Feb 11 2009

The 15 Most Iconic Movie Masks of All Time

Published by at 10:00 am under Lists,Movies

 batman-mask.jpg

They hide identity, disfigurement, or they’re just meant to be badass. No matter what the reasons for wearing them, these fifteen iconic movie masks have been permanently etched in our minds  Enjoy.

15) Frank’s Mask (Donnie Darko)

donnie.jpg

Not so much scary as just flat out creepy, the demented rabbit mask in Donnie Darko was the star of the movie poster and DVD cover. I’ve never seen a good replication of this one for a Halloween costume, it always just ends up being some paper-mache nightmare.

14) Michael Myers’ Mask (Halloween series)

myers-mask.jpg

Michael Myers’ mask is certainly memorable, but I’m not sure how it holds up compared to other iconic horror masks. It’s kind of like he ripped the face off a mannequin and wore that, and while that’s mildly chilling, it’s not exactly the most terrifying image in the world. Unless of course it’s being worn by Dwight Schrute.

13) The Loki Mask (The Mask)

mask.jpeg

Well, it had to make the list if there was an entire movie based around it. The mask transformed Jim Carrey into an even more Jim Carrey-ed version of Jim Carrey with green skin, stretchy arms and the propensity to function in cartoon physics. However, it also spawned CGI horrorfest Son of the Mask, so ultimately it may have done more harm than good.

12) Reconstruction Mask (Vanilla Sky)

vanilla-sky-mask.jpg

Tom Cruise’s protagonist David Aames enjoyed wearing this a little too much in the movie after his accident at the hands of crazy bitch Cameron Diaz, so much so that he started to freak people out. It bears an eerie resemblance to Michael Myers mannequin mask, but at least Aames only killed people by accident.

11) The Iron Mask (The Man in the Iron Mask)

leo.jpg

There have been a few masks used for punishment, but none is more well known that the iron mask used to imprison King Louie’s twin brother. If I looked like Leonardo DiCaprio, and I had a twin brother, I’d probably put him in jail too just so I could get all the attention for myself.

10) Opera Mask (The Phantom of the Opera)

phantom.jpg

I guess this is more the most legendary mask in theater, but they did make a movie out of it, so it became iconic in film as well. The half mask made a mystery out of the phantom, and inspired thousands of drama nerds to wear one as part of a dorky Halloween costume.

9) Maxiumus’ Helmet (Gladiator)

maximus-mask.jpg

“Oh it’s not a mask, it’s a helmet!” Well, what the **** ever OK? It’s covering his face, so it’s a mask, and it’s a pretty damn sweet one at that. It makes for one of the best moments in the film, when Maximus removes the helmet mask and reveals himself to be the ghost of a Roman general.

8 ) Predator’s Mask (Predator)

predator-1.jpg

An ancient mask (sigh, also kind of helmet) from way the hell out there in the galaxy, Predator warriors use its many HUD features to stalk and kill prey, and also to conceal their horrendously ugly faces. Seriously, if you looked like that, you’d wear a mask all the time too.

7) Zorro’s Mask (Zorro series)

zorro.jpg

Zorro’s mask is definitely the most simple out of any on this list, but it’s so iconic they made an entire movie based around it (The Mask of Zorro). It’s all about how whoever picks up the mask assumes Zorro’s mythos and all that jazz, but really it’s about watching Catherine Zeta-Jones almost get naked.

6) Hannibal’s Muzzle (The Silence of the Lambs)

hannibal.jpg

It’s not so much a mask as a jail cell for Hannibal Lecter’s mouth, but it’s by far one of the most terrifying ones on this list. It physically restrained Hannibal from eating people’s faces, but it never did contain him for long. Also, another great mask from Silence of the Lambs is the guard’s face that Hannibal uses to escape. Gory genius.

5) Scream Mask (Scream)

scream-2.jpg

The Scream mask is certainly one of the most iconic masks in a genre full of them, but its Munch-esque design made it truly memorable. But as it turns out, it’s just a bunch of different people wearing it running around with knives, so it’s much less terrifying than say, Freddy Kruger invading your dreams and shoving a razorblade hand up your rectum.

4) Guy Fawkes Mask (V for Vendetta)

v.jpg

It’s quite rare for the protagonist of the film to wear a mask, and it’s even more rare for that person to never, ever remove it, even at the end. But V’s Guy Fawkes mask has become the stuff of legend in a very short time since the film’s release, even being co-opted by the anti-Scientology group Anonymous to carry out their demonstrations against the church.

