Slash Trash - Movie Killers And Their Motives



The Fan Can puts seven celluloid serial killers on the psychiatrist's couch...


By Miles Hamer


All cinematic serial killers need motivation for their murder. Psychologically-speaking, they may be a few stab wounds short of a fatality, but a cogent catalyst is enough to trigger their homicidal desires. More often than not, this is revenge for perceived injustices in the protagonist's past. But occasionally the script skips this necessary nexus point, and hurls a conveniently-plotted curveball at the audience towards the final reel.


Forget murder; the worst crimes committed in the following films are all narrative-related.


Friday the 13th Part 5: A New Beginning (1985)


Jason, Firday 13th Part 5

Killer: Roy Burns (Dick Wieand)

Motive: Murder of estranged son


No Jason Voorhees here. Instead, this boasts, er, Roy the Paramedic avenging his long-abandoned, simple-minded son. He's been chopped into a pile of bloody appendages by fellow resident Vic at a Halfway House for mentally-wavering teens.


Roy's horrified reaction is to don the garb of a well-known, passed-on psychopath, and indiscriminately kill everyone within a ten mile radius of the crime scene, regardless of their involvement. All of which makes about as much sense as a mime show for the blind, given that his son's murderer – you know, the one whose deeds actually precipitated the ensuing carnage – is driven away unharmed and unpunished for his crime.


You hear that Roy? You forgot to kill the guy responsible! And you got Jason's hockey mask chevrons wrong; they're supposed to be red, not blue, you dick!


I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998)


I Still Know What You Did Last Summer

Killer: Will Benson (Matthew Settle)

Motive: Avenging father's "death"


Remember that fisherman bloke from the original, who avenged his "hit 'n' run" by murdering everyone responsible with a rusty fish hook? Well, it turns out that ol' cod-chops has a son (Will Benson), who carries on Pops' murderous spree by, er, slaying people that had nothing to do with his father's original predicament.


Oh, and his father is, of course, still alive. So, he's avenging nobody. Slow handclap for the schnook with the hook.



Mortuary (1983)



Killer: Paul Andrews (Bill Paxton)

Motive: Wants girl to notice him


You know how hard it can be to get someone to like you; all that pissing about trying to be something you're not, just to win a faint glimmer of recognition.Paul Andrews forgoes follies such as flowers, instead offing his intended's parents (of whom the psychiatrist Dad recently suggested Paul be committed) and her boyfriend. Because a box of Milk Tray would have been too obvious, right?


Paul's madness is later explained in the movie as a result of his Mother's suicide. A suicide that he and his Mother faked together. Erm, what?


Urban Legend (1998)


Urban Legend

Killer: Brenda Bates (Rebecca Gayheart)

Motive: Revenge for accidental death of boyfriend


Understandably cross that her boyfriend died at the hands of a botched urban legend prank, Brenda then, rather less understandably, carries out a series of bizarrely-staged, similar slayings of her own. Using apocryphal campfire stories as methods to murder, Miss Bates lives up to her cinematic ancestor by being somewhat limited in the sanity department.


Yes, she targets the two responsible for her misery but quite what the arbitrary five or so other murders have to do with anything shall forever remain a mystery.


Scream (1996)



Killer: Stu Macher (Matthew Lillard)

Motive: "Peer Pressure"


Yes, there are two killers in this but Billy Loomis has his reasons (his parents broke up, the doe-eyed wuss). Stu, however, has no such lame excuse; he's just insane.


Handily, Matthew Lillard looks like Eric Idle hastily sketched onto a piece of crepe paper, so believing he's psychotic is pretty easy to stomach.


Driller Killer (1979)


Driller Killer

Killer: Reno Miller (Abel Ferrara)

Motive: Crap at art


Reno Miller is an artist. A really shit artist. Plus, there's a band rehearsing in the apartment next to his, and we know how much shit artists hate those, yeah? Enough to want to power an electric drill through his victim's skulls, anyway.


Seriously, if being poor at your chosen creative profession is passable ground for murder, then why isn't Chris De Burgh a serial killer, eh?


Don't Go In The Woods (1980)


Don't Go into the Woods

Killer: A Man

Motive: None


In this desperately, low-budgeted monstrosity, a feral madman (think Brian Blessed, but less subtle) hacks hikers for no given reason. For all we know, he could have just lost a game of Scrabble and taken it really badly.


Given his attire though, he's probably more a Hungry Hippos kind of guy.


Slash Trash: Movie Killers And Their Motives
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A lovely, white toilet

The first toilet flushed in a movie, was in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho.

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