Greetings my lovely horror hounds! It is Friday which means it is time for another FEARce Five! This week I want to talk about something that no good horror movie can be without and no I don't mean blood and gore, though those don't hurt. No, what I am talking about are the villains we have all come to know and even love. It wasn't until I went to a Monster Mania and made a purchase that I began to question this love for villains.
Last year I met Heather Langenkamp at said horror convention. If that name rings a bell, but you're still drawing a blank, Heather played Nancy in the original A Nightmare on Elm Street. Heather had many things for sale at her table including a documentary called "I am Nancy". In this self made documentary, Heather investigates the question: "Why Freddy-Mania and not Nancy-Mania?" Granted, this isn't the only horror movie franchise where a villain is more celebrated than it's hero(s), but this is an interesting question to say the least. Why do we love these murderers more than we love the people fighting for their lives? What makes them so much more popular?
These questions are what have inspired the topic of this weeks FEARce Five and I am pleased to talk about this is JT from Starfish Strategies. JT is a fellow Etsy seller that also has a sweet and twisted side. So, without further ado, here is our conversation!
1. The slasher genre of horror is filled with some of the most unforgettable villains, Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, Jason Vorhees, and Chucky. What do you think viewers find most appealing about these types of characters that keeps them coming back for more 9 and 10 sequels later?
For me, it is the suspense built up by the accompanying iconic music and then the creepy villain doing his thing or not. That is the magic, you never know when the build up is going to actually lead up to a killing or not. This is what always kept me on the edge of my seat. And of course the gore! The suspense is only created by the gore you cannot keep your eyes off of, but wished you did. Creepy music, a terrifying looking villain and the right amount of gore keeps me on the edge of my seat and keeps me going to see every movie that comes out in those brands.
2. Michael Myers and Freddy Krueger are two villains that, in the past few years, have had reboots of their franchises. Both films, Halloween and A Nightmare on Elm Street, came across as darker and went into more depth when it came to these two characters back stories. Do you think these attempts to make classic horror films creepier was successful or a flop?
You know, I do think it is a bit of a mistake to go into too much backstory about the villains. Horror to me, should be pure suspense and gore, not a psychological drama. I don’t want to think in a horror film, I want to pee my pants out of fear! So I don’t quite agree with the re-inventions that were released, but of course I still support my favorite horror icons.
3. Horror is a genre where you typically don't see female villains, especially not ones that are as celebrated as Leatherface and Freddy Krueger are. Why do you think that is?
I am really not sure, except that sadly we still have many preconceived societal norms of what is more acceptable or common, and I think most people are still not comfortable with believing that women can be just as criminal or monstrous as a man. I had the privilege of growing up with a very diverse and open minded community and parents when it comes to gender roles, so this type of thinking is not really in my wheelhouse, but I have a suspicion that most of our country still clings to a lot of our archaic gender role stereotypes.
4. Since there is no evil without good, I want to touch on heroes and heroines. Heroes are the supposed to show us courage, hope, strength, and that good can defeat evil. They overcome fear to fight fear itself. Despite these admirable qualities and actions, it is the villains who are admired and reach a level of fame much higher than that of the heroes. Why do you think this is?
Hummmm….good question! Well, without getting to analytical, I think it is because (and I do really believe this) people are good for the most part in general, so we prefer the villains in order to live vicariously through their lunacy and lack of care for others. Sort of like, you know you have always wanted to smash in the boss you hate, but would never act on it…but oh, those villains get to do anything to anybody. Or it is just that we have a dark fascination with bad things/people. You know, deviance peaks our collective interest, like that car crash you drive by and can’t take your eyes off of the carnage.
5. These days, a lot of true horror fans think that slasher films aren't scary. While they can be quite gore filled, they aren't very terrifying. In fact, a lot of horror fans find them quite comical. Do you think that villains like Michael Myers, Jason Vorhees, and Freddy Krueger would have as big of a following as they do if they were more terrifying with less comical one-liners and kill scenes?
I love the campy”ness” of horror films. When I go to a horror movie, I just want to enjoy it, laugh and get that adrenaline rush that only a good suspense scene can give. I think the darker and more psychologically in depth a horror film gets, the more depressing it gets. A good horror movie is to be enjoyed and not leave you wanting therapy due to the dark and heavy content of the movie. I think that the classic horror icons are that, because of the perfect storm of cheese and suspense. I hope that today’s audience can and will still appreciate and enjoy a true horror film.
For our top five list of villains, I have asked JT to pick villains that are not part of a major franchise. So no Freddy, Jason, Pinhead, or even Jaws! I will be doing the same!
JT's Top Five “Not” Totally Iconic Horror Villains:
1) John Ryder from “The Hitcher” (1986)
2) Ginger from “Ginger Snaps” (2000)
3) Candyman in the “Candyman”(1992)
4) Jennifer from “Jennifer’s Body” (2009)
5) He Who Walks behind the Rows and of course Malachai of the “Children of The Corn” (1984)
This Ghoul's Top Five “Not” Totally Iconic Horror Villains:
1) Stuntman Mike from “Deathproof” (2007)
2) Jack Torrance from “The Shinning” (1980)
3) Captain Howdy aka Carleton Hendricks from “Strangeland” (1998)
4) Pennywise from “Stephen King's It” (1990)
5) Angela from “Sleepaway Camp” (1983)