It’s hard work to make a good horror movie villain. They need to have a good look and a freaky attitude, and it helps if they’ve got a good backstory. Some villains were put through the wringer as children and others were driven mad, but some horror villain origin stories are just kind of dumb. Whether they were brought to life by a cult or they were brought to life with vague magic, these are the villains who’d be better off without telling everyone their backstory.
All of these characters with dumb backstories come from great movies. It’s just that their origins leave something to be desired in the way of making sense. Just because these characters have goofy backstories doesn’t mean you can’t love them (we certainly do), but maybe it’s best to forget where they come from and pay attention to the mayhem they carry out in the present.
As scary as Michael Myers is, he has a pretty dumb origin story. Initially, he's just an escaped mental patient who has an instinctual need to wreak havoc on the people of Haddonfield, Illinois. However, as the sequels went on, his backstory grew.
In Halloween II, he becomes Laurie Strode's long lost brother. In Halloween IV, he forms a psychic link with his niece; however, it's the next two films where things get really dumb. In Halloween V, it's hinted that there is a group helping Michael commit his horrible deeds.
In the next film, it's revealed that the Cult of Thorn placed a curse on Myers as a child, forcing him to slay every member of his family as a sacrifice to keep the cult alive. Wasn't it scarier when he was just a psychopath carrying out horrible acts?
Talk about characters with a ridiculous backstory. Jason Voorhees is initially an undead - or sort of undead - momma's boy who seeks revenge on the counselors of Camp Crystal Lake because older campers were having intimate relations while he drowned.
As the series goes on, his mythology expands until it's revealed that he's actually a demon worm-thing who passes between hosts until he can be reborn from someone in his bloodline. It's definitely a gross origin, but it's not very smart.
Appears In: Friday the 13th
Initially, Leatherface is just a backwoods simpleton with a thing for wearing the skin of his targets after mutilating them with a chainsaw. It isn't until 2003's Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning that he is given a properly ridiculous backstory.
In the film, Leatherface is left in a dumpster outside a slaughterhouse, where he’s taken in by the matriarch of the Hewitt family, who also happens to run a butcher shop. The young Leatherface becomes enamored with meat, slaying, and his chainsaw.
In yet another version of the character’s backstory, he gets his start as Jedidiah Sawyer, a normal guy who’s driven insane by a life of tragedy. In this version, he gets shot in the face and has to have it stitched up, which sort of explains why he needs to wear the skin of his targets. The decision seems like it was meant to make the character all the more poignant, but it's just kind of weird.
Appears In: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
The Saw films tell the story of John Kramer and his strange need to teach the people of Earth a lesson about how to appreciate life. After he's diagnosed with a frontal lobe tumor developed from colon cancer, he tries to take his own life and fails. However, this gives him a new lease on life, and that new lease is slaying people through increasingly complicated traps.
Is this supposed to be inspirational to people suffering from an untreatable illness? It's a weird goal to want to teach people to appreciate life through shoving their heads into a bear trap, but that's just John Kramer for you.
Appears In: Saw Franchise
Played By: Tobin Bell