The history of horror movies is rich with iconic slashers. Although their movies may not be great, the antagonists have become pop culture icons. People like Freddy Kreuger, Jason Voorhees, Ghost Face, Mike Myers. They transcended the movies they were in and rose to a pantheon much alike the classic horror movie monsters. But how do they stack up against each other? Let’s find out. I am not counting horror movie species like xenomorphs and yautja from Predator. I am also not judging them by the quality of their movie, only the killer themselves, and how scary/ dangerous they are.
Some honorable mentions, Chucky, and Leatherface. I left Chucky out because it is just a doll, and he became way too comedic and corny in the series. Chucky is definitely iconic, and most people would recognize him, but he just isn’t scary. I left Leatherface out because Leatherface is almost never the scariest character in the film. The other family members always freaked me out more, Leather Face was just a big dumb pawn. His image isn’t even iconic.
5. Michael Myers- Halloween
Most people would put Myers at the top, I, however, do not. Yes, he is one of the original slashers and is super iconic. Yes, he is scary, and Jason is basically a copy of him. But sometimes, copies are better. Michael Myers going first is a disadvantage, because other slashers who followed would build off of what he set up.
The good things about Myers are that he is unstoppable. Through the movies, he takes a ton of damage but keeps getting up. His slow lumbering movements and his silence are eerie. He is also technically human, at least in the first few movies. His humanity, although it is taken away by his apparent immortality, does add a little extra to him.
But one of my problems is that he is kind of boring. His kills are always so tame. Just stabbing or strangling people. I can not think of any memorable kills from him. His motives are boring. He is just a psychopath, trying to kill, or sometimes just find/ protect his family. It is all so muddled.
4.Ghost Face- Scream
Ghost Face is unique to this list because Ghost Face has been multiple people throughout the franchise. Also, Ghost Face is not some immortal who can tank damage like the other characters here. You throw something at Ghost Face, they stumble. If you shoot him or her, they go down.
In one way, that takes away from how scary they are, but in another, it adds to it. Ghost Face is not a malevolent monster who just wants to kill. The people behind Ghost Face are real people in the life of the people they kill. They almost always have selfish goals, like wanting fame, or revenge, and will kill all of their friends and loved ones to achieve that goal. They are humans who seemed like stable individuals, who were willing to do horrible things to people they cared about. In a way, that is scarier than an unstoppable killing machine.
What keeps Ghost Face at 4, is one, that the identity changes throughout the franchise. Whereas in 1 and 4 they had interesting, and horrifying motives, the motives in 2 and 3, and also the killers, were boring. Also, most of Ghost Face’s kills through the series are pretty tame. The garage door kill in one was unique and scary, but it is mostly just stabbing people with a knife.
Still, Ghost Face is iconic, and the Ghost Face Mask is instantly recognizable.
3. Jason Voorhees- Friday the 13th
Jason Voorhees is just Mike Myers on steroids. He has all the good qualities, like invincibility, slow movement, etc, and adds the fact that he has some of the best kills in horror history.
There is that time he froze a women’s face is liquid nitrogen, and then smashed it. Peoples people to death with their friend’s corpse. He cleaves people in half. Rips their heart out with his hand. Most of his kills are unique and gory.
Once he dons the hockey mask, he became one of the most recognizable slashers of all time. I prefer the hockey mask to the weird Shatner mask Myers wears. His motives are also better than Mike Myers. He was bullied and killed as a kid. Then his mom was killed, and now he wants revenge. Is it great motive? No, but it is at least clear and consistent.
Jason’s downfall is that he is just a brute, like Mike Myers. There is no nuance to his character. He has zero speaking lines. He is just a killing machine.
2.Freddy Kreuger- Nightmare on Elm Street
Unlike Jason and Michael, Freddy actually has a personality. The fact he can speak gives him a wider range of ways to scare than Jason and Michael.
Of all the slashers so far, Freddy is the only one where people know the actor by name as well. All horror fans know who Robert Englund is, and that he is Freddy Kreuger. And his look, with the striped sweater, the hat, and the finger knives, is instantly recognizable.
Like Jason, Freddy has a long history of cool kills in movies. He can attack people in their dreams, so his abilities are only limited by the imagination of the writers. His first ever on-screen kill, is horrifying, without needing to rely on being over the top. Seeing Tina be dragged up the wall, and across the roof, while being ripped open by finger knives, was horrifying for me as a kid.
Freddy is the only one of these characters I have mentioned so far that ever actually scared me. The others all exist in the real world. You can run from them, and escape them. But Freddy attacks you in your sleep. You can’t just sleep. Avoiding sleep for long times will make you even more paranoid, and add to the intensity of how scary he is even more.
My problem with Fred is after the 4th movie, he became a cartoon character. He started dropping lame one-liners like he is Chucky or the Leprechaun, who did not make the list for obvious reasons.
No horror movie killer freaks me out for than Pinhead. He is a human, twisted and tortured into a hellspawn. Something about his story is just creepy.
His face is easily recognizable. He has memorable kills. He is not mindless and is in fact highly intelligent. He still has some humanity and can be reasoned with. All the factors I have been looking at he nails, or should I say pins (sorry).
If we are to compare these more modern monsters to the classic movie monsters, Pinhead is Dracula. In that, he is smart, articulate, and not entirely evil. He does evil things but has motives, and occasionally does not do evil things. He is capable of forgiveness.
His whole thing is he shows up to those who complete the Lament Puzzle. He kind of grants them their desires, but in a twisted way, almost like a genie. People do not usually like what they get. But there were times when someone solved it, and he did not punish them. When one woman is manipulated into solving it for someone else, he does not punish her. Because she had no desire to experience that power, and as he puts it, it is desire that calls him and the other Cenobites.
He is by far the most interesting of these killers to me. His only flaw is his lore does not stay completely consistent throughout the franchise, but the basic stuff stays the same for the most part, and with one exception of when he was separated from his human side, he is always the thought, stoic, not all evil force that I have described, and that is what makes him stand out. Also, it doesnt hurt that he is the scariest looking character out of these five.