Welcome to the Horror Movie Villains Draft!
This week, we are honoring the so-close-we-can-almost-taste it dawn of horror season by drafting horror movie killers in a battle to the gruesome death.
Here are the rules:
- Must be a killer from a horror film that screened in theaters.
- None of that direct-to-video or streaming BS.
- Introducing: “The Panera Test.”
- Any pick drafted must be able to fit inside of a Panera. This is a limit on size.
- They also must be able to order at a Panera. This is a limit on corporealness, so no ghosts or possessors.
- Mute characters are okay. If you can point, you can order.
- No “god-tier” monsters.
- No drafting The Devil. Your picks have to be killable.
- We’re going to do six rounds, snake-style.
- The draft order is Sasha, Dave, Dan, Troy.
Winning will be determined by whatever criteria the audience chooses to vote on, but it’s ostensibly a battle royale. Think of it as being like that meme from a few years ago: Pick six to protect you and the rest are coming to kill you.
Part I: The Draft
Sasha, you’re first. Slay.
Sasha: Aite, this isn’t even the guy I want most, but with the one pick, it feels like passing on him would be like passing on Michael Jordan.
Sasha, Pick 1.1: Michael Myers
Troy: Strong opener. Nothing bad to say about the Pride of Haddonfield.
Dave: Except he’s not the Jordan. Or perhaps he’s the Jordan and you neglected the Lebron? I dunno, I don’t give a shit about basketball. The point is, I have my list broken up into several categories, one of which is titled “Bruisers” and Mike Myers is on it, but he’s not at the top. I’ll take the one at the top.
Dave, Pick 1.2: Jason Voorhees
Troy: Like Myers, but stupid.
Dan: Jason was probably my pick if he fell. As a counter to Jason I have to go with his most famous evil adversary:
Dan, Pick 1.3: Freddy Krueger
Dave: You dummy, Dan! Freddy’s a total pussy unless you’re asleep! Take a DayQuill and you’re fine!
Troy: I thought about him. And not to do Sasha and Dave’s work for them, but did we ever see Jason or Mike take naps?
Dan: Mike Myers is just a human. He sleeps.
Troy, Pick 1.4: Jebediah Morningside, aka “The Tall Man” from the Phantasm films
Sasha: Love the pick! But did you have to pull him this early?
Troy: Strong, can teleport, possesses murderous orbs of death. He should have been the one overall.
Round 2 – Aka, The Round of Controversy
Troy, Pick 2.1: The Xenomorph Queen from Aliens
Dave: I’m going to step in here as commish: The Queen won’t fit in a Panera. You can take a xenomorph, but not the mom.
Dan: We should also right now that you can’t take multiple types of the same character, e.g. I’m not able to take a regular xenomorph right now.
Troy: Should I send you the site plans to a Panera that I’ve looked at in advance or just take my medicine?
Dave: The Queen might be able to squeeze into an open space, but the spirit of the rule seems more about staying around roughly human-sized. It doesn’t seem like she’d be able to get in the front door, which would be the disqualifying bit. Also, the Queen is from Aliens, an action film, and only the first Alien film can really be called a horror movie. I’m going to say go with the smaller version or take a different beast.
Troy: I’ll keep the pick for continuity.
Troy, revised Pick 2.1: The biggest Xenomorph that can fit into a Panera
Dan: This second pick is tough for me with so many great options but I’m taking the one monster that is specialized to kill anything it encounters and will make a mockery of taking an Alien before it.
Dan, Pick 2.2: The Predator
Sasha: Whoa, is Predator a horror movie?
Dan: Yes. It definitely is action and horror.
Dave: It’s an action film. It’s got some horror elements, but the spirit of the draft is to be horror-forward. Also, if we stay on the margins we’ll hit controversial picks too much. We should stay within films that are firmly within the Horror section of the Blockbuster. So The Terminator, Silence of the Lambs, Predator, all those mixed movies should be out.
Dan: What?! This is a glorified slasher draft. That’s the point. All those movies should count.
Dave: I doubled back through the wiki pages of all of them and Alien said sci-fi horror, whereas Predator and Terminator both said sci-fi action so I took that as enough. And we want to keep this simple and straightforward.
Dan: Doesn’t seem simple at all. I thought we were essentially doing horror-style slashers.
