FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Jan 12, 2006

The Final Girl Hall of Fame

Welcome to the Final Girl Hall of Fame! What is this so-called "Hall" of "Fame", you ask? Will there be a televised broadcast of the induction ceremony, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres and Dean Cain? First of all, no...no televised ceremony, sorry. I hope you didn't get too excited over the prospect. Secondly, the Hall of Fame is...a list! That's right! A List! I love a list. Who doesn't? Only jerks don't like lists.

Herein we've got the 10 Scariest Killers in Slasher Movies, according to yours truly. I thought about calling this my 'favorite killers' list or something, but the phrase 'favorite killers' just sounded a little too sick and twisted to me. So here are what I consider to be the scariest killers, based mostly on their appearance, but the way they move, sound, and generally carry on will be taken into consideration as well. The quality and/or scariness of the movies in which they appear has no bearing on inclusion or ranking- the movies themselves could be meh. This is just a list of the slasher psychos who give me the biggest, best heebie jeebies. Without further ado, please welcome the Final Girl Hall of Fame 2006 inductees!

10.

They're creepy and they're kooky...yes, readers, it's the boys from Just Before Dawn. These overgrown inbred brothers are exactly who you don't want to run into on your camping trip. They're not as deformed as the inbred brothers from Wrong Turn, but they don't need to be in order to skeeze me out. They wheeze and they giggle and they've got weird sores and they'll put your clothes on after they kill you. They seem to really get a kick out of killing people who wander into their neck of the woods- seriously ooky, indeed.

9.

One of my favorite slasher flicks from back in the day is My Bloody Valentine. Harry, the vengeful miner out to put the kibosh on the Valentine's Day Dance, has always gotten under my skin. The black miner garb (complete with headlamp, gasmask, and pickaxe) makes Harry look damn threatening as he's stalking the tunnels of the mine. Watch the sequence where he's smashing out lightbulbs with his axe as he moves along the tunnel, enveloping himself in darkness as he goes- and see if I'm not right!


8.

You're probably sick of hearing me go on about this movie by now, but what would a list of my favorite/ most scary things be without a mention of Black Christmas? It certainly wouldn't be complete, I can tell you that. So, nestled in at #8 is Billy, the psycho in the attic who kills off sorority girls one by one, at his leisure. Assuming his name really IS Billy- we never quite know for sure. The picture of him here is about the only time you really see him in the movie, and that's just fine. Look at that eye! This dude is one psycho psycho. I can't really describe for you the phone calls he makes to his intended victims- you've just gotta hear them for yourself. The calls get more frightening and more twisted as the victims pile up, and by the end I'm quaking in my Tims. NOTE: I do not wear Tims.

7.

Poor Cropsy. He just wanted to pass out on his bed in peace after a long night with the bottle, but those damn campers had to try to be funny, and Cropsy ends up burned within an inch of his life. Soon he heals up enough to put on some raggy-looking clothes, grab some giant hedge-clipper/scissor things, and get down to business. The business of killing campers in a movie called The Burning, that is. Cropsy is mighty pissed and he has giant scissors which he will use to cut you up into many tiny pieces. I don't like that in a person, as a rule. People like that frighten me.

6.

In Friday the 13th Part VII, Kane Hodder took over the role of Jason Voorhees, and he really made the character his own. Suddenly, Jason seemed to be 8 feet tall and built like a house ...just huge and imposing ...and damn if he didn't have a purpose. Jason storms around, very intent on getting to his victims, all the while unaware of how gross he's become. He's gooey and almost melting, he's done the "I'm alive- no, I'm dead- no, really, I'm alive" thing so many times. But with Kane Hodder in his squishy shoes, Jason is a force to be reckoned with, and you're simply not going to escape.

5.

Before he became reanimated Super Jason, or Jason in Space, Mrs. Voorhees' boy was just a confused psycho, living in the woods at Crystal Lake with a potato sack covering his disfigured face. Clad in overalls, Jason still didn't fuck around, though- if you were on his turf, well...you wouldn't be for long. This backwoods weirdo Jason from Friday the 13th Part II creeps me out, from his shanty hut with the mom shrine to his one eyeball peering at me through the sack. Put the pitchfork down, Jason. Listen to mommy! That's a good boy, Jason.

4.

One yellow rain slicker + one weird, vaguely see- through mask with makeup on it = Fuck. That. Noise. This ensemble, sported by the killer in Alice, Sweet Alice, is seriously frightening. I don't even like looking at it.

