Slashers: Ranking the Top 5 Masked Menaces

By hook, by crook, bye bye

The Corinthian:The Good Doctor likes to skin people alive. Nimrod is a hunter. He can bone, joint, and gut any animal in minutes. For myself, I have a penchant for eyes. And you know what we’re going to do now, Philip? We’re going to take turns.

The Sandman: The Doll’s House

The classic monsters are fun, but they get old. Audiences laugh at corny mummy movies and belittle overwrought vampire fare. The 1980s gave rise to a new kind of monster. Superhumanly strong and nigh-unkillable, they would tear through groups of unlikable teenagers with joyous abandon, only thwarted by the Final Girl. Even if they were brought down, the killer would rise again in the sequel to kill again. No mere monster, these are slashers.

Maybe they were a victim lashing out at the world. Perhaps they were always monsters waiting for a chance to let the beast out. Whatever the reason, they’re ready to turn teenagers into ground chuck with whatever weapon they can get their hands on. So who are the Top 5 slashers? Let’s find out.

#5 Candyman

Series: Candyman
Played by: Tony Todd

Candyman: “You were not content with the stories, so I was obliged to come. Be my victim. Be … my victim. I am the writing on the wall, the whisper in the classroom. Without these things, I am nothing. So now, I must shed innocent blood.”

Candyman (1992)

Everyone, sing along with me:

Who can make your friends die?
Cover you in bees?

Will never, ever spare you, even if you beg him, “Please!”
The Candyman
The Candyman can …

The Candyman started life as Daniel Robitaille, an acclaimed African American artist living in 19th century Chicago. He was renowned for his portraits and hired to paint a white plantation owner’s daughter. Daniel fell in love with her and they had an affair. The outraged father had a local gang beat Daniel, cut off his hand with a rusty blade, and cover him with honey so bees from a nearby apiary would sting him to death.

Daniel’s brutal death and the stories told of the “Candyman” became an urban legend in Cabrini-Green. The fear and belief transformed him into a ghost-like figure that could be summoned by saying the name Candyman into a mirror five times. Doing so will cause him to kill the summoner and people connected to them to spread his story.

The Candyman has superhuman strength, flight, and teleportation. He primarily kills his victims with a rusty hook embedded in his arm stump. He’s also sends swarms of bees after his victims. The newest movie revealed that Candyman is now seemingly comprised of African American victims of racial violence. Every victim’s story can create a new Candyman avatar, which eventually takes Daniel’s appearance to form an almost literal hive mind of slashers.

#4 Ghostface

Series: Scream

Played by: Skeet Ulrich, Mathew Lillard, others

[A woman has been told her boyfriend will die if she can’t name the killer from Friday the 13th]
Casey: “Listen, it was Jason! I saw that movie twenty goddamn times!
Ghostface: “Then you should know Jason’s mother, Mrs. Voorhees, was the original killer! Jason didn’t show up until the sequel. I’m afraid that was a wrong answer.
Casey: “You tricked me!”
Ghostface: “Lucky for you, there’s a bonus round. But poor Steve, I’m afraid, he’s out!

Scream (1996)

I hope you’ve been brushing up on your horror movie trivia this October. You’ll need it if this slasher calls.

Ghostface is a unique slasher because there are multiple killers who use the identity, each with their own motives and choice of victims. The costume keeps their identities a secret and is so commonplace that anyone can get a copy once the killer starts running amok. When anyone can be the killer, who can you trust?

Every Ghostface has their own gimmick. The first was obsessed with horror movies and grilled victims about trivia, only allowing them to live if they answered correctly. The second loved killing in front of witnesses. Ghostface 3 was a precise killer, but overly theatrical. So on and so forth. Their only connection is their love of knives and intimidating phone calls. 

#3 Michael Myers

Series: Halloween
Played by: Nick Castle, Tony Moran, others

Dr. Loomis: “I met this six-year-old child with this blank, pale, emotionless face, and the blackest eyes, the devil’s eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him and then another seven trying to keep him locked up, because I realized that what was living behind that boy’s eyes was purely and simply … evil.”

