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Minor Characters In Horror Movies Who Totally Stole The Show

While most horror movies tend to have a core ensemble cast leading up to a final girl or final few, every so often, a smaller character has the chance to break out and really show audiences what they've got. These side characters might be minor, but thanks to excellent writing and nuanced performances, these roles end up being some of the most memorable moments in genre films. 

From chilling ghosts and ill family members to babysitting charges with attitudes — as well as evil doppelgängers and even celebrity cameos — the minor characters who overshadowed their films are an eclectic bunch of sometimes terrifying and always spellbinding personas who often have us wishing the film had spent more time with them. In many of these cases, it's even surprising that these scene-stealers didn't end up with their own spinoffs. You won't need to look hard to spot them, so here are the minor characters in horror movies who totally stole the show.

Georgina's inner battle absolutely wowed audiences

Jordan Peele's seminal social justice horror Get Out is filled to the brim with remarkable performances, from Daniel Kaluuya's soulful Chris to the icy monstrousness of the Armitage family and their cold-hearted cohort as they harvest Black bodies in a new kind of mental slavery. But the breakout performance that manages to stand above all the rest is Betty Gabriel's phenomenal turn as the Armitage's maid, Georgina, who we find out contains the brain of Grandma Armitage while her host body fights for autonomy. 

In particular, Gabriel's controlled movements as she engages with Chris both as the grandmother and the prisoner inside Georgina's body are remarkable. We can virtually see the battle between the grandmother and Georgina taking place inside Georgina's body etched across Betty Gabriel's expressive face and in the tracks of her stream of tears. If Get Out hadn't been a horror movie, Betty Gabriel surely would've received a Best Supporting Actress nod for these extraordinarily powerful, but brief, moments.

Zelda stole the gruesome show in Pet Sematary

Mary Lambert's 1989 adaptation of Stephen King's Pet Sematary is at its heart a story about grief and trauma and how the avoidance of healthy coping mechanisms for loss leads to monstrous events. One of the fundamental traumas that shapes the story involves Rachel Creed and her ill sister, Zelda, who suffers from a horrible case of spinal meningitis that leads to severe physical and mental disabilities. While it's not Zelda's fault that she's sick, nor was it Rachel's fault that her parents forced her to take care of her older sister, Rachel's moment of rebellion in not answering her sister's calls leads to Zelda's untimely death, an event that haunts Rachel for the rest of her life. 

Played by Andrew Hubatsek, Zelda Goldman is equal parts scary and heartbreaking as she struggles to survive while in bed and housebound. Hubatsek's performance as Zelda is so complicated, moving, and also horrifying that viewers often remember her before the film's way worse events come to mind.

Myca is equal parts sexy and terrifying

While Alex Proyas' adaptation of The Crow is fully Brandon Lee's movie and would've catapulted him into instant stardom had he survived filming, he has some serious screen competition when it comes to Bai Ling's eerie scene-stealing Myca. With her signature red lipstick and leather corset, Myca isn't just beautiful, she's also as evil as they come. She and her brother, Top Dollar, are in an incestuous relationship that often includes murdering the women they bed so that Myca can gouge out and then burn their eyes in her divination spells. 

When the power of Eric Draven's supernatural crow is revealed to Myca in particular, she becomes hungry for the creature and Eric's power. Played as equal parts sex symbol and twisted witch by a catlike Bai Ling, it's impossible to take your eyes from Myca, even as she does wretched and disturbing things on the silver screen.

The Moonlight Man is one of the scariest parts of Gerald's Game

Once considered an unfilmable novel by Stephen King, director Mike Flanagan managed to make an almost perfect adaptation of Gerald's Game, a remarkably disturbing story about domestic violence and childhood sexual trauma that emerges after a sex game gone awry. While Jessie Burlingame is handcuffed to a bed, watching a German Shepherd eat her dead husband, Gerald, she begins remembering her past in vivid technicolor. 

Then, one night, Jessie wakes to see a monstrous figure lurking in the corner of the room, and she believes to be a hallucination caused from dehydration and stress. In an incredibly shocking turn for an already intense story, the Moonlight Man (as Jessie calls him) turns out to be an actual serial killer working the area who was waiting for Jessie to die before having his way with her dead body. Actor Carel Struycken actually lives with the same condition as the Moonlight Man, acromegaly, which causes the face and limbs to grow extra long, and his unique features were heightened with facial prosthetics to create an absolutely scene-stealing and terrifying character.

Freddie Lounds goes from terrible to tragic

Philip Seymour Hoffman was one of those actors who stole the show in virtually every film where he had any role at all, but he only has one horror movie credit to his esteemed career — Brett Ratner's adaptation of Thomas Harris' Hannibal Lecter novel Red Dragon. As tabloid reporter Freddie Lounds, Hoffman brings his characteristic focus and wit to the role, elevating what in someone else's less capable hands might've been a throwaway character. 

