The horror genre dates back to the beginnings of cinema. As the industry has grown over the years, horror has become a staple of movies, with genre franchises and standalone films, not all of which would be as successful as they are. are without the presence of complex characters.
The attachment to the character is what makes the horror genre work; for example, if it weren’t for Sidney Prescott and Laurie Strode, the Scream and Halloween are franchises still doing well 25 and 43 years later, respectively? As is unfortunately the case with many films in the horror genre, well-written characters can be ruined by certain actions or decisions, forever tarnishing their legacy.
Ellen Ripley – Alien 3 (1992)
While the Extraterrestrial franchise has stood the test of time, the films themselves have seen their ups and downs in terms of viewer opinions (at least, according to IMDb). A film that was particularly criticized because it followed two classics, Extraterrestrial and Aliens, is Alien 3. This trio saw the franchise revert to its horror roots, but some disagreed with its overly desperate tone.
The film opens with the deaths of Bishop, Newt, and Hicks, and Ripley then requests an autopsy of Newt’s body to check for contagion. It was an odd choice after the happy ending of Aliens, as Ripley’s adoption of Newt numbed his own daughter’s pain of survival while she was hyper-sleepy. His bow, and therefore his legacy, is tarnished by this controversial history decision.
Sarah Carter – The Descent (2005)
British filmmaker Neil Marshall’s second film in the horror genre is 2005 Lowering, arguably the best horror film of the 2000s. The final scene in Marshall’s film is different for British and American audiences. The UK version of the ending is utterly hopeless as Sarah’s escape is a hallucination, while the US version sees her escape but hallucinate the traitor, Juno.
As Juno is to blame for Sarah’s predicament, the American ending is more deserved for her character as her escape from the cave is cathartic. However, this remains appropriate as it indicates that she will be traumatized by the events. British audiences were given a both tragic and arguably undeserved version of the ending for the morally good and long-suffering protagonist.
Kaylie Russell – Oculus (2013)
In 2013, Mike Flanagan, of The Haunting of Hill House and Midnight Mass celebrity, co-wrote, edited and directed Oculus, a supernatural horror film centered around a woman’s quest to prove that a mirror haunted her family as a child and caused the deaths of her parents.
Kaylie is inadvertently killed by her brother, Tim, in his attempt to destroy the mirror. While Oculus was unlikely to give birth to a franchise, it’s still a shame to see such a well-written character perish so early in his story, especially one who had been grooming for over a decade to prove his family’s innocence. . The grim ending may be loved by some, but it’s certainly not a satisfying conclusion for its arc.
Christine Brown – Drag Me To Hell (2009)
In one of Sam Raimi’s best movies Drag me to hell, credit officer Christine Brown rejects the candidacy of a woman named Sylvia Ganush, in order to appear confident to her boss to receive a promotion. As a result, Sylvia curses Christine and plots a path for her to find out how to avoid being, literally, dragged to hell.
The ending is a great unexpected twist, but it’s a shame as Christine regretted her initial decision throughout the film, and as her boyfriend puts it in their final moments, she has “a good heart.” His death seemed undeserved as his character was so likeable. She might have made a mistake, but she regretted it and arguably deserved a happy ending.
Erin Harson – You’re Next (2013)
2013 You are next, with Sharni Vinson, presents one of the most calamitous dates in the horror genre. When Erin attends her boyfriend Crispin’s family reunion, she is forced to use her skills learned during her upbringing in a survival complex when the family is attacked by masked killers.
Erin inadvertently kills an innocent cop at the end of the movie. For audiences, it’s exciting to see such an intensely capable final girl almost get the ending she deserved. Unfortunately, and presumably for shock value, she becomes guilty of the death of an innocent person, which alters the viewer’s perception of her.
Randy Meeks – Scream 2 (1997)
Perhaps one of the most disappointing deaths in the long run Scream franchise is Randy Meeks, who meets his end at the hands of Ghostface in scream 2. In his final scene, he argues with the killer over the phone in broad daylight, until he gets too close to a van and is pulled inside and killed by Ghostface.
Randy is perhaps one of the smartest survivors of the first film, which helps in the Scream franchise appearing aware of the slasher genre. He has a speech in Scream in which he lists the means to survive in a horror film. He suddenly forgets those horror movie tropes and walks away from the perfectly safe space in the middle of the open field and is murdered.
Wichita – Zombieland: Double Tap (2019)
The original the land of zombies, released in 2009, followed four survivors of the zombie apocalypse who, despite their intense differences, reunited as a makeshift family. Two of these characters, Columbus and Wichita, form a romantic relationship, and the sequel, Type twice, which takes place 10 years later, sees them go their separate ways at first.
One element of the first film is Wichita and Little Rock’s tendency to leave Columbus and Tallahassee and fend for themselves, which they ultimately stop doing by the end of the film. Wichita’s decision to leave Columbus after 10 years together is an odd decision that seems to come out of nowhere and ruins her well-defined character arc from the first film.
Ed & Lorraine Warren – The Conjuration 2 (2016)
Although it only started in 2013, the Conjuring the franchise has had eight films released within it, with Ed and Lorraine Warren appearing in the majority of them. Both characters are seasoned paranormal investigators, who have helped and saved many victims in their research into the occult.
In the sequel to the franchise’s first film, The Conjuring 2, Ed and Lorraine end up believing that a girl faked her possession to get away with it, which almost leads the family to a tragic end until Ed and Lorraine realize their mistake and return to help. It arguably ruins their characters in some way, as it seems like a mistake they shouldn’t have made so deep in their careers.
Helen Shivers – I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)
While the main character of i know what you did last summer, Julie James, is considered by some to be one of the best final girls in the horror genre, others believe that a different character in the movie deserved to be the final girl. Helen Shivers, played by Sarah Michelle Gellar, dies in the film, ruining a potentially great character.
Helen’s final scene is one of the best in the whole movie, as she sees her evade the killer in almost every turn, outsmarting him and fighting despite her terror. As she fights to the end, it becomes very disappointing to see her killed by the Fisherman, as many believe she is the friendliest character who would have done well in the following sequels.
Hannibal Lecter – Hannibal (2001)
Hannibal Lecter is undoubtedly one of the greatest characters in horror cinema. Anthony Hopkins’ portrayal of the serial killer stays with the viewer, despite only having 16 minutes of screen time in Thesilenceofthelambs, because of how terrifying his manners are.
The character’s enduring legacy is rooted in her limited initial appearance. In the following, Annibal, Lecter is seen much more frequently, and his nature as a twisted individual is showcased in a scene that sees him nurturing a man with his own brain. Hopkins himself, in conversation with The Envelope, expressed regret at having reprized his role as Lecter. This only cements his appearance in the sequels, and especially this scene, as utterly unnecessary and detrimental to his legacy, as the more he is seen, the less terrifying he is.
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