Ten Deep 8.22.13: Top Ten Killers in Film
Posted by Mike Gorman on 08.22.2013
From Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger to Anton Chigurh in No Country For Old Men, Ghostface from Scream and more, 411's Mike Gorman counts down the top 10 killers in films!
"Ten Deep 8.22.13: Top Ten Movie Murderers"
It may be due to all of the killer films I've seen lately, or maybe because how work has been lately, but whatever the reasons may be, I have murder on my mind this week and it inspired my trek into Ten Deep.
This week's list is my compilation of the Top Ten Movie Murderers. Each was selected for a unique reason and I did include a few with a more supernatural slant who I felt held their own against the more "real world" entries on the countdown. I would say though that each qualifies as a memorable murderer, let's see what you think…
I will admit that many of the qualities I liked about the Ghostface killer(s) from Scream can also be attributed to other murderers to which the film pays homage. There is still something unique about the taunting nature of Ghostface and the way he resurrected the horror serial killer for a new generation. I almost gave this spot to another masked murderer, Michael Myers, but went with Ghostface because until the climax of each film, we were never quite sure who was behind that elongated white face. That mystery gave the Ghostface killer something special.
I feel like this might be the selection that most of you want to argue with me about as Jigsaw, of the Saw films, very rarely actually does the murdering with his own hands. Many people argue that he gives his victims a choice and if they really want to they could save themselves. I stand opposite of that belief. I think Jigsaw is still murdering these people, but has twisted the scenarios through his own skewed perspective on the world. At the end of the day, if Jigsaw did not exist most of these people would still be alive. I also think it is because he is able to create these elaborate traps that he deserves recognition on this list. Why slit a throat when you lock someone into a spiked mechanism with the key to freedom hidden behind their own eye?
8. Stuntman Mike
Stuntman Mike from Death Proof might seem an interesting choice for this list but like Jigsaw, it is his implement of murder that earns him recognition. He is, as his name implies, a stuntman and he uses a car tricked out with stuntman protection as his murder weapon. His actions and choice of victim seem indiscriminate but there is nothing indiscriminate about his methods. He knows just how much he can take physically and plans the "stunts" so that he will survive and his victims will not.
7. Jason Voorhees
Jason Voorhees is not only a murderous juggernaut who speaks no words but he also kills for a reason. Jason's murders are vengeance against the pot smoking, sex crazed counselors who's antics lead to his death and the eventual death of his psycho mother. This fact was mocked nicely in the tenth entry in the Friday the 13th film series when the space ships "holodeck" (sorry Trekkies, what else could I call it?) distracted Jason with a few buxom blonde co-eds. Regardless of why he kills, it is his slow relentless pursuit of his victims that sets Jason apart. He knows he'll get you eventually so why rush?
6. Anton Chigurh
If Jason is the supernatural juggernaut of murder, in many ways Anton Chigurh is the human avatar of walking death. In the film, No Country for Old Men, Chigurh is a hired killer who basically kills everyone he comes into contact with, unless the toss of his coin sets them free or they bargain for their lives. While many of his murders may seem random to an outside observer, he lives by a code and sees each murder as a necessary function of achieving his set goal. He is chilling and relentless, and played with skill by Javier Bardem, who certainly earned his Oscar for the role.
5. Patrick Bateman
Now we come to the two "Psychos" on the list. Up first, Patrick Bateman from American Psycho. Bateman's murderous ways are a true by product of the greed and excess of the 1980s. He kills for status and perceived slights. The film takes us deep inside his psychosis and leaves us in the end wondering which events we saw were real and what may have been inside of his head. Regardless, Christian Bale's Bateman is a slick killer whose alternating whimsy and despair punctuate the many moments of murderous madness. Like in the scene below…
4. Norman Bates
From Bateman we move to the original Psycho, Norman Bates. Norman and his "Mother" cut a murderous swath through the film leading us to believe, right up until the harrowing final reveal that Norman's actual mother is to blame for the deaths. We now know that it was Norman's fractured psyche and the "Mother" persona that he had created within himself that did the dirty deeds. Hitchcock's work is suspenseful and chilling, especially the moments towards the end when we get to see Norman alone with "Mother." Her voice over combined with the look on Anthony Perkins' face is the perfect ending to this tale. Psycho, indeed.
3. Freddy Krueger
If you are a long time reader of Ten Deep it should come as no surprise to see Freddy Krueger showing up here this week. I am an admitted A Nightmare on Elm Stree junky and am fascinated with the character of Krueger. Not necessarily fascinated by his history or motivations but by the concept of a killer who can manipulate the dream world and murder you in your sleep. And while he may have almost become cartoonish in his antics in the later films, there is something deeply disturbing about a killer you eventually must face as we all must sleep & dream, or we will go insane. The video below highlights many of the twisted ways that Krueger has killed his victims. It is made by the same folks who made the video I included with Jason Voorhees entry, check out their work on You Tube.
2. John Doe
Many of the murderers on this believe they have a purpose behind their actions, but in my opinion there is none more convinced of the solemnity of his mission than Se7en's John Doe. Portrayed with a chilling edge by Kevin Spacey, Doe sees his murders as penance for his victims for their mortal sins. He sees them as sending a message to a society that has grown complacent and accepting of sin. Fervent belief in one's cause can be the most terrifying of all motivations. Add into this mix the way he goes about enacting the murders, right up to the finale's box, and I believe no one could be shocked he ranked so high on this countdown.
1. Hannibal Lecter
Was there any doubt that the number one spot would go to the man who prefers his human flesh served with fava beans and a nice Chianti? Hannibal Lecter is a chilling mastermind who controls every piece on the chessboard that is his life, including when and how those pieces get eliminated. What I feel earned him the number one spot was not just his proliferation of murder or the intelligence behind it, but the fact that for all of his airs he was not above getting his hands dirty. And I mean that literally, Lecter exhibited a brutality and violence at times that rivaled his civility. It is exemplified in the scene I leave you with, Lecter's escape.
Am I on your hit list because I left off your favorite killer? Channel your rage into the comments below!
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