3.

You know what? The first 15 minutes or so of Scream comprise one of my favorite scenes from any slasher flick. C'mon readers, think back to that time, before horror movies became all ironic and "too cool" to actually be scary...before Scary Movie played this up for laughs. Think back- you know Ghost Face scared the hell outta you the first time you saw him. You can't lie to me! The moment during the phone conversation, when he tells Drew Barrymore that he can see her, was devastating. Catching that glimpse of Ghost Face running by the window behind her- I could feel the tension in the movie theatre when I saw this flick. People were scared. When he chased down poor Drew, all in slow motion, black robe flying and knife raised, I was completely terrified. Way to go, Wes Craven!

2.

Curtains is a little-known slasher flick from 1983. As movies in this genre go, it's pretty standard fare- but the mask the killer wears is simply beyond eerie. If you talk to someone who's seen Curtains, without a doubt, they'll mention the ice skating scene- the highlight of the movie. A young woman is out on the ice, doing her thing early one morning. She finds a creepy doll buried beneath the snow, and then begins a magnificent sequence- one of the best in all slasherhood (I think I made that word up, but go with it). The killer, dressed entirely in black, wearing a hag mask, and wielding a scythe, skates intently toward the young woman. She raises the scythe...and you know the rest. It's all done in slow motion, and the scene takes place in bright, broad daylight- a great touch- proving that you don't need the darkness to create terror. Once you see this scene, it'll never leave you- and neither will that face.

1.

Is there any doubt as to who'd be at the top? Call me predictable, but of course, it's The Boogeyman himself. Ladies and gentlemen, please give it up for Halloween's Michael Myers! Yes, The Shape from the first Halloween (OK, maybe a bit from Part II...) is the one who kept me awake many a night as a kid, and who still has me looking over my shoulder when I'm alone at night as an adult. Nick Castle, who had the role in the first movie, was almost graceful in his movements- very threatening and commanding, yet ethereal and fluid at the same time. There's a quietness about him here, and you never know where he is at any given time. He doesn't stomp around- you only hear him breathe. The expressionless white mask with the darkened eyeholes is the stuff of nightmares. Somehow, in all the subsequent Halloween flicks, they managed to fuck up the mask every single time. The shape of it changed, the amount of hair on it changed so much that Michael Myers ended up looking like a dorky, pasty-faced troll doll by Part 6. None of the subsequent actors in the role could match Castle's movements, and Michael Myers went from being The Boogeyman to being a weird chubby guy in a jumpsuit. It's a shame, really, because even after 25 years, the original is still so terrifying.

So there you have it, folks! feel free to chime in with your OWN choices. Tomorrow I'll be running a list that's the evil twin to this one: the slasher killers who aren't scary whatsoever. Now that's a good time.

Remember, my Silent Hill 2 Giveaway Contest ends tomorrow, Friday the 13th (yikes!) at 11:59pm EST! Many will enter, but only one will win! Will it be you? Who knows. Miss Cleo might know, but I think she's on the lam.

22 comments:

Carnacki said...

Happy Friday the 13th!

Great post, Stacie.

B.A. Slattery said...

You're right: Michael Myers looked like a fat, Frito-eating, Hustler-reading, Mobil station attendee in Part 6. Like my half-retarded uncle after sixteen beers and a pint of whiskey ... all pasty-faced and wobbly on his feet.

Des said...

I can't really argue with you there on any of these.

The Family in Texas Chainsaw Massacre are pretty terrifying but almost in an absurd, blackly comic kind of way.

Norman Bates? The first third of Jeepers Creepers had the makings of the greatest slasher of all time until they went all flying rodent on us. Asami from Audition (that could be considered a slasher)? Paddy Considine's character from Dead Man's Shoes? Now he was scary! For all sorts of reasons.

B.A. Slattery said...

Stacie hasn't seen Audition. Have you, Stacie?

B.A. Slattery said...

By the way, the opening scene in Scream is an excellent addition to your list. Too many people have forgotten the brilliance of this film, what with all the hype, knock-offs, and sequels.

You're my horror movie heroine.

Stacie Ponder said...

Audition is at the top of my Netflix queue! I feel so out of the loop. Soon I'll be a cool kid, I swear!

