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10 of the Most Memorable Killers from Horror Cinema

The new mask in Halloween 6

Horror killers are the backbone of the genre. If it were not for the razorblade-weilding psychopaths that stalk the dreams of horny teenagers or the machete-toting madmen that lurk around summer camps, there wouldn’t be much for horror fans to get excited about. In order to pay tribute to some of our favorite as well as some of the most notorious mad men from horror cinema, we have compiled a list that brings together ten of our favorites. Read on for our top choices and let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!

MICHAEL MYERS- The HALLOWEEN Franchise

Weapon of choice: Butcher Knife

Halloween set the precedence for modern-day horror films, and Michael Myers helped provide the prototype for villains to come. In 1978, John Carpenter took a modest budget and produced one of the most successful scary movies—and franchises—to date. Michael, a young murderer, butchered his sister and was sent to a mental institution to live out his days. He escaped and terrorized teenagers on Halloween, also frightening the hell out of Jamie Lee Curtis and generations of folks for years to come. No one can seem to escape the Myers. He is an awesome classic (actually a legend) in the horror genre, and just had to be on the list.

Michael Meyers in Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers.

JASON VOORHEES- The FRIDAY THE 13TH Series

Weapon of choice- Machete

Another one of the very best, Mr. Voorhees; Camp Crystal Lake’s very own groundskeeper. If you’re a child of the 80’s or a big horror fan there’s a chance the sight of a hockey mask will bring up memories that have nothing to do with pucks. While Mamma Voorhees did the dirty work in the original directed by Sean S. Cunningham, Jason and his countless sequels killed drunk and promiscuous teenagers who dared set foot on the camp. If there was any reason to be a virgin and proud, Jason was that reason. In Jason X, set in the future, he inadvertently caused the destruction of an entire space ship without so much as breaking a sweat. With a kill count of 300+, any up and coming camp trips you are planning you may want to pack those extra flashlight batteries, heavy duty pepper spray and pack your running shoes. Or just not go camping at all.

Mr voorhees and his trusty machete ready to slice up any teenagers who come to camp lake crystal.

JIGSAW- The SAW Films

Weapon of choice (Traps)

Jigsaw first appeared on our screens in 2004 in the first Saw movie, directed by James Wan. He was a tricycle-riding puppet that quickly signified you were in a life or death situation as soon as he announced “Hello, I want to play a game”. A game where the victim has to decide to “live or die, make your choice”. You later find out about the man behind the Billy the puppet, John Kramer as Jigsaw, is a clever maniac who devises these creative, intricate torturous traps and tasks for those who deserved to be tested. Jigsaw was a new refreshing villain in a world of remakes and one that created the most horrifically inventive ways to kill anyone had ever seen. Even though the original Jigsaw is no more, the Game is never Over.

Jigsaw from the Saw Films

CANDYMAN- The CANDYMAN Franchise

Weapon of choice- Hook

Directed by Bernand Rose, the Candyman, gave us Daniel Robitaille; a slave turned immortal hook handed killer who gave many a phobia of bathroom mirrors. The monster of urban legend was more bitter than sweet, exacting brutal and bloody revenge for the loss of his love and life, having been hunted down by a lynch mob. Armed with pitchforks and a pack of dogs the mob cut off his right hand with a rusty saw, and then covered him in honey to be stung by countless bees. This prompted the mob to chant ‘Candyman‘ as he was continually stung and bleeding to death. If you dared to say his name in the mirror, the Candyman would come and cut your throat with a hook hand and unleash a swarm of bees from under his thick trench coat. You have to admit, you probably thought twice about saying his name five times in the mirror at least once.

Candyman (Tony Todd) unleashing some bees on a victim in Bernard Rose's 1992 Clive Barker adaptation Candyman.

LEATHERFACE- THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE Films

Weapon of choice- Chainsaw

Another classic character and the muscle behind the Sawyer family who kills anyone who dares encroach on his family’s territory. Leatherface first terrified us in 1974 in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, directed by Tobe Hooper. Even though his preferred weapon may be his chainsaw that doesn’t stop him from being inventive with his kills. Those hooks always spring to mind. This giant, chainsaw wielding maniac wears a mask made of human skin, harvests his kills for him and his family to eat or drink their blood. Loosely based on a real life serial Killer Ed Gein, Leatherface’s appearance is really quite unsettling, but one we love anyway. If you hear the revving of that chainsaw you best run for your life. Because he will take it. And eat you. And maybe make some nice furniture out of your bones.

Leatherface from the movie The Texas Chainsaw Massacre chasing his victims to cut up with his chainsaw.

