This story is part of a series done in partnership between Blumhouse.com and FOX’s VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN.
The horror genre isn’t very kind to buddies, since terror isn’t usually conducive to a healthy, long lasting relationship. Usually, horror stories rip people apart instead of bringing them together. That’s why a great horror duo is such a rare and special treat: these are the people who, good or bad (or good or evil), are able to develop a meaningful friendship even as they fight monsters, or reveal that they are monsters themselves.
As the new movie VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN emphasizes the iconic connection between the morally questionable mad scientist and his accomplice, Igor, we wanted to take a look at some of the other on-screen horror duos who have inspired and frightened us over the years. Many of these relationships end in heartache, but only after teaching us that companionship can still thrive in even the most terrible of situations. On TV and in cinemas, these are the best horror duos in the genre.
Raoul Dubert and Anatole Garron, from PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
They love the same woman, and so does the villainous Claude Rains in this sumptuous rendition of the classic horror tale. Raoul and Anatole save the day, battle the Phantom, and get jilted anyway when their lover decides she’d rather be famous than a bride. So they shrug and become best friends instead. Bros forever!
Scooby Doo and Norville “Shaggy” Rogers, from SCOOBY-DOO, WHERE ARE YOU!
Eddie Izzard said that Shaggy and Scooby are two of the greatest characters in all of literature, and we’re inclined to agree. Never before (and arguably never since) has such abject cowardice been a lovable character trait. They’re losers, but they’re our losers, and together they both face and run away from every monster life throws their way, even though most of them are just crooked real estate agents.
Herbert West and Dan Cain, from RE-ANIMATOR
Herbert West will stop at nothing to fulfill his dream of curing death, and even though Dan Cain knows better he can’t help but get swept up in West’s magnetic obsession. The gay subtext between these two goes into overdrive in the sequel, BRIDE OF RE-ANIMATOR, but whether they’re secretly in love or just irresistibly attracted to each other’s platonic charms, these two are easily the most fascinating roommates in the whole horror genre.
Clarice Starling and Hannibal Lecter, from THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS
“People will say we’re in love,” Hannibal Lecter warns Clarice Starling in the Oscar-winning horror classic THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. But although the books eventually went there, the films only expressed this perverse relationship – between a serial killer and an FBI agent – as a complicated dance of mutual respect. Everyone else views Lecter as a monster and Starling as a sex object; only they seem capable of recognizing each other as people.
Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, from THE X-FILES
Perfectly paired: a believer and a skeptic, forced to investigate plausibly deniable supernatural and sci-fi mysteries every week on THE X-FILES. It’s a formula, but a formula that works. The charismatic gloominess of David Duchovny, combined with the proud intelligence of Gillian Anderson, elevated these high-concept characters into two of the biggest icons in horror history.
Charles Lee Ray and Tiffany Valentine, from BRIDE OF CHUCKY
They weren’t the first lovers to go on a killing spree, and they definitely weren’t the last, but the killer dolls from BRIDE OF CHUCKY are probably our favorites. The fourth film in the hit CHILD’S PLAY series stopped taking itself seriously and instead took the homicidal plaything in new directions, giving him the perfect psycho girlfriend and sending them on the road to slaughter as many people as possible… and have a great time doing it.
Elvis Presley and John F. Kennedy, Jr., from BUBBA HO-TEP
Decades ago, Elvis Presley (Bruce Campbell) switched places with one of his impersonators. Now he’s dying in an old folks home alongside a black man who claims he’s John F. Kennedy, Jr. (Ossie Davis). Are either of them telling the truth? Are they both senile? Anything’s possible, especially now that they have to fight off a killer mummy in Don Coscarelli’s surprisingly dramatic cult classic. Campbell and Davis are perfect together, making us laugh and, in the end, cry our eyes out.
Shaun and Ed, from SHAUN OF THE DEAD
Shaun (Simon Pegg) needs to grow up, get serious with his girlfriend, take better care of his mum and come to terms with his stepfather. But he can’t, because his best friend Ed (Nick Frost) keeps pulling him back into the immature world of beer and video games. It sounds like an unhealthy relationship but Shaun and Ed love each other like brothers, making it truly tragic when the zombie apocalypse forces them to reassess their priorities and – potentially – put their bromance behind them once and for all. They are every great friendship that went by the wayside, and that’s both beautiful and sad.
Sam and Dean Winchester, from SUPERNATURAL
The long-running TV series SUPERNATURAL wouldn’t have run nearly so long if its two heroes, Sam and Dean Winchester, hadn’t stolen our hearts in episode one. Sam gave up the life of hunting monsters, Dean doesn’t want a “real” life at all, but when fate forces them back together to fend off the forces of Hell they bicker and banter and always save the day. They’re funny even when they’re at odds, and love each other even when they hate each other. They are a timeless pair.
Ciel Phantomhive and Sebastian Michaelis, from BLACK BUTLER
The relationship between Ciel Phantomhive and Sebastian Michaelis in the hit anime series BLACK BUTLER is both beautiful and cruel. Ciel sold his soul to Sebastian, who must now be the perfect servant until Ciel finds and kills the people responsible for murdering his parents. Then, Sebastian will eat him. They act like friends but they’re in a constant game of cat and mouse, as Sebastian gradually removes the parts of Ciel’s soul that make him less tasty and Ciel takes advantage of Sebastian’s servitude. They are inextricably linked but neither of them ever sure if the other one really likes them or not.
Dipper and Mabel Pines, from GRAVITY FALLS
The 12-year-old twin stars of GRAVITY FALLS are visiting their Great-Uncle (“Grunkle”) Stan for the summer, and get wrapped up in the many mysteries, monsters, and extra dimensional entities that now surround them. The monsters are scary but Dipper and Mabel are wonderful kids. Mabel is flighty and fanciful, Dipper is serious and obsessive, but their love for each other knows no bounds, and keeps them grounded even as the very fabric of reality starts to peel away, throwing them into the depths of Hell.
Norman and Norma Bates, from BATES MOTEL
Alfred Hitchcock’s original horror classic PSYCHO claimed that “a boy’s best friend is his mother,” and in the unexpectedly great TV prequel, we finally get to see whether or not that’s true. Norman and Norma have a twisted relationship based on mutual dependence, secrets and murder, and there’s no denying that their love for one another gets really, really creepy. But it’s a genuine love between two clearly unstable people. You know that their relationship ends in horror but the genius bit is this: you’re never really sure whether or not you want it to.
Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter, from HANNIBAL
Before Hannibal Lecter met his match in Clarice Starling, it was mentally ill FBI profiler Will Graham who was his favorite plaything. In Bryan Fuller’s exceptional TV series these two men, played to perfection by Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen, are constantly probing each other’s minds, trying to solidify a connection in a world where no one else understands them. It’s a grotesque relationship that pushes our hero to do evil things and our villain to find traces of his own humanity. They are labeled “murder husbands,” and the label is appropriate.