Top Ten Tuesday: Slay It Again, Sam!
There’s a lot of evil out there! Disposing of the nasty creatures, monsters, zombies, witches, vampires and the like is a dirty job, but somebody’s gotta do it. Remakes of FRIGHT NIGHT and CONAN THE BARBARIAN will splatter evil blood all over screens this week when they open in theaters on Friday, August 19th, so here’s a look at our favorite monster killers from the movies.
Now, before we get started… a list like this really needs to be defined, so here are those pesky rules that govern who makes the cut and who gets cut:
- You must have multiple kills! One and done is not enough.
- You must be a full-time monster hunter. None of this part-time, moonlighting crap!
- You must actually “kill” the monsters. Sorry, but The Ghostbusters don’t make the cut.
Honorable Mention: Hans, trolljegeren – TROLLHUNTER (2010)
Do trolls really exist? Hans says so, but he’s a modest hunter who actually empathizes with his prey, regardless of the fact his job is to kill them. Hans may look like a dirty old man wandering about the Norwegian countryside, sleeping out of a camper trailer, but when night falls, Hans is already on the hunt. Armed with UV light cannons and covered in troll stench to mask his human odor, Hans is persistent and patient, but his greatest weapon against these massive and destructive behemoths is his knowledge of the beats, and the folklore from which they’re derived. His words of warning may sound like cautionary tales from the Brothers Grimm, but heed his wisdom or you may find yourself stuck to the bottom of a hairy troll foot like a glob of old gum.
10. Columbus & Tallahassee – ZOMBIELAND (2009)
Jesse Eisenberg is Columbus — as in Ohio — a wiry, unlikely hero in the fight against the undead zombies that now plague the Earth. One glance at Columbus and you wouldn’t think he’d last a day, but his secret to survival is having rules, and sticking to them. Double tap! Woody Harrelson is Tallahassee — as in Florida — a rough and wild zombie killing machine, surviving for one purpose… to find the world’s last supply of Twinkies. Together, Columbus and Tallahassee are an equal and opposite force to be reckoned with, getting creative in the art of zombie extermination. Use whatever you can find, but the key to a great zombie kill is to deliver the final blow in style.
09. Earl & Valentine – TREMORS (1990)
Earl (Fred Ward) is a simple man who just wants to live the simple life. Valentine (Kevin Bacon) is a daydreamer, always looking for the next best way to make easy money. The one thing these two working class guys have in common is a desire to get the hell out of the tiny town of Perfection, Nevada. They get their wish, but it’s far from easy. When they discover the existence of a long dormant, prehistoric burrowing creature of extraordinary size, they’re suddenly thrown into the roles of the town’s heroes. Earl and Valentine are forced to think on their feet, with limited resources and no advanced knowledge of their prey, these hunters ingeniously employ scrap steel pipes to pole vault to safety and radio-controlled dynamite bombs to splatter the “graboids.” Earl and Valentine come through in a pinch, developing their craft well enough to spawn three sequels.
08. Buffy Summers – BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER (1992)
In 1992 TV writer Joss Whedon wanted to turn the horror film on it’s (pointed) ear. What if the gorgeous teenage blonde turned the tables on the monster? What if she fought back and became the monster’s biggest fear? Whedon’s vision was realized by actress Kristy Swanson in the title role of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, a film directed by Fran Rubel Kuzui. Buffy Summers is the then cliché “valley girl.” Her only interests are cheerleading, shopping with her girlfriends, and cute boys. Out of the blue she’s approached by the creepy Merrick (Donald Sutherland), who informs her that she is the chosen one who will eradicate the vampire horde led by Lothos (Rutger Hauer). The slayer skills pass from woman to woman through the years and it seems to have landed in Ms S! Finally convinced, Buffy is put through rigorous training exercises by Merrick until she’s ready to face the undead. The bloodsuckers are stunned as the former blonde bubble-head plunges her stake into their chests. Soon she’s rescuing her hunky beau Pike (Luke Perry) and trading quips with toady Amilyn (Paul “Pee Wee Herman” Reubens). This all leads up to a fiery showdown at the school dance when Buffy faces down the vampire master Lothos. This movie didn’t make much noise at the box office but just a few years later Whedon took the concept to a struggling new TV network and Buffy, now played by the gifted Sarah Michelle Gellar, became the iconic hero that he had envisioned. As inscribed on her tombstone (not to worry-she got better) — Buffy Anne Summers, she saved the world…a lot.
07. Alice – RESIDENT EVIL Franchise
From working for the Umbrella Corporation to fighting a major virus outbreak, Alice is one badass chick! The virus is spreading fast, and no place is safe. Luckily, Alice’s genetic structure has adapted to the T-Virus, heightening her strength, speed, and agility. This puts her at a great advantage for some super slaying! She’s kicking butt and taking names — and looking mighty fine in the process — as she destroys the infected hordes that stand in her way of finding a cure. Much like Alice refuses to die, this franchise also refuses to lay down for the count, but we’re OK with that.
06. Blade – BLADE Trilogy
Wesley Snipes was swarthy, intelligent and believable as the comic book hero BLADE in 1998. Snipes claims he was in his element performing all the dramatic Martial Arts and sword fighting moves himself — no stand ins. Blade represents the inner struggle between the perceived good and evil in all of us. When Blade’s mother was bitten by a vampire during pregnancy, she did not know that she gave her son a special gift while dying. Half Man, Half Vampire he walks within the two worlds belonging to neither. His grounding comes from the tough Love and of his human mentor Abraham Whistler (Kris Kristofferson). Whistler crafts tools and weapons for Blade while dispensing the potion that holds Blade suspended between human and Vampire. BLADE spawned two cool sequels and a TV series.
