Who Is the Deadliest Slasher Movie Villain? A ScreenCrush Investigation
Last weekend, Michael Myers absolutely slaughtered a record that had stood for almost a decade. His new movie, Halloween, had the biggest opening weekend ever for a slasher movie. Its $76.2 million debut topped the genre’s previous best, the 2009 reboot of Friday the 13th, which earned $40.5 million in its first three days of release. So on that count, Michael trumps Jason.
But there are other ways to measure slasher villain supremacy. Michael Myers and the original Halloween from 1978 essentially invented the slasher movie and the slasher killer archetype. But is he the ultimate slasher movie villain? Or have some of the men (and boy-shaped sentient children’s toys) who followed in his bloody wake eclipsed him as a horrific perpetrator of gruesome violence?
To answer that question, I did something really dumb: Math. I took the five most iconic and enduring slasher villains in history — Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, A Nightmare on Elm Street’s Freddy Krueger, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre’s Leatherface, and Child’s Play’s Chucky, and put them head-to-head. Using their movies and the (honestly kind of unnerving) subculture of YouTube videos devoted to chronicling every murder in horror movies, we totaled up each of the five’s body counts to see who was the deadliest slasher of them all.
Now before I get to the totals, you should know: Counting slasher villain kills — like slasher mayhem itself — is as much art as science. There are a lot of judgment calls. For example, if Jason Voorhees throws a dude into a mirror and the mirror smashes and the dude falls down (as he does in Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan), does that count as a murder? It’s tough to say. He’s probably hurt really bad? But I think he could have survived?
It’s also worth keeping in mind we counted just the specific killings by each of these five baddies, not necessarily every single death in their movies. You’ll see that Leatherface’s totals are actually pretty low, even though many people die horribly in the Texas Chainsaw series. That’s because his sinister family often gets in on the murdering, and we didn’t include those in his total. We also didn’t count anything in the original Friday the 13th (because Jason’s mom is the killer there, not Jason himself) and stressed out about what to do with Friday the 13th Part V (which is about a Jason copycat — but what about the two grave robbers Jason kills in a dream sequence at the beginning of the movie?!?) for at least three and a half hours.
So if you are insane enough to try this yourself, your numbers might be somewhat different than ours. But here are our totals; each slasher’s kills across all their movies (including reboots in the case of stuff like Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street).
The chart doesn’t have the specific totals, so here they are.
- Michael Myers: 122
- Freddy Krueger: 46
- Jason Voorhees: 152
- Leatherface: 32
- Chucky: 44
That comparison isn’t entirely fair, as Jason and Michael Myers have appeared in more movies than the others. So here are those same totals divided by their number of films for an average of the number of kills per movie:
The numbers for this one:
- Michael Myers: 11.09
- Freddy Krueger: 5.11
- Jason Voorhees: 15.2
- Leatherface: 4
- Chucky: 6.28
I must admit I was a little surprised that Freddy’s numbers were so low. As a child, he always loomed largest as the scariest of the bunch. But I guess his killings are so elaborate, with heavy prosthetics and effects, that it’s only financially feasible to do a couple of them per movie. It’s a lot easier for a guy in a creepy mask to squish someone’s neck or whatever.
So there you have it: He may have been a direct descendent (some might say ripoff) of Michael Myers, but Jason Voorhees is still the deadlier slasher villain of the two — and, indeed, the most violent of all his peers. Uh, congrats? Keep up the good work? I’m not sure what the appropriate reaction to this news is. All I know is if I have to be in a slasher movie, I want to be in Child’s Play. My odds of making it out of there alive are a lot better than if I got dropped in the middle of Haddonfield or Camp Crystal Lake.
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