18 Horror Movies Where The Main Character Seemed To Be A Hero But Ended Up A Villain



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Vote up the protagonists whose mean streak took you by surprise.

Sometimes, when a character decides to break bad, you can see it coming a mile away. But sometimes the writer surprises you and leaves you wondering what just happened. Why did these horror heroes go bad? Did it catch you by surprise when they turned to the dark side?

Here's a look at a few different characters who started their journey as a protagonists, but somewhere along the way, they took a wrong turn and became the bad guy.

Warning: Spoilers

Photo: An American Werewolf In London / Universal Pictures

  • In Sleepaway Camp, after young Peter's family is tragically killed, the child goes to live with an aunt who insists Peter become Angela, as she prefers girls.

    As a teen, Angela is sent to a sleep-away camp to help her make friends. After suffering a psychotic break, however, Angela goes on a murdering spree, killing her bullies, her camp councilors, and eventually her crush, Paul.

    The film's final moments are still considered some of the most shocking in slasher-movie history; in them, young Angela appears completely nude, revealing her aunt's deception to the audience while holding Paul's decapitated head.

    73 votes

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  • The Shining is about a man desperate to get his life back on track and ultimately follows his slow, tragic descent into madness. Thanks to this Stanley Kubrick film, star Jack Nicholson will forever be linked to the Overlook Hotel, an axe, and the iconic line, “Here's Johnny!”

    Jack Torrance (Nicholson) wants to be a good man. He wants to get sober. He wants to finish that great American novel. He wants to get away from all the world's temptations by becoming the caretaker of a grand hotel during its winter season, hopefully giving him and his family another chance at happiness. Unfortunately, the ghosts of the Overlook Hotel have other plans for him - and for his son with the special gift.

    Thanks to the spirits of the hotel and the isolation of the winter months, Jack slowly loses his mind, turning on his wife Wendy and his son Danny. Eventually, he gives into his demons and loses his sanity, chasing Wendy and Danny through the Overlook with murderous intent.

    By the end of the film, Wendy and Danny have escaped, while Jack becomes one with the hotel.

    90 votes

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  • Marie In 'High Tension'
    Photo: EuropaCorp

    In High Tension, when friends Marie (Cecile de France) and Alex (Maiwenn) take a trip to the countryside to spend a weekend with Alex's family, the trip turns into a nightmare as they're stalked by a serial killer who butchers Alex's family as Marie looks on in horror.

    It looks like the clever Marie is destined to be the last girl standing, thanks to her quick thinking - she quickly hides her things and makes her bed so it looks like no one occupies her guest room. But viewers are in for a much bigger surprise in this gory film when the twist is revealed: In fact, the delicate little Marie was the brutal killer all along.

    Clearly a victim of her own delusions, Marie's obsession with Alex drives her to extremes, feeding her alter ego and allowing her brutality to grow. In the end, she's locked away for her crimes and left screaming Alex's name.

    66 votes
  • Based on the Stephen King story “Secret Window, Secret Garden,” this David Koepp-directed thriller plays with the ideas of identity and internal pain.

    In Secret Window, Mort Rainey (Johnny Depp) starts out sympathetic enough: He's a writer in a secluded cabin who misses his ex-wife, with whom he recently separated after he caught her having an affair. After a mysterious, sinister man named Shooter accuses him of stealing one of his stories, things start to go awry for poor Mort. But the viewer soon finds out this man is not what he seems.

    Mort's mind seemingly cracked after catching his wife having an affair with his friend, thus creating the Shooter persona. Shooter is able to carry out the dark deeds Mort can't, like murdering his wife and any witnesses.

    At the end, a demented Mort buries his victims in the garden underneath his window, where they make great fertilizer for his corn crops.

    86 votes

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  • In David Cronenberg's genius remake of The Fly, Seth Brundle's misfortune and character change are truly tragic, as they only occur because of a terrible accident. Fortunately, Jeff Goldblum's performance is stellar, as is his chemistry with Veronica "Ronnie" Quaife, played by Geena Davis.

    As Seth slowly sheds his humanity and evolves into a terrifying creature, he starts losing his rationality - and his sanity. Slowly, his DNA, combined with that of a common house insect, degenerates him into a monster right before the audience's eyes. By the end of the film, all rationality is gone as he attempts to combine his DNA with that of Ronnie and her unborn baby.

    76 votes

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  • Grief can drive a person to do terrible things - even when they know those actions have awful consequences.

    Louis Creed (Dale Midkiff) can hardly be blamed for going off the deep end after the tragic death of his toddler son, Gage, in Pet Sematary. But after witnessing the change in his undead cat, Church, and hearing stories of what happens to people when the ancient evil burial ground near his house is misused, he should have known better.

    He should have known that what crawls out of the grave wouldn't be anything like what he put into it. And in the end, what came home to him was far from the innocent boy he once knew. As Jud (Fred Gwynne ) warned him, “Sometimes dead is better.”

    The undead Gage ultimately kills both Jud and Louis's wife, Rachel; however, driven mad with grief and determined to set things right, Louis tries once again to raise a family member from the dead.

    64 votes

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