Jun 03, 2023

15 Horror Icons Who Appeared in the 2012 Ninja Turtles Series!




While much of the initial fanbase that helped turn Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles into a pop culture phenomenon aged out following the original cartoon (1987-1996) and live action movies (1990-1993), the property has continued to flourish with reboots in TV, film, and comics every few years.

If the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem has you interested in exploring various versions of TMNT, there’s no better place for a horror fan to start than Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series that aired for five seasons between 2012 and 2017.

While there’s an inherent connection to horror in the various mutants and monsters that pop up throughout the franchise, no rendition embraces the genre nearly as much as this one. In addition to references to classics like Alien, Friday the 13th, and The Evil Dead, the series employed several notable horror actors throughout its 124-episode run.

Here are 15 horror icons who lent their voices to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2012.

1. Corey Feldman – Slash

Corey Feldman may not be synonymous with horror, but the pedigree of Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, The Lost Boys, and Gremlins is more than enough to make him an icon of the genre. His TMNT legacy is even stronger, having voiced Donatello in the first and third live action films.

In animated form, Feldman play Slash, who was a villain in the original series but an ally in this version. He starts out as Raphael’s pet tortoise, Spike, before being accidentally mutated. He’s introduced in Season 2’s “Slash and Destroy” and appears in total of 12 episodes, culminating with the series finale, “The Big Blow Out.”

2. Kelly Hu – Karai

Feldman’s not the only Friday the 13th franchise alumnus on the show. Kelly Hu’s resume includes The Scorpion King, X2: X-Men United, and Arrow, but horror fans will recall her film debut as Eva in Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan.

Hu plays the integral TMNT role of Karai, a character that debuted in the comics in 1992 and previously appeared in the 2003 animated series. She’s in 31 episodes of TMNT 2012, from season 1’s “New Girl in Town” to season 5’s “The Foot Walks Again.”

In this incarnation, Karai starts out as a fierce, teenage Foot Clan member that was raised by the evil Shredder. She later aligns herself with the Turtles upon the revelation that she’s actually Master Splinter’s biological daughter from before he was mutated. In season 3, she’s exposed to a mutagen that gives her serpent-like abilities.

3. Cassandra Peterson – Ms. Campbell

Cassandra Peterson — beloved by all as horror host Elvira — is usually vivacious, but her part on TMNT required a more monotonous performance. She voices Ms. Campbell/Utrom Queen in six episodes, from season 1’s “The Alien Agenda” to season 5’s “When Worlds Collide.”

Ms. Campbell is introduced as a woman who takes an interest in April O’Neil before it’s revealed that she’s an evil robot sent by the evil Krang, armed with laser eyes and missile arms. When her human disguise is damaged in season 4’s “The War for Dimension X,” the Utom Queen’s true form is revealed.

4. Keith David – Sal Commander

Keith David achieved cult status for his roles in The Thing (which, incidentally, inspired TMNT’s season 3 episode “Burned Secrets”) and They Live, but his rich pipes have also earned him Emmy awards. His extensive voice work includes Gargoyles, Coraline, The Princess and the Frog, Spawn, and Rick and Morty.

On TMNT, he voices Sal Commander (also known as G’Throkka) for five episodes, from season 4’s “The Moons of Thalos 3” to season 5’s “When Worlds Collide Part 2.” An ally to the Turtles, Sal is the commander of the Salamandrians, an extraterrestrial species that resembles large, humanoid salamanders.

5. Jeffrey Combs – Rat King

Rat King is a villain that originated in the comics and appeared in both the 1987 and 2003 animated series. Re-Animator star Jeffrey Combs lends his voice to the character for four episodes of the 2012 rendition.

He debuts as Dr. Victor Falcon in season 1’s “Monkey Brains” and returns in “I, Monster,” in which his experiments yield him the ability to control rats, hence the Rat King moniker. Splinter defeats him and his army of giant rats in season 2’s “Of Rats and Men.” His final appearance is in season 4’s “Darkest Plight” as a hallucination to Splinter.

6. Ron Perlman – Armaggon

Ron Perlman has played and/or appeared alongside various creatures in the likes of Hellboy, Blade II, Alien: Resurrection, The Island of Dr. Moreau, and Sleepwalkers. For three episodes in TMNT’s fourth season, he voiced the villainous Armaggon, an alien cyborg shark.

Armaggon debuts in “The Outlaw Armaggon” as a bounty hunter hired by crime lord Vringath Dregg (voiced by Peter Stormare) to capture the Turtles. He makes his final appearance in “The Evil of Dregg,” in which he’s defeated for good.

