Memorable Movie Monsters
Now that the leaves are turning color and stores are stocking up for Halloween, it’s time to look at some famous movie monsters. These psychopaths would be utterly terrifying in real life, but they are deliciously entertaining as fiction.
We will look at the background, strengths, and weaknesses of each villain. Also, there is a "famous victims" section listing actors (and sometimes singers) who have appeared in these films. Some of them played characters who survived, but if they are well-known by the general public, and were targeted by one of these villains, then they are on the list. It's surprising how many celebrities have appeared in these movies.
Without further ado, here is a tongue-in-cheek look at three of my favorite movie monsters, in alphabetical order.
What movie monsters do you like? Please vote in the poll and/or leave a comment.
Movies Where He is the Main Villain(s): 9 (“A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984), “A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge” (1985), “A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 3: Dream Warriors” (1987), “A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master” (1988), “A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child” (1989), “Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare” (1991), “Wes Craven’s New Nightmare” (1994), “Freddy vs. Jason” (2003), “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (2010)).
Biography: Freddy Krueger was a serial child killer who lived in the town of Springwood, Ohio. He was caught by the police but acquitted on a technicality. The parents of Springwood then tracked him down at an old boiler room where he was hiding and burned him to death. Later, Krueger returned as a type of demon to haunt the dreams of their now teenage children. If the kids die in the dream, they die in real life as well. Krueger’s main early adversary is a feisty girl named Nancy Thompson, who is the daughter of Springwood’s police chief. Can the kids stay awake long enough to find a way to defeat Freddy?
Favorite Weapon: Finger knives.
Strengths: Freddy is enormously powerful in the dream world. Any victim that encounters him there has to play by his rules, and Freddy almost always wins when he’s in control. Also, since all human beings need to sleep eventually, there is no easy way to escape from Freddy. It’s not like you can just run away from him.
Weaknesses: In the NOES films, it is possible to take objects from a dream and pull them into the real world, including Freddy himself. Krueger is much more vulnerable when he is taken out of the dream world and forced to play by normal physical rules. Also, some of the movies claim that Freddy needs the victim to fear him to be effective. If you don’t fear him, he can’t hurt you.
Best Moment: Tricking and then murdering Nancy Thompson at the end of “A Nightmare on Elm Street 3.”
Worst Moment: Being turned into a cartoonish, wisecracking joke in most of the later sequels.
Famous Victims: Johnny Depp in "A Nightmare on Elm Street" (1984) and Patricia Arquette in "A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors" (1987)
Impact: Nearly everyone knows who Freddy Krueger is. Even people who have never watched a horror movie in their lives have heard of Freddy. Few horror villains can make that claim. Krueger appeared in a short-lived TV series called “Freddy’s Nightmare” in the late ‘80s and has appeared in numerous comic books and novels. His costume is widely available around Halloween.
A Nightmare on Elm Street Original Trailer
Movies where he is the main villain(s): 10 (“Friday the 13th Part 2” (1981), “Friday the 13th Part 3” (1982), “Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter” (1984), “Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives” (1986), “Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood” (1988), “Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan” (1989), “Jason Goes to Hell” (1993), “Jason X” (2002), “Freddy vs. Jason” (2003), “Friday the 13th” (2009)).
Biography: Jason Voorhees was born both physically and mentally handicapped. He was a misfit who was taunted by other kids. When he was ten, his mother Pamela took him on a camping trip. He drowned in Crystal Lake because the camp counselors weren’t paying attention. Years later, Pamela began a killing spree at Crystal Lake when the summer camp tried to reopen. Unbeknownst to her, Jason was actually alive. He somehow survived his drowning and spent years living as a hermit in the woods (how he managed to do this has never been satisfactorily explained). The last survivor of Pamela’s rampage, a teenage girl named Alice, decapitates Pamela as Jason watches from the woods. Enraged and heartbroken, Jason vows to kills Alice and anyone else who comes near Crystal Lake.
