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The news site of Robert Morris University

RMU Sentry Media

The news site of Robert Morris University

RMU Sentry Media

What makes a horror movie villain?


Horror movies have been a staple of pop culture for an extremely long time. The bloodcurdling scenes and the heart pounding suspense are unique to that genre.

The Horror movie genre has spawned many iconic characters. From the machete wielding Jason, the charismatic Freddie Krueger or the extremely well prepared Jigsaw, they each have factors that make them memorable horror movie icons. But what are those factors? What makes the perfect horror movie villain?

First thing to mention is an iconic symbol. Now this can range from many different things from a weapon to a mask. Jason Voorhees’ hockey mask is a universal symbol for fear and gore. Hockey masks themselves are now associated with terrifying murderers thanks to Jason. A symbol for a horror villain provides a physical representation of the fear they can instill in the viewer.

Personality is very important as well. A well made horror movie villain must have a certain, simple, personality trait elevated to supernatural levels. Whether it’s an unnerving and unsettling stoic demeanor with a sarcastic and witty personality maintained while committing unspeakable acts that shows no empathy for their victim’s suffering, or an intricate and unnatural level of planning and creativity to create brutal and heinous situations for people to attempt to survive, these villains are unforgettable.

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A horror movie villain also needs to tread the line between arrogance and justified confidence. This will provide viewers with conflicted feelings on whether or not the villain can be stopped and the hope that a competent protagonist will defeat them.

The final component of a great horror movie villain is their motivation and will to give their victims their grizzly fates. Chucky did not let anything stand in the way of him getting what he wanted. Butchering them all–he did it with a terrifying plastic smile on his face. Jigsaw’s demented philosophy on humans needing to face death up close to truly live gave the character a sick and demented but still comprehensible logic.

So, as we approach Halloween night and you watch these characters brutalize and stab their way through the silver screen, take a minute to appreciate all the complex parts that makes you love and fear them. Happy Halloween Readers!

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About the Contributor
Malik Frierson, Contributor
Malik is a writing major from Philadelphia. While in his hometown, Malik ran his own blog and wrote articles for a well known pop culture web site. Malik has also appeared on several podcasts. Malik currently serves as the Anchor for RMU Live and RMU Live Freshman Edition. Malik also writes for the Arts and Entertainment section of RMU Sentry Media.

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