FEATURE: SLASHER SMACKDOWN: VERSUS REVISITED
For those of you that read my long and rambling critique of ‘versus’ films, here’s the point where I shoot my credibility in the face and say ‘If you can’t beat them — join them.’
Here are some of the more intriguing potential horror film fistfights I could think of, complete with my own take on who would emerge victorious (you know, provided they didn’t just give us a crappy, cop out, non-finish)
In the immortal words of the guy from Mortal Kombat…
Chucky vs Matt Cordell
(Child’s Play vs Maniac Cop)
I know I joked about this a couple of weeks ago in my remakes and sequel blog, but this one works! Forget about Leprechaun vs Chucky, let’s see how he throws down with the titular bad guy of the Maniac Cop trilogy.
In Maniac Cop 3 we see that Matt has problems with Voodoo practitioners and Charles Lee Ray has proven himself pretty handy in this regard, what with transferring his body to a good guy doll through a voodoo incantation. Furthermore, Chucky and Matt would have been at odds prior to the events that made them the monsters we know now – Cordell the strict, no-nonsense police officer and Chuck the wanted serial killer. It’s one of the few cases where a fight ACTUALLY makes sense!
VERDICT: Initial opinions might seem to make this a one sided affair — Cordell is a massive, hulking, undead revenge machine and Chucky is, well, a kid’s toy. And if the fight was to be in a ring as a straight forward physical tussle, the boy Lee Ray would be looking for a new vessel to inhabit faster than you can say ‘Made in Taiwan’.
But that misses the point on Chucky. He’s cruel, cunning, manipulative and (we need to bring it back to this) he’s a master of black magic.
The rather one dimensional Cordell just hasn’t got what it takes upstairs to deal with that. I make this one Chucky’s victory (even though Matt would undoubtedly rise from the grave again at a later date.) Cue Brad Dourif’s Chucky laugh.
JASON vs VICTOR
(Friday the 13th vs Hatchet)
I’ve gone for a real clash of heavyweights to get us underway, here.
Anybody who has seen the Hatchet trilogy knows that it is basically Friday the 13th in a swamp, albeit with a more hyperactive Jason. This is just further compounded by the fact that Victor Crowley himself is played by the definitive Jason Voorhees, horror legend Kane Hodder.
A major part of this argument would come from which version of Jason we’re going for: the deformed psycho of Friday the 13th II-IV; the undead stalker of Friday VI-VIII; the body-jumping demonic entity of Jason Goes To Hell; the nanotechnology enhanced killing machine ‘uber-Jason’ of Jason X; or the vicious, cunning woodsman of the 2009 remake. I’l answer that now – CLASSIC UNDEAD VOORHEES ALL THE WAY BABY!
A plot line wouldn’t be too necessary, Jason has shown his willingness to head further afield for his murderlising (from New York to, well, outer space) so he could easily end up in Honey Island Swamp… and we know how Vic responds to trespassers.
VERDICT: This is an odd fight. Both are ridiculously strong and equally vicious. They’ve both accrued ENORMOUS body counts and each has a dazzling array of gory, gruesome and inventive kills to their name.
Jason is more of the one hit, ‘woah, shit, didn’t see that one coming’ sudden death type, Vic more of a frenzied rabid dog who will maul and tear his victims to shreds.
The real complexity here comes from the fact that both are pretty much immortal. It seems that no matter how much pain and destruction they were able to dish out on each other (and it would be A LOT), neither could hope to keep the other down — so let’s make this a No Score Draw, shall we?
JIGSAW vs THE COLLECTOR
(Saw vs The Collector/The Collection)
As two of the emerging stars of the more recent ‘torture p0rn’ era of horror films, John Kramer (and his various accomplices) and the as-yet unnamed entomologist under The Collector’s gimp mask have a link in their creation. When writers Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunston wrote their script The Midnight Man, a studio executive read it and thought it could make a good prequel to the Saw films. Eventually the creative team behind that franchise decided against the idea, but it was enough to get the writers the gig to write Saw 4, 5 and 6. Of course with that kind of credit under their belts the guys drew quite a lot of interest from other studios, and so The Midnight Man script was polished and so became… The Collector.
