As Halloween is around the corner (and as the new Halloween is out now), we’ve thrown on our spooky Sherlock Holmes gear (look, it exists, okay?) to gather together all the clues that’ll finally solve the mystery of who’s the greatest horror icon of all time.
To do it, we’re comparing the most important elements (from cinematic releases only – VOD doesn’t count) – kills, length of franchise, kills per movie and overall box office, to find out who’s the king of the villains.
We’re off to investigate, but don’t worry, we’ll be right baaaaack…
Ghostface – Scream (1996 – 2011)
Okay, so technically Ghostface is many different people in one mask, but we couldn’t write this list without including the most iconic ’90s slasher, could we?
But if someone calls you up on the landline and asks you how many people Ghostface has killed, maybe don’t use this list as a guide, just in case they gut you on a technicality.
Kill count – 17
Length of franchise – 4 films: Scream (1996), Scream 2 (1997), Scream 3 (2000), Scream 4 (2011)
Kills per movie – 4.2
Box office – $331,734,067
Candyman – Candyman (1992 – 1999)
The vengeful spirit of a murdered (freed) slave, Candyman uses his hook to kill anyone stupid enough to say is name five times in front of a mirror. And, as it happens, a lot of people really are that stupid!
Impressive, especially as Candyman is the smallest franchise on this list (just three movies) and he’s still got an impressive kill count. Let’s see where he places after Jordan Peele’s upcoming remake.
Kill count – 22
Length of franchise – 3: Candyman (1992), Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh (1995), Candyman: Day of the Dead (1999)
Kills per movie – 7.3
Box office – $39,471,013
Freddy Krueger – A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984 – 2010)
A murdered child killer turned demonic teen slasher, who pursues his targets in their dreams, Freddy went from sinister to wisecracker over the course of his film series, without ever letting up his murderous rampage.
But, while Krueger might be nasty, but he’s not as successful as we were expecting. We blame insomnia.
Kill count – 42
Length of franchise – 9: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985), A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987), A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988), A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989), Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991), Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994), Freddy vs. Jason (2003), A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010 reboot)
Kills per movie – 4.6
Box office – $370,495,086
Norman Bates – Psycho (1960 – 1991)
Spooky hotel owner / killer crossdresser Norman Bates only wants to impress his mother. Let’s hope she doesn’t see his placement on this list… (For clarity we have ignored the Bates Motel TV movie and series.)
Kill count – 22
Length of franchise – 4: Psycho (1960), Psycho II (1983), Psycho III (1986), Psycho IV: The Beginning (1990)
Kills per movie – 5.5
Box office – $102,662,736
Hannibal Lecter – Silence Of The Lambs (1986 – 2007)
Hannibal the cannibal – the flesh-chomping murderer might spend most of his most famous movie (Silence Of The Lambs) locked up behind a glass wall, but he makes up for lost (prison) time in the rest of his films. Come on, the guy must be full by now, surely?
Kill count – 27
Length of franchise – 4: The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Hannibal (2001), Red Dragon (2002), Hannibal Rising (2007)
Kills per movie – 6.7
Box office – $425,277,003
Pinhead – Hellraiser (1987 – 1996)
Pinhead’s a properly nasty piece of work. A lord of Hell, him and his fellow Cenobite mates love tearing people’s souls apart – and have racked up a pretty impressive onscreen kill count as a result.
Technically he’s killed the most per movie on this list, but we can’t give him the top spot – mainly because his box office is so pitiful. Yeah, we’re punishing you Pinhead – see you in Hell.
Kill count – 67
Length of franchise – 4: Hellraiser (1987), Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988), Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (1992), Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996)
Kills per movie – 16.7
Box office – $48,526,609
Chucky – Child’s Play (1988 – 2004)
Wanna play? Chucky might be a kid’s toy, but he also happens to be a kid’s toy that’s possessed by the spirit of a serial killer, which makes him deadly. But how deadly? Not quite deadly enough, sorry Chucky – maybe ask your owner to put stronger batteries in you next time.
Kill count – 67
Length of franchise – 5: Child’s Play (1988), Child’s Play 2 (1990), Child’s Play 3 (1991), Bride of Chucky (1998), Seed of Chucky (2004)
Kills per movie – 13.4
Box office – $126,174,126
Michael Myers – Halloween (1978 – 2009)
Don’t worry, we’re not going to include any kills from the new movie – which is in cinemas now. Only a true monster would spoil that. And Michael doesn’t need them – the personification of evil is already so close to the top, we’re sure he won’t mind missing out on the number one spot. Hang on, did we just glimpse someone in a mask at the end of our office? Surely not…
Kill count – 81
Length of franchise – 8 (not including 2018’s Halloween or Rob Zombie’s two reboots): Halloween (1978), Halloween II (1981), Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982), Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988) Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989), Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995), Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998), Halloween: Resurrection (2002)
Kills per movie – 10.1
Box office – $363,200,418
Jason Voorhees – Friday The 13th (1980 – 2009)
His camp counsellors left him to drown – big mistake.
While we’re not including the murders in the first film (mainly because his mum did them), vengeful Jason has racked up the most impressive kill count of all our movie monsters.
If only more people had gone to see him do it at the cinema, he doesn’t quite have the biggest box office (take a bow, Hannibal). We’ve still got to give him the win, though – if only because his kill per movie number matches the title of his movies, and that’s kind of amazing.
Kill count – 151
Length of franchise – 11: Friday the 13th (1980), Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981), Friday the 13th Part III (1982), Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984), Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985), Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986), Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988), Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989), Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993), Jason X (2001), Freddy vs. Jason (2003)
Kills per movie – 13.7
Box office – $380,637,525