Sometimes when watching a slasher pic there’ll be a nice person who dies and I’ll be sad about it for ten or twelve minutes. In recent years horror’s insistence that all people bar heroes are tossers has meant this is rarely the case anymore but way-back-when it wasn’t uncommon for sympathetic victims to pile up along with their more promiscuous, pot-smoking, more sinful buddies. It smarts more if someone who damn well should’ve been turned into a giant pin cushion makes it out unscathed.
Hence, here are three such examples where I’d gladly play God and swap one of the survivors for someone who bought the farm… Humongous spoilers follow.
Yeah, that’s right – let’s switch whiny Peeping Tom Alfred (Brian Backer) – who somehow survives! - for shy, well-meaning but slightly naive Karen (Carolyn Houlihan), she with whom we become acquainted early on, tricking us into believing she’ll be the one to face off with Cropsy. That is, until she disrobes in full view of the camera and gets her throat cut with his pointy shears in a particularly spiteful demise.
I’m all for Final Boys every now and then but Alfred ain’t got it – he is saved by Todd anyway, who does most of the legwork, and adds almost nothing to the mix and should’ve gotten the shear blades through the nuts for his penchant for perving.
This could be an unpopular one as Alice (Lisa Wilcox) successfully took on Freddy Krueger not once, but twice and lived to tell the tale. However, after the ass-kicking Nancy and Patricia Arquette’s Kristen, it’s like the writers of The Dream Master dug out an old American Gothic painting and decided the heroine should be all dowdy and feeble. So yeah, she grows a pair and wins the war later on but I’d rather have seen uber-dork Sheila (Toy Newkirk) take that journey.
She of oversized glasses and a sort of Janet Jackson-lite ensemble, Sheila may be even weaker than Alice Plain n’ Tall at the offset but would undoubtedly be the kind of black final girl we’ve been in need of for so many years: smart, sweet and unassuming.
Conversely, I think a lot of people who watched the eighth Halloween movie through distraught eyes would’ve been happy with anyone surviving in place of Busta Rhymes, who surfs a wave of cliches through the movie until only he and willowy heroine Sara are left alive.
But let us look to Rudy (Sean Patrick Thomas) who isn’t given much to do in the film but thankfully is not turned into a ghetto stereotype by the script. Instead, Rudy and his gal pals merrily join the webcast group and he’s smart enough to toss spices into Michael Myers’ eyes – something that hadn’t been tried before – shame it didn’t work though… In any other movie, the guy who tries to use martial arts or some other physical skill to best the killer (see Julius in Friday the 13th Part VIII for example) is usually swatted away like a gnat – unless he’s a well-known “musician” who probably only signed on with a clause that he wasn’t killed off. Boooo.
Agree? Disagree? Someone I missed? Drop a comment and let me know!