Hoffman also created an incredible arc in a character who begins the story hugely unlikeable, arrogant, and brash. But by the end, when we see Freddie in the clutches of the brutal serial killer the Tooth Fairy/Red Dragon, this is when Hoffman's dramatic chops fully shine as he begs for forgiveness and his life from the monster he's been manipulated into targeting for his newspaper. Lounds might start Red Dragon a smarmy jerk, but by the end, thanks to Hoffman's incredible work, Lounds becomes a hugely tragic figure in the bigger Hannibal Lecter franchise arc.

Jimmy Mortimer danced his way into our hearts in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter

Sometimes when a minor character in a horror movie steals the show, it's as pure comic relief, which is the case with Crispin Glover's iconic Jimmy Mortimer in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter. This fourth installment of the Jason Voorhees franchise is best known in the fan community as the one with Glover's herky jerky dancing that's equal parts bizarre and hilarious. 

There's no rhyme or reason to this dance that stole the show, other than Crispin Glover's own personality quirks that he enjoys bringing into his various projects. What's extra awesome about Jimmy's dancing is how completely without guile it is, bringing a delightful touch of innocence and joy to a franchise that relies on gruesome and bloody kills to try and top itself.

But thanks to this moment, Jimmy fully becomes one of Jason's most unforgettable victims — that is, only after he goes off and has sex with one of the prettiest girls in the group who chose him specifically because of his wild and oddly charming dancing style.

Carrie Fisher completely stole the show as Bianca Burnette

The self-referential and metatextual Scream franchise went next level in its third installment with the introduction of Bianca Burnette, played by the inimitable Carrie Fisher. In Scream 3, as Sidney Prescott and friends try to figure out how her mother was connected to the same studio making the in-film Stab movies, reporter Gale Weathers and the actress playing her in Stab, Jennifer Jolie, visit Sunrise Studios' archives. 

It's in the basement that they meet chain-smoking snarkfest Bianca Burnette, who quickly informs the two women that yes, she knows she looks just like Carrie Fisher, and yes, she would've gotten the role of Princess Leia had she gone ahead and slept with the director. It's an incredible moment in Hollywood history as Fisher not only pokes fun at herself but also slyly calls out the infamous "casting couch" where so many women get taken advantage of for a possible future role. While Scream 3 was a mixed bag for critics and fans alike, Carrie Fisher's Bianca Burnette fully steals the show.

Josh/Tex and Kitty/Dahlia are hilarious and horrifying in Us

Jordan Peele's sophomore feature, Us, fully belongs to Adelaide Wilson and her family as they're confronted with primal clan of creepy doppelgängers. Worse still, these look-alikes have a terrible plan in mind ... for the Wilsons and all of America. However, Us is forced to share the spotlight with another group of characters, thanks to a double set of remarkable performances from Tim Heidecker and Elisabeth Moss.

The duo play Josh and Kitty — the sort-of rivals to the Wilsons — as well as their terrifying clones. Between Josh and Kitty's horrendous and toxic relationship, where Kitty openly discusses her desire to murder him and Josh plies her with liquor to shut her up, and then later the horrific Tethered versions (Tex and Dahlia), these characters become oddly mesmerizing. In particular, as the Tethered, Heidecker's goofy physicality in Tex takes on a blood-chilling menacing quality while Dahlia's silent screams as she cuts open her own face are unforgettable.

Kyra Collins both scared us senseless and broke our hearts

M. Night Shyamalan's The Sixth Sense is filled to the brim with creepy ghosts in various stages of their afterlives. From the folks who were hung on the site where young Cole's school now stands to gunshot and car accident victims, there's no shortage of haunting figures in this movie. But one of the ghosts, Mischa Barton's Kyra Collins, fully steals the show, even though she's barely on-screen. 

Featured in various stages of severe illness, including vomiting, Kyra reaches out to Cole for help, showing him where she's hidden a videotape of her mother poisoning her to death, as well as further evidence that she's doing it to Kyra's younger sister. This disturbing subplot in The Sixth Sense is really brought home by Barton's moving performance, and over the years, it continues to be one of the most memorable storylines within an already plot-heavy film.

In Bram Stoker's Dracula, Tom Waits is captivating as Renfield

Singer and songwriter Tom Waits is no stranger to the big screen, and he's starred in a wide range of films across all genres where he consistently steals the show. But in Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula, Waits' turn as one of the vampire's human playthings, Renfield, is fully captivating. Being under Dracula's spell, Renfield has taken to eating insects and works his way up to birds in efforts to prolong his own life through taking these lesser lives. 

