Comparing Horror Movie Killers: How Are Horror Movie Villains the Same and Different
There are so many horror movie slashers and so many different villains! These villains all make their mark differently, each killing with their own modified personality and weapon. However, despite how different they may be, there are also some serious similarities between the horror movie killers when it comes to the art of killing. In fact, the Horror Enthusiast has identified a number of similarities between these killing masters which are undeniably inherent in almost all of the major horror movie slasher franchises.
Mostly we are talking about slashers here, such as Freddy Krueger (Nightmare on Elm Street), Jason Voorhees (Friday the Thirtieth), Michael Myers (Halloween), Chucky (Child’s Play), and Leatherface (Texas Chainsaw Massacre).
Similarity #1: Delayed Gratification
It is blatantly obvious that almost all horror movie villains are able to absolutely destroy their victims nearly immediately upon encountering them. Still, the horror slashers seem to enjoy a good hunt and frequently allow their prey a few feet of a head start in order to prolong the kill! This delayed gratification can last a few moments, or sometimes the duration of an entire movie (or longer)!
Similarity #2: Weapon Emphasis
Although some horror killers have been known to use their bare hands and other objects for their creative kill scenes, nearly all of the most notable horror franchises utilize one or a few select weapons. Many of the slashers prefer a weapon or two, in fact. Freddy Krueger is prone to favor his razor finger glove. Jason Voorhees has used many weapons, but has the most kills with his famed machete. Michael Myers prefers his large kitchen knife. Leatherface tends to rely most heavily on his chainsaw, however, also enjoys the use of meathooks to retain his captured prey!
Similarity #3: Disguise or Mask or Grotesque Look
Horror movie slashers need to look as scary as possible, and normal looking humans are just not that scary. Freddy Krueger is naturally burned, but looks like he has been spat out of hell itself. Jason Voorhees hides behind a scary looking hockey mask. Michael Myers has a mask that covers his entire head, a mask that almost speaks death. Charles Lee Ray possesses the creepy Good Guy doll “Chucky.” And Leatherface wears masks created from the actual flesh of the faces of his victims. Having a bolstered, evil look is critical in creating a terrifying presence.
Similarity #4: Rejected by Society
Almost all of our favorite horror movie villains have been rejected by society in one fashion or another. Freddy Krueger is a child murderer who was punished by his neighborhood peers after preying on their children. Jason Voorhees was bullied due to his deformities and low IQ. Michael Myers was deemed “unhuman” and sent to live in a psychiatric ward most of his life. Chucky is actually a desperate fugitive taking refuge within the doll to avoid his fate as a discovered serial killer. Leatherface is mentally challenged to the point his town pokes fun at his low intellect. In fact, rejection is an important fabric in developing a ruthless killer.
Similarity #5: Lurking in the Shadows
A really big part of horror is the unknown. From the slasher’s perspective, however, the victims are almost always known about ahead of time, at least a few moments from the kill. Even the most disconnected killers (such as Jason Voorhees or Leatherface), stalk their prey for a short time before the victims become aware of the killer’s presence. In fact, slashers like Freddy Krueger and Michael Myers are known to do a fair amount of stalking before they slit any flesh!
Similarity #6: Supernatural Powers
Despite the many forms horror movie slashes may come in, they almost always possess supernatural powers in the leading horror movie franchises. Freddy Krueger is a dreamworld manipulator and demon-like soul harvester. Jason Voorhees is literally brought back from the dead and given superhuman strength and is seemingly indestructible. Michael Myers is “pure evil,” as best put by Dr Loomis, and by no means a human being. Chucky is a possessed doll invoked through the use of ancient a voodoo ritual.
Similarity #7: Sympathetic Storyline
Ironically, all of the killers are humanized at one point or another in their horror movie killing career. This is probably done to create sympathy for the killer among the audience to increase brand loyalty…as the slashers themselves often become famed stars that drive the future success of the franchise. Freddy Krueger is made up to be a victim, burned in a brutal boiler room fire without proper judicial process. Jason Voorhees is a mentally handicapped child who is drowned by cruel teenage peers. Michael Myers is psychologically damaged and constantly being locked up in a mental institute, ever since he were a child. Leatherface is mentally ill as well and only broke bad after he got fired from his job as a butcher, previously having no incidents of violence. Even Chucky is humanized, at one point taking on a wife that matched his stature!
Similarity #8: Little to No Empathy
Although the directors and writers of many of these horror slasher franchises have invoked empathy for the killer at one point or another, the slasher almost never has any empathy for the victims. There are a few scenes where some of the killers surprise us, however, typically they are ruthless and only interested in a gruesome death and/or possibly harvesting a soul!
Similarity #9: Relentless Pursuit
A good horror movie is built upon suspense. No matter how the suspense is built, it is a necessary trait to creating dopamine from fear. The audience must feel they are at risk themselves and remain on the edge of their seat throughout the entire film. Most notable horror slashers are relentless and will pursue a victim as long as it takes, sometimes throughout the entire film!
Similarity #10: Impossible to Kill
Although horror movie slashers are nearly always defeated towards the end of each film, they almost always come back…sometimes it is even hinted at the very end of the film itself! Horror movie slashers are notoriously hard to kill…this is probably to increase the likelihood of the survival of the franchise. Horror movie franchises typically rely upon the continuation of a killer’s rampage. After all, if the slasher’s victim count cannot increase, neither can the number of movies within the franchise! Freddy Krueger very commonly was seen having the final upper hand within many of his movies. Jason Voorhees has also come back several times in the final moments. Michael Myers almost always escapes death somehow. And we all know leatherface always has the last laugh (well, if he laughed anyway)!
How Are the Horror Movie Slashers Different?
As similar as these monsters and killers may be, each horror movie villain is different in their own way as well! Each character requires as much of a unique presence as can be mustered for the same genre…thus the characters are generally products of their environment with each movie changing the environment slightly. Freddy Krueger’s grotesque look comes from the boiler room fire that killed him. Leatherface is a deranged inbred, which is why he covers his face with the flesh of his victims. Michael Myers is always wearing a jumpsuit after escaping mental institutions. Chucky is a doll that has been given to a child as a present. Each killer is made to fit the environment by which it kills, and each environment is different.
Find out who has the most kills of this group of horror monsters.
Have some similarities or differences you have noticed? Comment below, we’d love to hear from you!
Tritone’s love of horror and mystery began at a young age. Growing up in the 80’s he got to see some of the greatest horror movies play out in the best of venues, the drive-in theater. That’s when his obsession with the genre really began—but it wasn’t just the movies, it was the games, the books, the comics, and the lore behind it all that really ignited his obsession. Tritone is a published author and continues to write and write about horror whenever possible.