Freddy vs. Jason vs. Michael: Quantifying Cinematic Killers

Halloween Showdown

As Halloween rolls around and you dig out some horror films to watch I imagine you debating with yourself and loved ones; just who is the greatest cinematic serial killer? Is it A Nightmare on Elm Street‘s Freddy Krueger, Friday the 13th‘s Jason Voorhees or Halloween‘s Michael Myers? To help you settle the debate in the only way I know how, with data to back you up, I have built a dashboard collecting some statistics on the three murderers and their franchises.

To gauge each killer’s critical appeal I have collected critic and audience scores from Rotten Tomatoes. To compare the monetary value of each film I have taken budget and box office figures from The Numbers, adjusted for inflation, and calculated profitability as the box office as a proportion of the budget. Finally I have collated the most important metric of all; how many kills our three supernatural psychopaths racked up per film.

As the more astute horror fans will know already the homicidal trio don’t actually appear in all of the films in their respective franchises, Jason first kills in the second Friday the 13th, so I have given you the option of filtering out those anomalies. You can also see the charts for just one killer by selecting their face or filter by year if you want to snub the modern remakes in favour of only considering the classic films.

So with all the preamble done who is the best cinematic serial killer?

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Cinematic Killers

If you ask my opinion I’d have to say that from a popularity standpoint Freddy Krueger comes out on top with the best average audience and critic scores whereas if you want quantity rather than quality then Jason Voorhees wins with the most money rolling in and the most bodies piling up. As for Michael Myers? The original Halloween film not only came first but has not yet been beaten for pleasing fans and critics alike while raking in serious money.

Who is the best of these three? I think I’d like to see them fight it out…

The Cabin in the Woods – When Does Plot Become a Twist?

Last night I finally saw The Cabin in the Woods and can think of nothing to add to Rach’s succinct review. Instead I am going to briefly ponder the fuss that is being made about the level of spoilers in other reviews for this film and in the film’s trailer. If you haven’t seen the film this probably won’t make too much sense so you should probably get to the cinema and fix that – it is well worth your money.

The Cabin in the Woods features the familiar premise of a group of teenagers alone in the woods being terrorised by some manner of evil, but the film has one vital “twist” that separates it from the horror films it draws from. This “twist” is not revealed at the end but actually features from the opening scene and, while we do learn certain specifics in the final act, is never really hidden from the audience. The plot twist in The Cabin in the Woods is in fact the plot and as we know about it from the start it is never used to fully turn the film on its head and make you reconsider what you are watching.

As I said there is a reveal towards the end of the film but this doesn’t feel too twisty either. At no point was anything revealed to the audience that would make you watch the film in a different light a second time through. A second watch would most likely only reveal the huge amount of clever references to other horror rather than any foreshadowing of the film’s conclusion.

While The Cabin in the Woods plot does not contain a twist in itself, I would argue (and am right now) that the whole of the film is in fact the plot twist for hundreds of other films. This film now allows us to go back and watch other horror films for a second time and experience them on another level through the The Cabin in the Woods lens. This film is the plot twist to Friday the 13th, The Strangers, The Evil Dead and any number of other horror movies.

The Cabin in the Woods is clever, funny and a hell of a lot of fun with a few surprises up its sleeves. Just don’t go expecting a plot twist.