Dan, revised Pick 2.2: Dracula
Dave: That was actually going to be my pick. Alright…
Dave, Pick 2.3: Candyman
Sasha: Love where I’m at.
Sasha, Pick 2.4: Jack Torrance
Sasha, Pick 3.1: Pennywise
Sasha: Let’s gooooooooooooooooo!!!
Dan: Two of your picks were killed by children.
Troy: Now you have a fearsome killer and a dude who got stuck in a maze.
Dave: A lot of horror killers tend to come to ignominious ends. I’d kind of hoped for the clown. I want to get a couple “Magicals” on my side. I’ve already got Mr. Candy, so…
Dave, Pick 3.2: Pinhead the Cenobite
Troy: Pennywise feeds on fear. Most of our picks are fearless AF.
Dave: What about your fear?
Dan: Jason is terrified of water though.
Dave: Is this taking place near water? I’ve got a pick to make if we’re in the water.
Troy: As long as no one says his name three times we are good on Candyman right?
Dave: All of our picks can be sicced on people.
Dan: Going modern here. These creatures are basically impervious to damage unless someone knew their weakness.
Dan, Pick 3.3: Quiet Place Monster
Sasha: Smart, I like that one.
Troy: It would be crazy if someone knew about the weaknesses. Like most of these picks have. Someone smart. Someone like…
Troy, Pick 3.4: John Kramer
Dan: From Seinfeld? Does that count as horror?
Troy: John Kramer, aka Jigsaw.
Dave: He was on my board.
Troy: To kick off the 4th round I’d like to throw out a fact if I can. Fun fact: Panera Bread Company has drive-throughs in over 840 of its over 2100 locations.
Troy, Pick 4.1: Christine
Dan: The car?? LOL
Troy: The 1958 Plymouth Fury? Yes, the car.
Dave: LOL. I’ll allow it, but watch yourself, counselor.
Troy: Thank you, Your Honor. Two old guys, an alien, and a car. GO TEAM TROY!
Dan: The ultimate sneak attack. “Anytime. Anywhere. Anyone.”
Dan, Pick 4.2: The Thing
Sasha: Frak, that hurts.
Troy: I’d argue this violates the unkillable rule, or else this would have been first-round for me.
Dave: It can die.
Dan: It can be killed.
Dave: Oh hey, it’s my turn! Speaking of hard to kill…
Dave, Pick 4.3: Damien Thorn
Dave: Don’t forget he comes with an army of acolytes, bitches.
Dan: He does not come with the acolytes, but fun pick regardless.
Dave: They’ll find us. It’s all for me.
Troy: So no demon from The Exorcist but Damien is cool?
Dave: He’s not the actual devil. He’s got powers but he’s not omnipotent, and he’s killable and corporeal.
Sasha, Pick 4.4: The Invisible Man
Sasha, Pick 5.1: The Babadook
Dave: Gosh I had really wanted to snag a “Classic” monster, but Dracula’s gone and he’s my favorite, and you guys let another major “Bruiser” fall all the way to round 5, so I feel like I have no choice but to take him. Here it goes…
Dave, Pick 5.2: Leatherface
Troy: That is a strong team. It will do well in a vote based on name recognition alone. Although in a draft of killers, you’ve got some people with some relationship soft spots on that list.
Dan: Anyway… she’s a bit of a glass cannon but can really crush once we get her upset.
Dan, Pick 5.3: Carrie
Troy: One of the best horror movies EVER. One could argue not a villain per se, but love the movie too much to be mad.
Dave: Definitely a killer.
Dan: Ya, she killed A LOT of people.
Troy, Pick 5.4: Samara Morgan
Dave: Oh, nice.
Troy: Daniel and I picking back-to-back women showing how much we value inclusion. #feminism
Troy, Pick 6.1: The Protectors from Chopping Mall
Troy: Plenty of brawlers in this fight. I’ve got a team of robots with lasers. I’ve got deadly range.
Dave: You get ONE. You can’t have the whole squad! That’s like drafting the whole hive of Aliens!
Dan: Ya, or like a horde of zombies. One robot.
Troy: I pick the best robot. I think his name was Phillip. And I love that movie so much; I needed to get the killbots in the mix.
Dave: It’s an extremely fun movie.
