Pumpkins, candy, and trick or treating is not the only thing we associate with Halloween. There’s also the murderers, and there’s lots of them! Mwa-ha-ha!
The spookiest night of the year doesn’t end up at just parties and non-consequential fun. For some people, it ends with them being terrified and hiding from a murderer in places that aren’t that good, and making decisions that in retrospective seem stupid, but hey, that’s how horror movies go. In any case, it’s hardly ever the protagonists who we remember, but the killers instead, as they provide all the fun aspect in this movies with their over-the-top performances, and unwillingness to just die. And now, we’ve picked our favorites and compiled them in a list of the Ultimate Halloween Characters. Dear readers, enjoy!
Freddy Krueger (‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ series)
Freddy, one of the most recognizable faces in the movie industry has been terrifying children for over 25 years (yes! the original movie is from 1984, so it’s actually older than some of our readers!) and has become an icon of the horror movie genre. In the fiction, he is a disfigured stalker who gets inside people’s dreams and chases them with a razor armed glove. The problem is that getting killed in dream world implies getting killed in the real world, and after almost 10 movies, we can assure you this guy is persistent, so you’re in for a lot of trouble.
Did you know that … ? On top of being one of the most famous serial killers in movie history, he’s also a playable character in Mortal Kombat 9? Him and Baraka look like long-lost family, if you think about it.
Jason Vorhees (‘Friday the 13th’ Series)
Jason Vorhees is another character that is pretty much unavoidable in this type of list. The main murderer of the Friday the 13th series, one of the most successful and lasting movie franchises ever is a force to reckon, after 12 movies released since the original one in 1980. The worst part is that, what started as “just” a regular stalker/serial killer with a hockey mask and a machete has gotten more and more powers in each subsequent version, to the point of having been given superhuman strength, regenerative powers, invulnerability, and so on. This guy could face a Terminator head on and live to tell the story… if his current state can be called living, anyways.
Did you know that … ? Jason’s body count is so extensive it includes the whole crew of a boat, a virtual reality alien, everyone on the Grendel spaceship, and potentially, every damn camper on Earth? Yeah, you top that.
Chucky (‘Child’s Play’ series)
Don’t be confused by the recent entries on the series like Bride of Chucky or Seed of Chucky… the series used to be all horror oriented instead of horror comedy back in 1988 when the first film, Child’s Play, was released. Chucky is a regular doll that one of the characters gives to her son as a present. It turns out that the doll, as innocent as it seemed, was imbued with the soul of a voodoo practitioner and murderer Charles Lee “Chucky” Ray, who transferred his soul before being chased and eventually shot. Now, “alive” again, he tries to over-take Andy’s body, the first person who realized the doll was living and dangerous.
Did you know that … ? There are several versions of the Chucky doll, both fan made and official, for sale. We don’t know if getting lucky would imply getting one with the soul or without the soul of a voodoo master in it.
Ghostface (‘Scream’ series)
This Ghostface killer can’t rap at all, but we’re not making a list of rappers, anyways. ‘Ghostface’ is the main antagonist of the “Scream” series, and several people have adopted the identity throughout the many movies, so it’s hard to point a motivation, or particular story. What’s cool about the character, though, is that there’s hardly anything supernatural about him (save a seemingly great resistance to physical pain), and as a matter of fact, the costume is pretty easy to come by in the movies’ universe, as opposed to most of the killers in slasher films. Also, the fact that the person behind the mask keeps changing (even throughout the same movie, at times) helps keep things fresh.
Did you know that … ? If you count everyone that assumed the Ghostface identity in the movies, there are at least 7 killers, but in some instances it’s not clear at all who is behind the mask, so fans argue there might be more.
Dracula comes from a simpler time when you didn’t have to clarify if the vampires in your fiction sparkle or not. Since the very early adaptations (we want to mention the 1931 film, ‘Dracula’, with Bela Lugosi) and to the very last ones (Coppola’s version from 1992), the vampire count has been a mainstay in pop culture. The basic premise remains the same: a newcomer arrives to the castle to help Count Dracula with a real estate transaction overseas, but eventually notices the count has a rather active night life. It’s finally revealed that Dracula is a vampire, and has the ability to turn other people into blood-thirsty vampires too, and killing in vampiric tradition ensues.
