Welcome back to The Friday Four.
Today I’d like to take a look at something that could make or break a film. Not the horror icon or killer. Not the suspense factor or creativity of the death scenes, but the horror hero. Believe me when I tell you that a horrible horror hero doesn’t necessarily make a horror movie bad, but it can contribute to terribleness.
I’ve only listed four here but it was tough to pare down the list.
The only reason Jay (and the entire cast) of It Follows isn’t on this list is because I dogged that movie a few weeks ago. It would just be too easy to dip back into that well. I think I made my feelings clear about her in that review.
Just missing the list also is Nancy Thompson of A Nightmare on Elm Street fame. There’s something about Heather Langenkamp’s acting that I just don’t like. Call me biased if you want, but I’ve always preferred Alice as my heroine in that franchise. Nancy isn’t on the list proper, however, because she actually does stuff. A lot of heroines skim by showing a lot of cleavage but never really do anything. Nancy actually figures out how to kill Freddy and does it in the first film and leads the Dream Warriors into battle in the third film. For that, she doesn’t make the list.
I also briefly considered Laurie Strode (I know — horror blasphemy) only because she doesn’t do anything in the first two movies except get saved by Dr. Loomis. But given the fact that she is badass in Halloween H2O and the three movies she is in are the three best in the franchise, I quickly eliminated her from contention.
If this were a list of five, you bet your ass that Julie James from the I Know What You Did Last Summer franchise would be #5. A guy can crush on Jennifer Love Hewitt all he wants but that doesn’t make this character any less annoying. What are you waiting for?!! What does that even mean?
With that out of the way let’s get to, in no particular order…
FOUR WORST HORROR HEROES
1. Lori Campbell, Freddy vs. Jason
To be fair, Freddy vs. Jason was never about the teenagers in the movie. This was the two biggest 80s slasher icons finally going toe to toe. If the movie had no other characters involved, we would have been okay with that. However, there were a lot of teenagers involved as cannon fodder for Freddy and Jason — and the movie is better for it.
Lori is the lead character and she is the least interesting. She wasn’t a pothead. She wasn’t locked up for knowing too much, she wasn’t in a musical group with Beyonce. On top of that, Lori is really just a dim witted blonde bimbo type, which would be fine if you’re trying to turn the genre on it’s ear a la Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but for the ultimate slasher, I’m calling bullshit. She is basically a walking talking blowup doll who we don’t even get a body double’s tits shown for (I’m onto you, Katharine Isabella).
If I were in the movie, I might throw my hat in the ring with Freddy and Jason and be a third person making attempts to kill her. That she survives is just dumb luck and poor directing.
2. Dewey Riley, Scream franchise
Readers of this column know that Scream is my favorite horror franchise so this may be a shock to you that Dewey made this list. If you listen to episodes 1-3 of this podcast, this would not be much of a shock. I am no fan of Dewey.
He has this reputation of bumbling hero who saves the day but he is the least effective cop ever. I understand his role in the first two Scream movies if only to be a red herring. However, the dude was so ineffective that after people quit buying into him as the possible killer, he got his own clown music every time he came on the screen.
Let’s review. In Scream, Dewey does nothing but get stabbed and provide the gun that Gale kills Billy with. He was supposed to have been dead but thanks to test audiences, he wasn’t. I have something to say to those test audiences. In Scream 2, he does nothing except get stabbed a lot again. In Scream 3, he does manage to kill the killer after shooting him five times and having his hand held by Sidney on how to do it. In Scream 4, he is now the sheriff of Woodsboro and manages to do nothing but let his wife get brutally wounded.
I guess people like Dewey because he’s a bit goofy. I can see it, but outside of the first film (which again, he should never have survived) I just don’t see a use for him. Unless completely surviving every film with everyone else who survives every film when they shouldn’t is a thing. Is that a thing?
3. Micah, Paranormal Activity
Alright, let’s put everything on the table to begin with. Micah doesn’t survive the film — does that make him a horror hero? Considering there are only two people in the movie on screen for more than five minutes, I’m counting it.
Micah plays the role of skeptic. Every movie needs one and it’s a fine role to play. When the shit starts going down, Micah gets hella-annoying. The fact that he is recording everything all the time makes no sense and is shoe-horned in by the writer. Then when shit goes down and it makes sense for Micah to be recording everything, the character starts to not make sense.
If you have a Ouija board on camera explode into flames while you are sleeping, perhaps it’s time to stop being so skeptical about everything. By the time Micah comes around to what is going on, it’s too late — the audience isn’t coming around on him.
There’s a lot wrong with Paranormal Activity, but Micah is the most offensive. I’ve never watched another Paranormal Activity after the first one, because if I didn’t like the first one, why would I continue to give the franchise my money — unless, of course, I have a podcast that covers franchises so eventually I’ll have to watch them all. Shit!
4. Dana Polk and Marty Mikalski, Cabin in the Woods
Cabin in the Woods is a good movie. If you haven’t listened to our 3 1/2 hour epic Cabin in the Woods episode, you should. You’ll get like an hour of Hammer and myself arguing about the force field around the playing area of the cabin. It was a neat take on the horror genre provided in a Joss Whedon sort of way.
Until the end.
Let me take you back to the ending of this movie. The Ancient Ones need the blood (or something like that) of Marty in order to be satiated and not rise and destroy all of humanity. Literally the choices are kill Marty or kill the world. Dana, instead decides to light up a blunt because — get this — humanity is not worth saving. All those newborn babies, puppies and cat memes are not worth saving.
The kicker here is Marty is going to die anyways. Once the Ancient Ones rise, everyone is going to die. Dana not only selfishly doomed the world like she was some sort of modern day Jesus Christ, but she didn’t alter the fate of Marty at all. In fact, he probably died a worst death than if she had quickly shot him in the head. Instead, she chose to doom the world into anguish and despair until it was completely obliterated.
Worst. Horror. Hero. Ever.