pale man from labyrinth

Horror movies have been freaking out audiences at least since 1896’s Le manoir du diable, using lighting, mood, and special effects to try to incite terror, suspense, and dread among their viewers. Additionally, master makeup artists and costume designers work together to create iconic nightmare fodder like Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, Freddy Krueger, or even the leprechaun from Leprechaun if that’s what freaks your bean.

It turns out, however, that once you take away the spooky lighting, ominous music, and scary masks and makeup, a terrifying spectacle can easily become nothing more than just a bunch of people at work, having fun (sometimes) hanging out with the rest of the cast and crew, who are all in on the joke of their soundstage spookshow made by actors in tights covered in colored corn syrup. Few things can shatter the illusion of a spooky flick like behind-the-scenes photos of actors out of character, out of context, and out of costume. Here are some amusingly disillusioning set photos that will keep you from looking at iconic horror movies the same way ever again.

Freddy with a Walkman

Freddy Krueger and cast, walkman

The 1980s were definitely the decade of the slasher with franchises like Halloween, Friday the 13th, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre doing huge business on the back of their iconic killers. But while classic murder boys Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, and Leatherface inspire fear with their hulking forms and bladed weapons, none of them are exactly chatterboxes, making it hard for them to burst forth into leading man territory. Fortunately for the themed murderer community, one such charismatic figure would jump into the limelight in 1984 in the form of A Nightmare on Elm Street‘s Fred "Freddy" Krueger.

As the franchise went on and expanded into TV shows and video games and a 900 number phone line (children, Google what this means), Freddy — always deftly played by Robert Englund — would become quippier and punnier until he basically turned into the 1980s version of a Deadpool without a mask and who did slightly less murdering. But before he became such a cuddly figure that his commercial warned children to ask their parents for permission before talking to him on the phone, that dude was, you know, a serial killer with wizard powers who was probably also a child molester.

That’s why it’s kind of jarring to see him chilling with the teens he would dream-murder while bumping 1984’s slappingest bops on a Walkman (children, Google what this means). And of course, the real irony is we know now that the actual monster, Johnny Depp, is standing behind him.

This extremely terrifying shot of Gizmo

Gizmo in Gremlins

The thing about most of these photos is that by tearing away the curtain of fantasy, they remind you that these monsters are just puppets or people in makeup who are going to eat a yogurt from craft services when the cameras stop rolling, breaking the illusion and removing most of the horror. The problem with this shot from behind the scenes of 1990’s Gremlins 2: The New Batch is that it’s actually way scarier than anything in the movie. (Especially if you consider that Gremlins 2 was more of a biting Hollywood satire mixed with goofball fourth wall-breaking farce than any legitimate attempt at horror.)

The adorable, non-evil mogwai Gizmo is arguably the hero and definitely the breakout star of the Gremlins franchise, so he’s generally meant to be cute rather than scary. But according to Prop Store, makeup artist Rick Baker’s team built a prototype human-sized suit for a small actor to fit into so Gizmo could walk around on camera. Thankfully, this idea was ditched and this horrifying, presumably child-eating suit that looks like the granddaddy of some Five Nights at Freddy’s nightmare never appeared on camera. At this point, the more disturbing thing is that someone actually bought this suit and it’s sitting in their house hopefully (please) in a storage case and not like on their body.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2
Miko Hughes in Pet Sematary
Doug Bradley as Pinhead
Patricia Arquette in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3
Stephen King in Creepshow
night living dead set photo
frankenstein set photo
the shining set photo
it 1990 set photo tim curry
alien set photo
halloween set photo
exorcist set photo
silence lambs set photo
godzilla set photo
Doug Jones in Pan's Labyrinth