You’re nearly one month into those New Year Resolutions. How are you making out? Maybe your goal was to lose that pesky belly weight brought on by the holiday food coma you survived. Maybe you just wanted to give up smoking, once and for all. For the people of this list, their resolutions were a little more intense. But the resolution was simple: DO NOT kill anyone.
Like many of us, those resolutions don’t last long. A few short weeks later, maybe months, we find ourselves in the same situation. New Year, New You fades into Same Old, Same Old. Don’t worry, though – you’re not alone. Here are 8 people who failed their resolutions – and they failed hard.
8. Dr. Jekyll – Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)
Fredric March’s portrayal of both the guilt ridden Dr. Jekyll and the sadistic Mr. Hyde earned him an Academy Award back in 1932. When the kind Dr. Jekyll begins experimenting in his lab, he concocts a potion that transforms him, physically and mentally, into the monster that is Mr. Hyde. Hyde abuses and manipulates the young bar singer Ivy and wreaks havoc on Victorian London. Once he is changed back to the mild-mannered Jekyll he is ridden with guilt, aware of his actions as Hyde but unable to control them.
Jekyll tries to make recompense for Hyde’s actions by providing money to Ivy, but Hyde eventually reappears and murders her. As Jekyll becomes more distraught he can no longer control his transformations. Jekyll calls off his engagement to the lovely Muriel, knowing what he has done as Hyde. Unfortunately he transforms into Hyde once again and assaults Muriel. He continues to change back and forth until he meets his death and transforms into Jekyll one last time.
7. Krug and Gang – Last House on the Left (1972)
While the sadistic group of killers in this Wes Craven flick are brutal and unremorseful, there is one specific moment that stands out. After Krug, Sadie, and Weasel brutally murder the young woman Phyllis, they return to her friend Mari, who they have also kidnapped and sexually assaulted. Krug and his gang mutilate and rape her. As Mari wanders off to get sick and clean herself up, the gang stands around. For just a moment, you can see on their faces how disgusted they are at what they have just done. Their faces and hands covered in blood, they give each other worried glances as they picked the grass off of their hands. It is a strange moment that comes roughly halfway through the film. After the audience has seen just how awful these people are, we finally have a moment where our killers see it as well.
6. Teens from It Follows (2014)
While the evil entity of It Follows may not have feelings of guilt about perpetually stalking victims, said victims have quite a bit to think about themselves. When the only way you can save yourself is to pass the curse on to someone else, you are bound to have some conflicting feelings on the matter.
Once Jay knows that she can save herself by having sex with someone and thus passing on the “follower” she is reluctant. She doesn’t want to condemn anyone else to being terrorized. She sleeps with Greg who doesn’t believe her and he ends up dead, so the curse reverts back to her. Jay’s friend Paul knows the consequences but offers to have sex with her so that it will leave her alone. Even though she could end it there she refuses his offer, not wanting to indirectly sentence him to death. It’s an interesting take on the remorseful killer. These characters are not committing the murder themselves, but when they decide to have sex knowing what they are passing on, they might as well be.
5. The Wolfman – Monster Squad (1987)
From the first time we meet the distraught man in the police station we feel bad for him. Either this guy is a nutcase, or he really is a werewolf trying to warn the authorities of what he might do. Later we see him call the police from a phone booth directing them to Dracula’s mansion to make sure the detective’s son is not harmed. The Wolfman is very much a part of Dracula’s evil monster squad, but the man who becomes him does his best to prevent the consequences of his wolfie counterpart.
4. Dracula – Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
While most Dracula adaptations are undeniably more romantic in nature than the original novel, Dracula always remains a guiltless killer. Yes he may seduce you, or he may attack viciously, but either way he is definitely not feeling sorry for it. Enter Gary Oldman. The Dracula portrayed by Gary Oldman in Francis Ford Coppola’s take on the tale is much different in this respect. Yes he brutally kills many throughout the film, and imprisons Jonathan Harker. But he shows signs that certain actions he feels shame in. For instance, when Mina sees him in his wolf hybrid form with Lucy he exclaims “do not see me”. Finally seeing his love again, he does not wish her to see what he has become.
When Mina does eventually accepts that he is the monster he is, he cannot turn her, saying “I love you too much to condemn you”. Eventually he concedes, but he was definitely not okay with it for a minute there.
3. Patrick Bateman – American Psycho (2000)
Now, Patrick Bateman may just be the craziest killer on this list but there at the end, it seems Bateman’s conscience does get the better of him. After all the crazy, awful things Bateman has done, it is his paranoia and guilt that leads him to that iconic confession call in his office. Christian Bale’s performance as Bateman crying on the phone to his attorney is almost comical as he blurts out everything he has done – or thinks he has done – over the course of the film. Between the ramblings and the maniacal laughter, you can feel Bateman’s guilt as he admits he’s “a pretty sick guy”. And he even chokes up when he confesses he may have tried to eat the brains of one of the murdered girls. The whole confession scene amounts to only three minutes, but Bale’s performance highlights so many different emotions and at the base of Bateman’s guilt.
2. Norman Bates – Psycho II (1983)
Until the final moments of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, Norman Bates seems to be a victim himself. Abused and manipulated by his invalid mother, the audience feels sorry for Norman. But then we learn the truth. Norman is no victim, instead he’s our killer.
Picking up 22 years later, Psycho II presents us with a “cured” Norman Bates. Norman has spent over two decades under psychiatric treatment and now accepts that his mother is truly dead. But Norman soon realizes maybe he isn’t as cured as he thought. After he returns home, a boy turns up dead. We watch Norman agonize over whether he is responsible or not, unable to recall the events. Norman is caught between the guilty accusations of Lila Loomis, surviving sister of Marion Crane, and the fervent belief in his innocence by his newfound friend Mary Samuels. We see a version of Norman that is almost childlike; saddened by his actions and confused about what kind of person he truly is.
1. Lawrence Talbot – The Wolfman (1941)
Good ‘ole Larry Talbot. Talbot is arguably one of the most sympathetic villains in the world of horror. Larry is such a gentle soul and a kind-hearted person. When he attempts to save a young woman from a wolf attack, he himself is bitten before killing the wolf. Soon Talbot learns that “Even a man who is pure in heart, and says his prayers by night; may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.” Lon Chaney, Jr.’s performance of a guilt-ridden Lawrence Talbot is one of the most memorable from the classic Universal monster films of the 1930s and 1940s. Talbot is tortured by what he may do while he is the Wolfman, and sees himself as a monster. It is only until he is killed at the end of the film that poor Larry Talbot finally appears to be at peace.
How are you doing with your new year’s resolutions? Personally, my goal this year is to watch more horror films and television. Do you have any horror themed resolutions this year? Let us know over on Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, and in the Horror Fiends of Nightmare on Film Street Facebook group!