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Sunday, October 31, 2010

10 More Movie Killers (Part 2)

By Joan Seth

Continuing from Part 1, here are 10 more fictional movie killers. I have limited my selection to killers who are real humans here. Often, these movie characters are based upon real life serial killers.

1. Jack Torrance (The Shining)

Jack (portrayed by Jack Nicholson) was a recovering alcoholic who decides to get a job overseeing the Overlook Hotel during the winter months. He had hoped that he would be able to rebuild his life, his relationship with his family and finish a novel.

Little do they know, that the hotel is haunted by ghosts and a demonic entity, who feeds on Jack's mentality and cabin fever. He is eventually turned insane by the ghosts who tell him to kill his family.

The scenes of the insane Jack relentlessly pursuing his wife and son through the hotel have earned this film a place in various greatest horror movie lists.

Preferred weapon of choice: Mallet
Movie appearances: 1
Death toll: 1 (the hotel cook)

Picture is (C) copyright to Warner Bros.

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2. Buffalo Bill (The Silence of the Lambs)

Buffalo Bill, real name Jame Gumb (played by Ted Levine) was partially inspired by real life murderers Ed Gein and Ted Bundy, amongst others. He was a serial killer, who would pretend to be injured and approach women for assistance.

Thereafter, he would kidnap the woman and starve them so that their skin would be loose enough to be removed. He hopes to create a "woman suit" for himself; he believe he can then transform into a woman through a process similar to metamorphosis in insects.

Preferred weapon of choice: .44 Colt Magnum Revolver
Movie appearances: 1
Death toll: at least 6

Picture is (C) copyright to Orion Pictures

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3. Light Yagami (Death Note)

Light (Tatsuya Fujiwara) was a excellent and brilliant high school student, who by chance, finds a Death Note dropped by a Shinigami (Death God). He slowly discovers the power of the Death Note - a person's name written in the note will die. Instead of succumbing to fear or using the note rashly, he calmly decrees that he will use it to rid the world of criminals and imbeciles, thereby creating a new world where he will rule as a God.

Eventually, his plans are foiled by the equally brilliant detective L (in the comic series, he is defeated by L's successors, Mello and Near). He dies in the end, without showing any remorse, insisting his actions are for the good of humanity and claiming that he is the God of the new world.

Preferred weapon of choice: Death Note
Movie appearances: 2 + Upcoming US remake
Death toll: Hundreds of thousands

Picture is (C) copyright to VIZ Pictures, Warner Bros.

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4. Leslie Vernon (Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon)

In this part horror part documentary film, a aspiring serial killer, Leslie Vernon (Nathan Baesel) agrees to be filmed by a group of documentary makers. He then shows off his studious methods and preparations, which involve choosing his victims, creating a legend behind the killer and setting up the house for his kills.

This is a clever movie, explaining how various horror movie clichés have evolved throughout the years - e.g. the Final Girl, the trapped house, the killer who teleports, etc. With all his ingenuity and preparations, Leslie is almost believed as a supernatural killer.

Preferred weapon of choice: Sickle
Movie appearances: 1
Death toll: 10+

Picture is (C) copyright to Anchor Bay Entertainment

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5. Ghostface (Scream)

The Ghostface killer refers to the five killers in the Scream movie series. The mask was inspired by the famous Edvard Munch painting, The Scream. Ghostface often calls his victims on the phone, taunting or threatening them before killing them with a 6 inch hunting knife. Even though he is usually known for asking his victims horror film trivia while stalking them, he only does this six times in the Scream Series.

The killers are motivated to kill for various reasons, ultimately they will be defeated. Seemingly with supernatural powers owing to horror movie conventions, in the first and second movie, it was revealed that there are actually 2 people working together as the killer.

Preferred weapon of choice: Knife
Movie appearances: 3 + 1 upcoming
Death toll: 20+

Picture is (C) copyright to Dimension Films, The Weinstein Company

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6. John Doe (Se7en)

John Doe's (Kevin Spacey) motivation to kill was based on the Seven Deadly Sins (Gluttony, Sloth, Greed, Lust, Pride, Envy and Wrath). He had murdered 3 people based on Gluttony, Greed and Lust. Doe also kept a man bedridden for a year (surviving on nutrient drips) to represent Sloth. Lastly, he mutilates the face of a young model and forces her to commit suicide to represent Pride.

