The formula for creating a slasher movie villain is usually pretty simple: give them a mask, give them an average first name (Michael, Freddy, Jason, Chucky), and then let them go to town on every half-naked teenager in sight. That’s where this list of 10 strange movie psychos comes in, as we’ll be profiling a selection of killers who defy the standard horror conventions. From demented housekeepers to maniacal cookies (yes, cookies), we’ll cover a wide range of bizarre cinematic slayers.
Note: some spoilers are included. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.
Name: The Gingerdead Man
Played By: Gary Busey (voice), John Vulich (voice), Kyle Lupo (ridiculous suit)
Featured In: The Gingerdead Man (2005), Gingerdead Man 2: Passion of the Crust (2008), Gingerdead Man 3-D: Saturday Night Cleaver (2011)
Why They’re Strange: Thanks to his witchcraft-loving mother, executed serial killer Millard Findlemeyer (Gary Busey) has his ashes mixed with gingerbread spice. Throw in a little help from an unwitting pastry chef and a handy bolt of lighting, and the madman soon finds that his mind has been transferred into the form of a large gingerbread man cookie. He can possess anyone dumb enough to take a bite, plus the sheer craziness of actor Gary Busey renders him all the more dangerous.
Preferred Targets: Anyone he comes across, although he will need a virgin for the unholy ritual to permanently place him in a new human body.
Signature Attack: None, although my favorite features the Gingerdead Man using a rolling pin to accelerate a car into running someone down.
Known Weaknesses: Heat and/or fire. Being crucified and having a crown of thorns placed on his head (a la Mel Gibson) doesn’t do him any good, either.
Name: Vincent Smith
Played By: Rory Calhoun
Featured In: Motel Hell (1980)
Why They’re Strange: Farmer Vincent is well-known for his famous smoked meats, but his secret recipe is a little on the crazy side. I’m talking human flesh, folks, and Vincent calmly goes about bushwhacking bikers, hippies, and even health inspectors to get the necessary ingredients. And he doesn’t believe in pre-marital sex, which may be even more bizarre than turning his customers into unwitting cannibals.
Preferred Targets: Anyone who’s unlucky enough to come across the Motel Hello.
Signature Attack: Chainsaw (must wear overalls and a mask made from the severed head of a pig to get the full effect)
Known Weaknesses: Preservatives
Name: Jack Frost
Played By: Scott MacDonald (voice)
Featured In: Jack Frost (1996), Jack Frost 2: Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman (2000)
Why They’re Strange: He’s a giant killer snowman! While on the way to be executed, serial killer Jack Frost is involved in a collision with a tanker carrying genetic material (are there a lot of those on the road?). He gets covered in the stuff and melted, but soon bonds with the snowy ground and returns to rape a debuting Shannon Elizabeth with his carrot nose and spout lines like “Don’t eat yellow snow!”.
Preferred Targets: Anyone will do, but he seems especially fond of murdering attractive young women (and trying to kill Sheriff Sam Tiler, the man who originally brought him to justice).
Signature Attack: Impaling someone with an icicle
Known Weaknesses: Antifreeze and bananas
Name: Belial Bradley
Played By: Nobody. It’s a puppet.
Featured In: Basket Case (1982), Basket Case 2 (1990), Basket Case 3: The Progeny (1991)
Why They’re Strange: A former conjoined twin who’s more monster than man, Belial is toted around in a basket by his normal-looking brother, Duane Bradley (Kevin Van Hentenryck). Not especially happy with his situation, Belial holds a special hatred for the three doctors who successfully separated him from his twin. By the third film, he’s met a fellow freak and become the proud papa of a brood of mutants (even getting a neat battle exoskeleton along the way).
Preferred Targets: Anyone who threatens to disrupt his relationship with his brother.
Signature Attack: Mauling people with his stubby little arms.
Known Weaknesses: As if he doesn’t have enough problems already.
