The 8 Most Frustrating Characters in Horror Films
Originally posted by Paige Taylor at Madame of Horror
As Wes Craven’s game changing 90s slasher, SCREAM, pointed out, There are certain rules we all accept in horror films. If a character has sex, they’re probably going to die. If they smoke the devil’s lettuce in their car without a care in the world, they haven’t checked the backseat… and they’re going to die. Living alongside the rules, we have the cliches. Now you may say that the rules themselves are cliches, and you’d be right, but the rules are more of a handbook for the characters, that only we got to read. The cliches are the mistakes that no one even thought to write down. However, common sense famously lacks in the genre. Like if a young, nightgown clad virgin sees a tall figure with a knife in her house, you bet your ass she’s running upstairs. We get annoyed while watching (Bitch, Leave the House!) but deep down we all know that these simple, irritating mistakes are what keep us so invested in the character’s world. We love to hate them. Don’t tell me that you don’t get a twinge of nervousness, or if you’re a sicko horror freak like myself, a wave of pleasure, from telling anyone that you’ll “be right back.” At the end of the day, these cliches are what give us a through line from slasher to slasher and allow us some familiarity, as well as keeping movie times longer than 20 minutes. Today I want to honor one of our cliches; The irritating character who’s horrible actions temporarily halt our hero from successfully escaping or defeating the killer. Today, I count down The Eight Most Frustrating Characters in Horror Films. I hope you enjoy and let me know who you would have added in the comments.
8. The Pilot in FINAL DESTINATION
It’s one thing not to believe in premonitions. It’s another entirely not to delay takeoff in order to properly deal with such a disruption by someone on board. I get it, we are in a pre-911 world, but I’m pretty sure that a passenger screaming that the plane is going to blow up is good enough reason to investigate the safety of the flight. The best he does is prevent the group from reboarding, but even then, he lets one teacher back on, just because they insist the kids can’t go to Paris alone. He treats a possible bomb threat with the same discretion a lifeguard would to someone peeing in the pool, and it earns him our first spot at number 8.
7. The Dad in PET SEMATARY
Look. I get it. You want to see your dead son again. But you saw what that shit did to your cat. Do you really want a glowing eyed monster child more than just living with the mistake of letting your baby play three feet from a road that apparently is a death trap for anything under 30 lbs? (Seriously, it’s like they live on the side of a NASCAR track). You were warned and you did it anyway. I can almost give you a pass for this one. But after you give life to a scalpel wielding zombie baby, you’re also forced to re-kill your son. Terrible? Yes. A life lesson? Apparently not. “Surely it won’t happen again” you think, and try it a second time with your wife. You’ve got chronically bad decision making skills, (a terrible trait for a doctor) and you refuse to learn from your mistakes. I know you would be surprised that you’re even on this list, but welcome to number 7, Louis.
6. Margaret White in CARRIE
Where do I begin with this feministic nightmare. Not preparing your daughter for womanhood is shitty. Making her feel dirty and unnatural for it is unforgiving. Maybe if you worried more about spreading your shame than you do with your kid spreading her legs, she wouldn’t turn into the school arsonist. Also, you killed your daughter. You’re a pro choice poster child and you’re also number 6.
5. Rosemary’s Husband in ROSEMARY’S BABY
He didn’t just drug his wife and allow her to be raped by the devil. He yelled at her when she said the pudding tasted bad. A man’s job is to protect his woman and he not only failed, he did so with such heartbreaking ease, it left a chalky undertaste in all of our mouths. Roy, you’re living at number 5.
4. Nancy’s Mom in A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET
Literally locking your hysterical daughter in the house and drinking yourself into a coma is just bad parenting. I hear you, you want to forget the traumas of your past, but for god sake, your kid is having visions of the man you killed and never told her about. How do you even think she could go about making that up? Mrs. Thompson, you’re an alcoholic mess of a mother who can’t listen to her daughter. You’re also number 4.
3. Dr. Hoffman in HALLOWEEN 4: RETURN OF MICHAEL MYERS
Dr. Hoffman’s hostility toward Loomis is both unexplained and hyper dramatic with lines like, “With Myers gone, my hope is either he will transfer, retire…or die.” Damn, dude. Tell us how you really feel. No one knows Michael’s every next move (No, not even Jamie Lloyd. Don’t get me started on that plot line.) better than his long time doctor, Loomis. By the third Michael Myers centric movie, this is well drilled into our heads, so why can’t anyone else seem to get behind it? I get it, a man obsessed can seem a bit kooky, but this guy like, can’t die, (he shot him 6 times!!) so maybe we listen to the man who dedicated his life to studying him. Whether handcuffed or sedated, moving Michael never works, especially on Halloween for Christ’s sake. He could have saved himself the embarrassment of an “I told you so” as well as a few handfuls of lives had he just called in the experts. This is a fail of epic proportions seemingly fueled by some kind of petty grudge and it makes this “doctor” number 3.
2. Officer Moony in KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTERSPACE
Officer Moony’s death is one of great satisfaction after sprinkling the movie with cheesy murder set up one liners and his curmudgeonly demeanor. He is the human embodiment of “get off my lawn”. Sure, he can’t even fend for himself when the clowns come around, but who knows how many lives could have been spared had he just done his job and taken 911 calls seriously? His cliched hatred toward the next generation, bullying and disrespect for his coworkers, and unnecessary stubbornness puts him at number 2.
1. Glen’s Dad in A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET
Yup, ANOES gets another one. It’s like the parents in this town don’t even want their kids to live. Glen’s dad sinks into the number one spot as easily as his son sinking into his own bed. Nancy had a fool proof plan to keep the two of them alive and all that Mr. Lantz had to do was relay a message to his son. Instead, he hangs up on Nancy and, as if he hasn’t been defiant enough up to this point, keeps the phone off the hook for the rest of the night, resulting in Glen’s violent and bloody death. I know it’s the 80s and parents just think they know what’s best for their kids, but would it have killed the parents of Elm Street to listen a little? It was just a phone call, dude. You’re the worst. But at least you’re number one at this.