When a horror franchise becomes successful enough, it becomes forever embedded in pop culture. Jason and Freddy aren’t just monsters, they’re icons. And they’re icons that are instantly recognizable all over the world. When that happens, your favorite horror icons leap out of the movies and wind up in the most unexpected places. For many, that oversaturation is seen as the start of the downfall of so many of these major franchises.
But honestly I think there’s a joy to seeing these iconic horror characters pop up in the damndest of places. There’s just a sheer joy in it. When I was a kid, I didn’t care if I was seeing Jason sitting on a couch across from a talk show host because I was still seeing Jason. The excitement that comes with seeing these characters no matter where they are is something that I think we lose as we get older.
That’s part of what I think makes this list interesting. For some people, seeing these characters make ridiculous public appearances will drum up nostalgia and for some they’ll be absolutely cringe-worthy. Neither opinion is wrong and both, in their own way, hinge on curiosity more than anything else.
Godzilla Wins the MTV Lifetime Achievement Award
So, at the 1996 MTV Movie Awards, Godzilla got the highest of honors—appropriately enough, I guess. Not only did he receive the Lifetime Achievement Award, but he (sort of) showed up to claim it and was introduced by none other than Patrick Stewart. Hearing Stewart introduce Godzilla is an absurd joy that you just have to hear for yourself, especially when he goes on about the big guy’s acting chops.
Freddy Hosts Not One, but Two MTV Specials
That’s right, Freddy has hosted two MTV specials in his over thirty year career. “The Freddy Krueger Hour” was made to tie into the release of A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master. The second special, Slash & Burn: The Freddy Krueger Story was created to tie into the release of Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, which was treated like a pretty big deal at the time as—for at least a minute—New Line actually planned for it to be the end of the franchise.
Jason Takes Arsenio Hall
In one of the more infamous in-character appearances out there, Jason appeared on the Arsenio Hall Show to promote the release of Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan. It’s perfect, because it’s Kane Hodder in full costume, completely in character. Arsenio Hall is asking questions, but it’s like talking to a brick wall and he’s clearly getting more and more creeped out until Hodder legitimately makes him jump at the end.
Chucky appears on WCW
This has to be one of the strangest appearances by a horror icon. Chucky, of all characters, popped up on WCW to trash talk professional wrestlers and promote the release of Bride of Chucky. And it’s so good. This weird segment has some of the worst segues imaginable because Chucky’s just trying to make it clear when and where audiences will be able to see his film. The best part is that it’s clearly the doll used in the film and it’s the voice of Brad Dourif, who is completely committed to the bit.
Freddy & Jason’s Las Vegas Weigh-In
In another classic bit of promotion, New Line held this special event in Las Vegas, knowing that Freddy vs. Jason was a movie that fans had waited ages to see. It was a huge release and required a huge promotion. So this bit of obviously one-sided trash talking saw both Robert Englund and Ken Kirzinger appearing in character. They even got the great Michael Buffer to step in as the announcer introducing the two slashers.
Pinhead vs. David Spade at the MTV Video Music Awards
In addition to appearing in a Motorhead music video, Pinhead appeared in this thing right here. In this bit, the High Priest of Hell is attempting to get into the awards, insisting he’s on the list, but he’s stopped by David Spade of all people. It’s got to be the most brutal defeat of his long career. But it’s great to see Doug Bradley, in full makeup, take a comedic turn.
Freddy, Jason, Michael Myers and Leatherface Do a Photo Shoot Together
For one glorious moment, these four icons of horror stood together, in costume, with all of the actors who had played them most recently filling out their respective roles. It wasn’t for the ultimate crossover movie that all fans hoped to see at one point, but instead it was for a People Magazine photoshoot. Three of the four icons happened to have new movies coming out that year—A Nightmare on Elm Street 4, Friday the 13th Part VII and Halloween 4—while Bob Elmore dug out the Leatherface mask he’d last worn in Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, two years earlier.