Cocktails and Movies #MonstersManiacsAndMadmen: Title Fight!
Special by Tim Barley
For more than 35 years now, we’ve been privy to some of the best serialized movie killers in history
In 1978, a little movie called Halloween and a killer by the name of Michael Myers stormed into theaters with practically no marketing budget and a $325k budget, but great word-of-mouth and a creepy score, and walked away with $70 million world-wide ($240 million today). It also featured an unknown actress by the name of Jamie Lee Curtis. Two years later, another unstoppable serial killer would grace the silver screen by the name of Pamela Voorhees (her son, Jason, would soon take over the killing chores in Part 2) in Friday the 13th. And then two years later, in 1984, we were taught to fear falling asleep when Freddy Kreuger invaded them in A Nightmare on Elm Street.
So, here we are. For thirty years, a generation has been taught to fear falling asleep on Halloween at camp. Triple whammy for kids! Oh, and NOT to have promiscuous sex, a lesson which seemed to be lost on the characters in subsequent sequels AND on the movie going public in general… But, how do Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger, and Jason Voorhees size up next to each other? I’ll take a look at the facts and figures of each and see which one of these wins the 1st annual Cocktails and Movies Slasher Sash!
Round 1: “Uniqueness”
Round 1 goes to Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street for taking the serial slasher/killer idea and turning it into a scary mashup of what was real and what was a dream, adding to the confusion of whether the man in the striped sweater and fedora was real and why he wanted to kill these hormonal teens. Doing for sleep what Jaws did for swimming in the ocean, you can’t compare Nightmare to anything else. Special props to Robert Englund who added a bit of macabre humor to the role of Freddy, where the two previous killers were terse in their conversations with their victims.
Round 2: Longevity/stamina
How long CAN you squeeze money from a franchise? In the case of these franchises, a lot. In the case of Halloween, you can make seven sequels, a remake and a sequel to the remake. For Elm Street, you can get seven sequels AND a cross over with Friday the 13th and a remake. But, for sheer stamina, none beat Jason’s eternal quest to kill beyond his years (and even into other centuries). Ten sequels and a remake, including a crossover with Elm Street, and the penultimate film, Jason X, in which Jason wakes up from cryosleep (don’t ask) in the Earth of 2455 after humanity has left the planet and terrorizes a spaceship of students on a field trip studying Earth. Classic. Plus, the guy’s dead and STILL keeps on coming.
Round 3: Kills (quantity)
There’s a clear winner here, but we’re going to start with the bottom and work to the kind of kills. Freddy Krueger killed a total of 35 kids in the Nightmare series, over the course of 8 films (8 kids pre burning and 27 over the films). He wasn’t a hack and slasher, he was the scalpel of the group. Next, Michael Myers racked up a body count of 93 victims after his killed his sister. This over the course of 10 total films, for 9.4 per movie. But the champion is Jason Voorhees. In 10 films, the body count is 154 victims. This is not counting the dead in parts 1 and 5 (the mom was the killer in the original and Roy was the killer in part 5). Clearly, Jason is like the Home Simpson of movie slashers, no matter what you do to him, he just keeps coming and coming.
Round 4: Kills (quality)
As more and more sequels came out for each franchise, it wasn’t just the quantity of kills that needed to be upped to make an impression on the audience, but the “quality” of kills that transpired on the screen. Michael Myers had his knife and stuck to it a lot. Not much originality there. So it comes down to Jason vs. Freddy. Jason has used a LOT of different weapons, including his machete, a pitchfork, the inside of an RV and a sleeping bag but never his brain. The winner here goes to Freddy for finding ways to use his brain in his kills and making us use ours to remember it, including poor Johnny Depp.
Round 5: Lasting Impressions
You’d think that we’d use this round to declare a winner between Jason and Freddy. For that, you’re going to have to watch Freddy vs. Jason (2003). Michael Myers may not have gotten the press and prestige that the other two got, but he WAS the first to break ground. The film itself still carries a lot of influence to this day and is studied in film classes on how a simple idea, direction and production can turn a profit. And the score continues to send chills up people’s spines to this day.
With Michael Myers lagging behind, we have a tie between Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger, which is why they made that movie.
Special mention to Chucky, who wracked up an impressive 29 kills before and after he inhabited the Chucky doll. And, when he married Tiff, he honeymooned by killing 11 more!
What are your thoughts?