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The best horror movies create characters that stick with us long after the credits roll -- figures who forever lurk in the corner of our eye, responsible for every soiled sheet and bump in the night. One might think it'd take a tortured genius to play such a perfect celluloid villain -- some poor soul who was ritually abused for decades in a satanic acting school. But it turns out that no, they're usually regular people. Horrifyingly regular.

8
There Was Nothing Scary About Making The Shining

Warner Bros

Stanley Kubrick's The Shining is one of the most terrifyingly realistic portrayals of madness ever filmed. It sparked a thousand talking finger jokes, a billion "Here's Johnny" impersonations, and at least one ax safety lesson. It was a masterpiece of horror, and also, it seems, totally hokey behind the scenes. Which makes sense, as the kid who played Danny assumed for years that he was merely making a movie about a hotel.

For example. This is the loving Torrance family, as portrayed by their very, very long-distance stand-ins, hamming it up on their long drive up the mountain:

Warner Bros
Two people raising a grown-ass woman as their son might have made this a scarier movie, actually.

And here's Jack Nicholson, apparently strolling around the set with several important bits flapping around in the breeze.

Warner Bros
All shirt and no pants make Jack a dull boy.

Presumably later, after Jack got himself decent, he grabs his ax and takes a few wild practice swings. A process which the crew has obviously learned to work around:

Warner Bros
"Aw, no, come on. That bed is a rental."

And that iconic blood-filled elevator? The one from your nightmares? Well it looks a lot less terrifying and a lot more tedious when you see the poor crew who had to mop it up afterwards:

Warner Bros
"Okay, someone go buy a shitload of tampons."

And those creepy, probably evil twins? Yeah, they're here too, and they ...

Warner Bros
*shudder*

... they still look pretty creepy. Look at those smiles. They look like they've come from ritualistically slaughtering a calf at the craft services table.

7
Godzilla Was A Super Polite Shirtless Dude

Toho

Godzilla is one of the most iconic and prolific monsters ever to grace the screen, first appearing in 1954's Godzilla and again in 28,000 movies since then. The thing about the original Godzilla is that everyone knows he's a guy in a rubber suit. That's fine; the old-school effects are part of the draw. But even knowing that, there's still something jarring when you see the dude in action.

Toho
"It's ... a guy in gator waders? We must flee?"

Even in full movie monster regalia, Godzilla is quite a bit less scary when you see how well-mannered he is. Shaking hands:

Toho
Being a multi-ton, rampaging super predator doesn't preclude courtesy.

Escorting a lady:

Toho
"Go ahead, let them stare. They'll never understand our love."

And being discreetly affectionate on a date:

Toho
And you thought beards were scratchy.

Well how about that. In real life, Godzilla was less a monster and more a carefree, fun-loving lizard guy.

Toho
See, she looks only the tiniest bit horrified.

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6
Jurassic Park's Raptors Did A Lot Of Chillin' Behind the Scenes

Universal Pictures

Jurassic Park was filled with terrifying dinosaurs, but none of them were scarier and more iconic than the Velociraptor. And although the movie made heavy use of CGI, much of the effects works was still being done with puppets and hunched-over guys in costumes. Like this little fella waving a towel around like a mischievous puppy:

Universal Pictures
D'awwwww, look at those big lifeless eyes.

Here's one getting dressed for a wedding.

Universal Pictures
Maybe tennis.

Not all of them were that stylish, though. Check out the bitchin' sleeveless shirt on this Pteranodon:

Universal Pictures
"Casual Friday doesn't mean you can dress like a slob, Gary."

During filming, the dinosaurs had to be serviced from time to time, which led to even more absurdity.

Universal Pictures
"Come on, man. We talked about this."

Or this guy, disinterestedly watching a dinosaur face-hump a woman, like he sees this a couple times a day.

Universal Pictures
Technically a hostile work environment, but the HR rep was eaten a day earlier, so now everyone simply puts up with it.

5
Pennywise The Clown Was A Total Ham

Warner Bros. Television

Cult sex god and national treasure Tim Curry has portrayed his share of iconic characters, but only one is fondly remembered for the years of bedwetting he inspired. Curry's Pennywise, whom he portrayed in the miniseries It, is one of the most blood-curdling villains ever shown on the screen -- an effect that comes in large part from the friendly smile and comic aplomb he brings to the role. A carefree energy he maintained when the cameras weren't rolling.