Dan: For my final pick, I can definitely smell out any invisible man if necessary and tear almost anyone to shreds…
Dan, Pick 6.2: Werewolf/Lycan
Dave: I could use something “fun” for my last pick. Something aimed specifically at Dan…
Dave, Pick 6.3: The Sex Demon (It Follows)
Troy: Classic pick.
Dan: Lol, don’t explain further since i haven’t seen it! Hahahaha
Sasha, Pick 6.4: Catherine Keener in Get Out
Sasha: Fuck the sunken place
Dave: Weak, Sash.
Troy: My favorite thing that will happen in this fight is The Thing taking over all of Dan’s other picks.
Part II: Recap, Review, and Analysis
- Michael Myers
Listen, this draft is a lot like the 2021 NBA Rookie class. There were three bonafide number one picks in Myers, Krueger, and Voorhees, just as there were in Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green, and Evan Mobley. I went into that draft a Cunningham-believer and a Mobley-disciple and a handful of Summer League highlights later and you could convince me Green is the genuine article of the trio.
The same can be said of these horror icons. To be honest, this was a draft I actively did not want the first pick. Nonetheless, I chose who I believe to be the best-known and highest-reputed with the soulless and relentless Halloween killer, Mr. Myers.
- Jack Torrance
Let me ask you this question: Which is the best film of all those with characters drafted today?
Answer: The Shining.
I have a pantheon movie character in a pantheon movie. Hey Dave, Troy, and Dan, move over cause, “Here’s Johnny!”
I have The clown. Dave wishes he had The clown. That makes me happy. Give me Tim Curry, give me Bill Skarsgård, regardless, it’s going to be terrifying.
Pennywise is one of the most petrifying figures in the horror canon. Everyone’s fear of the “bad clown” brought to life, but hiding under a sewer and grabbing children…
- The Invisible Man
Not even trying to posture here, I think this was the best value pick of the draft. Whether you’re judging this draft on a battle royale, or villain prestige, or who’s most ghastly, Invisible Man simply checks all the boxes. To get him in the fourth…
I thought the Elisabeth Moss-led, Leigh Whannell-directed 2020 remake was delightfully terrifying, and one of my favorite viewing experiences of last year.
- The Babadook
Saw this movie once. Scared the shit out of me. Didn’t have anything in the “creature” department on my roster, so I made the move. A little like drafting a 7’0″ project in the second round. It’s like, no matter what, we got a 7-foot ox, and that’s a starting point.
- Mom from Get Out
I’M NOT GOING TO THE SUNKEN PLACE!!!!!!
Alright, let’s take these picks one at a time.
- Jason Voorhees
Like I said at the top, dude is a bruiser. He’s an unstoppable, undead killing machine. You can run, you can hide, you can even fight back and slow him down a little, but he will never, ever stop coming.
We already know from their big matchup that he beat Freddy*, and while I can see plenty of these monsters doing him plenty of damage, he always gets back up. Sure, he’s not the brightest bulb, but he doesn’t have to be. All I have to do is point and the job is as good as done.
*Wink all you want, Fred. Severed heads are losers.
My sneaky assassin, the C-man has a way of getting around. Remember, this is a battle, so we’re not just going off the “say his name” rule here. I’m sending him after people. Where are my enemies ever going to hide from his hook?
- Pinhead, the Lead Cenobite
Another monster who can get places. Sure, he’s not the toughest brawler of the bunch, but the nice thing about Pinhead is that any damage done to him, he’s gonna like it. Add to that his arsenal of magic hooks–something I seem to have a damn large supply of–and my Hell Priest will rip apart anyone in my path.
- Damien Thorn
The kid from The Omen might sneakily be my biggest piece of artillery. As the Antichrist, his powers include mind control, command over beasts, and a funny way of giving his enemies deadly bad luck.
He also doesn’t mind getting his own hands dirty, as we saw when he offed his poor mommy dearest. I also don’t care what Dan says, that kid has a cult of fanatical followers who will find us to lend a hand.
Unless you have The Daggers of Megiddo in your back pocket, it’s all for me.
Ah, Leatherface. He and Jason will have a grand time pitting chainsaw against machete in this slaughterfest.
- The It Follows Sex Demon
Remember, the fight is happening, so throw the typical triggers out the window. This thing can look like anyone, and kills whatever it gets its hands on. It never stops, it never slows down, it follows.
