This year’s release of Scream 5 and The Black Phone has reminded audiences of the uniquely chilling experience only capable of the best of the film industry’s disguised, mysterious, and menacing characters.
Facial expressions are usually a necessity in acting, but Reddit has compiled the actors that had their faces limited and gave a fantastic performance because of it, with some obvious picks being Ghostface from Scream, and the lesser-known sniper from Phone Booth getting their chance to shine as well.
10 Roger L. Jackson – The Scream Franchise
The Scream franchise would not be what it is today without Roger L. Jackson doing the voice for Ghostface. The iconic killer is seen as a character of their own with how much his voice encapsulates the vibe of the villain. He carries an intimidating aura that only the original killer Billy Loomis has been able to live up to.
Redditor WindingRoad10 put it best: “[his voice] is so synonymous with the series and toes the line between creepy, playful & scary.” His absence in the first two seasons of the TV series was certainly felt, although Mike Vaughn gave a commendable performance as well.
9 Kiefer Sutherland – Phone Booth (2002)
The action star has been cast as a hero in several roles, with some of his lesser-known roles being in Twin Peaks and sneaky sniper in Phone Booth. Though he does show his face in the ending scene before walking away, Sutherland remains as the enigmatic voice on the other end of the line for most of the movie, watching Stuart (Colin Farrell) and playing him like a fiddle to make him regret his words and deeds.
User biasedandunfair said it was “an absolutely chilling performance”, and it certainly was. When Sutherland takes the villain role, only his voice alone is needed to convey his evil.
8 Hugh Keays-Byrne – Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
As 2016’s Academy Award winner for both costume and makeup as well as one of the best action movies of the 2010s, it’s no surprise that Immortan Joe from Mad Max: Fury Road would be remembered. Like Sutherland, Keays-Byrne’s character is (literally) unmasked by the end, but by then he has already given an incredible performance behind the mask.
The film is an absolute classic, in no small part to the lord of the War Boys himself. User SaltySteveD87 was the first to mention him, and ThayuPhoto seconded the notion and added “I will carry this comment into Valhalla myself.”
7 Karl Urban – Dredd (2012)
The underperforming but beloved remake of the1995 classic starring Karl Urban behind the mask instead of Sylvester Stallone. “I wish so badly we had gotten a sequel,” said Inevitable-Excercise5. “Karl Urban was a boss in that movie.”
Urban’s take on the character was much preferred by its comic book fans, as Judges weren’t supposed to remove their masks and the remake had a less cheesy tone. He essentially gave a characterless figure a memorable and critically-acclaimed performance, demonstrating how much can be achieved with essentially just a costume.
6 Michael Fassbender – Frank (2014)
Fassbender’s performance in the black comedy Frank was uniquely funny. Redditor TheOvenLord said “Fassbender absolutely kills it in Frank. You only see his face for like ten minutes and he makes you cry twice. Absolutely phenomenal.”
As the titular freaky-faced man himself, Fassbender plays the odd titular musician who demands the audience’s desire to learn about him. The entire movie is unpredictable, and it’s entertaining for it, and it’s amazing how hilarious and emotional he can be without a facial expression.
5 Scarlet Johansson – Her (2013)
The sci-fi romance was a cult hit that used many metaphors for long-distance relationships, with Scarlet Johansson acting as the AI lover of Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix). User Superb-Possibility-9 simply comments: “Scarlet’s voice is sublime”.
A romance lives or dies by the believable on-screen chemistry of those involved in its affair, so it’s doubly impressive that Johansson was able to sell her affection without a face to show for it. Her voice is as touching as it is humorous in responding to Theodore’s interest in her.
4 Gunnar Hansen – Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Hansen’s performance as the iconic Leatherface in Texas Chainsaw Massacre keeps the film terrifying to this day. User lionelprichardisback actually complimented both Hansen’s performance and that of Bill Johnson in the sequel, which was surprisingly meta, like Scream.
”They both bring wildly different portrayals of the non-verbal character, each with such dedication,” said the Redditor. The masked assailant has proven popular no matter how many films have followed the classic original, with several commendable performances in their covered expressions.
3 Tom Hardy – The Dark Knights Rises (2012)
Tom Hardy had much to live up to in The Dark Knight Rises, as following Heath Ledger’s Joker would be no easy task for any aspiring sequel villain. But his performance as Bane was controversial simply because it was difficult to comprehend and even needed to be re-dubbed (via IndieWire).
Regardless of that, user RSG-ZR2 highlighted their favorite line which was “Do you feel in charge?” saying it gave them “chills”. Regardless of redubbing, Hardy’s Bane remains one of the greatest onscreen Batman villains to this day due to the menace in his character, balanced with a sympathetic backstory.
2 Gary Oldman – Hannibal (2001)
Oldman portrayed the unsettling villain Mason Verger behind more unsettling makeup in Hannibal. The disturbing antagonist was equally entertaining for all the fun Oldman seemed to be having in the role, rivaling the threat of even Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) himself.
It’s a unique look compared to the rest of Reddit’s picks as it looks less like a mask and more like a melted face, but that’s what makes it so memorable. Even in looking frail, he still takes cruel pleasure in making others feel weaker and has incredible influence. NoHandBananaNo replied to the nomination of Oldman in the thread, saying it was a nice pick that showed how the actor was a master of his craft.
1 Hugo Weaving – V For Vendetta (2006)
None other than the vivacious and veiled vessel of virtuousness V, whose role was left vacant seemingly voluntarily by James Purefoy, instead played via the vibrant and veteran voice of Hugo Weaving.
Weaving should be complimented for being able to weave so many words that start with ‘v’ without laughing or stumbling. The character itself has become unforgettable; the mask itself is now affiliated with online movements that combat the status quo or people who want to role-play the concept of it. The performance would not be the same had it not been masked. RSG-ZR2 returned here and said how his roles as both V and Agent Smith from The Matrix were “phenomenal” and “definitely awesome for V for Vendetta“.