Happy almost Halloween! If you’re new here, you probably don’t know how much I LOVE spooky season. A couple years ago, I even wrote a list of “horror”-themed story prompts for any aspiring author suffering from The Block. If you need a creative pick-me-up this side of the week, or if you just want to get into the Halloween spirit before the big day, check out the list here!
Around the same time, I also wrote about the five horror movies that have helped my writing life. I’m someone who believes watching films and TV shows—like The Simpsons—is just as essential to the craft of writing as reading is. I was reminded of this the other day while watching one of my fave horror movies, Halloween (2018). If you haven’t watched it yet, what are you doing? It’s everything a horror remake/reboot/sequel should be in the modern world: fast-paced and fun while also addressing real issues and featuring a cast of strong women. I mean, Laurie Strode shooting Michael Myers’ fingers off? Iconic. It’s the kind of movie that makes me want to write more just so I can one day create a story that’s a fraction as good.
But enough with the gushing. I brought up Halloween (2018) because it inspired today’s post. As I watched it for the one billionth time, a scene towards the beginning caught my attention. Two ill-fated journalists, revisiting the events of Halloween (1978), interview Laurie in an effort to unearth new information about her interactions with Michael. They compare Laurie and Michael, as do other characters throughout the movie. The implication is that Laurie and Michael are two sides of the same coin, the prey and the predator, the good and the evil. Opposites, but equally matched.
The comparison talk got me thinking. Not just about Laurie and Michael (which I could go on a whole tangent about) but also about how similar some popular slashers are to popular monsters. Universal Classic Monsters, to be specific. The leap is there, and while some pairs are more alike than others, ties bind each duo.
And who matches with whom? I’m glad you asked:
The Scream movies terrified me as a child—even though I never watched them. Then, during my first year of college, I broke down and turned on the first one. Readers, it changed me. It was both scary and witty, corny and smart, hideous and beautiful. And all of those descriptors I would apply to Dracula, too.
Ghostface and Dracula are similar in their personalities. Both are arrogant, and they charm and play with their unaware victims. Ghostface flirts with Casey and Sydney before beginning his threats, and Dracula pretends he’s an eccentric businessman before showing his teeth.
Likewise, both fix their murderous sights on women. Ghostface, aka Billy Loomis, doesn’t hide his obsession with hurting Sidney Prescott, whose mother he believes caused his own mother to abandon him. Dracula kills Lucy Weston and turns her into a vampire, and he tries to do the same with Mina Seward. But my favorite comparison between the two is that they are both defeated by the strong, intelligent women they decided to target (though, disappointingly, the movie Dracula doesn’t show this as well as the book does).
Frankenstein’s monster=Jason Voorhees
Out of all the slashers, I believe Jason is the most sympathetic. As a boy he presumably drowned after bullies threw him into Crystal Lake, and while his mother murdered the camp counselors who were supposed to keep watch over the children, he survived alone in the woods, waiting to be found.
Frankenstein’s monster also has a tragic backstory. Created and then abandoned by his “father,” Dr. Frankenstein, the newly born monster had to roam the wilderness and teach himself about the world. His beginning, like Jason’s supposed ending, helped turn him into the creature of terror known by most.
The two also share a similar motive for their killings: attachment to their parental figures. Jason, after witnessing the death of his mother at the hands of a camp counselor she targeted, murders other counselors and teens to avenge her. Frankenstein’s monster, on the other hand, hates his “father” for leaving him alone to fend for himself, and as a result he vows to kill the doctor and everyone he cares for. Love, the existence and lack of it, ties the slasher to the monster.
The Invisible Man=Michael Myers
Oof, this was a tough one, because I’ve always thought Michael to be too unique for comparison. The silent stalker, the incarnation of pure evil—who else does that sound like? The only one of Universal’s monsters I think relates to the iconic killer is Dr. Jack Griffin, aka The Invisible Man.
Both the slasher and the monster have ways of hiding in plain sight. Michael moves and acts quietly when he kills, especially during the first movie, and Griffin is, well, invisible. They’re also both hell-bent on destruction, for inexplicable reasons (motives are never made clear for either’s bloodlust.)
Also, both are near impossible to kill. Michael possesses some superhuman ability that makes him invincible— “I shot him six times!” (iconic line)—and The Invisible Man is, again, INVISIBLE. Ultimately, it’s only when the monster is asleep and vulnerable that fire and bullets take him out. Likewise, fire is supposed to be the element that ends Michael—but we all know his demise is just a fool’s hope.
The Wolf Man=Freddy Krueger
This is the weakest comparison I can make. I HATE Freddy Krueger, and I LOVE The Wolf Man. Freddy is a creep, a child killer, a murderer even before he starred in too many nightmares. He’s the worst of the slashers, in my opinion, and he’s in the company of some pretty bad dudes.
The characterization of Larry Talbot, aka The Wolf Man, is nothing like Freddy’s. Larry is a sweetheart; he buys something from the shop of a woman he’s crushing on—supporting women-led businesses? A+—and he tries to save another woman from a wolf attack, getting himself bitten in the process. He didn’t ask for his monstrous state, and he’s unable to stop himself from acting on those animalistic desires to kill.
Though the characters are so far beyond polar opposites, Freddy and Larry do share a physical similarity: the claws. Freddy’s blade fingers are iconic, and The Wolf Man’s sharp nails are nothing short of deadly. Also, the two can only appear at certain times to commit their murders. Freddy can only hunt his victims in their dreams, and Larry only becomes The Wolf Man during the full moon.
Latest on Instagram:
So, what do you think? Am I spot on with these? Are there other comparisons I missed? Did you like how many times I said “iconic”? Let me know, and, as always, happy writing!