Warner Bros. Television
Presumably. We have found no evidence this boy survived.

OK, but that's a smile and a cigarette and a tense child. That's not that lighthearted. Well check out this, which is either an extremely well-timed photobomb or a promo shot for a legal thriller about high-stakes criminal lawyers whose only glimmer of happiness comes from the antics of paralegal Sunny the Clown.

Warner Bros. Television
Many episodes hinge on a magic trick or well-crafted balloon animal.

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4
The Pale Man From Pan's Labyrinth Is A Big Goofball

Picturehouse

Pan's Labyrinth was a creepy movie filled with creepy creatures, but the absolute creepiest had to be the Pale Man. He was ghostly and thin and had freaking eyes in his hands -- a fever dream come to life.

He's also utterly adorable:

Picturehouse
Like a big 'ol fleshy teddy bear.

Having made a living almost exclusively playing nightmare-inducing thin men, legendary monster movie actor Doug Jones seems right at home as the skin sack of doom. Here he is sashaying down the hallway.

Picturehouse
"Talk to the hand ... because my eye is there, it's just polite."

And here he is hamming it up with his makeup team.

Picturehouse
"OMG guys! I feel 10 years younger!"

And here's him and his six roommates navigating their way through life in the big city, dealing with jobs and breakups, and even learning a little bit about themselves.

Picturehouse
Not a real show, but it should be.

3
Leatherface Takes A Tumble

Bryanston Pictures

Leatherface, from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre films, is not a good guy. Why? Well, there are the chainsaw massacres. That's a big hint. Do you need more?

So if we take it for a given that he's a remorseless butcher, it's a little jarring to see that in reality, he was little more than an oaf with a penchant for cheating at gin rummy.

Bryanston Pictures
Note the poorly concealed card in that Phil Spector 'do.

Somehow even less menacingly, Leatherface may have had an undiagnosed inner ear problem, as evidenced by this outtake.

Bryanston Pictures

Bryanston Pictures

Bryanston Pictures
He's surprisingly unstable, given his Weeble-Wobble body shape.

Thanks to what we're guessing is "movie magic" he somehow survived falling on a chainsaw. Still, that probably isn't the most terrifying thing you've seen today, we imagine. Unless you're a first aid attendant.

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2
The Halloween Wrap Party Featured The Michael Myers Singers

Compass International Pictures

Halloween is the horror film franchise that started it all, bringing us Michael Myers, a stoic slasher with unending stamina and a preternatural ability to hold a grudge. It stands to reason that no one was brutally murdered during the filming of the movie, because it's make-believe and we're grownups and totally understand that. But it's still a little odd to see how casual things were.

For example, here's a few people (crew, actors, actual murderers, who knows) palling around with some Michael Myers masks at what looks like a wrap party:

Compass International Pictures
"Want to murder some babysitters after this?"

And then there's this photo, taken in the most '70s room in existence, in which we see the cast and crew gathered to listen to a motley band of flare-legged slashers all wearing Michael Myers masks:

Compass International Pictures
These days, the most terrifying things in this room are the lapels.

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1
The Walking Dead Cast Can't Stop Groping The Zombies

AMC Studios

When you're a zombie, you don't have a lot to worry about, other than pink-skinned assholes with machetes and, of course, the Hunger. But if you're playing a zombie, you have all the regular concerns of a mortal to deal with, which can lead to some fairly absurd situations. Like this group of the undead protecting their makeup from the scalding Georgia sun under some decidedly unthreatening parasols:

AMC Studios
Looks like a zombie-themed musical number is about to break out.

Or wearing these neon shades:

AMC Studios
If you're doomed to endlessly walk the earth, you'll want to take care of your eyes.

And then there's the show's cast and crew, who can't keep their grubby hands off the poor undead:

AMC Studios
The undead can't give consent, Daryl.

Or lips:

AMC Studios
A great way to get a cold sore.

To be fair, there aren't many warm bodies left in the show's universe, and the zombie women are better-written than at least half the female characters. So this may be the show's creators trying to get out in front of the inevitable zombie/human slashfic by turning the show into a zomromcom.

We'd watch it.

Carolyn almost exclusively watches horror movies, and is the owner of a quite scary Twitter account.

Also check out 9 Terrifying Old Movies That Put Modern Horror To Shame and The 5 Most Baffling Horror Movies From Around The World.

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