And yes, it's too bad that what people remember from Scream- the entire trilogy- is Jamie Kennedy's 'rules'...and not all the genuinely scary bits. People are dumb.

warrenzone said...

I've seen all of these except for my bloody valentine...

Way to put the girl from Curtains in this one - yes the ice skating scene will never be forgotten by any who witness it - why can't there be something like that in every movie? or like Cropsy's siloutte as he attacks the raft.

good list, though I don't like Jason that much - he's ok.

Tuzotonic said...

Nice choices on your "10 scariest killers list." Most of the films you mentioned also happen to be among my favorite slasher films of all time. It's great to see someone who enjoys devoting time to a cool blog like this.

Anyone who mentioned such forgotten classics as Curtains and Alice Sweet Alice wins a place in my horror fan hall of fame.

Anonymous said...

Just Before Dawn?!? A (final) girl after my own heart.

I would have thrown Madman in there, but that's just me! ;)

GREAT LIST!

Amanda By Night

platyjoe said...

Gary Busey as The Gingerdead Man!

Maxim de Winter said...

Great list. As I recall, the original Hallowe'en killer mask was a Captain Kirk mask sprayed white. Nothing could be scarier than that.

Allie Kat said...

what about the harlequin in School's Out? and what's the movie where the killer wears an owl head?

Stacie Ponder said...

I've never seen School's Out! Thanks for the heads up.

The film with the owl masked killer is probably Stage Fright...that's the only one I know of, anyway.

Repoman said...

Curtains?!!!? I have not thought of that film in years. Overall it's a pretty crappy film with much too little blood, but I easily remember the ice skating scene, the running through the back of the theater scene, and the strangely hot lesbian scene (strange because having Dean Vernon Wormer screaming in the scene didn't take away from it). But I'll never forget the hag mask used by the killer. Classic!

Anonymous said...

NO WAY DOES MICHAEL BEAT JASON
JASON NUMBA 1
MICHAEL NUMBA 2
ENF OF!!!

Corey said...

I am so thankful that we live in the time of YouTube. I just tried to add 'Curtains' to my Netflix queue, but apparently they don't carry it. However, 10 seconds and one search of "curtains skating" on YouTube later and I'm all caught up on your list.

I'm slowly working my way through your blog (this may take a while)... but I love everything I've read thus far. I couldn't agree more with your summaries from the Friday/Halloween marathons.

Also... the above is a picture of Jason from Part 9 (Jason Goes to Hell) I'm afraid... not Part 7.

Stacie Ponder said...

Hey Corey-

Yeah, Curtains hasn't had a proper DVD release yet. It's not a great movie (though the killer's mask and the skating scene are top notch), but you can actually watch the entire film on YouTube!

Thanks for the kind words- I'm glad you're diggin' the site.

Yeah, the pic of Jason isn't from Part VII. Maybe I was a little unclear about what I meant in the blurb- basically, that I find "Kane Hodder Jason" scary, and he took over the role in Part VII. I like Baghead Jason even more, but Hodder's Jason is something to behold in VII-X.

Corey said...

I will admit a tie between Baghead Jason and New Blood Jason.

I just finished my own F13 marathon (wow, are those last ones hard to get through!), so I may be being a bit picky. However, part 7 Jason is far and above the best look he ever had while wearing the mask. The chain around the neck... and crazy zombie face... and, in particular, the fact that you can see his spinal cord exposed. Eek! Much better than the bumpy headed silliness from part 9... but maybe I'm partial because part 7 is the first one I ever saw in the theater.

Oh -- and agreed. Ginny rocks. By far my favorite slasher heroine ever. Even above Laurie Strode (and Halloween is my #1 film of all time, so Ginny must be awesome indeed).

Still working my way through the blog... hopefully I'll be into 2007 soon. I'll be sure to get caught up before Rob Zombie's opus hits theaters (fingers crossed for non-suckage).

Kathryn said...

Oh and I totally forgot the owl-headed killer from Stage Fright. And the family from the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre if they count.

Kathryn said...

hmm...i'm not exactly sure why my first comment didn't post-but mostly i was aggreeing with your list, and adding the killer from School's Out and the one from The Town That Dreaded Sundown. I was also wondering where I could get my hands on a copy (VHS or DVD) of Curtains.

Fred [The Wolf] said...

The Shape is definitely on top of the list. And you gotta love Sackhead Jason.

Momel said...

Thank you for posting this. I know now which movies to save for.