Fred Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Leatherface, Michael Myers, and Pinhead have all led to sleepless nights for anyone introduced to their exploits at a young age. Almost everyone I know has had a dream that Freddy was after them or that they were being chased through the woods by Jason Voorhees. Not all horror killers have induced nightmares, though. Some of them have induced plenty of groans, snickers, and ridicule, however.
We recognize that not everyone can be terrifying. Some killers are mere caricatures of what we expect to see from a silver screen psychopath. Those that don’t live up to the basic standards of what terrifies viewers are usually good for a laugh, though. And, some of the baddies we are spotlighting certainly provided us with a good chuckle or three. With that said, we are about to pay tribute to seven of the least terrifying horror film psychopaths of recent years. These people or entities are great examples of horror film psychopaths who didn’t necessarily deliver the scares, but they still have a place in our heart.
Jack Frost didn’t let being transported in to the body of a snowman get him down, but it did keep the audience from being able to take him seriously. How does one take a giant snowball seriously? I absolutely do not know. The film didn’t really find a large audience upon its initial release and has since gone on to be somewhat of a joke amongst genre film fans. For anyone who has seen the film, the rape/death scene lives on as one of the most unnecessary and offensive segments in horror cinema history.
Ben Willis from I Know What You Did Last Summer
A killer in a raincoat with a hook isn’t the worst idea I’ve heard, but the execution wasn’t there. The character wasn’t scary. Is he supernatural or is he human? Do we know? Do we care? We don’t really care. There was virtually no back story on the killer or any real explanation as to why someone who appeared to be mortal was able to withstand being hit by a car and thrown in a lake and then survive the first film to come back for a mediocre sequel and a third film that no one watched.
The GingerDead Man
Ugh. That’s all I can say. This may have been the worst idea for a film… ever. A killer finds himself in a batch of dough and then he becomes a homicidal cookie. Really? Who green lit this project and more importantly, why? It is absolutely impossible to make any type of confection even moderately frightening. The film does take the ridiculous nature of the concept in to account and inserts some much-needed satire, but even that isn’t enough to make the film watchable. However, someone must have watched the first installment, because in the years since its release, we have been treated to two sequels: The Passion of the Crust and Saturday Night Cleaver.
Any way you look at it, it’s pretty difficult to take a maniac leprechaun seriously. However, that didn’t stop the mythical creature from securing a string of sequels. In fact, the titular character has been to space and to the hood. But, I have never heard anyone say that they find the leprechaun character particularly frightening. Much of the success the franchise has realized can be attributed to the fact that the filmmakers realized that the character isn’t exactly terrifying and took the series in a comedic direction. A remake from WWE Studios is in the works. It will be interesting to see if the reboot takes a more serious tone and finds a way to make its villain more imposing or plays for laughs as we have come to see the films do in the past.
The film can be summed up like this: the more he jokes, the more he giggles; the more he giggles, the more he kills. I don’t exactly hate Dr. Giggles as a film. I am terrified of hospitals, doctors, shots, and anything of that ilk. So, for me, the setup is a frightening one. But, the concept of a jokester physician who jokes, giggles, and kills is just asking too much of the audience. We get that he is insane, but Dr. Giggles’ (Larry Drake) maniacal laughter was too much. His incessant giggling took it to a level of parody, but the joke was on the film and not really in a good way. The film had viewers laughing for all the wrong reasons. Like I said, I don’t hate it, but I don’t really like it either. It’s one of those movies that I will watch at two in the morning if it comes on Showtime and nothing else is on; but the film is fairly disappointing considering that the premise had a certain amount of promise.
The plants from The Ruins
I kind of liked The Ruins. The film has a good cast and bearable performances from its young leads. But I just couldn’t figure out how to be afraid of a bunch of vines, no matter how malevolent they were. And they were fairly malevolent; they would mimic the sound of a cell phone ringing and play all kinds of nasty tricks on their twenty-something victims before killing them. But I simply could not fully commit to the idea that these people were running scared from a bunch of foliage. That realization consistently took me out of the film every time I started to get into it.
Jigsaw from the SAW series
Jigsaw himself is a mere wisp of a man. There really isn’t anything that imposing about him. In fact, the original Jigsaw killer is dead for about half of the SAW franchise. But, in spite of his unassuming appearance, he does have a very diabolical mind and his legacy has scared more people than all of the others on our list combined. I debated over whether to include him, but technically, he does fit the bill. He is not imposing, he doesn’t really appear to be that malevolent, and he hasn’t actually pulled the trigger on most of his victims. He gives them the choice to live or die. He puts the decision in their hands, and therefore is in a unique position. Most people who had nightmares from the SAW films probably didn’t dream about Jigsaw coming to get them. They likely tossed and turned while thinking about his handiwork or about the aftermath of his torture traps. But, I would hazard to guess that not many people are haunted by visions of Jigsaw himself. At any rate, he is the most terrifying of the least terrifying. So, that’s something.