Typically, when we watch a horror movie, we root for the protagonist; the sweet virginal girl who must fight for her life to get the better of the villain. Whether the baddie decides to make the ill-advised fashion faux-pas of wearing an ice hockey mask in the middle of summer or has a finger-bladed glove you never want to hear run down a chalk board, they rarely get the audience on board for their cause.
However, can showing your sympathy towards the villain a bad thing, or is it allowed if circumstances call for it? Could these circumstances all have a common running theme, too? Were these murderers born bad, or was it something that they developed by having an over-bearing love... for their mothers?
Below is a list of 10 villains who, if you delve into their histories, may make you view their murderous ways in a different light. After all, a boy’s best friend really is his mother, right?
1. Jason Voorhees ('Friday the 13th')
The origins of Jason Voorhees were explored in the 1993 film Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday. It depicted that on the 13th of June, 1946, a then 16 year old Pamela Voorhees gave birth to a baby boy she called Jason. However, poor Jason was hydrocephalic, which meant that he suffered from a rare medical condition in which an abnormal amount of fluid accumulated on his brain. Due to his deformity, Pamela decided that it was best not to enroll Jason in school and she was remarkably overprotective of him.
As a young boy, he was at Camp Crystal Lake with his mother, where two teenage councilors were supposed to be watching him swim but instead they were too busy with each other doing pre-marital naughtiness (which we all know is a massive no-no when it comes to surviving a horror movie).
Unfortunately Jason drowned before the councilors realized that he was in trouble. Jason's mother snapped and swore revenge on all teenagers who were responsible for her son's death and the legend of Camp Blood was born.
After completely losing her head with everyone, there was one point where Jason supposedly witnessed his mother's death, where she, well, literally lost her head. Poor mummy. Poor Jason. Mummy issues never felt so bad.
Michael Myers (Halloween)
If you were in the mood for a murderous rampage and the only thing to hide your face was a rather gormless Captain James T. Kirk mask, wouldn't that make you even more knife happy? No? OK, just me then. Anyway, the reasons behind Michael Myers' rampages varies wildly depending on which movie you see. In the original 1978 Halloween, Myers had no motivation whatsoever. His own psychiatrist described him as simply pure evil, a man who inexplicably killed his sister, then escaped and killed anyone he came in contact with. For some unexplained reason, Myers was drawn to Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis).
In the sequel, however, it was established that Laurie was Myers' long-lost sister. That, therefore, somehow gave him a reason to kill her, presumably the same reason he killed his original sister. However, that reason was left unexplained.
In the sixth movie, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995), the filmmakers attempted to create an explanation for his rampages. They established that Michael was marked with a druidic symbol called Thorn (or Thurisaz), based on a constellation of stars that appear on Halloween night. The symbol indicates that he's been cursed with a demon that was inflicted on one child from a family (or tribe in ancient times). The child would have to sacrifice a next of kin on Halloween, which is why Michael pursues Laurie.
However, in the remake Halloween (2007), Michael Myers' motivation changed again, where Myers was pursuing Laurie not to kill her, but to reunite with her, because she was his long-lost sister. The murders he committed were incidental to his goal. So basically all he wanted was a segment on the new series of Long Lost Family (2011– ).
Leatherface (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre)
According to Director/Producer Tobe Hooper, Leatherface was just as scared of the kids in the house as they were of him (watch the scene where he's running around the house yelling and then puts his head in his hands).
His mental health is clearly stunted, but not even in the sense that Jason Voorhees was; where Jason clearly knows what he's doing and is acting on his own accord, Leatherface is bossed around and bullied by his family. No wonder he had gender issues further down the line.
In the 2006 prequel, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, the origins of Leatherface were explored, plus those of his flesh-eating sadistic family.
The film saw Leatherface (Andrew Bryniarski) born as Thomas Brown Hewitt, whose mother Sloane (Leslie Calkins) dies shortly after birth due to complications. Sloane worked at a slaughterhouse known as the Blair Meat Company, and this is where she ended up giving birth. Her boss was a cruel and uncaring man, who does little to help Sloan, as shown when he leaves the newborn Leatherface to die in a nearby dumpster.
After such a hard start to life, plus being brought up by the family from Hell, is it any wonder he turned to a chainsaw to help combat his demons?
Samara (The Ring)
Being stuck down a well for a long time would annoy anyone, but when the only way to find a decent hair dryer is to climb out the TV, you know your luck isn't going the way you wanted.