7. Chris Sarandon – Dracula

Over three decades after starring as Jerry Dandrige in Fright Night, Chris Sarandon returned to his vampiric roots to portray the ultimate blood sucker: Count Dracula. He plays an integral role in season 5’s four-part Monster & Mutants arc, first appearing (albeit without dialogue) in “The Curse of Savanti Romero.”

Dracula is one of the creatures recruited by time-traveling sorcerer Savanti Romero to take over the world, along with Frankenstein’s Monster, Vulko the werewolf, and The Pharaoh mummy. Dracula plans to betray Savanti, but Michelangelo destroys him before he has the chance.

8. Dana DeLorenzo – Esmeralda

No stranger to being surrounded by monsters after three seasons of Ash vs Evil Dead, Dana DeLorenzo can be heard alongside Sarandon in “The Crypt of Dracula.” She plays Esmeralda, the daughter of Vulko the werewolf. The Romanian traveler shares her knowledge of monsters with the Turtles.

DeLorenzo’s Ash vs Evil Dead co-star Lucy Lawless voices Daagon supreme ruler Hiidrala in season 4’s “The Cosmic Ocean.”

9. Danny Trejo – Newtralizer

Machete don’t text, but he does voices. Genre favorite Danny Trejo plays Newtralizer (also known as K’Vathrak), a Salamandrian bounty hunter who will stop at nothing to eradicate the Kraang — even if that means taking out innocent humans and the Turtles.

The character first appears in Season 1’s “Operation: Break Out,” in which he breaks out of his cell and Donnie gives him his nickname. Trejo came in to play him in season 2’s “Newtralized,” briefly teaming up with Feldman’s Slash in an episode loaded with Star Wars references, and later returning in season 5’s two-part “When Worlds Collide,” where he has the newfound ability to wield electricity.

10. James Hong – Ho Chan

James Hong has over 600 credits — from Blade Runner to Seinfeld to Kung Fu Panda to Everything Everywhere All at Once — but horror fans will always associate him with Lo Pan from Big Trouble in Little China. He plays a similar role in TMNT’s Big Trouble homage, “A Chinatown Ghost Story,” in Season 2.

Hong voices the villainous Ho Chan, an ancient ghost sorcerer who even borrows a line from ol’ Jack Burton, “It’s all in the reflexes.” While the Turtles ultimately defeat him, he vows to return at the end of the episode. He does so in season 5’s “End Times,” but this time around Splinter ensures it’s the last of him.

11. Robert Englund – Dire Beaver / Dread Beaver

Robert Englund is, of course, best known for his work in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. When TMNT drew inspiration from the horror classic for season 5’s “In Dreams,” they called on Freddy Krueger himself to provide a voice.

Englund voices Dire Beaver and Dread Beaver, two of the four interdimensional Dream Beavers that trap the Turtles in their dreams. The episode features several nods to Freddy, including the beavers’ long claws, a musical cue reminiscent of the Elm Street theme, and a nightmare involving a furnace.

12. John Kassir – Dark Beaver / Dave Beaver

Along with Englund in “In Dreams,” the other two Dream Beavers — Dark Beaver and Dave Beaver — are played by John Kassir. He has over 250 credits to his name, the majority of which are voice roles, but his unmistakable pipes are best known for Tales from the Crypt‘s ghoulish host, the Crypt Keeper.

13. Bill Moseley – Bernie

Would you believe there’s a third horror icon in “In Dreams?” Bill Moseley — known for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2, House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil’s Rejects, and Night of the Living Dead — plays Bernie in the same episode.

A physicist-turned-grocer, Bernie has stayed awake for decades to prevent the Dream Beavers from attacking our world. His weapon of choice is a chainsaw with “The Saw is Family” engraved on the blade, in reference to Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III.

The character later makes a photo cameo later in season 3 in “Dinosaur Seen in Sewers,” where he’s featured on a tabloid with the headline “Man did not sleep for 40 years.”

14. Lance Henriksen – Zog

With credits including The Terminator, Aliens, Near Dark, Scream 3, and Pumpkinhead, Lance Henriksen is an undisputed genre legend. He lends his talents to TMNT as Zog, a character that was originally created for the comics and previously appeared in the 2003 animated series.

Zog appears in season 3’s “Dinosaur Seen in Sewers” as a scout who plans to signal his fellow Triceratons to attack the Earth in order to destroy the Kraang – until the Turtles get involved, that is. He refuses Raphael’s attempt to save his life, instead opting to plummet to his death.

