One of the bloggers I follow, and who follows me, storiesbywilliams, often posts lists of his favorite science-fiction related things. His blog posts are usually long and well thought-out, and you can see the time and energy he puts into his posts. I could never match him in that, but I do think I’d like to take a page out of his book today with this post.
So, why is this post about my favorite slashers and the killers in them? (Slashers, for those of you who do not know, are films that rely on plenty of blood, guts, gore, and killing in order to get the scares and has very little character development. The villains are usually human, however they are usually very strong, do not react much to pain or injury, and are usually psychopathic, insane or outside what is considered the normal frame of mind for a human being. Supernatural abilities are optional in these films.) Well, I got out the remake of Halloween by Rob Zombie from the library today and I couldn’t help but think about all the slasher films I’ve seen. There are good ones and there are bad ones out there, but the point is, there are a lot of these films, and I think it’d be interesting to point out some of my favorites and recommend which films you should see, if you are so inclined to watch those films.
Note: I’ll be pointing out specific killers instead of franchises and only afterward will I point out my favorite films from the franchises themselves. This is because the most successful of these franchises tend to have iconic and very scary killers, and few slashers have become memorable without a famous killer. I would also like to point out that I have not seen every film in every franchise, as sometimes these films are very old, and the DVDs they are on become worn with use. Just something to remember.
Michael Myers in the remake.
Michael Myers is the antagonist of most of the Halloween films, which were responsible for the slasher boom of the 80s and 90s. He is easily identifiable by the ironically-bland mask he wears in every film, and murders using a kitchen knife. Diagnosed early on as a psychopath, he murders his older sister and breaks out of an asylum years later just to murder again, heading to his hometown to find his baby sister. The only person around that really grasps how evil he Michael is would be his psychiatrist, Dr. Sam Loomis, who repeatedly tries to find Michael before he causes more damage than he’s already done.Michael was so popular that when he wasn’t featured in the third Halloween film, the filmmakers brought him back for the fourth film. He’s since starred in all the films, including Rob Zombie’s amazing remake, which delves deeper in Michael’s past and obscures the reasons why he targets his younger reasons (in the original it was just to murder her, but it’s not quite clear in the remake). I recommend both the original and the remake, the only films in the franchise I have seen, but whatever you do, don’t get the third film! Without Michael, it’s no good.
Pamela Voorhees as played by Betsy Palmer in the original Friday the 13th.
The original villain of the Friday the 13th movies, Mrs. Voorhees only appeared in the original film, but she is scary to behold. One of the few female killers in the slasher genre (as you’d expect, there isn’t many), Mrs. Voorhees was driven insane by the drowning death of her son Jason at Camp Crystal Lake. Blaming the counselors who were busy having sex instead of watching them, Mrs. Voorhees killed them and any other person who tried to set up a campground in the place where her son died. Check her out and what happens to her in the original Friday the 13th.
Jason first appeared in the sequel to Friday the 13th, and he didn’t gain his iconic hockey mask until the third film, but he’s been a legend ever since, and his name has been synonymous with Friday the 13th ever since.
Suffering from a condition that causes swelling all around his head and some mental retardation, Jason supposedly drowned at camp but survived and for reasons unknown hid in the woods until the day his mother died. He then seeks revenge, killing anyone who comes near Crystal Lake. Over the course of the films, he’s died, come back to life, bent sent to hell, sent into outer space, and fought with Freddy Kreuger, all without saying more than three words. He’s also hard to hurt, and even harder to kill, which makes him a very dangerous opponent. He’s spectacular in films 2-4, but not so great in the remake, whose only good quality was that it made Jason coming back after his mother died much easier to believe. Honestly, I’d love to remake the remake.
Honestly, no discussion of slasher films is complete without Jason Voorhees and Freddy Kreuger and that’s because they are so iconic! Freddy Kreuger is the villain from the Nightmare on Elm Street films, and these films are unique in that Freddy is a kind of demon who kills people in their dreams. A former child-killer who was murdered by vigilante parents, Freddy came back to murder teenagers and kids in a nightmarish version of the power plant he died in. And since nobody can go without sleep, Freddy keeps coming after you, and you can’t stop him (or can you?).
Freddy Kreuger in the original films
Instantly recognizable by his burned face, red-and-green striped sweater, fedora, and clawed hand, Freddy loves to kill and tell a wisecrack while he does it. Except for the remake, he was played every time by Robert Englund. In the remake he was played by Jackie Earle Haley, and given a makeover to look more like a real burn victim. Speaking of remake, it is probably my favorite of the films, and explains why Freddy kills the kids he kills, something never touched upon in the originals. The remake also stars Rooney Mara before her Dragon Tattoo fame, so it’s an added plus.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre may predate Halloween,but it’s still one of the legendary franchises in the genre. Famous for his mask, his cannibalistic family, and of course, his chainsaw, Leatherface is a mystery whose name and origins are only expounded upon in the remakes. Killing anyone besides his family who crosses his path, Leatherface has been described as a true monster and a crybaby
Leatherface in the remake
at the same time, but he still manages to put the scare in people. I seriously recommend the remake, which is way better than the original and had a more satisfying feeling (don’t ask me what that means, just watch and compare the two films if you’re curious).
Last but certainly not least, we have Pinhead from the Hellraiser films. One of a race of beings called the Cenobites, Pinhead has been in every film and has grown more and more into the antagonist role with each one. Cenobites all seem to wear leather, they live in an alternate dimension which can only be accessed by solving a demonic puzzle box, they have various sharp objects pounded into their faces and bodies, and their favorite activity involves stealing souls which they subject to sadomasochistic experiments that have no clear purpose.
Pinhead was originally a human colonel in the British army, but after solving the puzzle box he became a Cenobite, and has tortured and killed many over the course of his career. Once or twice he has remembered his more human side, but that never lasts long and soon he’s back to his old habits of chaining people up and destroying their bodies and souls.
Pinhead, in all his gruesomeness.
The series has been so popular that talks of remaking the original films have been going on for years. I recommend the first two films; they’re the only ones I’ve managed to get my hands on, but they are still wicked scary, and not just because of Pinhead, but because of some of the other characters in the films.
Okay, so I’ve finished this post, and besides learning that I like to write shorter posts, I’ve also had a chance to possibly reccommend some new films to watch. If you see one of these films, let me know what you think of the killers. And if you have another killer that I didn’t add, let me know (just don’t say the Leprechaun; that movie sucked! How did it get five sequels?). That’s all for now, I’m off to watch the remake of Halloween. Thanks to storiesbywilliams for being the guiding light in the writing of this post. How you manage to write these posts each day is beyond me, it’s so different than writing a short story or a novel.