When Protagonists Deserve To Die

Contributor; Antwerp, Belgium
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When Protagonists Deserve To Die
Horror films... they belong to what is probably the most feel-good genre around. Think about it, whatever kind of evil force (be it groups of deformed hillbillies, bloodsucking vampires, scarred slashers or ghastly alien predators) the writers release on their group of unsuspecting morons, there's always one that manages to survive, killing the big bad monster and saving the human race from any further harm. Hooray!

Many people love horror stories because they like an easy scare or two, especially when they can experience it from the safe comfort of their own couch. It's nice to be scared and frightened, as long as everything returns to normal by the end of the film. And it's reassuring to know that in the end, no matter how mean or vile the hardships were, the main character always comes out victorious.

Sure enough script writers always leave a loophole for a sequel or two, but never at the expense of a "bad ending". And yet, when directors do have the balls to go against the audience's wishes, it often results in much better films (think Martyrs or A l'Intérieur).

When I watch a horror flick, I usually don't really care who survives what specific trial, horror films are rarely about characters and character development for me. I watch them for either excessive gore or tense atmosphere. There have been a few rare occasions where I actually rooted for the good guys, but since they tend to survive anyway it never leaves much of an impression.

So let's talk about the "bad guys". The ones that stole my heart, but still failed to conquer their puny, silly adversaries in the end. The ones that should have survived, but died because some directors just didn't get it. Or because producers were too wimpy to dissatisfy their target audience. The ones that were the most bad-ass of them all, but were killed off by shameful plot devices.


tom-thing.jpg5. The Thing

The Thing hosts the most vile and evil virus that ever visited our planet from outer space. It takes over living organisms without a visible trace, then morphs its host into a blubber of limbs, claws and pure nastiness to kill whoever it finds in its way. In Carpenter's 1982 version this happens to be Kurt Russell, not what you call the brightest kid in the class. And yet, it seems that all the mutating meat in the universe couldn't have stopped Russell in his path to become the savior of humankind. A poor choice, because this film really deserved a Kingdom Of The Spiders-like ending, a shot of Earth completely infested with mutated monsters crawling over each other.

tom-myers.jpg4. Michael Myers

Michael Myers is rumored to be the devil himself. He's indestructible, unable to be killed and a menace to human kind. You can try to shoot him, burn him or knock him dead, he always stand up again to continue his quest for his favored prey. But still, nine films down the line and Myers still hasn't managed to kill his arch-enemy. Who is (s)he? Laurie Strode, a random schoolgirl, all into boyfriends and partying and other generic teen stuff. Any good explanations? Well no, but whenever Myers gets near her it seems some kind of stupidy gene is triggered inside his body. I still hope he'll get her one day, cutting off her limbs and scattering them across her entire house.

tom-braindead.jpg3. Braindead

Zombies can be a bit stupid by themselves. Often it's up to the editor to make them scary. With the help of an unsuspecting corner shot zombies can be made to appear a lot faster than they actually are. Not so in Braindead. This little bunch relentlessly takes over half the town, finally merging into what could be called the mother of all zombies. A monster bigger than a house, all teeth and claws, nasty as hell. But apparently no match for a little mother's boy and his latina girlfriend. Sure enough the boy grows some balls during the film, but if the laws of nature had been respected, Earth would've turned into one big party of sex-mad zombies. What ending would you prefer?

tom-pinhead.jpg2. Cenobites

The gatekeepers of hell themselves. Fearsome creatures, ruled by a guy who wears a web of pins hammered into his skull. The cenobites are blessed with awesome oneliners, fear-inducing exteriors and some baffling moves, but they are still no match for some mere mortals. The world of Hellraiser is governed by complete idiots who have no right to survive the grasp of these mean-spirited spawns of hell. And even though the cenobites suffered from a poor line of sequels, they still didn't deserve to lose out to such a bunch of worthless degenerates.