FREDDY KRUEGER – The A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET Film Series

Weapon of choice- Clawed Glove

With this horror legend insomnia is not so bad. Directed by Wes Craven, A Nightmare on Elm Street gave us the infamous Freddy Krueger. Freddy is fount out to be child molester & killer and hunted down by a mob of angry parents. Cornered into a boiler room where he used to take his victims, the mob douse the building with gasoline and set it on fire, burning Krueger alive. This vengeful spirit has a signature disfigured burnt face and gloved hand and while Freddy definitely has more of a funny bone than most villains, there’s nothing funny about a man who haunts you in your sleep. In the dream world, he is a powerful force and almost completely invulnerable to damage. However, whenever Freddy is pulled into the real world, he has normal human vulnerabilities. Freddy Krueger stalks and kills you in the one place you can’t hide because everyone has to sleep, eventually. One, two, Freddy’s coming for you

Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger (Fred Krueger) in the Wes Craven slasher classic A Nightmare on Elm Street.

PINHEAD- The HELLRAISER Movies

Weapon of choice- Hooked chains

If you ever come across a fancy looking Rubix Cube, do not try and solve the puzzle. Pinhead has zero remorse, looking victims straight in the eye as he delivers a deadpan promise to “tear your soul apart.” Directed by Cliver Barker, Hellraiser, brought to us the terrifying Pinhead. The boss villain of the Cenobites is well-articulated and waxes eloquently on the joys of suffering. But what makes Pinhead really stand out from the rest of the pack is that he not only kills you in gruesomely horrific ways, often tormenting victims through the use of huge hooks. He takes your soul back to Hell where he continues to torture you forever. Oh the joy. It really does put you off indulging in those bondage fetishes. And puzzle boxes.

Doug Bradley as Pinhead, the lead cenobite, in Clive Barker's 1987 Horror film Hellraiser.

HANNIBAL LECTER- SILENCE OF THE LAMBS Films

Weapons of choice: Preference to bladed items and his teeth.

Dr. Lecter is definitely one of the greats in the world of horror cinema and is played perfectly by Anthony Hopkins in the 1991 Silence of the Lambs. A serial killer who cooks and devours his victims, Hannibal ‘the Cannibal’ Lecter is brilliant, sadistic, and a complete madman. Unlike a lot of other brainless psycho killers, Hannibal is a genius. He doesn’t need to wield a chainsaw or a pickaxe to be scary. His intelligence and charisma stick with you as you watch him, captivated by his character. A deadly stare or tone of his voice is enough to send shivers down your spine. Just don’t be rude to him or he may cook up your liver with some fava beans while sipping a nice Chianti. Or sauté your brain in a pan with shallots and white wine while you’re still alive and feed it to you. Yum,

Anthony Hopkins who played the iconic cannibal Dr in the popular movies Hannibal, Red Dragon and The Silence of The Lambs.

PENNYWISE- IT

Weapon of choice: Teeth

Pennywise is the clown we all know and love (and hate), creating coulrophobics all around the world.  Tim Curry’s excellence performance in the TV miniseries, written by Stephen King, really nailed IT (Pun intended). Pennywise feeds on children and gains his strength from the fear of his victims. He can shape shift into your worst nightmare. Reawakening every thirty years to wreak havoc on the town of Derry, if you survived into adulthood, chances are you were pretty safe. Unless you saw him while you were a child, then he would probably be awaiting under a drain near you. Pennywise the dancing clown is not looking to put a smile on your face, more so eat it off.

Pennywise the clown from IT.

NORMAN BATES- PSYCHO Series

Weapon of choice- Stabbing victims to death with a knife while wearing his mother’s clothing.

This classic masterpiece that started the wave of being anxious while showering. Psycho, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, gave us Norman Bates, the proprietor of the Bates Motel, a seemingly innocent little inn that actually holds great danger for any that stop for the night. Bates suffered severe emotional abuse as a child at the hands of his mother Norma, eventually killing her and her boyfriend and keeping his mother’s corpse mummified within the motel to carry on conversations with. He was the boy next door and a motel manager slash transvestite slash serial killer, with emphasis on the slash.

Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates in Psycho, staring at the camera.

Who is your most memorable horror killer? Let us know in the comments box provided below!

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Written by Nicola Odeku
Nicola Odeku is the co-founder of Wicked Horror. After managing a fashion and lifestyle magazine, in addition to writing her own published relationship articles, Nicola set up team with Arturo and followed her genuine love for horror. Also known as Miss Horror, Nicola is a big fan of hardcore gore, anything demonic, and disturbing cinema. Also cats. She looooves cats. Nicola enjoys traveling, sitting on a beach and eating cake.
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