I am nominating Delbert Grady, the seemingly urbane and refined butler, and former caretaker of the Overlook Hotel, as one of the great creepy characters of any horror film, ever. Played brilliantly by Philip Stone, Grady sends chills up the spine as he cleans the spilled drink from Jack Torrance’s (Jack Nicholson) jacket, and calmly admits to “correcting” his daughters and wife by means of “chopping them into little bits”, and blowing his brains out, in a 1920s murder-suicide at the Hotel. He informs Torrance that Torrance has “always been the caretaker”, and that he, Grady, should know, because he has “always been here”.
Of course the movie to which I refer is Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. Despite the much more well-known “redrum” and “Heeere’s Johnny!” lines, blood in the elevators and the mouldering walking cadaver climbing out of the bath tub, it is this scene in the Men’s Room, and the subsequent appearance of Jack Torrance in the July 4th, 1921 photograph, that steal the show for me.
For me, a psychological thriller is always more frightening than the slasher flicks. It is the stuff I can’t kill with a .45 ACP or a 12-ga slug that really frighten me. The Exorcist comes to mind. And some others. The Shining is in that category. I don’t think I could kill Grady, or Torrance, either, for that matter. They are waiting for the next winter caretaker family, I think.
So, that was a long way of asking which characters in horror movies do YOU think are the creepiest/scariest? And why?