Confession: This excellent post idea is not my idea. In 2013 a woman named Lainey created a Top 5 on YouTube, which morphed into a Top 5 group on Goodreads. This week’s top five? Top five literary fathers. Well, you know, since this is a horror blog, I’ve decided to name the Top Five Horror fathers of all time. Now, as any adamant fan will admit, a list like this is highly contestable, and in choosing my favorite five, other great (or not-so-great) fathers have been omitted.
5.) Jack Torrance: Are you surprised? A cursory glance at my articles may reveal my proclivity for Stephen King’s The Shining in all its morbid, twisted beauty. Now, Jack Torrance is not necessarily a model father, but let’s give him props for trying to reform and quit drinking. If that pesky, ghostly-slash-demonic hotel hadn’t invaded his psyche, he might have turned out to be a really good guy with a long stretch of sobriety from alcohol and a solid relationship with his wife and son. Jack is a scary SOB in Kubrick’s version of Stephen King’s The Shining, but this is only because he’s been possessed by a haunted hotel. Would you be any better, any more virtuous, empathetic or likable if an entire haunted hotel, complete with malicious spirits, broke through your psyche? Methinks you might wield the axe just like Jack did. You know what wise men say (aside from “only fools rush in”): We cannot judge a man lest we walk in his shoes.
4.) Louis Creed: In one post, I also ardently defend the much criticized Pet Sematary. I must, then, give a fourth place award to Louis Creed. True – he’s imperfect. If his son’s death-via-truck were a HuffPost news story, tiresomely vocal commentators on Twitter and in the comments sections of viral articles would be criticizing his parenting (see the Harambe the Gorilla conundrum). But kids wander, and accidents happen. No one can doubt that he loves his family, especially after his son’s death. In fact, he loves them sooooo much that he buries his son, and then his wife, in a cemetery that will allegedly bring them back to life. This requires digging up their corpses, carrying their stinking dead bodies out of the traditional cemetery, through a forest path, over a rocky, dangerous ridge, through denser forest, and then burying them in The Pet Sematary. You know that 90’s song by The Proclaimers? “I would walk 500 miles and I would walk 500 more…” I dedicate that classic to Louis Creed.
3.) Sir Ian Malcolm: This sassy adventurer of the Showtime Penny Dreadful series will stop at nothing to save his daughter, Mina, from a pack of hungry, depraved vampires. True, he’s a little uppity, and a little mouthy – especially toward the show’s leading lady, Vanessa Ives – but when push comes to shove, Malcolm takes a leap of faith to protect Vanessa, indicating that even if he’s lost his Mina, he’s gained a new daughter in Vanessa. He can be gruff and a little cranky (and adulterous) but he’s basically a good guy.
2.) Rick Grimes: Did you think The Walking Dead would evade a list like this? By the end of season six, Rick has no compunction against mercilessly killing anyone who might be slightly construed as a threat (a delightful hearkening back to the nostalgic George W. Bush Era), and he has more blood on his hands than anyone else on this list, but he is a loyal leader to his pack. He takes often difficult stands when necessary, and is a devoted father to Carl and Judith. And, well, let’s face it, though the apocalypse has (ever-so-slightly) corrupted him, he’s still kind of a bad ass.
1.) Ed Warren: Ed Warren is the only morally pure guy on this happy-father’s-day-horror rap sheet – at least, based on his cinematic depictions. Ed Warren, as he’s portrayed in The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2, is bold in the most dangerous of situations and endlessly self-sacrificing. For a demonologist, he has surprisingly little in the way of a dark side. Though we don’t see him interact with his daughter a lot, we assume he’s a good dad. And with his wife, Lorraine, he plays father to many suffering families who are victims of demonic possessions. Ed Warren won’t just cleanse your home for you – at least, not if The Conjuring is any indication. He’ll fix your car, your kitchen sink, and sing you Elvis songs as he’s ridding your house of demons. For that, Ed Warren receives the #1 Best Horror Father award. The real Ed Warren died in 2006. RIP, Ed.