Favorite Weapon: Machete, although Jason will use any sharp object he can get his hands on.
Strengths: Jason possesses superhuman physical strength. He is easily able to subdue even his strongest victims. He is also extremely resilient, having risen from the dead several times despite being shot, stabbed, set on fire, grinded with a motor boat propeller, frozen, sent to hell, and countless other cruel fates.
Weaknesses: He’s nuttier than a fruitcake. Jason suffers from severe mental illness. He is completely obsessed with avenging his mother's death and sometimes hesitates to kill women who resemble her. In the 2009 remake, Jason uncharacteristically takes a young woman hostage simply because she bears a physical resemblance to his mom. He also experiences hallucinations.
Best Moment: Rising out of Crystal Lake holding Freddy Krueger’s decapitated head at the end of “Freddy vs. Jason”.
Worst Moment: Drowning in raw sewage in a New York City sewer at the end of “Friday the 13th Part VIII”.
Famous Victims: Kevin Bacon in "Friday the 13th" (1980) (killed by Pamela), Crispin Glover and Corey Feldman in "Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter" (1984), and Kelly Rowland in "Freddy vs. Jason" (2003).
Impact: Over the past thirty years, Jason has had a very significant impact on popular culture. Even people who never watch horror movies usually have at least a vague idea of who he is. His famous hockey mask can easily be found in costume stores across America. Jason’s film series is the highest-grossing (adjusted for inflation) in horror movie history and also has more installments than any other major modern American horror series. He has appeared in novels, comic books, and posters.
Friday the 13th Part 3 Trailer
Movies Where He is the Main Villain: 10 (“Halloween” (1978), “Halloween II” (1981), “Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Meyers” (1988), “Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Meyers” (1989), “Halloween: The Curse of Michael Meyers” (1995), “Halloween H20” (1998), “Halloween: Resurrection (2002), “Halloween” (2007), “Halloween II” (2009)).
Biography: In 1963, Michael Myers commits his first murder at the age of six when he brutally stabs his older sister Judith. Meyers is placed in a mental institution. Fifteen years later, he escapes and attempts to kill his other sister Laurie and her friends. Myers is pursued by psychiatrist Sam Loomis, who believes that Meyers is literally the human embodiment of evil and must be stopped at all costs.
Favorite Weapon: Butcher knife.
Strengths: Michael Myers is intelligent, patient and calculating. He rarely seems to get upset no matter what happens. He is very single-minded and determined. If he decides to kill you, odds are your days are numbered. He also possesses significant physical strength.
Weaknesses: He seems incapable of running for some reason. Myers moves slowly and methodically, making it easy to run away from him. Also, he only goes on killing sprees around Halloween. Don’t worry about him coming for you if it’s not October.
Best Moment: Finally killing Laurie in “Halloween Resurrection” (horrible movie though).
Worst Moment: I have a tie here: getting his ass kicked by a rapper (played by Busta Rhymes) at the end of “Halloween Resurrection” and breaking down in tears in front of his nine year old niece in “Halloween 5”.
Famous Victims: Jamie Lee Curtis in "Halloween" (1978), "Halloween II" (1981), "Halloween H20" (1998) and "Halloween Resurrection" (2002). Donald Pleasence in "Halloween" (1978), "Halloween II" (1981), "Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers" (1988), "Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers" (1989) and "Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers" (1995). Also, Josh Hartnett, LL Cool J, and Michelle Williams in "Halloween H20" (1998) and Busta Rhymes in "Halloween Resurrection" (2002).
Impact: Although he came first, Michael Myers has never quite permeated the pop cultural consciousness in the way that Jason and Freddy have. Still, Michael is certainly one of the most significant movie monsters, even if non-horror fans may get him mixed up with comedian Mike Meyers on occasion. Like his two predecessors on this list, Myers has branched off into other forms of media – novels, comic books, costumes, etc.