The SD might fall afoul of the “unkillable” rule, but that is unclear (it depends on how you interpret the ending). What is for sure, it’s as quiet as a ninja and as inexorable as death itself. I’m glad it’s on my side.
As far as the other teams go: I liked that Chopping Mall got some love, but those robots are fairly fragile; I’m not too worried about it. I also think the xenomorph is fun, but there was a missed opportunity by not taking the Predalian from Alien vs Predator: Requiem. That bad boy would’ve caused some real havoc.
And the mom from Get Out? Easily the worst pick of the draft. She’s just a regular lady! Just ignore her during tea time and you’re safe.
The only pick that really has me concerned is The Thing… that sneaky son of a bitch might cause some problems. Hopefully, Damien can suss out who’s who around me while I fuel up my flamethrower.
- Freddy Krueger
The first two picks started a run on classic slashers. To get one of the three most famous and deadly I had to take Freddy Krueger here. Freddy’s supernatural abilities allow him to prey on the fears and nightmares of these other villains. It can be incredibly effective as we’ve seen in movies such as Freddy vs Jason.
- Dracula (originally Predator)
After some controversy over what qualifies as a horror movie, I settled on the original vampire, Dracula. I was thrown off a bit since I built some of my strategy on picking characters such as the Predator and the Terminator.
For the record, the Terminator is clearly styled as a John Carpenter-style slasher. James Cameron explicitly said he wanted to make a sci-fi-influenced horror film. Oh well, I still got one of the most powerful monsters in horror history.
The O.G. classic, Dracula also works amazingly well paired on a team with Freddy, since the Count can hypnotize victims to sleep. Even on his own, he’s an incredible force with a dizzying range of powers along with his superhuman strength.
- Quiet Place Monster
After getting two classic horror legends I decided to dip into the modern monster pool. The Quiet Place Monster, aka “Death Angel” alien, is a serious threat in any battle. For those not totally familiar: their exoskeleton-like armor is virtually impervious to physical damage which allowed them to overrun the entire Earth.
Characters like the Invisible Man (who was picked later) can’t hide from it, since it hunts its prey through hearing rather than sight. As much as I respect the greatness of the Xenomorph as a classic horror alien, they stand no chance against a Quiet Place Monster.
A Xenomorph has no real ability to damage it. Based on the fact that the Quiet Place aliens survived landing on a crashing asteroid and against all the world’s military forces, we know they can survive in space, the force of a major bomb, and at least any conventional military weapon. These fast, deadly aliens evolved to survive and to kill – Michael’s butcher knife or Jason’s machete aren’t going to be any threat.
- The Thing
What a steal in the fourth round! Troy even commented that he thinks it has first-round value. This shapeshifting alien from possibly my favorite horror film will mimic any creature on the opposing teams and launch a deadly sneak attack. Most conventional forms of damage don’t affect The Thing and it can regenerate itself if injured. Just when its enemies think they’ve killed it, The Thing has moved on to assimilate something else. Opposing teams can no longer trust each other.
Carrie White is a bit of a glass cannon, but her telekinesis and telepathy allow her to crush her enemies- literally. Plus, the more angry and scared she gets, the stronger her supernatural powers grow. She’s also a teenager, so most of the villains on Sasha’s team don’t stand a chance.
Another classic monster for my team. These ferocious beasts are even physically stronger than vampires, and possess other superhuman senses and abilities. In a pure battle this creature can stand toe-to-toe with any other monster; with one on my team I’ll rip the competition to shreds.
I’m incredibly happy with how my draft worked out. My team ended up well-balanced defensively and offensively. They’re also shockingly powerful with a diverse range of ways to dispose of my antagonists. Also, getting to pick true classic horror legends alongside modern monsters and cult favorites was a really satisfying way to build this lineup. I wish we could watch this gruesome battle play out.
So, I went into the draft pre-game with a short list of The Blob, The Thing, and The Tall Man.
I incorrectly assumed The Thing would fall into the “can’t kill it” provision, but was certain if you could stuff the Blob into a Panera, they sure as hell aren’t ordering an Asiago flatbread. The concept of death from the Final Destination franchise was also left on the cutting room floor, as was Driller Killer from my beloved Slumber Party Massacre 2.
I was left with The Tall Man as my top pick. My pre-draft strategy was to pick some smart villains and some non-traditional (read: non-human) killers. Humans are the worst villains on earth, but we are in the universe of cinema, my friends, and other things are better at killin’.
