Horror fiction requires a suspension of disbelief at the best of times. As entertaining as tales of zombies and vampires can be, we all know that realism isn’t always found in horror stories, especially ones dealing with the supernatural. In extreme cases, sometimes unbelievability becomes its own art form. That’s not exactly a criticism, mind you. It’s just an acknowledgment that, occasionally, some horror stories don’t just cross the line between realistic and unrealistic, they pole vault over it. While holding a chainsaw. And performing an exorcism.
Let’s take a look at some folks who have proven themselves strong enough to wrestle their way out of story logic in our list of 10 unrealistically strong horror characters.
10 Jason Voorhees
A popular misconception is that Jason’s iconic look as the hockey mask wearing, machete-wielding killer is the way he’s always appeared. Not so. In the original Friday the 13th, Jason was a teenager — a bullied teenager, at that. He’s also worn a sack over his head, evolved from woodsman to zombie, and was once an android from space. Through it all, Jason has strangled and hacked his way through stock characters with the moxie and muscles of a Vince McMahon protégé.
Jason is a big guy, so you can expect him to toss around his fair share of New Jersey natives. Having said that, a few times his strength level verged on comical. Pressing a woman’s head through a metal wall (F13, Part IV) was one occasion; punching the head clean off a boxer (F13, Part VIII) was another.
He’s also good at power walking. Just ask those fleeing victims.
9 Michael Myers
Illinois is the birthplace of both Soulja Boy and Twinkies, but the argument can be made the most evil spawn to come from the Land of Lincoln has nothing to do with either rap or overweight children. Michael Audrey Myers (esquire) is from the state, and he offers slasher movie fans all the schtick you expect of any Big Bad. He’s been known to press his thumbs through foreheads (Halloween IV), impale dangling teens on butcher knives (Halloween), lift tombstones (Halloween), and nearly twist one fellow’s head clean off his shoulders (Halloween VI). Myers does this while showing off all the muscle mass of a used car salesman on a vegan diet.
That’s the Myers from the original franchise, of course. The Michael from Rob Zombie’s revamped franchise is a hulk of a man, but the message boards have already given their verdict on that masked killer: weaker than the original.
8 Private "Spoon" Witherspoon
Spoon might be one of the lesser known entries on our list, but anyone who watched Neil Marshall’s 2002 werewolf classic Dog Soldiers won’t soon forget this particular Briton. During a training exercise in the Scottish Highlands, Spoon not only engages a pack of werewolves in a firefight, but, when cornered in a seemingly abandoned cabin with an empty machine gun, he beats one up. No joke. Spoon goes toe-to-toe with a werewolf and, with the help of knives, frying pans, and more left hooks than a Kimbo Slice video, he literally beats up a werewolf.
Eventually, one of the werewolf’s buddies tags in and gets the drop on our man, but not before giving us one of the most awesome, though unbelievable, moments in the history of monster movies.
7 The Frankenstein Monster
Often regarded as the first work of true science fiction, Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein told the story of a monster created by science rather than mysticism. The story is very successful at establishing reader sympathy with the monster, who remains unnamed throughout the text and, when you stop and think about it, was abandoned by his only parent. With that, the only demand the monster makes is to have Dr. Frankenstein build him a companion. Doesn’t seem all that much to ask.
The Frankenstein Monster’s strength level really depends on which version of the Monster you want to talk about. However, it’s canon to accept that the Monster is at least strong enough to be more than a match for most bouncers and barroom tough guys. It’s a wonder he’s able to perform so well — considering he’s literally stitched together.
6 Eben Oleson
Big Daddy Cane maintains pimping ain’t easy, but it’s a good bet that pimping is a damn sight easier than serving as sheriff in Barrow, Alaska. Eben Oleson, the lead man in the 2007 film 30 Days of Night (and the comic of the same name) is a lawman required to fend off a vampire feeding frenzy in a town where, for a full month, the sun never rises. To cut to the chase, Oleson eventually decides the only way to beat the vampire brood is to become a vampire, so he injects himself with tainted blood, grows fangs, and picks a fight with the eldest of the vampire invaders, Marlow. The fight ends with Marlow’s skull wrapped around Eben’s fist, which provides a wonderfully dramatic end to the struggle.
