We all know that anything that requires you to travel to a distant region of space, pose as a filmmaker to find a new wife, relocate to a town called Castle Rock, or poke your nose into a parallel universe is tantamount to suicide. But what professions put you directly in the firing line? Are akin to having a huge red bulls-eye on your back? For the folks on this list, the term “occupational hazard” has far more ominous connotations.
We present seven of the most dangerous horror movie professions you can have (with some minor spoilers)...
Scientist – The Fly (1986)
A hallmark of science-gone-awry in the horror genre is that, for the scientist at the center of the story, it will inevitably end in blood, tears, and for Jeff Goldblum in David Cronenberg’s 1986 reimagining of Kurt Neumann’s 1958 original The Fly, monstrous transmutation and decapitation at the business end of a shotgun from a hysterical Geena Davis.
The man-fly symbiosis via a Telepod accident results in increased speed and strength, heightened senses and a massive libido-boost for reclusive scientist Seth Brundle. But the negatives of this fusion far outweigh the positives: agonizing mutation, homicidal impulses, vomiting fly-acid over some dude so that he can drink him (a benefit for lazy people: never having to chew your food again), a meth-like addiction to sweet snacks and the urge to create a mommy-daddy-baby-fly fusion. Let’s just say it all blows up in his face, literally, with the Brundlefly subsequently destroyed by the woman he loves.
Babysitter – House of the Devil (2009)
Nothing good can ever come from accepting a “babysitting” gig from a trio of eccentric Satanists who reside in an Addams Family-style mansion in the middle of nowhere. So it’ll come as no surprise that things don’t end well for cash-strapped college student Samantha (Jocelin Donahue) in Ti West’s satanic-themed cautionary tale House of the Devil.
The story follows the aforementioned Samantha who responds to an advertisement placed on a help wanted notice board. Against her friend’s better judgement, she takes on the ridiculously well-paid job. The folks who hire her aren’t really a stickler for rules but make one thing crystal clear: she must stay out of the attic. So after dancing down shadowy corridors and ordering pizza, Sam grows bored and finds herself climbing those rickety stairs towards the forbidden room at the top of the house.
The girl is plunged into a satanic ritual when confronted by the monster/demon dwelling upstairs and the triumvirate of crazy, homicidal loons. As a final, desperate measure to prevent the dark lord from entering our world, she shoots herself, resulting in a coma and demonic pregnancy, proving that babysitting can be a fate worse than death.
Teacher – American Mary (2012)
Only marginally less horrifying is the fate that befalls the sleazy professor who date-rapes the go-to-girl for unusual body alterations - the icy and vengeful American Mary. Jen and Sylvia Soska’s homage to extreme Eastern filmmakers Takashi Miike and Chan-wook Park might lack the twitching sack and live-octopi eating nastiness of its Asian cinematic counterparts but it makes up for this by displaying some pretty gruesome visuals when Mary exacts revenge on her former mentor.
The plot revolves around broke medical student Mary (Katherine Isabelle) who reluctantly auditions at a seedy club. Discovering she has skills with a scalpel, the owner enlists her help – with a cash incentive – in patching up a brutalized thug and her resume ends up circulating around the underground body-mod community. After she is drugged and raped by her tutor at a swanky party, she puts those skills to chilling use.
And her retribution involves more than just taking a pound of flesh: tongue bisection and multiple amputations befall the teacher, mounted in a harness in a storage locker. An admittedly stomach churning way to kill a few hours, but perversely satisfying for Mary, nevertheless. There really is a lesson to be learned here: the teacher/student relationship should always remain strictly professional.
Artist – Maniac (2012)
There are a few things that should make you reconsider a career in the arts: artists are routinely mocked and never really taken seriously by friends or family; it takes years to make your mark in the art community; and you’re expected to work for a pittance - not to mention the vicious criticism, empty stomach, and in some cases, even attracting the attention of a sociopath.
So, if you’re a promising artist with buckets of potential, it’s probably wise to steer clear of soft-spoken, boyishly good-looking mannequin hoarders. In Franck Khalfoun’s effectively brutal Maniac reboot, the story unfolds like a modern-day Peeping Tom with Elijah Wood’s tormented sadist Frank agreeing to hire out vintage mannequins from his personal collection (which isn’t creepy at all) to Nora Arnezeder’s budding artist Anna for a space she has at a reputable LA gallery.
But a besotted Frank can’t fight his base instincts and when a slip of the tongue makes Anna come to the realization that he scalped and butchered her friend, it’s too late. It culminates in a violent chase sequence, followed by a possibly mortally wounded Frank standing above the bloodied body of Anna and with knife in hand, reaching towards her scalp.
Documentarian – Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
Aspiring filmmakers take note: The quickest way to end up with various body parts moving through the digestive tract of tribal flesh-eaters is to stick your nose in where it isn’t wanted...unless you want it bitten off!
In Ruggero Deodato’s infamous cannibal flick Cannibal Holocaust, a crew of exploitative filmmakers venture into the depths of the Amazon to “document” a primitive tribe and disappear. When the local tribe’s definition of “culinary delights” extends to the butchery and consumption of human beings, it’s probably wise to pull out of the expedition and demand a kill fee before you end up on the chopping block. When a search and rescue team follows, it transpires that said production team caused a bit of a stir amongst the local population and were slaughtered and eaten for their nosiness.
Security guard – The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
When you’re offered a well-paid position with a top-secret, ancient-god appeasing organization - the kind that slaughters teenagers in a macabre annual ritual to prevent the end of the world - the chances of you meeting a violently unpleasant end are quite high - especially if you happen to be the morally-conflicted security guard tasked with protecting snarky technicians who are in charge of bringing those teenagers to slaughter.
These guys monitor a horror film scenario, run a betting pool to determine which kid will bite it first and what “something scary” will do the biting - and they take great pride in their work. If only trying to remain morally neutral was all he had to worry about, it’d be a pretty straightforward job. When two of the intended sacrifices escape the shit really hits the fan, unleashing an army of captive beasties from the organization’s monster zoo which promptly devour, torture, mutilate and massacre every human being in sight.
The security guard faces off against a group of evil scarecrows, who proceed to disembowel him until he conveniently detonates a grenade belt strapped to his chest.
Camp counselor – Sleepaway Camp (1983)
Nearly a decade before Jame Gumb appropriated lady flesh for serial-killer couture in Jonathan Demme’s Silence of the Lambs, there was another slasher with gender-identity issues and an inventive knack for (justifiable?) homicide: The camp-counselor stalking preteen psychotic with a mommy complex (is there any other kind?) Angela in Robert Hiltzik’s 1983 cult classic Sleepaway Camp. Angela’s knee-jerk reactions to being threatened, attacked or even slighted were scalding a would-be-rapist, locking a teen in a bathroom with angry bees and slicing up a bitchy roommate in the shower.
In this Friday the 13th knock-off, the boisterous Ricky and his monosyllabic cousin Angela – both still recovering from the trauma of a boating accident years earlier - are spending the summer months at Camp Arawak. No sooner have they arrived than the almost mute Angela becomes a magnet for every douche bag, pervert and petty bully at the camp. Even when the bodies start piling up, the reckless camp owner Mel decides to brush the spate of murders under the carpet, in the vain hope of saving Camp Arawak’s reputation. Bad idea.
In an arrow-skewering nod to Friday the 13th, Mel is shot through the neck after discovering the eviscerated corpse of his jail-bait girlfriend Meg and roughing up Ricky, having mistakenly pegged him as the killer.