What’s a horror movie villain without a gnarly weapon? Why, nothing but a chump in a rubber mask with a desperate need for therapy. Lunatics of the silver screen are only as scary as the killer tools they wield -- and we’re talking good ol’ rusty, crusty blades that cause a spatter. Here are twelve uniquely armed psychos who use their iconic instruments to bathe our nightmares in copious amounts of blood.
Jack Torrance and his Axe
Those eyes. That hair. There’s nothing dull about Jack Nicholson’s portrayal of a writer with a horrific case of cabin fever -- especially the ax he drags through the Overlook Hotel. The deadly blade is plunged into the chest of Hallorann, the hotel’s clairvoyant chef. But it’s really put to the test on the wooden hotel door standing between Nicholson and his “little pigs” in Stanley Kubrick’s puzzle of a film. Heere’s Johnny.
Michael Myers and his Bowie knife [Halloween]
Let’s be honest. Big Mikey doesn’t really need assistance when it comes to murder. The super-killer is stronger, taller, and just. doesn’t. die. But when snapping babysitters’ necks barehanded grows tiresome, the madman in a white mask reaches for his trusty blade to finish the job.
Leatherface and his chain saw
[The Texas Chain Saw Massacre]
Give it up for the mutilated maniac, whose disfigured face hides behind a mask made of human skin and whose moves with a chain saw rival anything Patrick Swayze pulled off in Dirty Dancing. Then give it up to director Tobe Hooper for the weirdly beautiful final scene: Leatherface -- in a suit -- whirling with his motorized beauty as his prey gets away and the sun goes down.
Margaret White and her kitchen knife [Carrie]
Another disturbing creation dreamed up by horror maestro Stephen King, Mama White is a religious zealot who views entering womanhood as a one-way ticket to hell. One could actually make the case that she uses biblical diatribe as her weapon of choice, but it’s the climactic stigmata scene when Mama’s attacks Carrie with a kitchen knife that sticks with us the most. Keep things holy, Mama.
Marie Nolastname and her circular saw [High Tension]
Switchblade Romance. That’s the title the Brits gave to director Alexandre Aja’s French adrenaline rush about a college girl with really bad timing: She just happens to visit her friend’s family home the same weekend they’re all gutted like fish. That said, there’s surprisingly little switchblade usage in the film. Our horror icon, Marie, prefers something a little less dainty -- like a buzzing circular saw.
Ghostface and his Buck 120 [Scream]
Wes Craven washed the nineties in teenage blood when he premiered the first of, well, way too many whodunits. Scream -- which features a masked killer who stumps hot girls with pop culture trivia, then slaughters them with a hunting knife -- remains a teen-scream staple and has set up permanent real estate on best-of lists of genre fiends and critics alike.
Candyman and his hook [Candyman]
Years before that goofy slickered fisherman craze (we still know what you did Jennifer Love Hewitt), audiences were tortured by something way more serious: an urban legend about a hook-handed slasher in a fur coat who lives in the mirror and emerges when summoned by pretty young things. Go ahead, laugh -- but we’re not calling out his name any time soon.
To be continued