The Ring (2002) tells the story of a journalist named Rachel, who must investigate a mysterious videotape that appears to be responsible for the death of anyone who watches it within a week.
Samara Morgan (Daveigh Chase) is the main antagonist of The Ring (2002), The Ring Two (2005) and the upcoming sequel Rings (2016). In the films, she is seen being thrown down a well by her adopted mother Anna Morgan (Shannon Cochran, NCIS 2003– and NCIS: Los Angeles 2009– ). Samara survived down the well for seven days before her death, after which she created a cursed videotape depicting the suffering that she had to endure in her life.
When Samara was alive, she was portrayed to be a quiet, reclusive child, spending the majority of her time by herself. When her father Richard (Brian Cox , The Slap 2015 - , Pixels 2015, The Jesuit 2015, Super Troopers 2 2016) makes Samara live in their horse ranch's barn, this does little to help with her confidence.
In The Ring Two (2005), Samara is shown as a baby, where she was nearly drowned by her real mother Evelyn, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead (A Good Day to Die Hard 2013, Alex of Venice 2014, Kill the Messenger 2014, The Returned 2015 - ). If you take this instance, coupled with her adoptive parents neglecting her and then eventually being killed by Anna, it clearly demonstrates that Samara didn't have any real parental figure in her life at any point.
Though Samara is a sympathetic character for most audiences, she is truly morally ambiguous as at one stage, she is clearly shown to be a misunderstood girl who had little and no control over her powers due to her abusive parents.
On the other hand, however, she purposely rejected all the help from other protagonists, especially Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts - Birdman, 2014, Insurgent, 2015, Demolition 2015), and decided to continue her evil doing without any remorse.
Samara also takes advantage of Rachel's caring nature towards her to continue her killing spree, though at some stage, she expresses a tiny amount of remorse as she wishes to have a loving mother as both of her previous mothers attempted to kill her.
Carrie White (Carrie)
Despite her eventually turning into a homicidal, sadistic, and destructive force to be reckoned with, Carrie (Sissy Spacek, Deadfall 2012 and Bloodline 2015 - ) was not a monster in the beginning.
Carrie has two faces, one being the victim and the other being the villain that she ultimately transforms into, thus giving her two separate characters that dwell inside of her inner psyche.
Throughout her story in both the book (written by Stephen King) and the movie, Carrie's first persona was a humble one. She was portrayed to be a loner, shown also as a shy and timid young woman with no confidence.
Her mother, Margaret White (Oscar nominated Piper Laurie), is an insanely religious, overpowering, abusive woman, who believes that pretty much everything to do with the transformation into womanhood is sinful.
Carrie's father, Ralph, never features in the film, but it is stated by her mother, Margaret, that he was carried away by the devil. Carrie knows this not to be true, and instead proclaims that her father actually left after having an affair with another woman.
The intimate relationship between Margaret and Ralph is also mentioned, where it is disclosed that they had sexual encounters only twice. One of these occurred before marriage, which left Margaret wanting to kill herself, and the second time was after Ralph came in drunk and forced himself on Margaret (something that she says she enjoyed, despite resisting). This second occurrence resulted in the conception of Carrie. During this scene, Margaret proclaimed;
I should've killed myself when he put it in me. After the first time, before we were married, Ralph promised never again. He promised, and I believed him. But sin never dies. Sin never dies. At first, it was all right. We lived sinlessly. We slept in the same bed, but we never did it. And then, that night, I saw him looking down at me that way. We got down on our knees to pray for strength. I smelled the whiskey on his breath. Then he took me. He took me, with the stink of filthy roadhouse whiskey on his breath, and I liked it. I liked it! With all that dirty touching of his hands all over me. I should've given you to God when you were born, but I was weak and backsliding, and now the devil has come home. We'll pray.
This was mentioned in the climax to the film, after Margaret had learned of Carrie's telekinetic powers and became adamant that her daughter was a witch. Reciting a paragraph from Exodus 22:18 from the Bible, Margaret proclaims; 'Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live', before stabbing her daughter in the back with a kitchen knife. This was her mothers way of trying to purify Carrie by killing her, whilst reading aloud the Lord's Prayer.
Before Margaret can stab her again, Carrie uses her telekinetic powers to send various kitchen utensils towards her mother, stabbing her one by one, eventually killing her in the same pose as Jesus was when he was crucified.
