The season of summer blockbusters is coming to a close meaning the scariest time of the year has arrived. The impending arrival of Halloween promises an increase in new horror films, this year including new installments in iconic franchises like Halloween Ends, the finale to a historical franchise that helped put final girls on the map and introduced audiences to the psychopathic and seemingly indestructible killer Michael Meyers.
Horror movie fanatics are familiar with the genre’s lack of realism on occasion. It can be seen in a variety of horror movie elements including one of the most important aspects, with some of the most well-known characters choosing some of the most iconic yet senseless weapons.
One of the most uncontrollable weapons used in horror movies is fire, most notably seen in Firestarter. Though, characters don’t have to be known for arson to dabble in using fire as a weapon. For instance, the element was used as a weapon in horror movies like Carrie and The Thing.
The uncontrollable nature of fire is partly why it can easily turn so deadly. There’s no real way to dictate the direction it spreads or how fast, making it a dangerous weapon that’s not always constructive. It’s not even guaranteed to kill its victim, making it even more of a risk to try to control its outcome.
Scissors have made several pop-up appearances in horror movies with even Michael Meyers brandishing them on occasion. Jordan Peele even put them center stage in his scariest horror film, Us.
There’s a risk of accidental self-harm just when utilizing scissors for everyday use and that risk is only heightened when trying to use them against someone else. It’s not easy to get a good grip on them if they’re attempting to be used for stabbing or slicing and with a simple misstep, the wielder could even chop off their own finger. Safety isn’t usually the main concern when using a weapon, but the whole point is to harm others not yourself.
For many, the Children of the Corn film series ruined long drives through the country because one can no longer be sure about what lurks within the cornfields. The movie added some variety to iconic horror film weapons when it saw the killer children brandishing a variety of different farm tool weapons.
The children in the film adaptation of Stephen King’s short story were very familiar with their practical uses as farm tools and could translate them into killer weapons, though sometimes they still revered the simplicity of a knife. Farm tools like scythes and pitchforks are sharp and could definitely be effective in killing a person but when it comes down to ease of use or just moving around with them, they could pose a problem.
Hooks have made for some brutal horror movie kills. They’ve been seen used for more torturous purposes in classics like Saw and Hellraiser but as an actual wielded weapon, it’s more recognizable in horror films like Candyman and I Know What You Did Last Summer.
Hooks were made to do exactly what the name suggests, so a stabbing technique wouldn’t realistically be effective, though previous horror film hook use has argued otherwise. The aim would also need to be spectacular, guaranteeing a kill on the first strike or the victim would still be able to fight the killer off. Hooks are a weapon with more practical torture use than for use in combative scenarios.
6/10 Kitchen Knives
Whether they’ve been chosen because of preference or because of convenience, kitchen knives are weapons that continue to pop up in horror films. It will surely have its return with Michael Meyers in the Halloween franchise’s finale film Halloween Ends. Still, no matter how many times it’s seen, it doesn’t always amount to being the best weapon of choice.
The common kitchen knife ranges from around six to twelve inches so to use it as an offensive or even defensive weapon, the wielder would have to be in close range which is why it’s so commonly used for personal killings. However, once in close range, there’s a greater risk to the user making it a grossly impractical weapon when on the defensive and a risky weapon choice for a killer that’s not virtually indestructible.
5/10 Claw Glove
Freddy Kruger’s claw glove has taken on several redesigns since the first A Nightmare on Elm Street movie from 1984, taking on more of a clawed metal gauntlet form in the most recent 2010 remake, Nightmare on Elm Street. As a demon that would haunt your dreams, Freddy was able to get creative with his kills, but his iconic glove was still essentially a glove with knives fastened like elongated nails.
Same as wielding a kitchen knife, it’s a weapon designed for close-range use but instead of being able to put full power behind a swing, its use is limited to what could be done with really long fingernails which is not much unless a catlike fighting style is the preference.
4/10 Gardening Shears
The classic slasher film The Burning brings urban legend to life with the story of a scorned camp caretaker who returns to that same camp for an inevitable murder spree. Interestingly enough, the caretaker stuck to what he knew and decided on gardening shears as his staple weapon.
For those not as familiar with gardening tools as Cropsy was in The Burning, gardening shears (sometimes called hedge clippers) are essentially heavy-duty scissors that are best used with both hands. They were mostly seen used in a slashing or stabbing fashion, but there was also the occasional chop. Using gardening shears to chop through bone requires quite a bit of power and since both hands are used for it, the element of surprise would almost always be necessary. It’s a limiting tool with no real specialized use.
Axes have made appearances in several classic and modern horror films including the Friday the 13th movies and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, but the weapon had its most memorable feature in American Psycho and The Shining.
When thinking of what it takes to wield an axe, it’s probably best to think of a lumberjack. Think of the strength and accuracy it takes for them to use the tool to cut down a still object like a tree. Now imagine having to harness those skills to the capability of hitting a conscious being motivated for survival that won’t sit still and wait for the perfect swing to be executed. It may be good for chopping down doors but will require some practice when it comes to moving targets.
2/10 The Saw Traps
The whole point of the traps seen in the Saw movies are to induce high levels of stress on their victims so they are too panicked to think through all their options. Jigsaw had the time and energy to think through each of his traps with the claimed purpose of saving his eventual victims from themselves, though he barely had screentime despite being the main villain.
The intricacies in the Saw traps’ designs required the mechanisms to function properly and for there to be limited interference so the victims could be taught their intended lesson. It takes more time to plan and build the trap than it does to actually execute it (and the victim) which isn’t always a feasible option. There’s also the added work of capturing the victim the specific traps were created for.
There have been endless prequels, sequels, and remakes of the 1976 classic horror film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre but one thing that has never changed throughout every Texas Chainsaw movie is Leatherface’s weapon of choice. His iconically loud, bulky, and effectively gruesome chainsaw has become a calling card for the gore genre despite being one of the most impractical weapons used by a killer.
Leatherface had all the attributes needed to utilize the power tool but even with his bulk, strength, and savage commitment to his kills, the weapon still wouldn’t be considered practical. It’s loud enough for his victims to hear him coming, both hands are required for accuracy and effectiveness, and it comes with all the inconveniences of a gas-powered piece of machinery. The engine needs to be in good condition, the chain needs to remain in place and there won’t be time for a gas refill if you run out mid-battle, leaving a lot up to chance.