With the heavily hyped and much-anticipated “re-imagining” of Friday the 13th now within sight, Brad asked yours truly to compile the definitive list of the most memorable and psychotic killers to ever hack and chop their way across the silver screen. This was definitely the most fun list to put together–composed, as it is, entirely of my own subjective opinion. And so, dear readers, it’s important to remember that as much as we may love these adorable lunatics, they are fictional characters, and so “ranking” them is a strictly arbitrary endeavor. I therefore invite you to turn off your brains and enjoy a little shameless horror geekery.
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Weapon of choice: Hook
The raincoat-wearing star of I Know What You Did Last Summer, the Fisherman character itself was probably the only cool thing to come out that series. Plus, he was inspired by a classic urban legend, which only adds to the cool factor.
Weapon of choice: Curling iron
Just when you thought it was safe to go to Sleepaway Camp. Wait, did anyone ever think that was safe? The gender-challenged “Angela” is one unhappy camper, driven by her/his even kookier aunt to go Columbine on Camp Arawak.
Weapon of choice: Knife
Jamie Lee Curtis just can’t catch a break. In Terror Train, she’s stalked by a wannabe fratboy gone mental. Hampson is quite the inventive looney too, continuously changing into the outfits worn by his costume party victims. Gotta love the Groucho mask.
Weapon of choice: Bowie knife
A grand total of five different serial killers assume the Ghostface mantle over the course of the Scream trilogy. Along the way, Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson proved that even by deconstructing slasher movies, you can create an iconic slasher.
Weapon of choice: Knife
Perhaps the most unlikely of all slashers, this cute little doll possessed by the soul of serial killer Charles Lee Ray even goes on to take a bride and have a son–all while being voiced by Brad Dourif.
Weapon of choice: Hooked appendage
Also inspired by popular urban legend, the mythic Candyman is brutal, merciless, and unrelenting. He’s also just about the only African American movie slasher, proving that whether white or black, underneath we’re all red anyway.
Weapon of choice: Pickaxe
There’s been a renewed interest in this guy thanks to the current 3-D remake of the 1981 Canadian cult classic My Bloody Valentine. You have to give him points for creativity and a bad-ass outfit, as well as for keeping his true identity secret for so long.
Weapon of choice: His teeth
So is Hannibal really a slasher in the true sense? Did you see the cage scene with the security guards in The Silence of the Lambs? Ok, then. Mr. Lector may have been portrayed by two acclaimed actors and featured in an Oscar-winning film, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t one of the boys.
Weapon of choice: Chainsaw
Top five time, here come the heavy hitters. This transvestite cannibal butcher is a nightmare on two legs. He’s also the earliest in the grand tradition of mute, mentally challenged horror movie killers.
Weapon of choice: Kitchen knife
The first, and in the opinion of some, still the greatest. Hitchcock invented the slasher genre with this character in his 1960 masterpiece, Psycho. Despite his historical significance, Norman loses a few points for being more human and sympathetic than most of the slashers who followed him.
Weapon of choice: Machete
Surprise, surprise–even on the eve of the brand new remake, the man in the hockey mask only makes it to number three. Nevertheless, ol’ Jason is without question the most resilient of all slashers. Timex has nothing on this dude.
Weapon of choice: Knife-tipped glove
When it comes to a winning personality, no one on this list has anything on the bastard son of a thousand maniacs. Not only can he kill you in your dreams, he’s also never without a one-liner at the ready. Not to mention his fashion sense!
And finally, the number one slasher in horror movie history…
Weapon of choice: Kitchen knife
Norman Bates may have been the first, but when it comes to the one figure that is the most influential, and the most responsible for the rise of the slasher subgenre, there’s only one choice. In his gas-station-attendant onesy and freaky Bill Shatner mask, the Shape is the personification of horror. He’s got the theme music, he’s got the puppy-dog head-lean, and he invented that whole get-up-from-anything gimmick. He’s been slashing for 30 years now, and still keeps coming back.
For more news and opinions on the world of horror, including an in-depth look at remakes of the past, the top 10 scariest paintings of all time, and a full preview of 2009, check out Brian’s daily blog, The Vault of Horror
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Here’s the Official Plot Synopsis for M. Night Shyamalan’s ‘Glass’
‘Friday the 13th: The Game’ Launches New Website; New Jason & New Map Coming Soon!
Third ‘Jeepers Creepers’ Opening in Theaters Next Month