Did you know that … ? The number of films that include a reference to Dracula may reach as high as 649. Also, besides starring his own movies, we’ve seen Dracula in videogames (Castlevania, King’s Quest), Anime (Van Hellsing, Shaman King, Vampire Hunter D), comics (he even faced the X-men!) and so on.
Dr. Hannibal Lecter
How does he do it? When we first met him in the movie adaptation of “The Silence of the Lambs”, Lecter was behind bars, locked down, and had a bunch of guards taking care of him, yet managed to scare us all… doing nothing. He just sat there and talked to protagonist Clarice. As a matter of fact, even if he grew impatient in that scene, he ended up very courteous and polite, which made the whole thing scarier. Of course, the later scenes, the prequels, sequels, novels and other media that depict him eating people and murdering them in horrible ways only confirms that we were right in being afraid to begin with. Watch these movies with the lights on.
Did you know that … ? The author never quite explained where the inspiration for Hannibal Lecter came from, but it has been hinted that it could be loosely based on a series of murders that occurred in Florence between 1968 and 1985 all adjudicated to ‘Il Mostro’ (“the Monster”).
Leatherface (‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ series)
If for whichever reason Lecter was too subtle for you, here’s the exact opposite: a crazy serial killer running around with a chainsaw hunting teenagers. Although the movie claims to be based off of a real case, luckily it’s not, and just takes some loose elements from Ed Gein’s biography, a killer who wore the skin of their victims as a mask. Despite how threatening he might seem at first glance, though, he’s under direct command of his family, who are even scarier: a bunch of cannibals who boss him around and tell him what to do.
Did you know that … ? There’s a new movie announced featuring Leatherface, codenamed “Leatherface 3d” announced for 2012. He’s back!
Jack Torrance (The Shining)
Sometimes it’s not the killing what’s spectacular, but the story of how a character degrades from functional adult to crazy guy running around with an axe. The Shinning is one of Stephen King’s most famous novels, and eventually got adapted into a movie of the same name by Stanley Kubric. On both book and film we’re told the story of Jack Torrance, a writer who takes a temp job as a caretaker in a hotel along with his wife and son, and eventually gets possessed by a supernatural force and sinks into madness. Also, if you need to up the ante in the creepy aspect, Jack’s son can see ghosts.
Did you know that … ? The scene where Jack chops through the door and screams “Heeeeeere’s Johnny!”, probably the most remembered sequence on the film wasn’t on the book. Nicholson was repeating Ed McMahon’s catchphrase, used to introduce Johnny Carson on The Johnny Carson Show (a hugely popular show at the time).
Regan MacNeil (‘The Exorcist’)
Finally, a female icon. Regan MacNeil is evil incarnated, the devil itself possessing the body of a little 12 year old girl. Throughout the movie we see how a priest who doubts his faith ends up asking for permission to perform an exorcism on the young girl, who has started manifesting supernatural powers and talking on a male, devilish voice and referring to her(it)self as “The Devil”.
Did you know that … ? The Catholic church has claimed that more exorcisms are required, as the Internet is known for causing Satanism.
Norman Bates (Psycho)
Boy, did his mother do a number on him. Norman Bates is the main antagonist of the Psycho film and novel, where the secretary Marion is fleeing with her employers money and, because of a storm, is forced to spend the night at the Bates Motel. Bates mentions how they rarely have any customers because the old highway is rarely transited anymore, and that he lives there with his mother. One of the creepiest parts of the movie is when Marion hears him arguing with his mother over his attraction to her. Without giving much away (even though the movie is several decades old and you probably know the twist), Norman eventually finds out that his mother killed Marion in one of the most iconic scenes in movie history, and things start going crazy once some people show up looking for her and asking questions.
Did you know that … ? Norman Bates is ranked as the second greatest villain on the American Film Institute’s list of the top 100 film heroes and villains, behind Hannibal Lecter (featured above) and before Darth Vader. Whoa.