WARNING: This post may contain spoilers.
Because of the fact that I'm currently finishing up a module on horror film and the fact that I haven't made a blog post in nearly 6 months, I decided to do an analysis of the horror villains that I've come across during the course. Even though some of the films kept me up at night, allow me to present... the 2012 Horror Movie Antagonist awards.
First off, oddly enough, is the Award for Most Civilised Killer:
Gold - Carrie White (Carrie): Heck, she's just a normal girl with an odd power. Her mother is ten times more psychotic than she is.The only time she's remotely scary is at the end of the film, and the sequence where her bloody hand breaks out of the ground was enough to make me jump but just for the simple reason that I didn't expect it. For the rest of the film, it feels more like a teen drama.
Silver - Daniel Robitaille (Candyman): Yeah, I know he's not referred to by his real name until the second film but I already put in an award where the killer's name is the same as the name of the film. Anyway, why is Candyman on this list? Put simply, I don't think Daniel is that bad a guy. Even though his undead appearance is unsettling to say the least, if you can look beyond that, his clothing actually makes him come across as a pretty classy gent. And if I'm being brutally honest, he only kills people if they tell him to.
Bronze - Hannibal Lecter (Silence of the Lambs): I'll admit it feels a little strange to place a cannibal on a list about civilised people but hey, they're all killers in one way or another, and Hannibal Lecter is certainly more civilised than some other horror villains I could mention. But if you look beyond that psychosis, Lecter had a pretty high-class job as a psychiatrist, and was pretty dang good at it (ironic when you think about it). Not to mention Anthony Hopkins manages to bring a touch of class to almost every character he plays - especially Don Diego de la Vega - and Hannibal is downright normal when you compare him to the other serial killer in that movie.
NB: Now that I think about it, Anthony Hopkins may well be my second favourite aged media personality, after Bruce Forsyth.
Getting back on track, next up is the Award for Funniest Antagonist:
Gold: Zombie Horde (Dawn of the Dead) I'll be blunt about this. The zombies in the original Dawn of the Dead are barely even a threat! Seriously the asshole biker gang that shows up near the end of the film were pretty much put there for the sake of letting the zombies back in. They were the real bad guys of the film. The zombies are uncoordinated, single-minded and slow. Normal people could hold their own against them as long as they were fast enough...
P.S. Night of the Living Dead is racist.
Silver: Jason Voorhees (Friday the 13th Part 2) Admittedly, this is one of the many films I haven't seen but just the briefest description of Jason in the second film was enough to crack me up. I know enough to be sure that this film took place before Jason got his infamous hockey mask (if I remember rightly that was the third film). All I know about this film was that Jason spent it with a paper bag covering his face. Let me tell you... I can't take that visual image seriously, even when it's applied to a mass-murdering psychopath.
Bronze: Freddy Krueger (Nightmare on Elm Street 3 onwards) Once again, I'm no expert on the Nightmare on Elm Street films as a whole, but I've seen Dream Warriors and read all the plot synopses. Even though Freddy is half the reason for my sleepless nights (seriously, I was up til 3 the day I watched the film) the wisecracks he comes out with are pure gold, if creepy.
Finally, we're getting to what really makes a villain. Third, is the award for Most Gruesome Kills:
Gold: Nightmare on Elm Street I'm not going to lie, I loved watching Dream Warriors, purely for how creative the kills were. But to keep this speech short, I know a lot of kills in the earlier films were accompanied by fountains of blood and it took weeks to get the mental image of Phillip as a human marionette out of my head. Primarily because the tutor kept showing it every lesson. Aw crap, there it goes again.
Silver: Dawn of the Dead I can tell this is making me sound horrible, but Dawn of the Dead was another one of my favourites. My definition of 'Grusome Kill' pretty much boils down to a lot of blood or raw flesh on display, and Dawn of the Dead certainly provides in the latter category. The sight of one of those jerk-ass bikers having his torso torn open and eaten made me want to throw up.
Bronze: Candyman Texas Chainsaw Massacre was a contender for this spot but it lacks in the two things that, for me, define gruesome. But in Candyman, the blood is plentiful. As with Dawn of the Dead, there is one single shot that sticks out in my mind and that put the film on this list. After Helen's first meeting with the real Candyman, when she wakes up in the flat covered in blood and ventures out into the hall. That shot where we see the disembodied dog's head on the ground? That's the one.
Honourable Mention: Texas Chainsaw Massacre Kicked off the top 3 for most of it's main kills being censored and all the corpses being dried out.
Second from last award for this year is the Award for Creepiest Looking Villain:
Gold: Jigsaw (Saw) Clowns. Creepy. Clown dolls. Very creepy. Talking clown dolls controlled by psychopathic but creative killers? I'm sleeping with the light on. That is all.
Silver: Regan (The Exorcist) The best way I can think of to describe this one is just the sight of a little girl possessed by a powerful demon, either spasming uncontrollably or with her skin split wide open and evil eyes or just with her eyes rolled all the way back into her head. There's just something very much not right about it.
Bronze: Daniel Robitaille (Candyman) Again, this one is a little hard to explain. As I said way back up top, Daniel actually looks pretty civilised, but when you notice the hook sticking out of the open wound, his coat sleeve matted with blood and especially when you see his chest cavity full of bees, that's yet more nightmare fuel, guaranteed to have you throwing out every mirror you own.
Honourable Mention: Samara (The Ring) Do I even need to explain this one?
Last up (I ran out of ideas, sue me) is the Scariest Looking Villain Award:
Yes, this is somewhat different to Creepiest Looking, but I made it separate for the Gold Spot.
Gold: Leather Face (Texas Chainsaw Massacre) If there was ever a look that just screams deranged psychopath, I'd say this is it. I don't want to know who he got that mask from and for quite a while, I thought part of the female look he took on near the end incorporated the face of the girl he'd already killed. His grandpa is pretty scary too.
Silver: Regan (The Exorcist) In this case, the application of 'scary looking' also applies to the demonic idols that we see near the start of the film. And the appearance of possessed Regan can also be pretty deranged. The occasional shots where she wiggles that tongue of hers all over the place is just scarily disgusting.
Bronze: Freddy Krueger (Nightmare on Elm Street 3) You guys already know that I haven't seen most of the films in the franchise, but that doesn't matter too much because, as far as the synopses go, it seems like this film has the most alternate forms. Whether you want to take his normal humanoid form, the penis snake (that's not just a stupid innuendo, the film makers thought it looked too phallic at first), the sexy nurse with tongue-spitting powers or the living but obviously CGI-ed skeleton, they're all scary in their own little way.
I hope all of you enjoyed this year's awards. To be honest, there probably won't be another one next year a) because I'll forget and b) because I have every intention of staying away from horror films for quite a while.
Expect another post very soon (I need to catch up) but for this time, that's all I have to say...