Resources For Every GM: Characters Part 4 / Horror Part 6
Hello everyone! Today I have another double topic featuring three characters from classic horror movies that would make interesting monsters or villains for your campaign!
Freddy comes from the Nightmare on Elm Street film series by Wes Craven and is among the more famous slasher killers. What makes him interesting is the fact that the character does not exist in the real world, he is merely a fiction of our nightmares. Of course that isn’t wholly true as the monster in the nightmares of those in the movies was a man who was killed in a fire that was started by the parents of the town. He was a teacher who did things no teacher, no person, should do and the town punished him for it. The monster is something that manipulates your dreams to frighten, harm, and murder you. Freddy is a serial killer of, generally, high school children who end up forcing themselves to stay awake in fear of becoming a victim of the killer. Aside from following general horror tropes, the Elm Street movies also establish some rules about how dreams work and how to actually defeat Krueger. Of course, being a monstrous nightmare demon makes him hard to kill permanently and the movies often leave you questioning if he has actually been defeated and if the ending is actually happening or a part of a deeper nightmare that even the main character isn’t aware of. The whole series and the monster himself are wonderful inspiration for RPGs to draw from. A villain which works within the context of dreams and nightmares is terrifying on multiple levels that only increases as the PCs discover it is becoming difficult to tell the difference between real life and dream.
Michael Myers is another horror villain created by John Carpenter for Halloween and its sequels. There are many terrifying things about Mike but its is the general atmosphere that exists around him that really drives up the fear. A child who kills his sister and is kept in an asylum for decades only to escape and find his other sister is pretty creepy. The fact that he says nothing, we never know what he looks like, and he never seems to be hurt and is probably incapable of death just makes him a horrific being. You might be saying, “well there is plenty of those monsters already” and you would be right. The thing is, there are demons, possessed people, barbarian giants, and all kinds of monsters that are unstoppable killing machines and many of them could easily be made silent killers, but Michael Myers is, essentially, a simple human man who has done nothing significant beyond killing his sister. Despite being locked up for decades, right through most of his growth, Michael is huge and exceptionally strong. There is no reaction to pain of any kind and he is remarkably frightening in ways someone in that position should be. The scene where he pretends to be the guy he just killed complete with white sheet and glasses before killing that guys girlfriend? Pretty messed up. Such a character is only aided by a Loomis character who expresses how unnatural, evil, and insane Myers is. Loomis is the knowledgeable sage familiar with the individual. He is the character that would try to tell the temple an exorcism won’t work because he isn’t possessed. The one that would tell the mages that sleep spells, command spells, and more won’t work. The one who tells the guard that crossbows are no good only to be waved away as if he’s the crazy one. A Michael Myers type would go wonderfully in an RPG adventure.
Here we have another classic slasher monster from the same relative era as the last two. This one is particularly interesting because of his strange film history. Spoiler alert! He is barely in the first Friday the 13th film and isn’t even the killer. Despite being the main villain of the series and one of the faces of horror for a long time, Jason was just a poor kid who got bullied and drowned at summer camp and whose mother set on a course of vengeance against that camp’s counselors for the rest of her life. It is this and the continued development of the character’s attributes throughout the series that beings this character to the list. Of course, the original film itself is an amazing topic of horror in film and our class a few years ago spent a lot of time talking about it. But for the table, this is a villain whose story is one that can be used to inspire some campaign development. The mother had a simple revenge story with a twist of who the killer was. Over time her son became the killer seeking revenge for the harm done to him against the types who let him die. His trademark look took a couple films to develop and his powers were only well established after the first half dozen or so. Sure, this is another slasher character with a similar-but-unique feel to others but he and his films are a great set of work to generate some ideas for a killer (or killers!) over a set of adventures or sprinkled over the course of the campaign.