5 Michael Myers, Halloween (1978)
“It was the boogeyman,” whispers a shocked Jamie Lee Curtis, her ordeal seemingly over. But Michael Myers is both more—and, in a profound sense, less—in John Carpenter’s mythic classic. As former TONY editor Jason Zinoman argues in his fun new horror study Shock Value, the character is a success for being completely hollowed of detail, all the better to project our own fears onto him. He’s more ferocious than the shark in Jaws, more blank than a ghost. (The closing credits call him only “The Shape.”) Conceptually, you can feel the impact of Michael Myers in everything from Javier Bardem’s Oscar-winning killer in No Country for Old Men to Ryan Gosling’s single-minded man-machine in Drive.