Horror movies have been home to some of the most iconic figures in pop culture history. Between high-grossing movie franchises, reboots and remakes, and even legacy sequels, horror movies – and the characters therein – have become some of the most beloved intellectual properties ever. So much so that, every year at Halloween, in fact, people still dress up as characters like Ghostface and Freddy Kreuger, complete with a costume and, most notably, the accompanying signature weapon. Indeed, the weapon completes the look, for who are the serial killers without their weapon of choice?
As the horror genre has developed, the murder weapons used have also become more and more creative and thought-out. Many modern horror films see their characters die in the most gruesome and unimaginable ways possible. Oftentimes, these horror movie character deaths come at the hands of a murder weapon. As such, here’s a breakdown of the most iconic murder weapons in horror movie history, ranked.
7 Pennywise’s Teeth – IT
Teeth would not be the most obvious choice when discussing weapons that have been featured in horror films, however, they do make some notable appearances throughout horror history. We see teeth being the feature of countless zombie movies as well as the prime method used to be villains such as Hannibal and the shark in Jaws. Perhaps the most iconic of these would be Pennywise’s teeth, which were used in the terrifying opening scene in the remake of IT. It’s a chilling scene where we see that younger characters are not spared, and allows us to understand the true power of Pennywise.
6 Jason’s Machete – Friday the 13th
A machete is another classic weapon that has been used throughout the history of horror movies and has been a favorite among both heroes and villains. The machete has been featured in successful movies like You’re Nexthowever, it was made most popular through it being the go-to weapon of Jason’s in the Friday the 13th franchise. The weapon is used throughout every film in the franchise to terrorize the victims in a variety of unpleasant ways, as outlined by Screen Rant.
5 Videotape – The Ring
The Ring was released in 2002, and was a huge success among critics and fans. The film was directed by Gore Verbinski from a screenplay by Ehren Kruger, starring Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, David Dorfman, Brian Cox, and Daveigh Chase. It is a remake of Hideo Nakata’s 1998 Japanese horror film Ring, based on Koji Suzuki’s 1991 novel of the same name. Watts portrays a journalist who investigates a cursed videotape that seemingly kills the viewer seven days after watching it. This murder weapon gains points for originality as no film had previously used a videotape as the main antagonist.
4 Telekinesis – Carrie
Telekinesis is not normally a weapon that you would associate with a murderous villain from a horror movie, but this all changed when we were introduced to Carrie White in Carrie. We see her use her powers for destruction after she is humiliated at her prom. The final scene of this iconic movie about a woman serial killer makes this weapon deserving of its place on this list.
3 Ghostface’s Knife – Scream
A knife is the most basic weapon in horror franchises, however, it’s also a classic that has been revisited over and over – and never loses its ability to strike fear. The knife was first made iconic by Psycho and then again popularized by Michael Myers in the Halloween franchise. Although both of these films are iconic, the Scream franchise popularized the knife to new levels when it was released, and we have seen this being utilized in countless Halloween costumes throughout the decades.
2 The Ax – The Shining
An ax is a classic horror weapon that has been used repeatedly throughout the history of horror, becoming the main weapon in films such as Hatchet. This weapon first became iconic when The Shining was released in 1980, produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick, and co-written with novelist Diane Johnson. The film is based on Stephen King’s 1977 novel of the same name and stars Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers, and Danny Lloyd. The film uses the ax in one of the most iconic scenes in cinema history, when Jack Nicholson breaks down the door to get to Shelley Duvall, and we can not imagine this scene being as impactful with any other weapon.
1 Leatherface’s Chainsaw – Texas Chainsaw Massacre
There is no weapon that boasts such a central plot to the movie it is featured in like the chainsaw used by Leatherface in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The weapon is used in horrific ways and instills fear in anyone who hears the noise that it makes. It’s deserving at the top place on this list as there is no weapon that screams horror quite like it. To make matters worse, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was loosely based on a true story, per Radio Times, about serial killer Ed Gein who, in the mid-50s, went on a killing spree while donning human-skin masks. While Gein’s weapon was a pistol, the chainsaw is more evocative in the realm of horror movies.
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