The barrage of blood and violence depicts the transition from adolescence to womanhood and throughout the film, there is an underlying tone of sexual jealousy between Margaret and her daughter.
Jacob Goodnight (See No Evil)
Jacob Goodnight (WWE star Glenn Jacobs AKA Kane) is the son of Margaret (Cecily Polson), a very deranged woman, who kept Jacob caged up when he was a child.
Abusing and torturing him so that he can see the sin, he soon learns from his mother that the eyes are a passage leading to the soul. Under his mothers guidance, Jacob is taught to learn that if anyone sins, then they should never be permitted to see that opening again.
Believing that Jacob must do the work of God, she raises him to punish anyone who sins, with rather horrific repercussions.
As a teenager, Jacob was subjected to watching his mother torture a young girl at their family home. After tearing out her victims eye, she makes Jacob look at it to see the evil within it.
As with Carrie's mother Margaret White (above), Jacob's mother is also a religious fanatic who neglects and abuses her child. The two mothers do have different reasons for their abuse, however; Margaret White abuses Carrie due to religious reasons, believing that her daughter is a witch due to her telekinetic powers. In contrast, Jacob Goodnight's mother is more physically and mentally abusive towards her offspring.
Billy Loomis (Scream)
Scream (1996) revolves around the central character of Sydney Prescott (Neve Campbell, Walter 2015, House of Cards 2013– , Mad Men 2007–2015), who is coming to terms with the one year anniversary of her mothers brutal murder.
The film is somewhat unique in having not one, but two killers, revealed towards the end of the film to be Sidney's boyfriend Billy Loomis and his best friend Stu Macher.
Despite the two killers working together, there was clearly one leader, and that was Billy (Skeet Ulrich, Lost in Austin 2015, Unforgettable 2011– ). He was the main antagonist of the movie, and he used his powers of persuasion to pressure Stu (Matthew Lillard, Scooby-Doo 2002, The Good Wife 2009 - ) into assisting him in his killing spree.
It later transpires that Sidney's mother Maureen Prescott (Lynn McRee) was having an affair with Billy's father Hank (C.W. Morgan), resulting in Billy's mother, Debbie Salt (Laurie Metcalf, Toy Story 3 2010, Getting On 2013 – , The Big Bang Theory 2007 – ), to run off and abandon him.
During the third installment in the franchise (see below), it was revealed that Roman Bridger (Scott Foley), showed Billy a video of his fathers affair with Sidney's mother, and persuaded him to kill Maureen. Convincing Billy that he needed an accomplice to help him carry out the murders, it was also a convenient suspect to pin the crimes on if things started to backfire.
In both the first and second films, the relationship between Billy and his mother were mentioned, with Sidney taunting him by saying 'You've gotta find me first, you pansy-ass mama's boy!' In the sequel, Randy Meeks (Jamie Kennedy) declared that Billy was 'a homo-repressed mama's boy'.
On a side note, Matthew Lillard revealed in 2009 that he was originally going to return as his character Stu in Scream 3. Orchestrating a new set of killings from prison on more high school students, Sidney would once again be the prime target. This original idea was scrapped, however, due to the occurrence of the Columbine High School massacre which took place prior to the start of production. This resulted in the script being rewritten, minus Stu, in order to prevent the representation of violence and murder within the setting of a high school.
Roman Bridger (Scream 3)
The success of Scream (1996) resulted in it spawning three sequels, plus Scream: The TV Series (a second season is to be aired on MTV on the 20th of April 2016). Many people consider Billy and Stu from the original film to have kicked off the numerous copy-cat killings, and some consider Sidney's mother Maureen to have been the ultimate reason as to why there were so many knife-happy maniacs in the small town of Woodsboro.
But there is only one person who is responsible for starting off the murders, and that honor goes to a certain long lost half brother.
Roman Bridger (Scott Foley - TV's True Blood, 2008–2014, Grey's Anatomy, 2005– , Scandal 2012– ), is an up-and-coming video director, who was working on the new production of 'Stab 3', when he decided to bump off the cast, along with Sidney Prescott.
Bridger revealed himself to be the son of Maureen Prescott (Sidney's mother), who was rumored to have been the victim of a rape by John Milton (Lance Henriksen - TV's TRON: Uprising, 2012– , The Blacklist, 2013– , Hannibal 2013–2015), as a result of which, Bridger was conceived.
