Everyone has their favorite baddie in pop culture. Some people prefer supernatural slayers like Freddy Krueger, while others like to see how far a human can push themselves while committing the vilest of acts. Anyone who keeps up with pop culture slayers has thought about which one of them would come out on top in a battle royale - a Hunger Games-like competition where the players fight to the end until only one person is left alive.
Each of these fictional serial killers has their strengths and weaknesses. Some of them are unstoppable teen-trauma machines with mommy issues, while others are ordinary men and women with a talent for doing away with the people that get in between them and the perfect business card. Each of these characters has a knack for dispatching their victims - but which of them is the toughest? And who would win in a fight to the end?
Appears in: The Friday the 13th franchise, Freddy vs. Jason, Freddy vs. Ash vs. Jason
Tactics: Jason Voorhees stalks his victims through the woods, an ocean liner, and a space ship, before surprising them by popping up in the last place they expect. When he gets close enough to his victim, he physically overpowers them before using a sharp or ironic implement to deal his final blow.
Weapon of choice: He most famously uses a machete to dispatch his victims, but over the course of his tenure in pop culture, he's employed everything from his hands to a pitchfork to take care of the pesky teens at Camp Crystal Lake.
Vulnerabilities: Voorhees has an unhealthy attachment to his mother, and he hears her voice in his head. She taunts and cajoles him into slaying for her. He even has a shrine to her - complete with her head - set up in his cabin.
Appears in: The Halloween franchise
Tactics: Myers slowly follows his victims or sneaks into their homes while they're not paying attention. When he's ready to attack, he uses brute force to lay waste to everyone in his path, although he’s also keen to use something sharp.
Weapon of choice: Myers employs whatever is at his disposal to get the job done, be it his bare hands or a hot tub. He's most famous for using a butcher's blade to swiftly move through one victim after the other, but ultimately, anything sharp will do.
Vulnerabilities: Regardless of the complex Halloween canon, Myers has an unnatural obsession with Laurie Strode. Fire is definitely not his friend, and in some adaptations, he's controlled by the Cult of Thorn - a group of druids that drives him to slay the members of his family. This can complicate his motivations and lead to confusion.
Appears in: The Nightmare On Elm Street franchise, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, Freddy vs. Jason, Freddy’s Nightmares, The Goldbergs
Tactics: Freddy Krueger infiltrates his victim's dreams and turns their worst fears against them. In many instances, he takes out his victims in over-the-top, surreal, and comedic ways. However, he's also been known to get straight to the point.
Weapon of choice: His leather glove with sharp fingers is his most prominent tool, but in a more existential sense, he uses his victims' fears against them.
Vulnerabilities: Krueger's desperate need for revenge against the people of Springwood, Ohio, blinds him to rational thought. He's also unable to hurt people outside of the dream world without a proxy, and if someone learns how to control their dreams, then he's out of luck.
Appears in: Red Dragon (novel, film), The Silence of the Lambs (novel, film), Hannibal (novel, film), Hannibal Rising (novel, film), Manhunter (film), Hannibal (TV series)
Tactics: A pure psychopath, Lecter prefers to get into the head of his victims. He is a master of manipulation and knows how to use someone's own psychology against them. At the same time, he's also incredibly brutal and controlled. In The Silence of the Lambs, he attacks a guard by taking a bite out of his face. When he has the time, he prefers to take someone apart and feed them a nice meal made up of their own amputated limbs.
Weapon of choice: His mind, although he's also fond of surgical objects and cooking tools.
Vulnerabilities: Lecter's need for adulation works against him, but in a battle royale the thing that's going to bring him down is his middle age and his slight frame.