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Thread: What is Hordak's head?

  1. #1
    Court Magician
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    What is Hordak's head?

    Is Hordak's head supposed to be the bare white skull of whatever his species is? Or a helmet (this might count as Classics media, but DC re-imagined Horde Adora with a helmet that looks like Hordak)? Or what?
    A bare skull is my best guess, because that's what he made Keldor's head to keep him from dying in the 200X cartoon. It makes more dramatic sense for the climax of his character development into evil to be visibly becoming what his mentor is than "prevent a death by making someone a lich" to be a random spell Hordak knew that had nothing to do with himself.
    However, there could be an obscure comic that clearly contradicts this, so I want to ask.

  2. #2
    Heroic Warrior
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    Great question and I've always wondered the same. Like is he half man half cyborg or what? Unfortunately, I can't answer the question but I hope there are many more infinitely knowledgeable MOTU experts/fanatics on here that can....

  3. #3
    Heroic Warrior Lokus's Avatar
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    Hordak in my opinion was inspired by Max Schreck .


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  4. #4
    Heroic Warrior Universe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lokus View Post
    Hordak in my opinion was inspired by Max Schreck .
    I like this theory!

    According to the Battle Ram Blog, Hordak was originally inspired by a Tiki mask on the wall at Mattel's offices. This may also explain why there's a bust of hordak above the gate on the original Fright Zone - a callback to the inspiration.

    As for his head itself, it's always seemed to me have cybernetic elements to it, which makes sense since he has a cybernetic body that he can transform when needed.

  5. #5
    Court Magician AlexApprobation's Avatar
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    As a kid I thought his skull was showing similar to Skeletor, he was just a more alien species.

    Combining everything I know now from the multiple incarnations over the years, I take it as a techno-organic mask.

  6. #6
    Heroic Warrior Lokus's Avatar
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    As a kid I alway noticed how the bad guys seemed to be undead . Skeletor was a skeleton and Mumm Ra was a mummy .

    Hordak with his bat symbols and fangs was a vampire . Secret of the sword only just reinforced that impression with that machine that needed will power drained from slaves and later HeMan .

    The lack of blood drinking was never an issue for me . My main source of vampire lore was Drac from Groovy Ghoulies , he never drank blood either

  7. #7
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    I've always seen Hordak as a Pig/Boar type of character.

    Much like Grizzlor was a bear, Leech was a Leech, Mantenna was a stingray, Webstor was a spider, Whiplash was an alligator, Buzz-Off was a bumblebee, Stinkor was a skunk and Spikor was a porcupine and so on... Hordak was based on a pig/boar.

    The fact that Hordak snorts all the time is what sort of confirmed this idea for me. Pigs snort and so does Hordak


    As for his look in the Filmation series, I always found similarities between himself and Darth Vader. The design of their eyes are very similar, and their mouth areas/snouts also have some kind of triangular/geometrical resemblance.

    Not that any of this is accurate of course lol, but just my obervations..

  8. #8
    Heroic Warrior Thrillhouse's Avatar
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    In my head canon, years ago, the final step of accepting the Dark Magic of the Horde was to sacrifice your last bit of humanity, letting the Dark magic strip the flesh from your face and essentially rotting your skin. Hence Hordaks skull face and grey skin. Hordak kept this info from his apprentice Keldor (as it was kept from him) and when Keldor went through his final magic acceptance, the stripping of his face and Caucasian skin dying and turning blue, went mad and fled. Evil-Lyn found Keldor (sensing his power) and nursed him back to health, misunderstanding his name during his recovery.

    That was my explanation of Hordaks (and Skeletors) skull heads anyway.

  9. #9
    Court Magician medium_pyro's Avatar
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    I never really put much thought into it. For me anyway, I see Hordak as mostly machine; with NO organic parts. That was always the vibe I got from his Filmation appearance. What reinforces that for me is the metallic filter that was applied (with varying degrees of intensity) to DiCenzo's vocals (most audibly heard in "The Laughing Dragon"). Not only did he not look human, but he also didn't sound human either.

