads.
When rage zombies take over the country, he barricades himself and his daughter in their apartment, figures out a few nifty survival tricks, and welcomes Jim and Selena into their little fortified home like honored guests.
When they set out together to seek the safety of a supposed sanctuary, Frank protects his daughter, Hannah, right up until the point that a tiny drop of blood turns himself into one of the raging monsters they’ve been fleeing.
Poor Frank, it was a nasty way to go, but you kind of figured from the first time he showed up on the screen that he was on borrowed time.
Happy Father’s Day, Frank! You didn’t deserve to go out like that!
#4 Louis Creed, Pet Sematary
You can’t really blame Louis Creed (Dale Midkiff) for wanting to keep his family together.
He was going through some serious trauma after the death of his little boy, and you have to admit, if you knew there was a way to bring a loved one back you might at least consider it.
Personally, though, I really do think he had a serious issue with “fixing things.” I mean I would have stopped after I saw what happened when the cat came back.
Unfortunately, Louis didn’t learn his lesson, and he paid for it dearly.
Happy Father’s Day, Louis! Would you do it all over again?
#5 Gabe Wilson, Us
All Gabe Wilson (Winston Duke) wanted to do was take his family on a nice summer vacation to the beach.
He is, in a lot of ways, the quintessential bumbling dad buying a broke down boat, singing in the car, embarrassing his kids, not listening to his wife when she says something’s wrong.
Still, when the chips are down, Gabe steps up. His first thought is for his family, and even though he and his wife have differences of opinions on how they should go about protecting them, he’s still in it 100% to the end.
Happy Father’s Day, Gabe! Have you figured out your wife’s secret, yet?!