15. Michael Ironside – Emperor Zanmoran

Michael Ironside brings a signature gravitas to all of his projects, from Total Recall, Starship Troopers, and Scanners to Terminator Salvation, Turbo Kid, and TMNT, in which he plays Emperor Zanmoran.

Although he only appears in one episode – Season 4’s “The Arena of Carnage” – Zanmoran is a pivotal foe whose presence can be felt throughout the season’s space arc. Zanmoran serves as the sadistic leader of the Triceraton Empire and commander of their armada.

Some of the many other recognizable voices that pop up throughout the series include Sean Astin as Raphael, Seth Green as Leonardo, Clancy Brown as Rahzar, David Tennant as The Fugitoid, Mark Hamill as Kavaxas, Jesse Ventura as The Finger, Paul Reubens as Sir Malachi, and TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman as Ice Cream Kitty.

Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Complete Series is available on DVD. Select seasons are streaming Netflix and Paramount+.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem opens in theaters on August 2 via Paramount.

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When we sat down for a preview of Still Wakes the Deep at Gamescom, it wasn’t under the circumstances you might expect.

With horror titles like this, you ideally want to experience them in the right conditions. You know, a quiet, dimly lit room with no distractions or reminders of the outside world. That way you can really get lost in the nightmare that the developers have meticulously crafted for you.

That’s not the situation we found ourselves in here though. Instead, we were in the middle of a bustling, sweaty convention centre in Germany, surrounded by bright florescent lights, as well as the chatter of industry professionals networking away, in addition to folk ordering themselves more bratwurst & pretzels.

So it wasn’t a very spooky atmosphere (which obviously couldn’t be helped) and we doubt that even P.T. would have been very effective under those conditions. Yet Still Wakes the Deep managed to get under our skin nonetheless, thanks to its eerie setting, disturbing audio mix and pervasive sense of dread.

Annihilation meets The Poseidon Adventure

Up until now, The Chinese Room’s latest has been shrouded in alluring mystery, with us only having an enigmatic store page description — and an even less enlightening reveal trailer — to go on. Sure, we’ve been able to piece together that it’s a narrative-driven affair (which is a given for the Dear Esther studio), that it’s got a nautical theme, and that there’s some kind of creature-feature element at play, but other than that we’ve been kept totally in the dark.

While our sneak peek hardly constituted as a tell-all expose, it did help to clear some of these things up, with never-before-seen alpha footage and a developer Q&A session.

Before we got to that, however, we were first treated to a quick presentation introducing the game. The plot synopsis here mostly recapped information that’s already out in the public realm: explaining how you play as an offshore worker — based on an oil rig just off the coast of Scotland — who is running away from problems at home. Namely, that his neglected wife is filing for divorce.

When some manner of natural disaster strikes (we weren’t told precisely what form this will take), you’re forced to put aside these domestic concerns and enter survival mode, fending for yourself as the refinery collapses into the sea. Fiery explosions, tempestuous storms, and the structural integrity of your surroundings aren’t the biggest problems you’ll face though, as it also turns out that something terrible has emerged from the watery depths. A hostile and unknown threat that’s out for blood.

Putting it more succinctly, The Chinese Room have a very compelling elevator pitch for Still Wakes the Deep. In their own words, it’s essentially “Annihilation meets The Poseidon Adventure.” On one hand you’ve got the maritime disaster angle, while on the other you’ve got a sci-fi horror story that’s unfolding at the same time. Elaborating upon this idea further, Senior Game Designer for the project, Jade Jacson, said: “We’re trying to exploit a number of different phobias that people might have. Things like heights, drowning, isolation, narrow spaces, the unknown … and of course death”.

Hey, don’t threaten us with a good time.

A Unique Perspective

Next came that alpha footage, which enabled us to see these enticing concepts in action (albeit very briefly).

First of all, we were shown a snippet of the game from before shit hits the fan, as our middle-aged protagonist “Caz” wandered around the oil rig and interacted with his various co-workers. It’s nice to know that there will be actual NPCs in Still Wakes the Deep, instead of just the usual walking-sim trope where everybody is either a disembodied voice over the radio or a distant memory recorded onto an audio log. Indeed, Caz got quite talkative with some of them, and we get the feeling that they’re going to be fully fleshed-out characters. One of the things that really struck us about each member of the crew — whether it was the friendly engineer making ideal gossip, or the cook who was maybe a little too prying into your marital troubles — was their dialect.

As a British gamer, I’m used to hearing American voices coming from most of the characters that I control and, if they are ever from the UK, then they’ll tend to speak with received pronunciation (like geographically-indistinct news readers). On the rare occasion that someone does have a Northern twang, it’ll be because the developers want to illustrate their socio-economic background.

