When Mrs. Voorhees takes out a group of camp counselors in the original Friday the 13th, you get it. She was so hurt by the demise of her son that the only way to get retribution was to take out her pain on the very camp where Jason lost his life. The same goes for a far-out, campy villain like Chucky. He needs to move his soul from a doll to a young boy so he does everything he can to get everyone out of his way. These characters have clear-cut motivations; unfortunately, that’s not the norm in slasher movies.
A lot of horror movie villain motivations grow murky or are just absent the further you move away from the major horror franchises. Many horror villains are explained away as being boilerplate insane or driven mad through something normal, like being a twin. The worst offenders are characters who don’t even have a motivation, they just start hacking. That doesn’t mean that the movies they’re in are bad, just that the reason behind their sprees are poorly thought out.
- Photo: Film Ventures International
Pieces, the Spanish slasher movie that takes place on an American Ivy League campus, posits that people will snap if they aren't allowed to complete suggestive puzzles.
While trying to put together a racy puzzle at the tender age of 10, Tim Foley's mother chastises him for his curiosity, so he grabs an axe and bludgeons her before sawing her down to her parts with a hacksaw. 40 years later, Tim is now a college dean who's building his own puzzle from the parts of the students that he dispatches.31645Confusing motivation?
- Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures
Bo and Vincent Sinclair are just a pair of formerly conjoined twins who live in the virtual ghost town of Ambrose. Don't worry, you can tell them apart because Vincent wears a wax mask to cover his face; also Bo's evil and Vincent is good. That being said, they both off anyone who comes to their town, and then they cover them in wax.
Why do they carry out such a complex set of acts? Because they're mad about being separated from one another, never mind the fact that they pretty much do everything together and barely speak to outsiders.32760Confusing motivation?
- Photo: Dimension Films/MGM
By all rights, Billy Lenz should be the sole slayer in Black Christmas. He spent the first 15 or so years of his life locked in mother's attic after facing severe mistreatment. He's then forced to father his own sister before disfiguring her and doing away with their mother; but for some reason, his sister gets in on the act as well.
Black Christmas from 2006 plays out like your standard slasher, but at the end, it's revealed that the culprit isn't just Billy - a recent escapee from a psychiatric facility - but that his sister, Agnes, is in on the act. There's not really an excuse for why she helps wipe out an entire sorority house, she just sort of does it.19664Confusing motivation?
- Photo: Sandhurst
The Prowler is one of those '80s B-movie slasher films that every horror fan should see. It's in the same vein as Prom Night and New Year's Evil, but it takes things a little further by stripping the slayer of any kind of real motivation.
After a young woman breaks up with her boyfriend during World War II, she and her new beau are offed after a graduation dance. Nearly 40 years later, the titular prowler is at it again when he's triggered by the mere existence of another graduation dance.15642Confusing motivation?