tom-xenomorph.jpg1. The Xenomorph

And finally we come to my main reason for writing this piece. To close off this week of Alien-madness here at ScreenAnarchy, I searched long and hard to come up with a top list where the Xenomorph creature would trump all its competitors: this is the result. The Alien is one of the most beautiful killers ever devised. Born from the mind of visionary artist H.R. Giger, the Xenomorphs are build to kill. They are intelligent, sneaky and fast. They have two separate mouths filled to the brim with sharp teeth. They ooze fluids and are designed to be menacing. Hell, they have sulfuric acid running through their veins, that's how badass these creatures are. They even come in groups, ruled by a monstrous queen. And what happens? Along comes this daft cunt in silly underwear and she outsmarts this magnificent killing machine. Sure, back in the day it was kinda cool because it was the first (commercial) chick to stand her ground, but they should've chosen a different flick for that. Sometimes along the lines of Sleepaway Camp or some other film featuring a generic bad guy. It gets even worse, because whenever the Alien is featured in a film (think AVP) it always loses out against less nasty adversaries. Surely one of the biggest injustices in the world of cinema and I'm still waiting for the first film that does justice to Giger's creation.

So what's your take on all of this? What bad guy would you have liked to survive, instead of put to the grave by people who failed to see their true potential?

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StuartJune 8, 2012 3:06 PM

Michael did kill Laurie, in Halloween: Resurrection.
Just saying...

Joe YoungJune 8, 2012 3:42 PM

"The Alien is one of the most beautiful killers ever devised. "

Yeah....ash, the replicant summed it up pretty nicely...

"Perfect organism. Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility."

But don´t the Cenobites always win...?

Well, I haven´t seen all hellraiser films so I don´t really know.

Ard VijnJune 8, 2012 3:51 PM


Ow wait, those are all too cuddly already I suppose.

OK, what about... THE HOST? Sure it scored some wins, but it looked way too heavy to be stopped and killed by a family of morons.

Niels MatthijsJune 8, 2012 6:36 PM

Hmmm, now that you mention it. I must admit that everything after Halloween IV is somewhat of a blur. Reading back an old review though, it seems there was still some kind of loophole that could bring her back, but don't ask me about any specifics :)

Niels MatthijsJune 8, 2012 6:42 PM

I never felt much for King Kong or Gojira, Kaiju flicks are fun enough, but never very serious, nor are the monsters all that menacing.

Watched The Host some time ago, can't really remember if the monster had any real killer characteristics, apart from being quite big and blubbery.

Attack The Block could be another good contender, very cool alien design that deserved a better destiny.

https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawkq27UljbE1mbT_-1LATBu8q60blN-SiKEJune 9, 2012 7:14 AM

hahah i get where ur going with this, but the truth is that sigourney weaver was just as crucial to the alien saga as the creature itself ^^

CHUDJune 9, 2012 2:06 PM

Family of morons? You go too far, sir. It was one moron with an Olympics qualifying archer for a sister and a hardened revolutionist for a brother, neither of whom were morons.

Ard VijnJune 9, 2012 8:06 PM

While I totally loved the family characters in The Host and each served his/her purpose, they were incredibly ineffectual. The hardened revolutionist was also the world's worst Molotov Cocktail thrower, and the Olympics qualifying archer was too slow in shooting, both during the game and when she met the monster.

GarthJune 11, 2012 7:19 AM

Ah yes, the feel-good genre in which so many movies end with one survivor, his or her whole family or group of friends having been killed.

Definition of feel-good, am I right?

Niels MatthijsJune 11, 2012 8:05 AM

Mostly cannon fodder. Characters that are so irritating that you're glad they are dead. In the end, the feeling of conquering the bad guys remains.

hiroaki.jJune 11, 2012 9:11 AM

Are #1 and #5 troll picks?

DeusJune 16, 2012 4:02 AM

The Elder Gods from 'The cabin in the woods.' They kicked EVERYONE'S collective asses.