Horror franchises become famous thanks to their deadly villains, who chop, slash, and stab their way through the movies, leaving a trail of carnage behind them. Often, each passing sequel gets a higher and higher body count, turning the slasher killers into macabre legends whohave gone down in horror history as some of the deadliest characters Hollywood has ever seen.
But which villain has had the most kills? This top 5 list is actually filled with some surprises, and a few fan favorites sadly aren’t included. There are a few reasons for this: in franchises like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Leatherface isn’t the only one doing the killing; and in series like Saw and Scream, we see different killers throughout the franchise’s run, meaning no single villain racks up a hefty kill count.
With those caveats in mind, here are the top 5 slasher villains with the highest kill counts throughout their infamous cinematic careers. And with new films potentially on the horizon, these numbers might continue to increase.
Freddy Krueger, the child abuser and murderer from A Nightmare on Elm Street, has managed to rack up over 60 kills throughout his almost 40 years on-screen. Luckily for Freddy, he’s already dead, so he really has nothing holding him back from continuing his massacre.
Some of Freddy’s most notable moments include the infamous TV kill in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3, where Freddy becomes part of a television set, grabs Jennifer Caulfield (who wants to be an actress), and says, “Welcome to prime time, bitch,” as he pushes her head into the screen, electrocuting her to death. And who can forget the famous Johnny Depp scene from the original film where he gets sucked into his bed, which is followed by a roaring fountain of blood shooting up onto the ceiling?
Freddy’s lowest kill count came in Freddy vs. Jason, due to Jason killing all the kids before Freddy could get to them. Throughout the entire movie, Freddy only gets one kill (plus one more seen in a flashback). However, fans will hopefully be able to see more Freddy with a potential reboot on the way and a fan-made indie film, Dylan’s New Nightmare, reportedly in postproduction.
Unless you’re a horror buff, you might be scratching your head at the name Victor Crowley. He’s the killer in the Hatchet series, an indie franchise created as a throwback to classic slasher films. The first movie premiered in 2006 and was praised by the horror community for being faithful to the slasher genre while also having a bit of Scream-style meta-self-awareness. The film series is about Victor Crowley, a deformed boy who was killed in a Louisiana swamp after a bullying prank goes horribly wrong. Now, Crowley roams the swamp, seeking vengeance on whoever he encounters.
The movie ended up getting three sequels (all of which are absolute gorefests, giving Crowley 64 kills), and the franchise is packed with horror legends like Tony Todd, Robert Englund, and Danielle Harris. Some of the more gruesome kills in the series include Crowley grinding up someone’s face in a boat motor and exploding a guy’s head with a defibrillator. For slasher fans, this is a great series to watch if you’re looking for something new.
Up until the last few years, Jason held the No. 2 spot, but thanks to the ongoing legal battles between numerous parties, a Friday the 13th movie hasn’t been released since 2009, forcing Jason to lose his killer position. But during Jason’s heyday, he was whacking off limbs and crushing heads with abandon, and the Friday films were known for having the highest kill counts of all the major slasher franchises.
Some of Jason’s craziest kills involve drowning someone in a sludge-filled trash can, the famous head-crushing scene in Part III where the guy’s eyeball pops out (which was even wilder thanks to the movie being shown in 3D), and that absolutely hilarious sleeping bag kill in Jason X.
In September 2022, New Line posted a (now-deleted) image to Instagram showing an iPhone with an incoming message from Jason Voorhees. Fans went wild, hoping that after more than a decade, a new Jason movie might finally be in the works. But sadly, it turned out to be a publicity stunt and, due to the ongoing lawsuit, no new film is in the works. Still, throughout his career, Jason has managed to snag a still-impressive 163 kills.
Historically, Michael Myers wasn’t known for insanely high kill counts. Many of the kill scenes, like Lynda’s death in the original and the hot tub kill in Halloween II, were built around suspense rather than accumulating a high body count. They weren’t quick deaths just to increase Michael’s kills. They forced audiences to wait, knowing something bad was about to happen. They created suspense and a level of horror few other slasher movies could reproduce.
That was Halloween’s status quo until Rob Zombie came aboard with his 2007 reboot and 2009 sequel. Suddenly, a franchise with 10 or 12 kills per film turned into one with 20 to 25 kills per movie, with Michael butchering his way through in almost every scene. The 2018 trilogy did the same, especially with Halloween Kills, which gave Michael his highest kill count ever as he slaughtered an entire mob, earning a dozen kills (or more) in just one minute of screen time.
Without the new trilogy, Michael Myers would be #No. 3 on this list, but with the new movies giving Michael a bevy of additional kills, he moved ahead of Jason, although he’s still quite a ways off from the No. 1 horror villain of all time.
Considering that Pinhead only killed two people in the first film and was barely in the sequel, it’s hard to imagine that he’s the most prolific killer in slasher history. But it’s important to remember that after the first two films, Pinhead really becomes the star of the series, racking up much higher kill counts in the later films.
But it’s really Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth that gives Pinhead a vast majority of his kills. In fact, some fans cite Pinhead’s kill count in that film to be upward of 350 people. In one scene, Pinhead appears at a New York City nightclub called The Boiler Room. Using chains and spikes, he locks everyone inside and kills them one by one. Considering that crowded nightclubs can hold a few hundred people, it’s really up to the viewer to decide the exact number killed in that scene alone, but it’s certainly over 150 at the very least.
Fans of the franchise were polarized in 2022 when Hulu premiered a Hellraiser reboot starring actress Jamie Clayton as the new Pinhead. Some felt the movie was dull and didn’t stay true to the original Hellraiser film’s queer and erotic undertones. But still, it did give us some more brutal body horror that the franchise is known for, like when we get a view inside a victim’s throat just as a large rusty needle pierces through it.
MovieWeb places Pinhead at 246 kills, while We Got This Covered awards him a whopping 321. Regardless of the exact number of people in that club in Hellraiser III, Pinhead is still in the lead as the most deadly villain in horror history.
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