  10. #10
    Heroic Warrior McHorde-Trooper's Avatar
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    I don’t think there’s a canonical explanation at the moment, but fun to speculate.

    My fan theory (for an unpublished fan fic) is that once Horde Prime decided he was worthy of being a part of a special group of the Horde’s Military he was given that face. It was done either by magic or surgery. Setting Hordak apart as a leader because of his face change in a way that is hard to counterfeit. It also makes it easier to track Hordak down if he failed.


    - - - - - -
    Some really cool theories and a few tidbits of info.
    Last edited by McHorde-Trooper; April 5, 2021 at 09:31am.

  11. #11
    Heroic Warrior Lokus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thrillhouse View Post
    In my head canon, years ago, the final step of accepting the Dark Magic of the Horde was to sacrifice your last bit of humanity, letting the Dark magic strip the flesh from your face and essentially rotting your skin. Hence Hordaks skull face and grey skin. Hordak kept this info from his apprentice Keldor (as it was kept from him) and when Keldor went through his final magic acceptance, the stripping of his face and Caucasian skin dying and turning blue, went mad and fled. Evil-Lyn found Keldor (sensing his power) and nursed him back to health, misunderstanding his name during his recovery.

    That was my explanation of Hordaks (and Skeletors) skull heads anyway.

    Head Canon is the only canon that matters .

    My head Canon final seasons of Buffy and Game of thrones is far superior to the dump we were offered .

    I aM very impressed with all these Hordak interpretation . Like POP touched us all differently .
    Last edited by Lokus; April 5, 2021 at 02:11pm.

  12. #12
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    I always thought the facial design was based on a tiki mask of some kind.
    Let's see a Deluxe Dylamug in MOTU Origins!

  13. #13
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    To me, his original face is his face from MYP, but after being beaten in battle, he had to rebuild himself with the technorganic virus and his new face, the one from She-Ra, is more like a mask that hides his rotten and ruined face underneath.

  14. #14
    Master of Physics VZX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lokus View Post
    Head Canon is the only canon that matters .

    My head Canon final seasons of Buffy and Game of thrones is far superior to the dump we were offered .

    I aM very impressed with all these Hordak interpretation . Like POP touched us all differently .
    You're right about head canon.

    I have a couple different versions of the creation and evolution of Eternia in my head canon. Pertaining to Hordak, I have one version that Eternia was formed by three spirits represented by animals: the snake, the falcon, and the bat. The snake begot the Snakemen and other reptilians, The Falcon begot the Avions and the Sorceress' power, and the bat begot the Evil Horde including Horde Prime and eventually Hordak.

    I have another version where Hordak was just some thug from another world that accidently landed on Pre-ternia. He eventually was able to wrangle some hordes of creatures together and attacked everything. He was obsessed with increasing his abilities and body to the point he became a mix of sorcery and cybernetics.
    "Everything comes to he who waits."

  15. #15
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    I quite like the cyborg clone of Horde Prime thing SPOP did where the entire Horde race has white skin like that as a kinda space vampire race.

    Idk, I feel that takes the best parts of the Filmation robot version and the toy vampire version and turns them into one.

    Also, I just wanna say that Hordak having blue/gray skin just feels really weird to me. Imo it feels like saying Man-At-Arms has green skin.

  16. #16
    Heroic Warrior Night Stalker's Avatar
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    I recall reading that the designer of Hordak had just purchased the VHS release of The Exorcist and finally was able to pause on scenes that had stuck with him for years, specifically the demon Pazuzu. These images were inserted into the film by Friedkin in short three and four frame snippets to achieve a subliminal effect.

    Prior to home video, there was no way to study these scenes with any detail, as Warner Brothers didn't produce any stills featuring this demon. This footage originated as makeup test footage for the possessed Reagan that Friedkin didn't think was quite right for the character, but he decided to use in some manner, hence the brief cuts here and there. After learning that the demon was modelled after Voodoo Witch Doctor masks, the designer studied an art book featuring such masks, and Hordak was born.

