In this feature, we examine the lesser beings of the slasher movie realm, which, if you’re making your own slasher film, could provide a good cast roster for you.
No killer or final girl profiles here, this is a celebration of those underlings who made the most of their fleeting flirtation with stardom. And usually died.
This time around, it’s time to rip off your pants and get it on with THE HORNY COUPLE
Overview: Prevalent in almost every slasher film ever made is The Horny Couple, a young, attractive union of heterosexual teen love who just can’t get enough of each other. They’re there to have sex and little else.
Linguistic Snapshot: “Hey, let the others go on to the campsite, we can hang back and have a little fun of our own here in the woods…”
Styling: Horny Couples are so far from the endangered species list that they are still presented in any form within the governing overlaws of teen horror: Be young, be foolish, be sexy. Almost a disco classic.
Thus, most of the kids in this category of SBC will probably not need many garments as their one true goal is to shed them and interlock their interlocking parts.
Hallmarks: “Sex, sex, sex, – you two are getting boring,” says whiny final girl Chris in Friday the 13th Part III to her friends Debbie and Andy, who respond: “What would a weekend in the country be without sex?”
This says it all – the young folk of slasher films are very one-track minded in this respect. They’re getting away from the adults for the first time in their lives (and last), once the pot’s all smoked, what else are they going to do? Teenagers think about little else, unless they are the Final Girl, who is clearly just going to study and maybe kiss Bobby, but that’s all!
And the killer just sees it as sinful. Mrs Voorhees blaming horny counsellors for not keeping watch on a drowning Jason; the corpse in the bed prank that sends Kenny Hampson off the rails in Terror Train; right up to the “your Mom is a hoe” motive that fuelled the entire Scream series. No good will come of it, may as well die!
That said, not everyone who has sex in a slasher film receives a mandated death sentence: Ginny in Friday the 13th Part 2 gets it on with her boss but still saves the day, and Julie and Ray do it on the beach in I Know What You Did Last Summer. The unwritten rule seems to be that if it’s lovemaking rather than fucking, and it’s demurely behind closed doors (i.e. off camera) and no boobs are whipped out, it’s allowed.
Downfall: The Horny Couple die, more often than not, either during or just after sex. Very occasionally it’s before but, as these are commonly teen exploitation affairs, that results in little to no skin. However it does happen, take poor doomed Kelly in Prom Night for instance, indecisive about going all the way with her dickhead boyfriend, when she hesitates again (although top down and boobs out has already been noted), he stomps off to find someone easier and she cops a slashed throat. Minutes later in the same film, her virginal friend Jude does go all the way with her date, only for the two of them to be summarily killed.
Friday the 13th exercises the trope at least once per film, from Jack and Marcie, to Sandra and Jeff being skewered during the act, Deadfuck Jimmy and one of the twins in The Final Chapter, Tina and Eddie, Nikki and Cort, Robin and David… It’s as bankable as sunrise.
What few variations there are may be if the couple are killed together, or one goes off for ice/food/bathroom, probably saying “I’ll be right back” leaving the other to die, or have them come looking when they never return… The combinations are limited, but very, very few of these couples are still breathing by the time the credits roll.
One notable exception is the couple in The Prowler, so backgroundy I’m not even sure they’re given names, but their to-the-basement venture for sex on a skanky mattress is not a one way ticket to the grave, instead it’s employed as a trick to fool the audience into thinking the killer is there, when in fact he’s somewhere else ready to pounce on another unsuspecting victim.
Genesis: Sex has always been taboo in slasher films, be it suggestion of sex that leads to death (Marion Crane ‘teasing’ Norman in Psycho), or going at it like dogs (the witless teens shish-ke-bobbed to the bed in Bay of Blood), it’s difficult to pinpoint where it would begin. Nobody in Black Christmas gets particularly jiggy, same for The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, but by the time Halloween rolled around, Lynda and Bob’s requisition of the Wallace’s main bedroom set in motion a tide of copycat scenes for almost every film that would follow…
Legacy: Teenagers haven’t given up obsessing over a few seconds of muscle contractions so why should it stop occurring in horror? In the 90s, when nudity was phased out in favour of characters with a little more to say than “let’s get wasted and try anal”, so too went scenes of horny couples being slain. Scream even reversed the trend by having the only thing close to a sex scene occur between the final girl and her boyfriend, and we all know how that turned out.
Will it change? Doubt it. Youth obsessed Hollywood wants attractive teens to take their clothes off and then see them butchered. It’s a weird paradox considering the puritans who decry slasher films, yet those who ‘sin’ so vigorously are ultimately punished for their behaviour! As Julie James utters in the (on-screen) sexless I Know What You Did Last Summer: “It’s a fictional tale designed to warn young girls against the dangers of pre-marital sex!”