So let the zany and unfeasible trap face off commence!
VERDICT: Both of these guys are sadistic. Jigsaw wants his victims to learn something from their body mutilating experience with him; the Collector just wants to make some REALLY fucked up body sculpture things from his. In a straight face off, the elderly frail cancer patient John Kramer would stand very little chance against the physically very dangerous Collector. I think Kramer’s devoted gang of apprentices and disciples could make a real difference here, but once again, The Collector’s horde of drug addled human guard dogs would probably make short work of the likes of Amanda or Jill in a straight fist (or knife) fight. Jigsaw’s ultimate successor Hoffman would make for a truly intriguing contest with the Collector as he is every bit as ruthless and makes a fine physical match for him.
Perhaps the convoluted backstory to the Saw saga makes this one a bit too tough to call, but I’m coming down on the side of Jigsaw. THE smartest horror villain outside of Hannibal Lecter, I just feel he’d have something up his sleeve to counter the Collector’s more ‘in your face’ brutality. Irrespective of who wins, I think that it’s safe to say this clash would leave A LOT of blood on the ground.
PUMPKINHEAD vs THE CREEPER
(Pumpkinhead vs Jeepers Creepers)
Fuck you, I like these two so I’m going to write about them. If you’ve got a problem with that, write your own horror blog. Or, you know, put a comment below telling me why they suck.
Anyway, my primary reason for pairing these two beasties is that they are two of the least human and more demonic of our horror antagonists. For those of you who have not read my review of Pumpkinhead (to be found here), Pumpkinhead itself is the demonic embodiment of vengeance. It is a massive great monster with incredible strength, stamina and razor sharp claws. It is also a frighteningly adept hunter, able to track whoever it is summoned for to the ends of the earth.
The Creeper on the other hand is originally believed to be some kind of weird psycho, but as the first film progresses we come to see that the Creeper is in fact a monstrous being that survives by consuming body parts every 23 years to replace its own. Furthermore it has large bat-like wings and a keen sense of smell with which it tracks potential victims for the organs that it must harvest.
A plotline involving these two monsters could be surprisingly simple. By the end of Jeepers Creepers and it’s sequel, the Creeper is known to several characters, many of whom have suffered the loss of a loved one at its hands. What if one of these was to summon Pumpkinhead to avenge that bereavement?
VERDICT: This is an intriguing clash and no mistake. Physically I’d give the nod in terms of strength to Pumpkinhead. However, the Creeper’s wings definitely work to its favour. Furthermore, the Creeper has fashioned a whole host of weapons to use against its victims, including blades and ninja style shuriken — many of which are actually made from the discarded skin of bones of previous prey.
And let’s not forget the super souped-up, rickety and creepy BEATNGU truck that the Creeper has at its disposal (although quite why an ancient evil WITH WINGS needs a truck, let alone how it learned to drive, is a mystery to me!). Heavy machinery and a never give up attitude make the Creeper a real menace.
But to me, the deciding factor is the creatures’ weaknesses. The Creeper is definitely hardy, but when injured it remains injured until able to replace those parts of its body. It was even beaten down and stopped by a farmer with a truck and home-made harpoon gun. Okay, that farmer was the AWESOME Ray Wise, but this is still kind of lame.
Pumpkinhead, on the other hand, is utterly impervious to any physical harm UNLESS the person who summoned it is wounded. This symbiotic relationship is both a strength and weakness. Now provided that the people who call Pumpkinhead don’t stray too close to the fray, the Creeper CANNOT beat it. Sure it can swoop around picking its shots, but should Pumpy get his claws on, um, Creepy, it would soon turn into a severe hiding.
Besides, deep inside Pumpkinhead there is some LANCE FUCKING HENRIKSEN.
Game over, man. Game over.
PINHEAD vs CANDYMAN
(Hellraiser vs Candyman)
This match up between two of the more mysterious and enigmatic supernatural entities to terrify cinemagoers has a little extra spice in that both characters were born in the imagination of one Clive Barker (so there must be a slightly better chance of this one coming off?).
