If you were to weigh the minds and actions of every horror movie villain, from Count Orlok in the 1922 film Nosferatu to present day; where do you suppose these baddies would fall on the “evil” meter? I vaguely remember many years ago watching a crime channel. There was a feature that ranked histories serial killers in order of evilness. From the top of my head I think it was top thirty or twenty. Number one being the worst. I can’t remember the entire order but I do remember Philadelphia’s own Gary Heidnik was ranked number one.
Killers, Spillers and Chillers
So I ponder this and think, I wonder if anyone has ranked the evilness of horror movie villains? Jason Voorhees, Chucky, Freddy Krueger, The Tall Man, Pumpkinhead, Ghost Face, Pinhead (the hell priest), Angela Baker, Leatherface… this list goes on and on for these killers, spillers and chillers. I think the job of ranking EVERY single character to ever grace the screen is virtually impossible. But when I think long and hard about “who is more evil than others.” Many things start to make sense to me. For instance.
Many of us would probably say Jason is evil and in my opinion he is… well, to a degree. You see, Jason may kill but only because he is being told to kill by his mother… which is a voice in his head. Technically, his wrath started out as vengeance. But vengeance isn’t all too evil in my opinion. To be evil one has to do things with total disregard for right or wrong. It isn’t even about what is right but how it best serves them. Right? I’m not a psychologist but this is what I have come to understand. Plus I’ve watched that show Mindhunter and feel like I’m on the right track! Jason doesn’t even do anything with the bodies or seems to do it for pleasure. He kills and moves on. Technically he is as mechanical and simplified as death itself. His slayings don’t come as personal entertainment or gain. Just making mother happy and doing a job. He’s more of a tool much like Pumpkinhead being called by old lady Haggis.
Leatherface is another one that is interesting. He may slaughter and skin his victims, but only to hide his deformed face. If you look at the entire Texas Chainsaw Massacre premise, the killings only happen to.. feed a jacked up family. They see people as cattle. But Leatherface is merely born into this family and probably doesn’t understand what right and wrong is. His family uses him and just like Jason is more of a tool.
I don’t even think Pinhead and the cenobites are really that evil. They kind of have a job and deliver bliss (though it be messed up) to those that are seeking it. I don’t think they’re going out there just hooking people like regular guys just wanting a simple old fashioned. No, these folks are asking to be tortured in this dimension… that we call hell. Pinhead doesn’t care about light or goodness. It exists but for him its all a delivery service. Frank gets taken to hell but in the end becomes a manager on his own floor in the second film! “So Frank, we brought you here and we have had a good time in tearing your soul apart. But you’ve been a good sport about it so now we’re gonna give you your own department.”
Do you see what I’m trying to get at. Many baddies we all see in movies aren’t all to “evil” in the sense that we all think of it. Sure they’re insane and in a lighter tone “misguided.” They’re scary, gross and downright cringe. Right, they’re dark characters and you shouldn’t hug them. I don’t know, it just makes things seem… different in how I look at these kinds of figures in horror movies. Ehhh, I could be wrong.
If I was to say who was the most “evil” in all horror then my chips would always land on Krueger. The guy is pure evil in every sense of the word. He killed in life to feed some crazy self-centered, indulging appetite. Then in death he becomes some demonic presence that works alone and hellbent on using the children to feed his power. So he’s power driven and knows what he does is wrong but doesn’t even care! He laughs at people and takes pleasure in their torture and death. He mocks people with his punchlines like “Welcome to prime time bitch!” in a way to mock how stupid and pathetic they are in their dreams! Everyone is below him! The dude even seems to enjoy being dead because he kills more as a spirit than he does a living person. It gives him an upper hand! What kind of crazy person writes this kind of character? Give me the chainsaw wielding psycho or a mother loving hockey player! Bring on the pumpkin headed demon or a leprechaun that just wants his fucking gold! They’re all simple and have logical ways of staying clear of them. Fred picked going into our damn dreams! A place know one can escape! Evil! This guy is the damn poster child of evil!
Man all this talk of “evil” is putting me in a mood for a movie that is all about “evil.” It’s why for day twenty one of my Horror Movie Marathon, I have chosen the movie Chained.
Chained is a 2012 psychological thriller directed by Jennifer Lynch and stars Vincent D’Onofrio, Eamon Farren, Evan Bird and Jake Weber. Lynch wanted to make a movie that would “humanise and explain – though not justify – the devastating behaviour that is a serial killer.” but also start dialogue into things like “child abuse.” The movie had mixed reviews and being released in the age of the Saw franchise was credited for being another “torture porn” kind of movie. Which is depressing because it is anything but that.
A boy is held captive by a ruthless serial killer and murderer of his mother. He spends the rest of his days chained and in service to this man who is beyond ruthless and also set out in turning this kid into his protege. As the years go by our young man must endure a hardship like no one has ever experienced.
As our young boy is kidnapped and held captive and is forced to live with this sadistic man. Bob names him Rabbit and is abusive beyond compare. Rabbit is forced to serve him by preparing his meals and even aiding him in full-filling his murders. The pain and anguish on this poor kid is enough to make you cry. The entire time you watch this movie you’re filled with same pain and anguish Rabbit experiences. Nothing seems to have a ray of sunlight. Even when Bob is being civil or fun with Rabbit, it is only at the entertainment of Bob’s evil desires. We see this when Bob plays a game with Rabbit in which Rabbit looks at the array of drivers license of Bobs victims. He reads off certain things on the card and Bob jovially gives the names. It’s a moment that shows some morbid bonding between the two yet it’s sick and twisted and only leaves you wanting poor Rabbit to get out.
Evil Begets Evil
The move is primarily shot within Bobs house that remains out in the middle of nowhere. It is a dark atmosphere with boring decor and lifeless emotion. The kind of atmosphere that obviously resides within Bobs mind, heart and soul. This tone and atmosphere is Bobs life and Rabbit has no choice but to remain there. It only tortures and grieves us to see how it will effect this kid. We’re opened to an insane world of abuse and pain that has caused this man to be who he is. As Rabbit is made more aware of this we are fearful that he is going down this same path. Of course Rabbit will turn into Bob! Evil begets evil! Which is what this movie is all about. This eventually opens up into a much harsher reality and an ending that may leave us very surprised.
Chained is a movie that is grueling and disturbing. Full of harsh images of murder and torture but a testament to why serial killers do exist and if… they truly are so evil after all and the real evil ones aren’t as in the open as we thought. The film is full of brilliant performances from the entire cast. Vincent D’Onofrio is amazing and he creeps me out like never before. It may question how we interpret evil because nothing in this film is as it appears. It will shock and leave you speechless in certain moments but in the end a well done “good vs evil” kind of film It is extremely insightful and one that can, in the end and in some unlit place of our experience; lift our spirits. I say this because in the end we fear Rabbit has taken a turn for the worse but surprisingly pulls through. If you’re someone that is into the psychological realm of the genre then this movie is perfect for you. For me it encompasses the entire premise of “evil” and how we see it today. That is why I have chosen this movie for day twenty one of my Horror Movie Marathon.