    As far as I know, the "tiki mask on the wall at Mattel" backstory was started by Toyguru and is complete nonsense. Hordak was based on the Exorcist demon and images culled from the book The Masks of Black Africa. Regardless of whether it's a mask or Hordak's real face in later canon, the designer intended it to be a mask of some sort.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Night Stalker View Post

    As far as I know, the "tiki mask on the wall at Mattel" backstory was started by Toyguru and is complete nonsense. Hordak was based on the Exorcist demon
    the info originally came from Roger Sweet in 2005. That he thought Hordak’s face was based on a mask.

    but Mattel worked together with Filmation on designing Evil Horde.
    there are over 20 designs from Filmation, how Hordak evolved. Some of those designs are in Dark Horse book. As Well as online.
    no mention of exorcist movie. But would love to read this new info and its source if you can link it here.
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  18. #18
    Heroic Warrior Night Stalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jukka View Post
    the info originally came from Roger Sweet in 2005. That he thought Hordak’s face was based on a mask.

    but Mattel worked together with Filmation on designing Evil Horde.
    there are over 20 designs from Filmation, how Hordak evolved. Some of those designs are in Dark Horse book. As Well as online.
    no mention of exorcist movie. But would love to read this new info and its source if you can link it here.
    I don't recall my source, nor do I recall Roger Sweet inventing the tiki mask story. From page 209 of Sweet's "Mastering the Universe":

    "Dave Capper in Marketing originated and named the concept of Hordak and the Evil Horde... I patterned Hordak's visage after a Hollywood version of an African tribal witch doctor's mask. Ted Meyer knocked it out of the park..."


    "Hollywood version of an African witch doctor's mask" lends credence to the version of events I relayed. Tiki masks, and Polynesian/Maori Tiki culture in general, is fairly distinct from African Houdoun/Voodoo Tribal culture. While I have no doubt someone at Mattel had a tiki mask hanging as decoration (then, as now, it's culturally alright to exploit one such culture as a novelty, but not the other, cough GeekyTikis, cough) I can't see a Tiki mask serving as anyone's inspiration for Hordak.

    I do recall that after reading whatever article or blog that mentioned said version of events, I purchased my own copy of Masks of Black Africa to see if I could find the Hordak prototype(s). I would have had no other reason to purchase such a book. If anyone is interested, there are a half a dozen or so that could have served as inspiration for Hordak, though it's apparent that the bulk of the final design is heavily based on Pazuzu more than a genuine voodoo mask.

    I also do not recall a version of the story in which Roger Sweet designed the face, except for his recollection in his autobiography. It seems to have come down between Capper, Meyer, and someone at Filmation being the actual designer. I can't imagine irreligious hater of horror movies Roger Sweet chomping at the bits to hit "pause" during a home viewing of The Exorcist.

    As I said, I didn't hear the tiki story until Scott relayed it. I questioned it then as I do now.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Night Stalker View Post
    I don't recall my source, nor do I recall Roger Sweet inventing the tiki mask story. From page 209 of Sweet's "Mastering the Universe":

    "Dave Capper in Marketing originated and named the concept of Hordak and the Evil Horde... I patterned Hordak's visage after a Hollywood version of an African tribal witch doctor's mask. Ted Meyer knocked it out of the park..."


    "Hollywood version of an African witch doctor's mask" lends credence to the version of events I relayed. Tiki masks, and Polynesian/Maori Tiki culture in general, is fairly distinct from African Houdoun/Voodoo Tribal culture. While I have no doubt someone at Mattel had a tiki mask hanging as decoration (then, as now, it's culturally alright to exploit one such culture as a novelty, but not the other, cough GeekyTikis, cough) I can't see a Tiki mask serving as anyone's inspiration for Hordak.