If you’ve read my Hellraiser review, you know how much I love Barker’s work (and if you haven’t, here it is!). Each of these characters first appeared in films based on short stories/novellas by barker, Pinhead (or Lead Cenobite as he should really be known) in The Hellbound Heart, Candyman in The Forbidden. Both are smashing by the way, as are the films. Of course, both have changed significantly since their first appearance in print. Pinhead was female and Candyman was white and stalked Liverpool rather than Chicago’s Cabrini Green. Since then both have become icons of horror cinema, thanks in no small part to their portrayal by Doug ‘Awesome’ Bradley and Totally Top Tony Todd (T4 for short). And it’s these icons that should throw down.
As for plotline, well, the kind of oddballs who get their thrills playing with the Lament Configuration puzzle box are probably the same sort that think it’s cool to repeat Candyman’s name in front of a mirror. If somebody did both? Let them fight for their prize!
VERDICT: These two are tough to judge because each entry of their respective franchises seems to give them vastly differing levels of power and supernatural ability. It seems that once somebody summons Candyman, they are screwed. He is immortal, impervious to damage, boasts superhuman strength, is capable of hypnotically subduing victims, baffling them with illusions, has used telekinesis and teleportation, plus he has command over the army of bees that reside within his body. Although maybe a can of Raid could help with that last one.
Pinhead is equally, well, uberbad. He has the same physical attributes in terms of strength and resistance to damage. Again he has the teleportation and ability to summon illusions. But he has two decided advantages: first, while the man formerly known as Daniel Robitaille can summon bees, Pinhead summons hooks and chains with which to mutilate his victims. Advantage Pinhead.
Second, Pinhead is the leader of the Cenobites. Demonic denizens of Hell, the Order of the Gash are at Pinhead’s command, and each boasts slightly weaker (but still impressive) versions of Pinhead’s own powers. Furthermore, Pinhead can create more cenobites from his victims. This definitely tips the scales in his favour.
In terms of weakness, both have an Achilles heel: they must both be summoned and the inanimate object used to bring them to this world can banish them. Pinhead is ALWAYS ending up worse off due to somebody using the Lament Configuration’s powers against him, while in Candyman: Farewell To The Flesh it is revealed that Robitaille’s soul remains trapped within the mirror of his former lover. It is implied that destroying the mirror will end his reign forever. But then they made Candman 3: Day of the Dead, so that kind of pisses on that bonfire. Then they said it was paintings. Next they’ll probably say his shoes must be destroyed, or something.
So who wins? God knows. I’ll court controversy and give Candyman the nod as it seems he can never truly be destroyed while his name lives in legend, whereas Pinhead has come off second best to some right plonkers. Although if Pinhead sends the hooks, chains and that awesome Chatterer-Beast cenobite after Danny boy’s shoes I may change my opinion…
FREDDY vs PENNYWISE
(A Nightmare on Elm Street vs Stephen King’s It)
OK, let me explain myself before you flip out. I KNOW It isn’t a ‘proper’ film and is instead a two-part miniseries/TV movie adaptation of one of King’s (THE definitive modern horror author) finest works. But Pennywise (as portrayed with chilling brilliance by Tim Curry) is one of the finest horror portrayals to hit the screen. In fact, I know grown men with clown phobias brought about ENTIRELY through exposure to Pennywise at a sensitive age! Now, as for why I’d choose to bring these two into direct conflict, well, it’s ALL about their MO. During his life, Fred Krueger tortured and murdered children, but his death didn’t end his reign of terror. Instead he forged an alliance with some rather horrible dream demons and instead gained the ability to stalk his young victims in their sleep, turning their greatest fears and insecurities against them before finally dispatching them and feeding on their tormented souls. For at least one film, Krueger was a legitimately frightening bogeyman for kids to fear, but alas he soon degenerated into the wise-cracking anti-hero of the latter films. But never forget, for a while, Freddy was NIGHTMARISH.
It, the creature behind the façade of Pennywise, was an ancient and terrifying predatory interdimensional entity (revealed to be the Todash space between realities in the novel and expanded universe of King’s Dark Tower series). It targets the children of fictional town Derry, adopting an array of terrifying forms as it adopts the shape of its young victims greatest fears (the wolf man, a mummy, abusive parents etc) before dragging them down into the sewers and feeding on them.
