13 Victims Who Didn’t Deserve It
Article By: Sean Abley
Horror films often have a “they asked for it” morality to their plots—you summon a demon, or play a terrible prank, or treat powerless people poorly and you get killed. But sometimes the punishment doesn’t fit the crime. Yes, most random victims in horror flicks don’t deserve to get killed, but we’ve compiled a list of folks who’ve screwed up, but still don’t deserve their fate.
1. Christine Brown in Drag Me To Hell (2009)
Poor Christine. Forced by her boss to be more of a hard ass when it comes to the loans she supervises at the bank, she finally caves and denies an old woman an extension. And she should have! Banks aren’t in the business of giving out free money, and Christine was playing by the rules (albeit selectively). And for that she gets dragged to Hell? Unfair!
2. Kirsty in Hellraiser (1987)
So yes, Kirsty’s uncle Frank deserves eternal damnation for solving the puzzle box because he was seeking power. And her stepmother, Julia, deserves it because she murders men to help her dead-but-resurrected lover return to our realm. But Kirsty? Her sin is curiosity, not murder. She solved the puzzle because she saw a dead guy eating blood and thought, “Maybe this box has something to do with that…” Not cool, Pinhead!
3. Helen and Bernadette in Candyman (1992)
No one expects those childhood games to actually work. Why would we give them to kids if they did? Helen and Bernadette say “Candyman” five times in a mirror, which is supposed to summon Candyman, who is then committed to murdering them with his hook. Now, I’m a firm believer in the “Do over” clause of any childhood game, especially when it involves getting killed with a hook hand. And Candyman doesn’t appear immediately—he waits until the worst possible moment to make his entrance, which is the letter of the curse if not the spirit of the curse. Making one dumb mistake shouldn’t get you killed. Play fair, Candyman!
4. The gravediggers in Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things (1973)
The two fabulously gay accomplices to Alan Ormsby’s dictatorial director do indeed dig up a corpse in this cult favorite. But is that a sin punishable by death? True, these are two fun loving guys out for a night of grave desecration and partying, but Ormsby performed the ritual to actually reanimate the dead, so let’s all calm down.
5. Dr. Frank-N-Furter in Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
I mean, come on. Except for Columbia, was anyone really unhappy with Dr. Frank-N-Furter’s experiments? His one true crime was killing Eddie, but Eddie was sacrificed for the greater good of sexiness. Even Dr. Scott got into it in the end. Riff Raff and Magenta were executing a power grab at best. Y’all just jealous.
6. Barry and Claudette in Friday The 13th (1980)
You’re right, Mrs. Voorhees. Jason did drown in the lake when the counselors were having sex. But you were on site at the camp as the cook! And it happened at night when the counselors were off duty and you should have been keeping an eye on him. The two counselors you killed were just two of a handful of teenagers around that campfire that night, so why those two? Does anyone buy her lame excuse?
7. Tomoko in Ringu (1998)
Yes, she and her friends were warned about the cursed videotape. They were all told if they watched it, they would meet a horrible fate. But Sadako isn’t playing fair here. Granted, she was killed in a terrible way. But using people’s curiosity to damn them to a terrible end? That’s not how revenge works, people. (BTW, don’t watch this video if you don’t want to die in seven days.)
8. The baby in It’s Alive (1974)
Every baby is beautiful to its parents, even babies that go on a killing spree.
9. Helga Brandt in You Only Live Twice (1967)
If you take a gig as a henchman (or henchwoman) to an evil genius bent on world domination, you pretty much know you're going to either kill him to further your career, or he's going to kill you for poor job performance. It's in the job description. In this case, Helga had every right to think she'd killed Bond in a plane crash. How could she anticipate he'd know how to land a plane? This should have been an official warning in her HR file rather than death by piranha.
10. Anyone in any Grudge (US) or Ju-on (Japan) franchise film
Attention vengeful ghosts! Trespassing is not a legit reason to murder everyone! I mean, sure, it’s a total bum out that you got murdered and you’re now a rage-fueled specter. But how about the punishment fitting the crime, like a stiff fine or a misdemeanor conviction? “You and everyone you’ve met will die a gruesome death” is more appropriate for those people who cross against the light, or don’t give the courtesy wave when you let them into traffic. Way too harsh, Ju-on ghosts!
11. Lynn from Saw III (2006)
Lynn was a doctor kidnapped to save Jigsaw by performing surgery on his brain. As per any Saw film, there’s a trap to be had, and this time it’s a ring of shotguns around Lynn’s neck which will activate should he die. But Lynn does all the right things! She performs the surgery, Jigsaw is going to live. But then her husband shows up and kills Jigsaw before she can say, “Hey, how about not killing that guy, because if you do I’ll get my head blown off by this collar of shotguns. You see this collar of shotguns, right?”
12. Harry in Night Of The Living Dead (1968)
If you’ve watched this film, you know as well as I do—Harry was right!
13. The family in Martyrs (2008)
Father, mother, two children slain by Lucie, a young woman who has returned to the site of her childhood torture. (Real torture, not “I can’t believe I have to be home at 11 o’clock!” torture.) And yes, the family was partially responsible. But they were totally doing it for a really good reason—they wanted Lucie to be a martyr! They had a higher purpose, and had been hoodwinked by a charismatic leader to do what they did.
Sean Abley is a journalist, playwright and screenwriter. His writing has appeared in Fangoria, The Advocate, Attitude and Unzipped. His latest book is Out in the Dark: Interviews with Gay Horror Filmmakers, Actors and Authors.