The new release of Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey shows how strange horror movie villains can get, and this is far from a recent phenomenon in the horror genre. For as long as there has been a demand for new original horror films, there have been strange and outlandish concepts for villains. Especially when these films can lean into the absurdity and comedic value of a strange villain, it can lead to an experience that is equally comedic as it is frightening.
With so many horror movies being made and so many villains portrayed on screen, sometimes an unconventional villain concept is what a film needs to stand out from the crowd. From the villains that are too out there to take seriously to those that still manages to be terrifying despite what’s on the surface, horror movies have always delivered strange horror villains.
1 ‘The Banana Splits Movie’ (2019)
Based on and adapted from the 1920s Hanna-Barbera show, The Banana Splits Movie uses these old-school child-friendly characters as a jumping-off point for a horror film. The film is about a family that goes to watch the taping of an episode of The Banana Splits TV show, but things go wrong as the Banana Splits animatronics go haywire. The family and other audience members soon have to find their way out of the warehouse before they become victims of the vicious animatronics.
It’s a strange and outlandish premise to have silly musical characters made for children in the late ’60s into vicious blood hungry murder machines. It’s an aspect that adds a lot of fun and absurdity to the situation as a whole. While the killers are portrayed by actors rather than animatronics and practical effects, they can be much more active and physical while on the murder spree.
2 ‘Basket Case’ (1982)
Basket Case is an extremely low-budget story of a man who carries around a large wicker basket containing his deformed once Siamese twin. Belial’s now separated twin is on a quest for vengeance against those who have forcefully split him and his twin apart. Complete with a real-life backdrop of 1980s Manhattan, Basket Case is an absolute cult classic of the horror genre that would go on to spawn two additional sequels.
While it may be quick to write off Belial as just another hideous creature, Basket Case does much more to amplify the strangeness of the monster at its center. With occasional scenes where Belial is animated in early stop-motion and a signature scream that is equally disturbing and hilarious, Basket Case is sure to leave an impression. It’s only scratching the surface of the film’s weirdness, and Belial’s absurdity is what ties it all together.
3 ‘Benny Loves You’ (2019)
Benny Loves You is a passion project horror film by director, writer, and actor Karl Holt. The film follows a desperate manchild named Jack, who, in a ploy to finally try and grow up and improve his life, finally throws away his childhood plush toy, Benny. Unbeknownst to him, Benny has come to life and doesn’t like the prospect of Jack leaving him behind, so Benny embarks on a murderous quest to keep Jack all to himself.
While we’ve seen the toys to life premise before in horror movies (such as the Child’s Play series), Benny Loves You goes the extra step to make the concept that much stranger and abstract. The film makes a conscious effort to create a parallel between Benny and toys like Tickle Me Elmo, resulting in a limited vocabulary and a child’s voice that adds a lot to the character. Also, unlike other killer dolls, Benny is entirely made of plush, adding additional layers of childlike innocence that contrasts greatly with his murderous intentions.
4 ‘Attack of the Killer Tomatoes’ (1978)
Attack of the Killer Tomatoes is a low-budget story where the world’s tomatoes have grown conscious and begun their assault against humanity. While much more comedy than it is horror, Killer Tomatoes still finds its roots and parallels directly parodying and spoofing B-movie horror films of the 1970s. The film would also grow enough of a cult classic status to earn three different sequels and even an early 90s animated series.
Arguably one of the most insane yet hilarious groups of objects to rise a revolt against humanity, there’s something about the premise of produce gone wild that never loses its touch. The film is also designed and written around completely leaning into the absurdity of the situation at hand, leading to a number of murderous moments that end up being hilarious. The tomatoes even come complete with their own iconic theme song.
5 ‘Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey’ (2023)
As Winnie the Pooh entered the public domain, indie filmmakers were free rein to throw their own special twists on the Hundred Acre Wood. That’s where Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey enters the picture, a slasher film where Pooh and Piglet go on a killing spree after Christopher Robin leaves for college. The film has already made enough of a splash that a sequel has already been announced.
