A serial killer is someone who commits a series of murders, often with no concrete motive. They are the worst amongst us in reality, but on the big screen, we can’t seem to get enough of them. In honor of the remake of “Child’s Play,” we’re taking a stab at the Top 10 serial killers in horror movie history.
Candyman in “Candyman” (1992)
dir: Bernard Rose
Candyman, based in part on the legend of “Bloody Mary,” is a novelty in the horror landscape. Not only is his murderous persona based on a real life urban legend, but he is one of the few African-American villains in horror history. The son of a slave, Candyman was lynched and maimed in his past. In the present, he is said to appear when his name is said five times into a mirror. Once he appears, murder ensues. Unlike most on this list, Candyman has only had a single movie, though Jordan Peele is set to revive the franchise in 2020.
The Entity in “It Follows” (2015)
dir: David Robert Mitchell
The entity is the amorphous figure that stalks teens in “It Follows.” The changing figure follows it’s victim until that person has sex with someone else, at which point the entity follows that new target. It can take the form of anyone, so you never know when it’s coming. The frightening part is that there is no real way to stop it. You can get rid of it for a time, but it will return after it has killed all the people you passed it too. It is the incurable STD of horror villains.
Chucky in the “Child’s Play” Franchise (est. 1988)
dir: Tom Holland
Chucky is the smallest killer on this list, but has racked up dozens of murders across seven feature films. Chucky is a “Good Guy” doll who has been possessed with the spirit of a serial killer following a voodoo ritual. The films have generally taken a more comedic approach, but his diminutive size and creepy face have been the source of many nightmares over the years. This week marks the release of the reboot of “Child’s Play,” which will rebrand Chucky as a toy for our modern, connected world. It should be horrifying.
Ghostface in the “Scream” Franchise (est. 1996)
dir: Wes Craven
When we meet Ghostface, it is as the creepily clever voice on the other end of the phone. They know everything. They can clearly see you, but you’re not sure how. Then, when you’ve just about given up on figuring out where they’re hiding, they jump out in a murderous rage. One of the most fun elements of the “Scream” franchise is trying to guess who Ghostface is in that particular movie, but the most important part is that the franchise never takes any of this very seriously. It makes each additional murder a fun extension of the Ghostface legend.
Jigsaw in the “Saw” Franchise (est. 2004)
dir: James Wan
The “Saw” franchise introduced audiences to Jigsaw, the terminally ill murderer who sets out to make his victims appreciate their lives. He puts them in deadly puzzles that require them to sacrifice something to survive. Jigsaw gets points for creativity as his traps are some of the most inventive in movie history. And even though his victims are generally offered a path to survival, the bodies have stilled piled up. After eight feature films, the franchise looks poised for a reboot in the hands of Chris Rock.
Pennywise in the “IT” Franchise (est. 2017)
dir: Andy Muschietti
Pennywise first appeared on screen in the 1990 miniseries of the same name and has been frightening audiences ever since. Most recently, the murderous clown appeared in the franchise reboot in 2017. “It” is the brainchild of horror novelist, Stephen King, And while “It” can take many forms, the clown is the one most audiences are familiar with because it is just so diabolical. Pennywise will return this year in the sequel that is said to feature more blood than any horror movie ever. It’s safe to assume this particular element will have everything to do with chaos of Pennywise.
Jason Voorhees in the “Friday the 13th” Franchise (est. 1980)
dir: Sean S. Cunningham
This machete wielding maniac raised the bar when it comes to body count. He has killed 146 people across 12 movies. Those films have spanned dimensions and the galaxy in an absurd filmography that seeks to always up the ante. The one constant is that a lot of people will die and Jason won’t. He’s been electrocuted, frozen, sent to Hell, drowned and so much more. None of it has stopped him from wreaking havoc at Crystal Lake and beyond.
Freddy Krueger in the “A Nightmare on Elm Street” Franchise (est. 1984)
dir: Wes Craven
What kind of demented character can follow you into your dreams to kill you? Freddy Krueger can. The idea that you aren’t even safe when you are asleep in your bed has frightened generations of horror fans. His iconic striped sweater, dark fedora and menacing clawed hand combine to make him instantly recognizable. And his insatiable bloodlust makes him unmistakably deadly.
Michael Myers in the “Halloween” Franchise (est. 1978)
dir: John Carpenter
Michael Myers was a pioneer in the “slowly chase people until you can stab them to death” lane. Jason Voorhees, Freddy Kruger and so many others owe their existence to John Carpenter’s trailblazing maniac. He has been featured in ten films and the bodies have piled up over the years. His silent approach has become a trademark in slasher copycats and he continues to scare audiences as recently as last year.
Hannibal Lecter in “The Silence of the Lambs” Franchise (est. 1991)
dir: Jonathan Demme
Hannibal Lecter might best be described as chilling. He will cooly walk you through the details of his murders without a note of contrition or empathy. Lecter is a psychopath in every sense of the word. And while the character existed in book form, it wasn’t until Anthony Hopkins portrayed him in “The Silence of the Lambs” that he became a horror icon. The performance won Hopkins the Best Actor Oscar even though Lecter has only 16 minutes of screen time. That’s scary.