3) Batman’s Cowl (Batman series)

batman-mask2.jpg

I’m not going to say that the specific mask from Batman Begins is the quintessential Batman mask, but it is one of the better looking. It’s the only superhero mask worthy of making this list (sorry Spidey), and has always been iconic no matter who was wearing it. Yes, even George Clooney. Sigh.

2) Jason’s Hockey Mask (Friday the 13th series)

jason-mask.jpg

Why a hockey mask? I don’t know, but today it has less to do with goaltending and more to do with cutting people open with a machete thanks to one man in particular, Jason. There is no more iconic horror mask, and it almost, almost took the top spot. But…

1) Darth Vader’s Mask (Star Wars)

vader-1.jpg

Most definitely the most iconic mask in movie history, Lord Vader’s helm went through many concepts before arriving at the final badass product we know today. And yes, it kept him alive, but that didn’t mean it couldn’t look sweet. But as slick as it was, it only concealed the decay inside, as we saw at the end of Return of the Jedi. At least until Lucas photoshopped Hayden Christensen in.

Honorable Mentions:

Masquerade Mask – Eyes Wide Shut
Spiderman’s Mask – Spiderman series
Jigsaw’s Mask Trap – Saw
Leatherface’s Mask – The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Dr. Doom’s Mask – The Fantastic Four
Machine’s Mask – 8mm
Iron Man’s Helmet- Iron Man
Fat Face – Big Momma’s House





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82 responses so far

  • Ensomnea

    What about Decker’s mask from Nightbreed with the button eyes. That mask was epic.

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  • Steve

    Michael Myer’s mask is really a mask of William Shattner’s face …

  • joe rosson

    What about the Lone Ranger?

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  • kirbylink

    horribly numbered list….you would put The Mask over Michael Myers? This list doesn’t seem to have any connecting thread, even the “iconic” moniker doesn’t fit. Horrible, horrible list.

  • Zach

    Pretty sure that picture for Silence of the Lambs is actually from Hannibal.

  • Casey

    @Steve, thanks, I was screaming at my screen.

    Stopped reading after he calls it a Mannequin mask.

  • Matt

    Whenever I think movie masks, Robin Williams’ Mrs. Doubtfire mask that fell out his window and got run over by a truck comes to mind.

    Not that it deserves a spot on the list or anything.

  • http://lillyweatherlane.blogspot.com/ Klown

    The fact that you didn’t know the Halloween mask was actually a William Shatner (Kirk) mask sort of diminishes your capacity as even an amateur expert on what makes an “iconic” mask.

    I don’t think you know what that word means, either. The rabbit in Darko certainly is creepy, but I fail to see how it has become in any way iconic – in the sense that it has become pervasive in our culture and influenced other media.

    There’s lots of random lists on the interwebs; your has failed. Sorry!

  • Joel

    I second The Lone Ranger (coulda been a two-fer with Zorro).

  • http://www.backto700.com joseph

    If you’re going to include helmets, then remake this movie mask list when the halo movie comes out, and put master chief in there. And where was Mrs. Doubtfire? lol

  • Xero

    http://www.collegehumor.com/picture:1886776
    http://www.cosplay.com/photo/1242376/
    http://www.cosplay.com/photo/1660311/

    Not everyone does as poorly with the Frank masks as you seem to think they do…

    And David Aames in Vanilla Sky really didn’t like wearing the mask; he hated it. But he felt as if it looked better than his disfigured face. That was the only reason he wore it while he did. Yeah, he freaked people out with it, but that was because 1) He didn’t want to show his disfigurement, and 2) he was later drunk while wearing it.

    And also, some other mentions:
    BOBA FETT. Cannot believe he was left out; like Vader, except possibly MORE recognized.

    The Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. They had a movie, and their masks were pretty awesome. The original series, not any of this modern day crud.

    Scarecrow from Batman: Begins… He uses his mask to his advantage when he drugs people, in order to shatter their minds. How awesome is that?

  • bob

    The Lone Ranger?????

  • Gage

    On the Darth Vader description it should be many instead of may

  • Jezzac

    Just wait 3 weeks & then add a new name to the list…..Rorschachs face from Watchmen!!!

  • Jay

    Graet Masks here is multimedia presentation

    http://www.ucubd.com/Index.aspx?id=1104&cid=x010001

  • Travis

    The best part about the helmet/mask from gladiator is that it is now the trademark mask of rapper MF Doom.

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  • stef

    what about MF DOOM’s mask ?

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  • 8=D

    Then add on the fact that 1/2 the list was made iconic from comics,book,and musicals you have a piss poor list.