Tom Waits uses his characteristic scratchy voice — albeit with an excellent British accent — and incredible physicality to make Renfield not just creepy but also filled with humanity and a dark pathos. Plus, as he screams and thrashes about his prison cell, Renfield manages to highlight the barbarity of institutional care back in the 1800s, adding an intense level of social commentary to Bram Stoker's Dracula in his very short time on screen.

Julian is hysterical in 2018's Halloween

David Gordon Green's real-time Halloween sequel in 2018 surprised audiences with its intense focus on the long-term effects of terrible trauma, following an extremely damaged Laurie Strode 40 years after Michael Myers stalked her through Haddonfield and killed a bunch of her friends. But what was also surprising about the 2018 Halloween were the many moments of excellent comedic relief, be they the banh mi banter between two cops in their patrol car or the father and son returning from a fishing trip, only for the son to tell the dad he prefers dance classes. 

However, these funny moments all pale in comparison to the newest babysitting charge, Julian Morrissey (Jibrail Nantambu). Julian is a precocious and potty-mouthed youngster whose back and forth with his babysitter, Vicky, is gut-bustingly funny ... until Michael Myers shows up and ruins everything. Julian stole the show in Halloween so hard it even made the news when this minor character was reportedly returning in the next sequel, Halloween Kills. Julian wasn't just Vicky's favorite nanny kid, he's totally ours, too.

Needless to say, Betty White steals the show in Lake Placid as Delores Bickerman

Yes, it's true that Betty White is captivating in every single thing she does, whether big or small. So, of course the unstoppable Ms. White would steal the show in 1999's Lake Placid. After a series of mysterious deaths around this Midwestern lake, scientists discover that an actual 30-foot crocodile has made Lake Placid its home and has been devastating both human and animal life in the immediate environs. 

Betty White plays Delores Bickerman, a shut-in who it turns out has been feeding the croc since it was a baby, and she's continued to do so even after the creature killed and ate her husband. Betty White brings her signature raunchy humor to this role, becoming the highlight during what's often an over-the-top creature feature. While there have been several follow-ups to Lake Placid, there has sadly never been a return to Delores' wacky and fascinating character who started the whole crocodile mess.

Evil Ed just gets better and better

Everything was going great in Charley Brewster's life until Jerry Dandridge moved into the vacant house next door. After spying on him relentlessly, particularly when Jerry brings home beautiful young women, Charley becomes convinced that Jerry is a vampire and that he's been murdering these ladies. With the help of his friend, Evil Ed, and girlfriend, Amy, Charley approaches Peter Vincent, a famous on-screen vampire hunter, for help as they discover more and more about Jerry's bloody predilections. 

But thanks to his unique braying laugh and one-line zingers, Stephen Geoffreys as Evil Ed fully steals the show when he's human, and he takes it to the next level once he's bitten by Jerry and turned into a vampire himself. Geoffreys brings an incredible amount of nuance to Evil Ed when he's, well, actually turned evil, and his death scene is so poignant that it would almost be tear-jerking if it weren't so gruesome. This is a surprisingly three-dimensional character developed with very little time on-screen, making Evil Ed even more unique.

The Director is scarier than any monster in The Cabin in the Woods

Drew Goddard's slasher send-up The Cabin in the Woods has many moving parts, literally, that compete for the audience's attention, including a plethora of wild and terrifying monsters that eventually get released into the open. From a bloodthirsty merman and cannibal zombies to a dancing girl with only a fanged mouth for a face, any one of these many creatures could have its very own movie. 

But it's someone else entirely human who ends up stealing the show by the end. We hear her voice for much of the latter part of the movie, distracting at first as you try to place such a familiar cadence, but then Sigourney Weaver emerges from the shadows as the Director, the person who oversees the yearly ritual sacrifice to appease the old gods living deep underground. In a movie that pays so much homage to other horror films, to have Ripley herself appear as the menacing leader of a secret society completely overshadows all the many other weird and scary things that happen in The Cabin in the Woods.

The Grady twins haunt our nightmares

In Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of The Shining, little Danny Torrance finds himself tormented by two ghost girls known as the Grady twins. However, they were actually 8 and 10 years old, respectively, both in Stephen King's novel and the Kubrick script. But thanks to their matching dresses and similar appearance, the title of Grady twins has stuck, even though it's not an accurate description. Still, these two little girls have haunted the nightmares of many fans of The Shining, largely thanks to their catchphrase, "Come play with us, forever and ever."

They only appear a handful of times, but their presence is so menacing and creepy you almost feel as if they're far bigger characters than they actually are. Played by Lisa and Louise Burns, the Grady twins are now iconic figures in the Stephen King multiverse, so much that there are countless homages to them in pop culture as a whole, not just other horror films.