What’s not provided, however, is the explanation of how a newly-born vampire is able to brutalize a vampire king.
Nowadays, zombies come in a few different forms. Some run, some lumber; some demand brains; others are less discerning about their protein sources. But in all cases, virtually all fans agree a zombie has to be a reanimated corpse — in other words, a member of the walking dead. But even if you accept that the dead COULD return to life, what sort of life would they be returning to? With no respiratory system to power one’s lungs, no circulatory system to keep fluids from settling to the lowest part of the body, post-mortem stiffness, not to mention whatever injury caused death in the first place, the zombie has a problem on its hands.
By all logic, he should be weak as a kitten.
4 Underwater Zombie
For those of you who think you’ve seen it all in zombie movies, you’d be well advised to rent Lucio Fulci’s 1979 classic Zombie II (sometimes called Zombie Flesh Eaters). From the reanimation of the Spanish Conquistadors to an eyeball gag that’s almost unwatchable, Fulci gave us everything in this Italian gem. And that includes a zombie walking across the bottom of the sea who, for reasons unexplained, decides to fight a shark.
No, seriously — this movie has a zombie fight a shark.
Though losing an arm in the struggle, the zombie didn’t seem behind on points when throwing down with the big fish. And though the fight made for a thoroughly memorable movie moment, it also makes for a thoroughly unbelievable feat of strength.
Charles Lee Ray, a serial killer with the good sense to read up on the subject of voodoo, found himself meeting a bloody end in a Chicago toy shop, way back in 1988. Do to his knowledge of voodoo, Charles managed to hand off his soul into the body of a Good Guy doll, before dying. And with that act was born the greatest cruiserweight in horror — Chucky.
Child’s Play, the film franchise haunted by our little man, has given us five sequels to compliment the original film, and Chucky has gleefully slaughtered his way through countless victims in all instalments.
How about, in explaining why Chucky’s killing spree is unbelievable, we admit what wives and girlfriends have always known: size really does matters.
In a nutshell, Cthulhu is a giant creature from beyond time and space currently sleeping at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. He has a face that’s equal parts evil eyes and tentacles, dragon wings in the back, claws, the whole bit. In H.P. Lovecraft’s ’Call of Cthulhu’ — and Andrew Leman’s 2005 film of the same name — he’s described as a mountain that walked. No one can really evaluate the true size of the beast because looking at him causes instant madness. Cthulhu is a member of the Old Ones, a group of aliens who lost a war with another group of aliens, nicer ones, and the result is the creature lays waiting for his chance to rise again. All scouting reports say his return won’t be good for humankind.
Good thing for us that the mathematic principle known as the square-cube law indicates enormous beings are unable to generate enough locomotion to raise their hands, let alone level a city.
1 Ash Williams
The hero of the Evil Dead franchise, Ash Williams is a beloved character for his unique skill of combining moments of high action with self-deprecating humour. One of the most endearing things about Ash is that, basically, he starts out as the least likely candidate to survive. A clerk at ’S-mart’ with an offbeat sense of humour, Ash is happy living his life with his girlfriend and buddies until, sadly, demons start trying to kill him.
At that point, Ash somehow evolves into a man of action able to dispatch Deadites, wrestle possessed trees, amputate his hand when it becomes possessed, time travel, fall from the sky, fight his way out of a medieval monster pit, forge a robotic hand to replace his amputated one, lead an army against the Deadites, facilitate a peace treaty between warring kingdoms, time travel again, and make it home in time to pick up a dishy girl browsing the S-mart hardware section.
Well done, Ash. Well done.