  • http://www.boredquiz.com/personality_quiz/what-female-naruto-character-are-you/1 Naruto

    this is a great list. i loved almost all of these movies. i think i wanta rewatch v for vendetta now

  • cherrorist

    Calling Michael Myer’s mask “mildly chilling” and “not exactly the most terrifying image in the world” shows some serious lack of perception on your part.

    What Makes Michael one of the scariest villains out there is his total lack of any human emotions and his mask depicts it perfectly.

    This list fails on some other levels too (Zorro? please..) but this was the worst offense by far.

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  • me

    No spiderman?

  • Jeff

    “# Travis on 11 Feb 2009 at 9:13 pm

    The best part about the helmet/mask from gladiator is that it is now the trademark mask of rapper MF Doom.”

    Actually MF Doom started Wearing the Mask around 1998 and the movie Gladiator didn’t come out until 2000. Just thought you should know. Although I thought the same thing when I saw this list.

  • Me

    No saw masks???
    jigsaw or the pig??

  • alex

    What about King Lionidus’s helmet from 300? It should be probably number 4 at least

  • Haikarate

    How about the GIMP from Pulp Fiction.

  • mattttttttttt

    where is tomas’ mask from the orphanage?

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  • dmsdragon

    not to geek out but Batmans no superhero hes a vigilante without powers, so that would also include V they both came from the comics as well as the Mask which technicaly is a superhero with powers.. sorry i will have to agree with the exception of putting Vader and Jason in the top 3 you sorta FAILED!

  • Older than 30

    “all time”? This covers only like 30 years

  • WitchKing!

    The Witch King from the Lord of the Rings: Return of the King should probably be on this list. Absolutely no doubt about it that it is recognizable, and the film had a huge audience. It should replace The Man in the Iron Mask.

  • wik

    white mask from “Clockwork Orange”???

  • jmfr

    horrible list

  • imajoebob

    Icon: a person or thing regarded as a representative symbol of something.

    So, yes, most of these are iconic, though not the way you mean it, and certainly not the Vanilla Sky mask. I infer a looser definition, more likely meaning instantly identifying, evocative, notorious, and (in)famous. Only a few meet this criteria: Batman, Vader, Jason, Zorro; a few more are noteworthy, and the rest are esoteric at best.

    Bob nailed the most glaring omission: The Lone Ranger. That’s a great example of a truly iconic mask: take away everything else, and do you recognize who/what the mask stands for?

    Considering the dearth of notable movie masks (surprisingly), you can argue that these are the best of the rest. Hannibal is borderline. The only men who admit they recognize the Phantom own a copy of Steel Magnolias. Conversely, name 4 women who rented Gladiator. But is Guy Fawkes on par with Batman? Heck, how many people who drive on the right even know who Guy Fawkes was? The rest? Feh. Except for Frank. You gotta have Frank just because he’s cool.

  • http://www.unrealitymag.com/ Sub-Zero

    Really, are they esoteric?

  • tanna

    so have you ever actually seen a friday the 13th? cause it has nothing to do with hockey .. nothing .. never did. he got the mask because he stole it from one of his victims after so called victim ripped off the potato sack he was wearing on his head. .. jason never played hockey .. he just grabbed the closest thing that would cover up his face again .. yeah.

  • lolwut

    the guy fawkes mask is NOT from the anti-scientologist group “Anonymous”.

    it was taken by them from the original Anonymous, the internet super-heroes/super-villains… here’s a fox news report on them…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNO6G4ApJQY

    the scientology protests/raids were for the funnies at first, but then it got all super-serious, which is why all the sites that anon originates from stopped supporting them and newer sites that support “anon” are the only ones that still support those moronic raids

    here’s a little more info on the change from anon attacking scientology to anon just not caring

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHg5SJYRHA0

    remember, we do it for the funnies

    you should do a little more research on your assertions before posting stuff like this

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  • gg

    The original Man in the Iron Mask was a much better mask as was the original phantom of the opera.
    You do know that movies were made prior to 1984? Please add some old movies to your Netflix subscription, please.

  • Taylor

    what about georges mask from “Red Riding Hood” (movie by Gary Schultz) (not the best movie but a sick ass mask)

  • nemo

    u don’t know what ur talking about.

    spiderman is THE most iconic mask of all time. even before the film

  • Caine

    What, no Spartan mask from 300?!

  • Jessica

    The Halloween Mike Myers mask is THE scariest mask of all time (not most iconic, I know, but should be way higher on the list)

  • Carapinha

    hey guys,

    wath about the jigsaw mask, from the movies “saw” ??