We’ve seen films in the past that have taken characters made for children and turned them into murderers (such as the Banana Splits Movie). However, Winnie the Pooh is an iconic and beloved character still used to this day, and it’s shocking to see the character portrayed as a bloodthirsty killer. Although this may only be the beginning of classic characters taking a dark turn, the director has stated intentions of wanting to start a shared universe of evil classic children’s characters.
6 ‘Thankskilling’ (2008)
While there are countless Halloween horror movies and even Christmas horror films, Thankskilling sets a path toward being one of the rare Thanksgiving horror films. The film follows an evil thanksgiving turkey named Turkie, who decides to take measures into his own hands and kill groups of college students on their Thanksgiving break. Thankskilling is as needlessly crass as it is absurd, creating a unique slasher experience.
What makes Turkie the turkey stand out among other “animals gone wild” is his South Park style lack of a filter and disregard for the politically correct. Turkie will constantly be spouting cheesy one-liners, has politically incorrect and hyper-sexualized tendencies, and much more that is closer in line with a killer like Freddy Krueger. All this coming in the package of a silly low-budget turkey adds to the absurdity of it all, especially when he gets to killing.
7 ‘Maximum Overdrive’ (1986)
The only time when a Stephen King film adaptation was directed by the author himself, Maximum Overdrive, is an over-the-top part of King’s legacy. The film follows a world where, after a comet passes by Earth, all machines and electronic devices come to life and begin their onslaught against humanity. From sentient trucks and cars to ATMs and road rollers, there are no limits to the types of technology trying to kill anyone and everyone in the vicinity.
Part of what adds to the overall absurdity of Maximum Overdrive is the absurd variety of different machines trying to end human life. While sentient cars are nothing new for Stephen King, death by a vending machine is a claim to fame that only this movie can say that it features. Complete with one big bad truck with a goblin face on the front; it makes for an experience that is equal parts strange as it is chilling.
8 ‘Killer Klowns from Outer Space’ (1988)
The classic horror B-movie Killer Klowns from Outer Space follows a group of aliens who simply look like clowns who come down to earth to wreak havoc on a small suburban town. The film has grown a massive cult classic status as an absurd horror movie from the 80s to where it’s even getting its own survival horror video game adaptation later this year.
While we’ve seen our fair share of killer clowns in films over the years between Pennywise from It and Art the Clown from Terrifier, Killer Klowns is in a league of its own in terms of absurdity. On top of the fact that these are not clowns but aliens that happen to look like clowns, the notion of “the more, the merrier” definitely helps in this film’s favor. The variety of different styles and types of absurd and increasingly ridiculous clown designs hammer home the wackiness of the premise as a whole.
9 ‘Leprechaun’ (1993)
A true testament to the power and massive excess of unique horror movie concepts in the ’80s and ’90s, Leprechaun attempts to take the classic symbol of luck into a horror villain. The film follows a leprechaun (played by Warwick Davis) who uses everything he can in his magical arsenal to get back his stolen gold. This is only the first in what would become a massive line of horror films featuring the leprechaun.
While leprechauns are far from the most blissful magical creatures out there, it’s definitely a bit of a stretch to consider one a conniving killer like the one seen in Leprechaun. However, Warwick Davis delivers in making the concept of a killer leprechaun that works pretty well in the context of the film. Although the following films would only get stranger and stranger and place the character in more ludicrous locales, such as Space and “in the hood.”
10 ‘Ice Cream Man’ (1995)
The cult classic Ice Cream Man follows the story of Gregory Tudor, a young boy who, at a young age, witnesses the murder of his local ice cream man. Now an adult, Tudor has inherited the ice cream business and decides to inject his ice cream with gruesome ingredients like human remains. When a young boy in the neighborhood goes missing, a group of local kids all come together to try and figure out the mystery behind Gregory and the disappearances.
Of all the different occupations that have been transformed into horror movie killers, an ice cream man is probably the last one that audiences would have expected. However, Ice Cream Man is able to take this insane and ridiculous concept and makes it work in this B-movie setting. It’s a sort of mix between a classic Soylent Green style story mixed with the schlocky concept horror movie that’s to be expected of the era.
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