Name: The Leprechaun
Played By: Warwick Davis
Featured In: Leprechaun (1993), Leprechaun 2 (1994), Leprechaun 3 (1995), Leprechaun 4: In Space (1997), Leprechaun: In the Hood (2000), Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood (2003)
Why They’re Strange: He’s a freakin’ leprechaun, for Christ’s sake. To make things even more bizarre, he’s played by the same guy who was Wicket W. Warrick in Return of the Jedi. The perfect solution if you’re looking for St. Patrick’s Day movies.
Preferred Targets: Anyone who messes around with his gold (including a pre-Friends Jennifer Aniston)
Signature Attack: Using his magic to create illusions (usually of beautiful women). When the unsuspecting victim drops their guard…BAM!
Known Weaknesses: Four-leaf clover, wrought iron, burning his gold
Played By: Vincent Cassel
Featured In: Sheitan (2006)
Why They’re Strange: When he’s not awaiting the birth of his inbred devil-child, Joseph proves surprisingly helpful. He helps his potential victims get unstuck from the mud, shows them how to drink goat milk straight from the source, and even tries to fix one of them up with his crazy-ass cousin (who doesn’t mind masturbating a dog to gain a guy’s attention). With wild hair, a deranged grin, and a love for Satan, Joseph is definitely one of the strangest movie psychos to come along in years.
Preferred Targets: Wannabe tough-guy Bart (Olivier Barthelemy)
Signature Attack: Using his crazy-man strength to kick the crap out of people.
Known Weaknesses: A guy who gets to sleep with Monica Belucci off-screen has no weaknesses.
Name: The Davis Baby
Played By: A puppet controlled by special-effects whiz (and Oscar-winner) Rick Baker
Featured In: It’s Alive (1974)
Why They’re Strange: The unnamed Davis child is so deformed that a doctor actually tries to suffocate it in the delivery room. But, hey, I guess that’s what malpractice insurance is for. The rest of the strange movie psychos on this list kill because of motivations such as revenge or just plain evil. But this entry is nothing more than a scared–albeit grotesque–infant who wants his mommy.
Preferred Targets: Anyone who frightens or tries to harm it.
Signature Attack: Biting people with its monstrous little teeth.
Known Weaknesses: None
Name: The New York Ripper
Played By: Andrew Painter
Featured In: The New York Ripper (1982)
Why They’re Strange: He talks and quacks like Donald Duck. Oh, and he‘s a physicist in his spare time. ‘Nuff said.
Preferred Targets: Women who are sexually active.
Signature Attack: Anything that allows director Lucio Fulci to show people’s guts oozing out.
Known Weaknesses: Does getting his face shot off count?
Name: The Dwarf
Played By: Adelina Poerio
Featured In: Don’t Look Now (1973)
Why They’re Strange: Why a wrinkly female dwarf is on a killing spree in Venice is beyond me. And why she’s wearing red raingear is even more mysterious. It must be a European thing.
Preferred Targets: Anyone dumb enough to walk the dark streets of Venice alone or chase after it.
Signature Attack: Knife
Known Weaknesses: None, other than the tendency to wear a bright red raincoat while the police are scouring the city for any suspicious figures out late at night.
Name: The Hand
Played By: Michael Caine?
Featured In: The Hand (1981)
Why They’re Strange: Oliver Stone directed this crazed tale of a comic strip artist who loses his drawing hand in a freak traffic accident. When the severed body part shows up and begins to murder folks, he becomes convinced that he can control it telepathically. Michael Caine…Oliver Stone…a severed hand. What could be strange about that?
Preferred Targets: Anyone who screws with artist Jon Lansdale (Michael Caine), who the hand was once attached to.
Signature Attack: Choking (naturally)
Known Weaknesses: None, other than the fact that it’s just a severed hand.
That does it for our list of 10 strange movie psychos. Sure, the names listed above aren’t as famous as Freddy, Michael, or Jason Voorhees, but can any of those guys claim to have killed people over chests of gold or once been attached to acting great Michael Caine? I think not.