Classics went as expected, but are just two guys who are just kinda strong and that’s it, and a child molester, who, as was pointed out, you can defeat with Dayquill. Most of these people aren’t “big nappers.” If we are picking best horror franchises, the top 3 are great, however The Tall Man is the correct top pick killer.
He’s as strong as Jason and Michael, has the telekinesis of Carrie White, can shapeshift into other people, and possesses goddamn flying murderous orbs. The Phantasm series is not as good as the others in this round, but The Tall Man is just much better at killing.
Xenomorphs are bad ass and have acid blood. You’ve seen Alien. Every pick doesn’t need an essay.
Others: Jack Torrance is his own worst enemy, was outsmarted by a kid, and I’ll say was the worst pick of the draft. The Shining is a top-five all time movie for me, but that was a bad pick.
Rounds 3 and 4:
I needed to pick a smart person. Most of these killers are dummies slicing and dicing folks even dumber than they are. Does Jason know how to read? It’s debatable.
John Kramer is always a step ahead. Planning, cunning, influencing. Even if he does get got, he will have developed a plan to take everyone out. He knows how to use folks’ emotional and personal history as a lever to take them out. Long before this draft occurred, Jigsaw knew it was possible, and as always, had a plan.
Christine is a car who is going to run people over. Sometimes it is just that simple. The mob others have assembled will just scratch her paint job and break windows, and then she snaps back into shape and destroys them. People are soft and squishy, Christine is solid steel perfection.
Others: Pennywise feeds on fear. Not that much fear in this bunch. Invisible Man was a great pick.
Like many other picks from the others, the Quiet Place monster has a single exploitable flaw.
The Thing, as previously mentioned, was going to be my top pick, but unless we are fighting at Outpost 31, remember The Thing transfers from organic matter. So person to person is horrifying if that’s all you have, but if there are flowers? Animals? Trees? Not so much. The Thing could just as easily turn into… Ficus or a daffodil.
Pinhead really is just a figurehead for the rest of his group of cenobite wierdos. If we are fighting in teams, Kramer has the puzzle box figured out easy peasy. If not, can you see Jason or Mike Myers trying to solve one of those things? Also I hate the Hellraiser franchise and feel I need to tell people even if it costs me votes.
Rounds 5 and 6:
I was worried about eligibility for Samara, but in the end I took a shot. If you can handle watching The Ring 2, Samara gets let loose without the movie hook, just like Candyman. If you are going to pick Candyman and know he doesn’t need the three name trick to get loose, know the same applies to Samara and she would destroy him.
Others: Babadook was an interesting pick. In a draft of killers, to take someone who I don’t think kills anyone? Not a single death to their credit. And that hat is ridiculous.
The It Follows monster only goes after people that have had sex. Do you want to think about all of these people/creatures/cars/robots having sex? Clearly David does, but I do not. The Tall Man is a better version of Carrie, but Carrie White is amazing and I would never say anything bad about her. Also, Dan and I were the only people to pick women #feminism.
I also have a robot that can shoot lasers. With all the stabbers and punchers, doesn’t it make sense to have a robot that can vaporize someone with a laser? I think so. I’ve got range with The Tall Man and now laser beams. If you still need to know what team to vote for, look at the VHS cover for Chopping Mall. If you don’t love it, I’m okay if you pick another person, but otherwise, you are my friend and I thank you for your vote.
Part III: Final Teams
- Michael Myers, Halloween
- Jack Torrance, The Shining
- Pennywise, IT
- The Invisible Man, The Invisible Man
- The Babadook, The Babadook
- Missy Armitage, Get Out
- Jason Voorhees, Friday the 13th
- Candyman, Candyman
- Pinhead, Hellraiser
- Damien Thorn, The Omen
- Leatherface, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
- Sex Demon, It Follows
- Freddy Krueger, A Nightmare on Elm Street
- Dracula, Dracula
- Death Angel, A Quiet Place
- The Thing, The Thing
- Carrie White, Carrie
- Werewolf, An American Werewolf in London
- The Tall Man, Phantasm
- Xenomorph, Alien
- John Kramer, aka Jigsaw, Saw
- Christine, Christine
- Samara Morgan, The Ring
- Protector Robot (aka Philip), Chopping Mall