When we sit down to take in a horror flick, two things are generally expected: we’re here to see people get hacked to pieces, and at some point, the killer will probably get their comeuppance. I say probably because there are those rare occasions where the killer escapes unscathed. But generally speaking, it’s standard protocol for the villain to be the last to go.
Like many viewers, I find it particularly satisfying when a killer goes out in a manner fitting to their story. Many have died, only to come back time and again, leaving us to wonder, what does it take to put them down for good? Here, we will take a look at five deaths of the most heinous sort that couldn’t be more fitting for the baddest of the bad.
Freddy’s Dead – The Final Nightmare
The Final Nightmare, as it was thought to be at the time, follows John Doe, a lost teen–the last of the Elm street children as it were, as he staggers back into Springwood. After John is brought to the local youth shelter, we meet the rest of the cast as they await the proverbial chopping block. John pairs up with a psychiatrist, Maggie, who we learn is having dreams similar to John’s. The pair find what’s left of the town in a bizarre disarray where we learn that Freddy had a child all this time. The situation is of great concern to Maggie, who feels there may be more nefarious works at play here after the kids of the shelter start dying off.
After Freddy takes care of the fodder for the film we learn that it’s not John, but Maggie who is Freddy’s lost child, and that he needs her to break free from Springwood. It’s here that a familiar plan is orchestrated to bring Freddy into the real world and put an end to his madness. In this final showdown, Freddy quite literally gets everything except the kitchen sink thrown at him, and among all the confiscated exotic weaponry, it is a pipe bomb that finishes him off. You might say it is somewhat poetic, or at the very least ironic that the most heinous child killer is put to rest by his own daughter. Was this turn of events intended all along? I do not know, but one might say it was a cathartic accident at best. It’s a shame they didn’t have the means to explore this storyline further.
I must say in spite of all its flaws and all the flack it gets, I very much enjoy this film. And, if for no other reason it can be appreciated for breaking away from the status quo. It continued to expand on the Freddy mythos, however this late in a fading franchise, it may not have been the best time, as the powers that be at New Line knew it was time to put Mr. Krueger to bed, at least for a while.
The Devil’s Rejects
As the second installment of Zombie’s Hellbilly trilogy, if you will, The Devil’s Rejects follows Otis, Baby, and Captain Spaulding in an almost direct continuation of the previous film but in a more focused and intentional style. It’s not necessarily a Part II, but this feels like the film Zombie wanted to make all along and is easily the best of the three. More time is dedicated to the family and their collective insanity which is turned up to the max as they look to escape Sherriff Wydell and his band. The chase is on as Wydell closes in on the three until they are cornered and brought back to their house, coming full circle from the beginning, which leads to one of the best scenes of vigilante justice ever put to film.
Had the flick ended here, it would have been just about perfect, but if Zombie must have one last ride for this menacing trio this will do! As the family; beaten, and bloodied try to head for the hills, they are stopped by the police once again. This will be their final stand and they know it, speeding toward the blockade, they look to take as many with them as possible. The film really sells us on Wydell’s suffering and purpose, putting him on a path of righteous vengeance in the wake of his bother George’s death in the previous film. And, although it is not Wydell who gets the satisfaction of their deaths, you can easily say that the remaining police here are acting not only in his honor, but on the behalf of all that have suffered at the hands of these maniacs!
This was an entirely satisfying end to the story; I have no idea why it needed to continue from here! It is an exhausting ride to say the least, and will have anyone who watches clutching their seats until the very end. Without question, if Zombie is to continue to make movies, he should take a breath and revisit Devil’s Rejects. It is his best work to date, and I’d love to see more of this kind of passion in future projects.
Child’s Play 3
I, for one, am glad this franchise didn’t end up in space. But to bring Chucky to Military School was equally unexpected. Appropriate, though, as I can understand how Andy would have ended up there after all he’s been though. Third time around though, this toy company is still oh so confident in their line of Good Guy dolls, that countless people left in Chucky’s suspected wake isn’t enough to derail their focus groups. So, when Chucky once again returns, it’s no surprise that no one really raises any red flags, and Chucky sends himself right off to find Andy once again. Only this time Chucky is intercepted by another nosy kid, Tyler. And this presents him with a new body to attempt to inhabit, leaving Andy more or less defenseless against Chucky’s pursuit. It’s a fun ride for any fan of the series, and Brad Dourif delivers nothing short of his best one liner’s throughout; one might say he could give Freddy a run for his money!
