I normally don’t write negative, “worst of” lists. First of all, I’d rather acknowledge positive achievements in Horror cinema. Second, my mommy always told me that if you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all. Not that I always practice this lesson. They don’t call me Saucy Josh because I’m so damn nice! Still, creating a list of the worst Horror Movie Villains seemed—too easy. Inevitably, the worst villains are picked from the worst movies. But what about a Horror film that might have been decent except for the fact that the main villain just isn’t that scary?
Jack Frost, the Gingerbread Man, and the Monsturd are all ludicrous, but let’s be honest—they’re still scary! They may be easy to scoff at on screen, but imagine actually coming face to face with Gary Busey’s Gingerbread Man. Even if I knew it was just Gary Busey in a costume, I’d still run like hell!
No, this is a list of characters that were simply not as scary as they were meant to be, either due to bad acting, bad writing, or a combination of the two.
Just FYI, I’m not including the Tomatoes from Attack of the Killer Tomatoes because they were never really intended to be scary. Am I right?
See which Horror villains I feel pack the weakest punches after the jump…
Jennifer Check (Megan Fox) from Jennifer’s Body: This film was written by a woman (Diablo Cody) and directed by a woman (Karyn Kusama). I’ve got no problem with women in Horror (more power to them, I say) but this duo seems unaware of one crucial fact—especially important when your target audience is male and your goal is to induce terror: Sexy isn’t scary. It doesn’t matter how many people Jennifer kills, or how yucky it is when she vomits, or that she’s been possessed by a succubus—it’s Megan effin’ Fox for Christ’s sake! Even as the cause of a blood bath, most guys watching her are probably sporting major wood. Oh yeah, the lesbian scene between Jennifer and Needy (Amanda Seyfied) was awesome, beautiful, wonderous–NOT SCARY.
Chucky from Child’s Play: Creepy for sure, but come on—he’s a fucking doll! How he manages to overpower anyone older than an infant is a mystery to me. If I ever met Chucky in a dark alley, I’d punt his plastic punk ass like a football. At least the producers finally acknowledged Chucky’s hilarity when the franchise switched to Horror Comedy in 1998 with Bride of Chucky. In a Horror comedy, Chucky is just fine, just fine.
The Leprechaun from Leprechaun: Get back on that Lucky Charms box you ridiculous imp! No one is scared of you.
Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman) from Orphan: It’s not that children can’t be scary (remember Gage from Pet Semetary?), it’s just that Esther is ridiculous. The Russian accent: Ridiculous. Her raging temper tantrums: Ridiculous. The way she intimidates her “older” brother: Ridiculous. Most ridiculous of all: The twist ending. Proportional dwarfism? Give me a goddamn break!
Henry Evans (Macaulay Culkin) from The Good Son: Basically a remake of The Bad Seed, The Good Son might have been successful if they had found an appropriate actor to play the villain-child. At the time of this film, Macaulay was still best known as the kid from Home Alone. Even when he tried to be scary, he always had that stupid smile on his face. I know they probably wanted him to sound cold and emotionless, but the lines were delivered so dry it felt deadpan.
Billy the Ventriloquist’s Dummy from Dead Silence: Creepy: Yes. Scary: No—not even slightly. Billy, like Chucky, is a pint sized, poorly articulated, toy. Yawn. If this little dude ever tried to give me shit, I’d just throw his wooden ass in the fireplace.
Damien Thorn (Seamus Davey Fitzpatrick) from The Omen (Remake): Like I said before, it’s not that kids can’t be scary (how about the twins from The Shining?). In fact, the kid who played Damien in the original Omen was actually pretty good. That scene where he freaked-out as they drove closer and closer to a church was excellent. But this kid in the remake, Seamus, just looks bored and oblivious throughout the entire film.
The Devil (Clay Tanner) in Rosemary’s Baby: Rosemary’s Baby was a huge commercial success back in the 70’s and remains well respected to this date. Part of the genius of this film is that it is completely convincing, even without elaborate special effects. The most infamous scene shows Rosemary reacting in terror at the sight of her unholy son, but we the audience never see the infant. Thus, our minds produce an image creepier than any special effect could have created. Unfortunately, Polanski did not take this more-is-less approach when it came to the baby’s father—The Devil himself. (Side note: It’s a popular urban myth that The Devil is actually played by famous Satanist Anton Lavey. Not true. Another myth is that Lavey was a technical advisor on the film. Also false). Sure, he had scary eyes and teeth, but otherwise, he just looked like any other hairy, unkempt (possibly homeless) man. Height, weight, stature all seem proportional for a normal human. Not scary. If I was introduced to this guy and told he was the actual Devil, I’d be like, “Damn—folks have sure exaggerated about how scary you are!” Then I’d tell him to take a shower and point him towards a local soup-kitchen for a bite to eat.
The Birds from The Birds: Some birds are certainly scary: Ostriches, vultures, eagles, hawks, and even owls. But none of these species appeared in Alfred Hitchcock’s classic. I have no doubt that being mobbed by a bunch of birds would be unsettling, but it’s difficult for me to believe the encounters in The Birds would result in fatalities. If I looked outside and saw swarms of pigeons and seagulls and swallows attacking people, I’d just arm myself with a tennis racket and smash some bird skulls. Like swatting some overgrown horse-flies. I’m sure being pecked by tiny beaks is uncomfortable, but I’d be more worried about getting shit on.
The Airborne Toxin from The Happening: Yes, I agree that The Happening is probably the least scary Horror movie ever made–in spite of the fact that the concept is pretty damn good: An unknown airborne toxin is released upon the masses. Was it terrorist? Nope—it’s Mother Nature. It’s trees and plants emitting a suicide inducing gas. How scary is that? Saucy Josh says, “Not at all”. They could have done so much more with an invisible, ethereal villain—like have it make people vomit, or turn funny colors, or make their eyeballs explode. The way it’s portrayed in The Happening, the toxin is about as scary as a nice cool breeze.
So what do you all think? Have I missed any other unscary scary movie villains?
That’s it for this week. Tune in next week for another sure-to-please Top 10 List. Also, check back daily for links to my articles on Film Sponge.
Have a wonderful weekend my sweeties. Saucy Josh loves you.