05. Hellboy – HELLBOY I & II (2004/2008)
What chance do the forces of good have against the demons and spawn of Satan wishing to take over this planet? Well, a very good chance since we’ve now got a demon in our corner. In 2004 film maker Guillermo del Toro introduced movie audiences to Mike Mignola’s comic book hero, HELLBOY. Near the end of World War II allied forces break up a black magic ritual and discover an red, ape-like infant with one enormous stone hand. The soldiers befriend the creature with a candy bar and adopt him as a mascot. Years later he matures into the crimson hulk nicknamed Hellboy. Raised by Professor Broom, he becomes the muscle for a secret government agency called the Bureau for Paranormal research and Defense (the BRPD). Armed only with a massive revolver, Hellboy battles-and usually destroys — beasties many times his size. In the first film he’s thrown about like a rag doll by a creature that tries to escape in the subway system, but thanks to his stamina and courage Hellboy triumphs. His only real weakness seems to be his love for the beautiful mistress of fire, his co-agent Liz Sheridan played by the lovely Selma Blair. Oh, he loves his cigars, too. Ron Perlman, then best known as “Vincent” of TV’s “Beauty and the Beast” perfectly captured the spirit of the wise-cracking, monster-slaying, demon as hero. Four years later he returned to kick some more beastie butts in HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY and star in two made for home video animated features “Blood and Iron” and “Sword of Storms.” Hopefully that big rock fist of his will be sending more minions back to Hades in another movie adventure very soon
04. Doctor Van Helsing – HORROR OF DRACULA (1958)
What mere mortal dares to defy the lord of the undead Count Dracula? Not to mention his vampire minions? That brave, brilliant, dedicated man is none other that Dr. Van Helsing created by Bram Stoker and first played by Edward Van Sloan opposite Bela Lugosi as Dracula in 1931, but perhaps best known by Peter Cushing’s riveting performance in 1958′s THE HORROR OF DRACULA. Director Terence Fisher’s bloody color classic had Christopher Lee as a younger, savage, sexy count and featured Cushing (who had just played Dr. Frankenstein) as a man of swift action determined to rid the world of this unholy plague. He’s fearless as he dispatches two of Dracula’s victims, Harker and Miss Lucy, and tender as he comforts the frightened young girl, Tania. When he finally catches up to the fiend, Van Helsing battles the powerful demon with every once of his mortal strength. In one of the most exciting finales in horror history, the doctor escapes the vampire’s clutches, races down a long table and leaps to a window, pulling down the curtains and exposing Dracula to the sunlight that will destroy him. For a while. The character was so popular that England’s Hammer Studios filmed a sequel two years later, THE BRIDES OF DRACULA, that spotlighted the slayer and not the count (he would have to wait a few more years to return). In a memorable BRIDES sequence Van Helsing was bitten by Baron Meister. Regaining consciousness, the doctor sears the bite with a branding iron and then douses it with holy water to make the wound vanish from his neck. Over a decade later Cushing would return to the role in DRACULA A.D. 1972, THE SATANIC RITES OF DRACULA, and the bizarre Kung Fu horror hybrid THE LEGEND OF THE SEVEN GOLDEN VAMPIRES. Though the vampire hunter would later be played in big budget films by Laurence Oliver, Anthony Hopkins, and Hugh Jackman (!), most horror film fans regard Peter Cushing as the greatest vampire slayer of the movies.
03. Ash – EVIL DEAD Trilogy
“Give me some sugar, baby!” Unless, that is, you’re a rotting, stinkin’ fleshbag of evil hag bones looking eat eat the souls of innocent young vacationers. If so, beware for the sound of Ash’s wrath! They took his girl, they took his friends… but, most importantly, they took his hand. Armed only with his homemade chainsaw prosthetic and his boom stick, Ash gives these vile demonic bastards a dose of Hell they’ve never dreamed of calling home. Like the power of Grayskull to He-Man, Ash draws his mighty strength for ugly witch ass-kicking from his quick-draw tongue, flinging one-liners around like a Indiana Jones’ bullwhip. Through three epic chapters of the EVIL DEAD saga, Ash has prevailed (reluctantly) in putting the creepsters in their place.
02. Chief Martin Brody – JAWS Franchise
Chief Brody may not be a full-time monster slayer, but he sure as hell has had multiple below sea level kills. He can’t help it if those pesky Great Whites think of Amity Beach as a swim-thru fast food joint. Many have to tried to emulate, but none have come close to the bespectacled, Head Shark Slayer Martin Brody of JAWS. Battling with his wits, guns and an electrified power line, the native New Yorker is always the last man standing (or swimming) against the eating machines. While he may be more afraid of drowning, the Chief’s standard, send-off to the beasties: “Smile You Sonofabitch!”
01. Lt. Ellen Ripley – ALIEN Franchise
When in a crisis situation, it’s well known that women can handle the shit much better than men with their take charge attitude. None is more evident than in our #1 monster slayer — Lt. Ellen Ripley. The guys are mentally freaking out all around her, while Ripley is keeping it together and taking down the Aliens with flame-throwers, pulse rifles, sonic electronic ball breakers, nukes, knives, and sharp sticks. Whether surrounded by the doomed truckers of the Nostromo, the Colonial Marine badasses, or the Alien Queen, its Ripley who emerges Vanquisher over all she surveys. Not bad in a day’s work for the ultimate Monster Slayer.