After which, he strangely surrenders himself to the police. Feigning cooperation, Doe offers to take detectives Mills and Sommerset (Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman) to the location of the other murders. Eventually, he forces Mills to shoot him, presenting the sin of Envy, while Mills is now condemned as a killer, representing the sin of Wrath.

Preferred weapon of choice: Various
Movie appearances: 1
Death toll: 5

Picture is (C) copyright to New Line Cinema

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7. Norman Bates (Psycho)

Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) suffered much emotional abuse at the hands of his mother while growing up, after his father dies. Eventually driven insane, he kills his mother and her boyfriend and preserves his mother's corpse and develops a alternate personality, assuming his mother personality, and takes over the Bates family house and motel.

He eventually kills a woman who moves into the motel and a private investigator who arrives to search for her, all the while impersonating his mother and interacting with the corpse as if it were still alive. In further film sequels, he struggles to maintain his sanity and his mother personality taking over. He is frequently released and returned to a mental institution, while strange murders continue to revolve around him.

The character was also based on real life serial killer Ed Gein.

Preferred weapon of choice: Kitchen knife
Movie appearances: 4
Death toll: ~5

Picture is (C) copyright to Paramount Pictures

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8. Jigsaw (Saw)

John Kramer aka Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) had a life changing experience. Stricken by cancer, and the loss of his unborn child, he had planned to drive off a cliff and kill himself. Miraculously, he survived, and decided to educate other people to better appreciate their lives and what its worth for and whether they have the will to live.

He would kidnap his victims, who were always guilty of destroying their lives and put them through a series of tests. Frequently, these involved traps which are symbolic of a perceived flaw in each person's life.

If the victim decides to survive and fight for his or her life, he or she would experience severe agony or the loss of body parts, but would be granted a new life, i.e. a rebirth. Those who failed their ordeal will certainly perish.

Preferred weapon of choice: Various traps
Movie appearances: 6 + 1 upcoming
Death toll: None, as he does not directly kill his victims. However, he has indirectly caused the deaths of at least 40 people

Picture is (C) copyright to Lionsgate Films

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9. Patrick Bateman (American Psycho)

Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) had everything going for it. A expensive penthouse, a high paying job, mingling with elite society and a beautiful finance. However, he has a dark side - he is addicted to drugs, sex with prostitutes and conspicuous consumption. He also views all of his friends as the same and confuses between them.

And by the way, he is also a prolific serial killer, he kills his colleagues because 'they make him look bad'. He kills prostitutes for sadistic sexual pleasure and homeless strangers, just because 'he wants to'.

Or did he? The movie ending is ambiguous, making it seem like Bateman did not actually kill anyone, but committed the killings all in his head, which differs from the book's ending. Whichever it is, he fits the description of a ultimate serial killer, killing just because he can.

Preferred weapon of choice: Various knives and tools
Movie appearances: 1 (1 other non canonical)
Death toll: None or Hundreds(?)

Picture is (C) copyright to Lions Gate Entertainment

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10. Hannibal Lecter (The Silence of the Lambs)

Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) is a psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer. In the first movie, he is behind bars, where he gives advice on profiling the serial killer, Buffalo Bill (Entry no. 2) to Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster). However, in the sequels, he is depicted as the main villain, while the prequel showcases his origins and development into a serial killer.

Highly intelligent and resourceful and physically fit, he is able to manipulate his captors and anyone who dares to get close to him. Hannibal is also able to subdue armed guards and break out of police custody. With an extensive knowledge of world cuisines and the human anatomy, he frequently makes gourmet dinners out of his victims.

His most famous quote: A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.

Preferred weapon of choice: Various
Movie appearances: 5 including 1 prequel
Death toll: Hundreds

Picture is (C) copyright to Orion Pictures

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