  • mew4ever23

    That should be “Darth Vaders Helmet”

  • LYnn

    I would put in votes for:
    Jigsaw
    Spiderman
    Westley from Princess Bride
    the pig head from Motel Hell

  • Dante

    @Klown:

    “There’s lots of random lists on the interwebs; your has failed. Sorry!”

    Your have failed too.

  • http://www.movai.cn movai

    SAW

  • Anon

    eh i think V is a pretty cool guy, eh starts revolutions and doesn’t afraid of anything.

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  • Anonymous

    MF Doom’s mask is based on Doctor Doom’s mask from the Fantastic Four

  • Iznogaud

    #
    Ensomneaon 11 Feb 2009 at 11:35 am

    What about Decker’s mask from Nightbreed with the button eyes. That mask was epic.”

    Agreed! I have tried on several occasions to recreate that mask for haunted houses I participate in, but without Cronenburgh’s voice behind it, it just isn’t the same.

  • yeahthen

    alot of people seem mistaken about this post, isn’t ICONIC suppose to be defined not only as memorable, or cool, but defining of a generation, if not multiple generations? Now, how can one say that Zorro should not be on this list when me, my mother, and her mother all know who zorro is, and can all define him and his meaning by his mask? The same is said for jason, michael myers, batman, phantom of the opera…etc. Their are atleast two generations who have grown up with movies featuring those iconic characters and their masks… they make popular halloween costumes and idols, not only to the “super nerd” but the every day person…

    no the loki mask should not be on this list… neither should the vanilla sky mask or anything stupid from SAW or fantastic four and not even donnie darko …. they arnt movies… characters or masks that are defining or ground breaking in anyway… they havnt passed the trials of time and havnt lived up to the other movies on this list.

    so… I do agree that this list could have been slightly better thought out, the rankings could use some adjustments, but do not say that the author has nothing to contribute when you are throwing out comments about equally irrelevant movies. The only comment that made any sort of particular sense to me was from Imajoebob who i think nailed the concept of “Iconic” right on the head.

  • Mike

    How about Jigsaw?

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  • Alekx

    Good list!
    Generally, I don’t like lists,
    but I thought this was simple and nicely done.

  • smashly

    @ Matt – Robin Williams’ Mrs. Doubtfire mask – for real…. it needs to be on this list. when i read the title for this list that was the very first that came to mind

  • http://danielrushing.blogspot.com Daniel Rushing

    Did you know that the Michael Myers mask was just an old William Shatner mask that they painted white?

  • d4ve

    What about the The Mask mask ?

  • http://www.sleepys.com/ Mattresses

    Totally agree Darth Takes this by a long shot!

  • bluejeans

    One mask that was always iconic to me, is Magneto’s helmet/mask.

    I remember when Jason got his hockey mask…in the second movie (he had nothing in the first movie), a fat guy that was the “funny guy” had the mask to mess his friend in the woods. Jason killed him, and took the mask…the other kids thought Jason was the fat funny guy at first, untill he started the killing spree. Jason ended up keeping the mask after that.

  • ilikemovies

    How is the Michael Meyer’s mask behind Jason’s and the one from Scream? Without Halloween there would be no Friday the 13th or Scream.

    How are most of these masks even up here?

  • Fredo

    Myers’ “Mannequin” mask is actually a William Shatner mask painted white.

  • http://www.twitter.com/unclefishbits unclefishbits

    You forgot one of the creepiest….

    The baby face mask from Brazil. I want one, and can’t find it ANYWHERE. Drag.

  • mistagogious

    The Dread Pirate Roberts from princess bride should be an honorable mentioned. I guess its pretty much zorro and the lone ranger. All fun though

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  • http://philsbs.blogspot.com/ phil

    here is a list of the coolest ones: Franklyn, Guy Fawkes, Rorschach, Karl Ruprecht Kroenen, Iron Man, Victor Von Doom, Boba Fett, Storm Troopers…

  • http://www.google.com poopers99

    batman should be #1 jason and darth vader are pussy shit compared to him. whoever made this website should be ashamed.

  • Matthew

    You do realise that Phantom of The Opera was a movie before it was a musical, don’t you?

  • Chives.

    Can i just start by saying. Whoever put more than 100 words needs to get a life. Where was Mrs Doubtfire?? Haha think you should add her on ;-) And if you don’t like this list then make your own :D

  • victoria

    what about BABYFACE from the HILLS RUN RED?

  • Alcanis Ivennil

    They’re just terribly comfortable!

  • fahad

    scream the best

  • http://houseblog.eu Blase

    Nice article, very interesting!! Write more about this please.

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