Tonight is New Year’s Eve, a night when we remember all that we accomplished in 2015 and, at the same time, look forward to all that 2016 has to offer. It’s a night of celebration, one that gives us hope for the future. But any night such as this should take a moment to remember all those we have lost along the way.
2015 was an extremely difficult year for horror fans. The number of losses our genre suffered was unbelievably high and it included some of the biggest and most influential names one could imagine.
As we celebrate the beginning of 2016, I am taking this opportunity to give all of us a chance to reflect back on those who aren’t here to partake in the festivities. Please join me in offering a moment of silence for each of the following who left us throughout 2015. Also note that this isn’t a complete list. I tried to get them all but it honestly became too much.
With major roles in Psycho II and Blue Velvet, George Dickerson’s career spanned 20 years. He passed away January 10th at the age of 81.
A very painful loss for many, Leonard Nimoy’s passing was also the death of Spock, the beloved sci-fi character that was cherished by Star Trek fans the world over. He also appeared in the 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. He passed away February 27th at the age of 83.
Known for his performances in the Maniac Cop films as well a numerous cult action and martial arts movies, Robert J. Zdarsky appeared in more than 120 films over his career. He passed away March 30th at the age of 64.
From his portrayal as Otis in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer to Harry Cooper in 1990’s Night of the Living Dead and Lieutenant George Wydell in House of 1,000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects, Tom Towles was a strong, imposing character on the screen. He passed away April 2nd at the age of 65.
Geoffrey Lewis was appeared in well over 200 roles in a career that began in the 60’s. From action films to sci-fi, horror to comedy, Lewis brought a certain charm and delight to his roles. He was known to horror fans for his appearances in The Devil’s Rejects and The Lawnmower Man. He passed away April 7th at the age of 79.
Not a horror-related death but one that I feel is still of great importance to acknowledge. Riley B. King, who was known as “The King of Blues”, was responsible for dozens of albums and an unbelievable touring regimen, which saw him play thousands of shows over his career. He passed away May 14th at the age of 89.
Known to horror fans as Pamela Voorhees, the mother of Jason Voorhees, Betsy Palmer’s career spanned several decades across both film and TV. Her initial thoughts on her now infamous horror role were less than happy but she later grew to appreciate the love and devotion it brought from the horror community. She passed away May 29th at the age of 88.
His appearance in Zombie locked him as a horror favorite but Richard Johnson also appeared in The Haunting and Screamers. A founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company, Johnson was a recognized and esteemed actor. He passed away June 5th at the age of 87.
To simply say that Sir Christopher Lee added to the horror genre would be a disservice to his repertoire. Mr. Lee was a tour de force, an icon that carved a very special place in the community with his amazing roles that have become some of the most beloved and cherished. From Dracula to Frankenstein’s Monster, Saruman to Count Dooku, Lee effortlessly brought his gravitas and sophistication to every role he took on. He passed away June 7th at the age of 93.
An established TV and movie actor, Irwin Keyes was known to horror fans for his role in Rob Zombie’s House of 1,000 Corpses as well as Wristcutters: A Love Story. He passed away July 8th at the age of 63.
“Rowdy” Roddy Piper
Although far more known for his career in professional wrestling, Roderick George Toombs’ appearances in films such as They Live and Hell Comes to Frogtown made him a beloved horror icon. His death came as a huge shock to the community. He passed away July 31st at the age of 61.
David A. Prior
Known for being one of the kings of direct-to-video films, David A. Prior brought us many of our favorite cult classics in sci-fi, action, and horror. He passed away August 16th at the age of 59.
What can be said about this legendary writer/director that hasn’t already been written? The creator of A Nightmare on Elm Street, The People Under the Stairs, Scream, and much more, Craven always added a certain humor and sophistication to his works that many directors have tried and failed to recreate. Much of his work rightfully entered that realm of horror that we think of as “classics” or “must see films”. He passed away August 30th at the age of 76.
Marcin Wrona’s passing earlier this year came as a huge shock. His third film Demon had just premiered at TIFF. He passed away September 18th at the age of 42.
Catherine Coulson’s role as “The Log Lady” in “Twin Peaks” became one a cultural icon. There were rumors that she was going to appear in the third season of the show, which is currently filming. She passed away on September 28th at the age of 71.
A politician as well as an actor, Fred Thompson was known to horror fans for his appearance in Sinister and the remake of Cape Fear. He passed away November 1st at the age of 73.
The original Leatherface himself, Gunnar Hansen created an icon that still haunts and terrifies viewers to this day. He appeared in many horror movies over the years, including a cameo in Texas Chainsaw 3D. He passed away November 7th at the age of 68.
Michael C. Gross
Michael C. Gross created the infamous “No Ghosts” logo that became the iconic image of the Ghostbusters films. Placed on everything from lunch boxes to stickers, posters to t-shirts, the logo is one of the most identifiable images to come from Hollywood. He passed away November 16th at the age of 70.
Although he only acted during the 50’s and 60’s, Rex Reason starred in many features, including The Creature Walks Among Us and This Island Earth. He passed away November 19th at the age of 86.
Another musician on our list, Scott Weiland was the vocalist for Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver as well as his solo project with The Wildabouts. His passing was the result of a tragic accidental drug overdose. He passed away December 3rd at the age of 48.
A man with a career extending back to the 50’s, Robert Loggia appeared in many of the greatest films ever released, including Scarface, Big, and more. But his appearance in films like Independence Day, Innocent Blood, and Lost Highway embedded him in the horror community. He died December 4th at the age of 85.
A differently abled actress who played Legless Suzi in “American Horror Story: Freak Show“, Rose Siggins was never one to let the lack of legs stop her from pursuing her life goals. She passed away December 12th at the age of 43.
McCarter is best known to horror fans as “Paul” from the classic and beloved vampire film The Lost Boys. He passed away December 22 at the age of 52.
The frontman and bassist of UK heavy rock/metal band Motörhead, Kilmister was a legend in the music community. Considered one of the titans of metal, the band’s influence on the genre is undeniable. He passed away December 27th at the age of 70.