In another stir of expectation, Andy and Tyler find themselves trying to evade Chucky in a nearby theme park where Chucky is absolutely eviscerated. In his pursuit, he is taken apart, piece by piece, until he’s cast into an SFX fan blade and shredded to a pulp. Chucky’s scream on the way down is enough to give you chills alone!
Honestly, I’d say this is where the series topped out for me. It felt like this is where Don Mancini wanted it to end. No more apparent is this made than with literally leaving nothing left to put back together. Chucky for some reason explodes. Voodoo, who do, we do… right? It’s still a satisfying end, for us as well as Andy, who can finally say he saw the end of Chucky. it’s an ending that should’ve stood, but it’s still going strong with several follows ups beyond the third installment, a reboot, and a TV series.
Jason Goes to Hell
If ever a horror film has tried to break away from the established template, it was Jason Goes to Hell. New Line went in to this rewriting the world from the bottom up, introducing us to new elements that hadn’t been explored before or since, effectively making this a stand alone film in the process. Nevertheless, it is this extreme disconnect that I find appealing, as Jason isn’t really Jason for the majority of the run time.
Funny enough, it is his first death in this film that I consider the best. When Jason is lured into a shooting gallery and met with a well-armed FBI unit, he’s taken out from the air because if you want to finish Jason Voorhees off, an ICBM is the way to go!
So, why do I choose this death over the final scene? Well, you can argue that the the survivors have gotten more and more ridiculous with their efforts to put an end to Jason. It may have started practical, and easy enough where a single well-placed blade could do the job. But beyond part 6, his deaths became more occultist and harder to accept, at least for me. It seems here, that we needed a logical response to such a vicious killer. It was rather refreshing to see a reasonable action take place here, at least as far as the established world could provide.
For all its flaws, Jason Goes to Hell probably stands as one of the more gruesome films in mainstream cinema, with some of the bloodiest deaths that mislead expectations for what it was meant to be, that being a prelude to the then still developing Freddy vs. Jason. The film may have confused and divided audiences, but no one can deny the ending. If you want to wow an audience, that’s how you do it! It has style, it has all the gore you can ask for, and it has some awesome characters.
I’ve saved the best for last, of course! Halloween H20 is one of the best long distance sequels to date. Halloween itself has become sort of a choose-your-own-adventure franchise with so many broken story lines, but if you’re going to choose one to follow I’d say keep it simple, and go with the first two, and H20. As it states, H20 returns to Laurie Strode twenty years later, as she’s now changed her identity and living far from Haddonfield. This, she feels should be far enough away from what happened, but the memory is still very much alive and well, as is Michael. She tries her best to convince herself he’s dead, but when her son is one of Michael’s intended victims, Laurie finds herself face-to-face with her brother, once again, but this time she’s prepared.
Laurie isn’t interested in accepting his death or capture anymore, and delivers the best call out for her brother in one of the best scenes of the film. Laurie displays some of the best prowess and cunning of any survivor girl, as she plays a brief cat and mouse game with Michael, viciously cutting him down a little at a time until finally taking him away to finish him off for good. Laurie takes them into the woods and plunges herself, the van, and Michael down the hill leaving her brother pinned against a tree. Even as part of me wondered how he would escape, I feel Laurie did as well, but he was not allowed to. For a moment, her compassion almost gets the better of her, as she reaches for Michael’s desperate hand, until her expression shifts almost immediately when their fingers touch. For all he’s done to her family, he has to die, and with one swipe, Laurie takes his head clean off to a beautiful musical sting. I can’t think of a better way to end a legacy, and to bring closure to twenty years of torment and fear!
At the end of the day, Michael is more human than any villain on this list, and if there’s one thing that can end a human for certain, it’s taking the head off the proverbial dragon. H20 may have borrowed a few elements from the Scream craze at the time but it stands out as one of the best sequels of any horror franchise. And as an added bonus, it brought Jamie Lee and her mother together on the big screen for the first time!. No better end to such a brutal character that has haunted our nights for so long.
What do you think of my list? I’m sure I missed a few of your favorites, if so please tell me in the comments so that I may stir another pot of malice, and bring to you more of the macabre! Until next time, friends… stay scared!