In terms for plotting, why would they clash? Well, both are used to being alpha-predators and both are such vile horrible bastards, there’s no way anybody could possibly like either one — including each other.
VERDICT: Both of these monsters (and they are completely monstrous) boast very similar powers. Krueger can warp the very fabric of dreamscapes at will, while powered by the terrifying Deadlights, Pennywise/It can reshape itself to overpower the minds and bodies of its victims. Both have their weaknesses — Krueger’s victims must be asleep for him to be most effective, It has less power over strong, rational adult minds. However, It has proven to be able to manipulate psychologically disturbed adults, as evident in the way it was able to use Henry Bowers as its envoy to hunt the Loser’s Club. Both are equally sadistic and vile, even down to implying a definite and disturbing sexual context to the abuse victims might expect (this is far more apparent in King’s novel than the TV movie, probably to ensure the story made it past censors!).
I suppose Krueger might stand a chance during one of Pennywise’s long hibernation periods while it slumbered (especially if he could cause It’s natural spider form to dream about a truly colossal rolled up newspaper), but really I can only see one winner. It is one of the oldest and most evil beings in existence, having been around since before our world came to be. Krueger is a man that has been granted powers by demons — It IS one of the most powerful demons to ever exist. Sorry, Elm Street fans — Pennywise walks out with the W in this one.
Plus, when it comes to scares, Clowns > than Christmas jumpers. FACT.
JACK BURTON vs STUNTMAN MIKE
(Big Trouble In Little China vs Deathproof)
A fun one to finish… KURT RUSSELL VS KURT RUSSELL! In this case the wisecracking hero of John Carpenter’s EPIC Big Trouble (okay, not a horror film BUT it’s John Carpenter AND it rules, so it gets a bye!) versus the charming yet deranged and sinister antagonist of Quentin Tarantino’s Grindhouse segment Death Proof. Both of these roles show exactly why Russell has sustained his long Hollywood career.
In short – BECAUSE HE’S AWESOME.
In terms of character, Burton is the ham-fisted, brash and cocky long distance truck driver who finds himself in over his head but never stops swinging because he’s too damned pissed off to take any of this shit!
Mike is a misogynistic lunatic who drives around in his specially modified ‘death proof’ car, using the vehicle to act out his horrific rage fuelled fantasies and kill innocent young women. Plus do the occasional John Wayne impression.
Did I mention that Kurt Russell is AWESOME?
In terms of plotting, they both drive. What if one cuts the other up on a lonely desert freeway?
The answer is Car-nage, my friends. (Sorry).VERDICT: I see this one going down as some kind of Mad Max-esque highway warfare. Both men behind the wheels of their respective vehicles, neither giving an inch as The Porkchop Express and the Death Proof car roar towards one conclusion.
Now The Death Proof car is quite the weapon here. Head on collisions do nothing to Mike while he’s safely inside his motorised murder machine.
This is probably just as well as he's proven to be nowhere near a match physically for Burton's all-action hero.
Remember Burton has been a trucker for some time, so he'd have picked up some tricks on the roads. Plus a bloody great big truck may not be death proof, but it is still a bloody great big truck.
The way I see it, Burton comes out on top, somehow dragging Mike from the sanctuary of his murderlising motor and stomping the living shit out of him on the hard shoulder. How? Well, I'm not sure, but I imagine it would be all in the reflexes.
So that's your lot, let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Perhaps you disagree? Perhaps you think I'm bang on?
Perhaps you just want to tell me how shitty you think Pumpkinhead is?
'But wait!!!!' I hear you cry. 'You've missed out loads of big names!!! What is your problem, Hickey?!?!?'
Ok, you got me. The thing is, as I started writing these match ups it kind of took on a life of its own and soon swelled to epic size (ooh-err!)... So this list will BE CONTINUED! Expect more psycho-slasher smackdown in the days ahead. Do try to contain your excitement now, you hear?
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Until next time, I hope you enjoyed your stay.