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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Out of five of the most iconic slasher killers, who would win in a fight?

Let the best slasher killer prevail


By MALCOLM LANGE —- mslange@ucdavis.edu


In the spirit of Halloween, now come and gone, I found myself watching some classic slasher films over the past month. As I jumped between different iconic franchises, I began to wonder — who out of these villains would win in a fight?

So I chose five of the most iconic and classic slasher movies from the 70s, 80s and 90s. The movies and their respective killers are: “Friday the 13th” with Jason Voorhies, “Halloween” with Michael Myers, “A Nightmare on Elm Street” with Freddy Krueger, “Scream” with Billy Loomis and Stu Matcher and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” with the Sawyer Family. These movies are not only an introduction to some of the most famous killers of cinema, but also the only movies I could find streaming. Sorry, but I was not about to buy the original “Hellraiser” for $12 to include Pinhead.

Also, I would like to give a disclaimer. There will be spoilers for each movie that I will be comparing the killers from. However, you have had over 30 years to watch all of these films, so I don’t feel too bad ruining their endings.

Before we begin, we have a huge problem to address. Which canon are we basing this on? Canon is what exists in a fictional world. “Halloween,” a movie series that began in 1978 and has gone through many reboot/retconning events — when the newest movie will undo or pretend as if a previous movie or event did not exist, therefore changing the canon. For example, there are 13 total movies in the “Halloween” franchise, but only four of them are canon as the 2018 “Halloween” installment retconned every other movie except the original. What I have chosen as the canon for each movie series is the original works. I am not including any “returns” or “revenge” movies in a franchise. Once the killer is defeated or killed, I count that as the end of the original storyline.

Having this in mind, here are the movies that I will be using to base how powerful each killer is.” Friday the 13 part II,” “III” and “Final Chapter,” “Halloween I” and “II,” “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” “Scream” and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (TCM).

The killers of “Scream” or TCM movies are exclusively mortal and have no signs of superhuman abilities. Without these, the Sawyer Family, as well as Billy Loomis and Stu Matcher are ruled out as true contenders since the other three have inhuman and heightened abilities and powers. As much as it pains me — “Scream” is one of my favorite movies — I do not believe that either of those killers would stand a chance against any of the other three.

Looking at the other three now, I am going to start with Freddy Krueger from “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” This will most likely be the most controversial aspect of this article. The whole franchise has so many different interpretations and no clear answer as to which one is correct. Some speculate that the whole ending of the first film is a dream within a dream, and Nancy (the protagonist) never wakes up throughout the rest of the movie franchise. Others will say the whole movie is a dream, and some believe that Nancy did defeat Freddy but the end was Freddy killing Nancy’s mom. With that said, I am only going to look at the first movie since that was the original story before it started getting meta and convoluted.

Freddy is a psycho killer who invades your dreams and torments you. After a couple of horrific nightmares that he induces, he will kill his victim in their dream which also kills them in real life. However, Freddy was defeated by Nancy when she turned her back on him and was no longer afraid of her nightmares. This (in some theories) stopped Freddy from killing her and made him powerless against her for the time being.

Now let’s jump to Jason Voorhies and Michael Myers. Both of these killers have a lot of similarities. They have incredible strength and inhuman resilience to injuries. However, Michael has a bit of an upper hand because he is more resilient. Michael and Jason show similar signs of resiliency within their respective movies, but Michael in one night gets stabbed in the neck and eye and is shot at least six times (“Halloween”). And how does Michael react? He falls off a two-story balcony, escapes capture basically unscathed to continue his murder spree just a few hours later (“Halloween II”). Jason has taken many hits as well, but it seems like he is more affected by these injuries. After being stabbed in the leg, Jason is seen limping while he chases his victim (“Friday the 13th part III”). Michael would never. However, the big difference that gives Michael an edge is his lack of emotions and a higher intellect.

In their films, both killers have set traps, used disguises and murdered a handful of people. Jason, however, is more sporadic and clumsy compared to Michael. Michael is more methodical. Jason runs around and knocks things over in a chase while Michael calmly walks towards his prey. While fighting Jason, multiple people have survived a wrestling match with him. Michael does not give them that chance. The only person to survive Michael after he catches them is the protagonist Laurie Strode. The final nail in the coffin, however, is the fact that Jason has been manipulated by his past on two separate occasions which allows the protagonist to land a very heavy blow. Michael is not plagued by this weakness.

With Michael beating Jason, it just leaves Michael versus Freddy. This is a very easy win for Michael as Freddy only has real power over someone in their nightmares and it is unclear if Michael can even have nightmares. He has been described as someone with no soul, no thoughts or feelings behind his eyes. He is the “Boogeyman.” If that is true, why would we believe that he can be affected by nightmares, let alone that he even dreams? If this is the case, I believe that it is safe to say that Michael Myers would defeat Freddy similarly to Nancy (by not being afraid), making Michael the winner out of all of these iconic slasher killers.


Written by: Malcolm Lange — mslange@ucdavis.edu

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by individual columnists belong to the columnists alone and do not necessarily indicate the views and opinions held by The California Aggie.


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