Scream Horror Magazine

Sunglasses in Horror Films: Fascinating Ways Eyewear Gets Used in the Genre

Posted on: June 4th, 2024

Sunglasses trends come and go over the the years and decades, but some styles remain more iconic and memorable than others. According to data from Custom Market Insights, the global sunglasses market was valued at $24.1 billion in 2024 and is expected to reach $40.9 billion by 2033. Having evolved from merely functional to key fashion accessories, sunglasses have become integral to one’s everyday look.

Aside from getting and wearing sunglasses based on fashion and lifestyle trends, social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook also serve as catalysts influencing consumer preferences. While horror movie icons may not be the first people to come to mind when you think of fashion or style influences, the evidence throughout the decades may prove otherwise.

Over the years, some of the best horror movie characters and villains have relied on impeccable fashion and costuming decisions to add to their characterisation. Sunglasses are a great accessory for highlighting how shady or untrustworthy a character is, as it tends to hide their eyes from viewers and other characters.

However, there are also other functions and reasons why horror movies make use of sunglasses. Below, we’ll look at some of the fascinating ways sunglasses are used in this dark genre:

Dark Glasses

Dario Argento’s Rome-set Giallo opens with a solar eclipse, during which viewers first get a glimpse of the film’s main character, Diana, who wears sunglasses. In a previous post, we shared the official movie trailer for Dark Glasses, which shows Diana’s terrifying and bloody struggle to survive and fend off the serial killer who blinded her in a botched attack. Of course, using sunglasses on a blinded character is almost typical in film and television.

The sunglasses that Diana wears throughout the movie sport the Wayfarer design that Ray-Ban sunglasses are known for. Aside from the slightly oversized dark lenses, the metal accents on the frames’ tips are familiar design elements for fans of the Wayfarer model. Nowadays, other brands and retailers have released their own takes on the Wayfarer silhouette, such as London Retro’s Joel or the Jaden from Glasses Direct, which are good options if you don’t want to shell out too much on premium Ray-Bans.

A Nightmare on Elm Street

As discussed above, the Ray-Ban Wayfarers are a popular and well-liked design, even decades after the trend began. So much so that slasher favourite Freddy Krueger can’t keep his bloody claws off them. In 1984’s A Nightmare on Elm Street, viewers are treated with Krueger’s sick sense of humour when he shows up in Kristen’s dream of a sunny and happy place with sunglasses on. The sunglasses he wears, of course, are a pair of Wayfarers.

The Wayfarer design has certainly remained popular for decades, so much so that Ray-Ban continues to make new variants and modifications to the timeless shape. Most recently, the Wayfarer design is one of the models the brand introduced as smart glasses in collaboration with tech giant Meta for the aptly named Ray-Ban Meta glasses. While we may not be seeing newer iterations of Krueger wearing smart glasses anytime soon, it’ll be interesting to see this smart version of the Wayfarer in futuristic horror films.

Blade

Finally, another horror film that uses sunglasses beyond their given functions and as more than mere accessory is Wesley Snipes’ dark vampire for Marvel’s Blade. While the franchise quickly establishes that sunglasses and vampires go hand in hand, Blade’s use of sunglasses is unique in that it helps enhance his combat abilities. As a vampire hunter, Blade uses weapons that expose his vampire enemies to UV radiation, including UV grenades. So while Blade isn’t relying on shades to protect his eyes from the sun, he certainly uses it for combat advantage against his fellow bloodsuckers.

The first two films see Blade wearing sporty and futuristic designs like the Oakley Four, although Blade Trinity sees him wearing Oakley-like Ray-Ban cutters for a change. This was a popular look at the time that added to Blade’s cool factor, as well as sporting a similar silhouette to another leather jacket action-packed movie franchise at the time, The Matrix. If you’re looking to cop the look, any sporty looking dark shades from performance brands like Oakley will do — just don’t forget the fangs.

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