    I do recall that after reading whatever article or blog that mentioned said version of events, I purchased my own copy of Masks of Black Africa to see if I could find the Hordak prototype(s). I would have had no other reason to purchase such a book. If anyone is interested, there are a half a dozen or so that could have served as inspiration for Hordak, though it's apparent that the bulk of the final design is heavily based on Pazuzu more than a genuine voodoo mask.

    I also do not recall a version of the story in which Roger Sweet designed the face, except for his recollection in his autobiography. It seems to have come down between Capper, Meyer, and someone at Filmation being the actual designer. I can't imagine irreligious hater of horror movies Roger Sweet chomping at the bits to hit "pause" during a home viewing of The Exorcist.

    As I said, I didn't hear the tiki story until Scott relayed it. I questioned it then as I do now.
    Slightly unrelated, but what is the appeal of stuff like GeekyTikis? It feels really tacky, they're generally kinda ugly, and I just really don't see the appeal. Like, the MOTU ones feel like what you would find in an Eternian gift shop.

    Also, what's the story regarding Roger Sweet and horror movies? Does this mean the classic horror monster Horde connection is false?

  20. #20
    Heroic Warrior Night Stalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BooperScoop View Post
    Slightly unrelated, but what is the appeal of stuff like GeekyTikis? It feels really tacky, they're generally kinda ugly, and I just really don't see the appeal. Like, the MOTU ones feel like what you would find in an Eternian gift shop.

    Also, what's the story regarding Roger Sweet and horror movies? Does this mean the classic horror monster Horde connection is false?

    I don't know how badly he hates them; he's just pretty dismissive of them in general. IIRC he basically pooped on everything following the Universal Classic monsters, referring to later horror/monster movies as "juvenile pablum." Which makes his creation of stuff like Gre-Gory The Vampire Bat seem at odds. Or maybe not; he may lump toys into the same category of 'dumb stuff for dumb kids.' He always seemed more interested in the engineering side of things, which is arguably a more 'masculine' endeavor. He's an odd duck, for sure. Certainly one of the most interesting and hard to read men I've ever met.

    Re: Geeki Tikis, I don't understand the appeal. I certainly dig the religious and ethnic traditions behind actual tiki culture, but I don't understand why it has been co-opted as a novelty to exploit in such a manner. We're not talking hula hoops, ukeleles and pogs here; there's a difference between Pacific Islander pastimes and actual religious symbolism. It's like putting He-Man's face on a Zulu shield or Bantu medicine mask. There's no point, unless you're trying to be obnoxious.

    But more to the point, these aren't even good tiki vessels. Even if you saw no implicit disrespect in utilizing tiki mugs for recreational partying, these vessels hold what, 4oz or something? I guess that's good for displaying on a shelf, but if I have to refill it twice just to get through a can of beer, it's practically useless. It fits all definition of a stupid, useless, disposable piece of junk cash grab designed to separate fans from their money because "it's got muh characters on it." It's basically one notch above a Funko Pop, because at least you can sort of do something with an undersized tiki mug, like use it to store other stupid, useless pieces of junk like that scaled replica Power Sword letter opener.
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  21. #21
    Heroic Warrior Universe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Night Stalker View Post
    because at least you can sort of do something with an undersized tiki mug, like use it to store other stupid, useless pieces of junk like that scaled replica Power Sword letter opener.
    Of the various MOTU junk that's out there, I kind of like the Power Sword letter openers. I actually use mine to open mail (previously just used a pearing knife), and if I wanted, it would look good mounted and framed on a wall.

    With you both on those tiki cups, though. Ugly, uninspired and mostly useless.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by BooperScoop View Post
    Does this mean the classic horror monster Horde connection is false?
    It's always been a fan theory.

    And the more concept art and stories that have been discovered about how Filmation worked together with Mattel, does not support the idea of "oh, they started out as Universal Monster analogies, or were always meant to be one"

    But it's one of those very understandable fan theories. Where as fans you only see the end product. And start making connections.

    Though like I said. More and more research has shown for example that Hordak was not originated from any vampire design. And the mask-idea was first said by Roger Sweet. And from there "what kind of" mask... the story has changed.
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