Having been adopted, Bridger spent the next few decades searching for his birth mother, who was a former Hollywood actress known by the name of Rena Reynolds. During this time, Bridger learned what had happened to his mother at the hands of Milton, and discovered that she never recovered from the ordeal, eventually turning her into a 'slut'.
Having tracked down his mother after learning that her real name was Maureen, he discovered that she had began a new life in Woodsboro, complete with her husband Neal, and their daughter Sidney. Gaining up the courage to approach Maureen, he revealed himself to be her real son, something he was expecting to be welcomed with open arms. However, Maureen was not best pleased, and told Bridger that he was 'Rena's child and Rena was dead'.
Naturally, Bridger was incensed, and decided to employ his film-making abilities to record Maureen's extra-marital affairs. One of the men who was videoed was Cotton Weary (Liev Schreiber - the TV series Ray Donovan, 2013– , Creed, 2015), a man who spent a year in jail after being falsely identified by Sidney.
The other affair was Hank Loomis (C.W. Morgan), father of Billy Loomis (Sidney's boyfriend in the original film). Putting his plan into motion, Bridger approached Billy and explained why his mother decided to leave and abandon him, leaving Billy enraged. Giving him motivation to pursue revenge, Bridger convinced Billy to kill Maureen, after which Bridger left town and continued his life.
Donny Kohler (Don't Go in the House)
Don't Go in the House (1980) was directed by Joseph Ellison and revolves around the films main villain, Donny Kohler, played by Dan Grimaldi (Limitless 2015– , The Mysteries of Laura 2014 – , Blue Bloods 2010 – ,The Sopranos 1999–2007).
When Kohler was a child, he suffered abuse by his mother, who wanted to 'burn the evil out of him' by holding his naked arms over a burning stove. As a result, he developed a fascination with fire in later years, which led to an obsession with human combustion.
Following his mothers death, Kohler would take his obsession to a new level. Actively seeking out women who showed a resemblance to his mother, he would take great delight in burning them with a flamethrower within the compounds of his specially-built bedroom crematorium.
When Kohler went on his rampage, he was beset by voices in his head coming from his mother. Referring to him as 'the master of the flame', the voices pushed him into punishing those deemed to have done evil.
Norman Bates (Psycho)
How could you have a list of mommies boys without the inclusion of Norman Bates?
American writer Robert Bloch, who specialized in crime, horror, fantasy and science fiction, was inspired by the real life murderer Ed Gein. In his novel, Bates is a middle-aged alcoholic who has a very unnatural relationship with his mother (Norma Bates).
During his early life, Norman was kidnapped by Emma Spool, who was his aunt, before she was put in the care of an institution after Norman had been retrieved. When he was only five years of age, his father died from the result of severe bee stings, and was therefore left in the care of his mother.
Throughout the course of this time, Norma preached to her son that fatherhood would never happen to him, and that she was the only woman who he needed, tarnishing every other woman as filthy, deceitful and nasty.
When Norman became a teenager, doubts started to cross his mind as to whether what his mother had preached to him was actually true, and he steadily became infatuated with the opposite sex.
Leading a rather secluded existence, Norman's life was turned upside down when his mother started a new relationship. As his mothers new relationship started to gain momentum, her sons mentality started to suffer. As his mother started falling in love with a man that he disliked, Norman felt that she was a hypocrite due to her previous preaching about him never falling in love.
As time progressed, Norma's relationship with her new love interest blossomed, resulting in less of her attentions being spent on her son. This had severe repercussions as Norman completely lost control, and he plotted to pay his mother back for this betrayal.
Raging with jealousy, Norman prepared some ice tea that he served to both his mother and her new man. Laced with poison, it killed the couple within minutes. Starting to panic after realizing what he had just done, Norman plotted a clever plan to cover up any traces of his double homicide. Faking a suicide note from his mother, he wrote that she had killed her new man, and then herself, while Norman was away, which the local police believed.
Despite his murderous plan, Norman still went into shock, something that resulted in him being hospitalized. Although Norman had killed his mother, his shock appeared to be due to learning that she had actually killed herself, rather than at the hands of Norman himself.
Being driven by his deranged mental state, Norman was urged by his inner demons to keep his mother alive, despite her being murdered. In order to do this, he decided to pack his mothers coffin with some old books to give the appearance that she was still in there. Stealing her corpse, he then stuffed and mummified it, culminating in Normans persona being split between himself and his dead mother.
So, is a boy’s best friend really his mother, or does that lead to a whole world of craziness?
Thoughts? Sound off in the comments section below.