Halloween (1978)

You know things have gotten bad when this groovy ogre shows up. Wait, why are you confused? Oh, you’re here for Michael Myers, the slasher in a bleached Captain Kirk mask. I thought you wanted the actually evil Mike Myers, the comedian. Sure, we can learn the first guy’s story.

Michael Myers was only six years old when he murdered his older sister on Halloween. He was arrested and sent to an asylum, where he met Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence). Years of therapy convinced Dr. Loomis that Michael was an evil psychopath. Then, one Halloween night, Michael escaped.

He went on a killing spree, eventually fixating on a young babysitter named Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis). The fixation has been explained as Laurie being his little sister, the result of a curse, or being the only survivor of his rampages. The most plausible explanation is that she was just there.

Michael is the slasher jack-of-all-trades. Smarter than Jason, stronger than Ghostface or Chucky, and more direct than Freddy or Jigsaw. No need for a sympathetic backstory or clever one-liners. Michael Myers kills because he wants to.

#2 Freddy Kruger

Series: A Nightmare on Elm Street
Played by: Robert Englund, Jackie Earle Haley

[A TV grabs a young woman]
Freddy:This is it, Jennifer. Your big break in TV. [slams her head into the TV] Welcome to prime-time, bitch!”

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors

You’re up pretty late tonight. You must be feeling drowsy by now. Your eyelids are getting heavier. One nap couldn’t hurt, right? After all, you’ve got a date with The Man of Your Dreams, the Dreamin’ Demon, our penultimate slasher: Freddy Kruger.

Frederick Kruger was the son of a nun who was accidentally locked in an asylum and raped by the inmates. He grew up to become a serial killer who targeted children, implicitly assaulting them as well. Freddy was eventually caught and tried, but got off on a technicality.

A vengeful mob of parents cornered Freddy in a burning building. Unbeknownst to them, a trio of demons offered Freddy power in exchange for claiming souls for them. He agreed and was transformed into a living nightmare, free to hunt children in their dreams. Even worse, whatever happened in the dream happened in the real world too.

Dream Manipulation made our Top 5 Scariest Superpowers list, and Freddy is an expert at it. He delights in tormenting children with their greatest fears or overcoming their power fantasies. If he doesn’t use something in the dream to kill them, he resorts to his signature knife glove. Freddy feeds on the fear that his actions cause and loves playing with his victims. The worst part is that humans can only live for so long without sleep. Sooner or later, they have to face him.

Fun fact: Freddy’s actor, Robert Englund, once fell asleep in a makeup chair while the artist was preparing him for the role and woke up to see Freddy in the mirror. Needless to say, that got him up fast.

#1 Jason Voorhees

Series: Friday the 13th
Played by: Richard Brooker, C.J. Graham, others

Freddy: [disguised as Mrs. Voorhees] “Jason, my special, special boy. Do you know what your gift is? No matter what they do to you, you cannot die. You can never die. You’ve just been sleeping, honey. But now, the time has come to wake up.”

Freddy vs. Jason

Most slashers are maniacs who kill because they like it. Our number one is somewhat sympathetic when he isn’t acting as a murderous juggernaut.

Jason Voorhees was a child attending Camp Crystal Lake who was bullied for his deformed face, mental disability, and inability to swim. One night, he jumped into the lake to prove he could swim. The counselors were too busy screwing to notice him drowning, and Jason seemingly died.

Mrs. Voorhees became a slasher until she was decapitated by a counselor. An adult Jason found her head and believed that it talked to him. He began killing new counselors on his mother’s orders while his face was hidden by a hockey mask.

Jason was eventually killed, but that wasn’t the end. One of the survivors exhumed his corpse to make sure he was dead, and it was struck by lightning. This Frankensteinian scene resurrected Jason as a zombie, giving him superhuman strength and durability. He may not be the fastest slasher and his intellect leaves much to be desired, but Jason is damn near unstoppable.

Who is your favorite slasher? Is there one better than these? Tell us in the comments. Wait … what are you doing with that ax?! OH, CRAAAAAAAARRGHhhh (gurgle) …

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