Fantasy RPGs in particular have a habit of employing the Yorkshire accent (like the one used by yours truly) as a kind of shorthand for somebody being of lower status. We’re not the protagonists; we’re beggars, bandits, thieves and nomads.

But in Still Wakes the Deep every single character authentically sounds like they’re from a part of the UK that isn’t London. I think a lot of them were Scottish (others could feasibly have been from the North of England) but their dialect and turns-of-phrase were immediately recognisable to me anyway.

Hearing things like “Shite”, “Ta”, “Slagged off”, “Aye” and disagreements about Barnsley football club coming from the mouths of people on screen was quite a surreal experience, because that’s all so ordinary to me and yet I’m never exposed to it in these horror games. It was relatable and certainly made the rest of the alpha footage hit a lot closer to home.

Speaking of which …

Nightmarish Creatures & Beautiful Horror

We then cut to a bit later on in the game, as Caz traversed the crumbling facility post whatever disaster has occurred.

Battered by the elements, he had to crawl along steel girders, jump across gaps and clamber over various obstructions in order to get to (relative) safety. It was an exhilarating sequence that seemed to suggest that there’ll be a fair bit of quasi-platforming in Still Wakes the Deep. Not to mention, it also looked incredible from a visual perspective, boasting convincing weather effects and photorealistic details in the environments.

Of course, it’s when Caz finally got inside that things started to kick up a notch. Skulking through flooded sections of the oil rig, he was clearly trying his best not to make a noise, lest he alert the mysterious creature to his presence.

It was a proper stealth section and, unlike with some of The Chinese Room’s previous offerings, there’s apparently real consequences if you’re caught here. On that note, Jacson confirmed that the team have tried to emphasise interactivity a little more this time around, and that they wanted the gameplay to feel “dangerous”.

When we pressed for more detail on this, she confirmed that there is in fact a fail-state and that you can die should the monster finds you. This isn’t going to be one of those walking simulator horror games then — where there’s no jeopardy to speak of — and you will have to try and outwit your pursuer. Jacson added that you will be able to distract it somehow but didn’t let anything else slip beyond that.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get a good look at the elusive beast itself, as it was deliberately hidden from view throughout the alpha footage. What we can tell you though, is that the sound it makes is bloody harrowing.

An uncanny mix of human screams and inhuman shrieking, you can definitely tell where that Annihilation influence has come into play, as the bloodcurdling noise immediately brought to mind that mutant bear from Alex Garland’s 2018 movie. If the abomination producing that unholy racket is even half as frightening as it sounds, then it’s going to be a terrifying enemy to deal with.

In the ensuing Q&A, we asked if Annihilation inspired anything else with Still Wakes the Deep or if it was just the starting-point for the game’s creature. Jascon was again quite tight-lipped on this subject, yet did mention that the team were also looking to replicate the film’s idea of “beautiful horror,” whereby grizzly imagery is rendered oddly beguiling (like with those flower people).

She wouldn’t say much more on that topic, but suffice it to say we were very, very intrigued. Which pretty much sums up how we feel about the entire project now that we’ve finally been given a taste of it.

If it managed to unnerve us amidst the hustle and bustle of Gamescom, then we can’t wait to see how well it’s gonna play once we’re alone at the dead of night, desperately trying not to get caught by that shrieking monstrosity.

Published by Secret Mode, Still Wakes the Deep will be released in 2024 on Xbox Series X|S, PC and PS5. It will also be available at launch on Game Pass.

Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem1. Corey Feldman – Slash2. Kelly Hu – Karai3. Cassandra Peterson – Ms. Campbell4. Keith David – Sal Commander5. Jeffrey Combs – Rat King6. Ron Perlman – Armaggon7. Chris Sarandon – Dracula8. Dana DeLorenzo – Esmeralda9. Danny Trejo – Newtralizer10. James Hong – Ho Chan11. Robert Englund – Dire Beaver / Dread Beaver12. John Kassir – Dark Beaver / Dave Beaver13. Bill Moseley – Bernie14. Lance Henriksen – Zog15. Michael Ironside – Emperor ZanmoranSean AstinSeth GreenClancy BrownDavid Tennant Mark HamillJesse VenturaPaul ReubensKevin EastmanStill Wakes the Deep GamescomAnnihilation meets The Poseidon Adventure The Chinese Room’sJade JacsonA Unique PerspectiveNightmarish Creatures & Beautiful Horror