It’s a common trope in the horror genre that the villain never really dies. Even when they’ve been beheaded, set on fire, blown up, and buried, they’ll still find a way back into the sequel. Sometimes they don’t even wait that long and appear in the last shot of the film to give the audience a last fright. Deductible as freddie and Friday 13 were built on the resurrection of their great villains, resulting in some of horror’s most iconic villains.
When it comes to horror movies that stay grounded in realism, however, they know they can’t kill off their villain and bring them back without losing their audience’s trust. So instead, the following movies keep their villain, wounded but alive. Some of these villains win, while others are bested by the last girl and left to lick their wounds until they’re ready to kill again.
Warning: Spoilers ahead
The highly influential classic of Alfred Hitchcock, psychology takes pleasure in subverting the expectations of his audience. When the last girl faked Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) checks into the Bates Motel, she is soon stabbed to death in the shower in one of the most iconic horror scenes.
With the blame falling on his mother, troubled manager Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) scrambles as people come to pick up the dead woman. It is revealed that Norman’s mother was dead all along and he was the murderer all along. After being arrested, the film ends with Norman’s creepy smile directed at the camera.
psychology is available to stream on Peacock.
The indie horror hit that spawned the fastest growing horror franchise of all time, Seen has simple beginnings. When two strangers, Dr Gordon (Cary Elwes) and Adam (Leigh Whannel), wake up chained to the walls of an abandoned bathroom, they will have to understand what binds them to get out alive.
As they talk, they realize they are victims of Jigsaw’s killer, an unknown figure who kidnaps people and forces them to play deadly games. At the end of the film, it is revealed Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) has been in the room with them the entire time, and as he leaves Adam screaming, he utters “game over” before slamming the door.
Seen is available to stream on Peacock.
An underrated gem, Identify is a psychological thriller clearly inspired by Agatha Christieit is And then there was no more. When 11 strangers find themselves stranded in a remote motel during a severe thunderstorm, they soon discover there’s a killer among them.
Stacked with a great cast that includes John Cusack and Ray Liotta, Identify is a well-acted murder mystery with an excellent storyline. At the end of the film, it is revealed that all of the characters are serial killer Malcolm Rivers personalities, and that Timmy, the seemingly innocent little boy, was always the killer. The sole survivor of the motel massacre, Timmy remains Rivers’ dominant personality.
Identify is available to stream on Netflix.
“The Collector” (2009)
When professional thief Arkin (Josh Stewart) breaks into a house to steal a gem, he discovers that he is not the only intruder. A masked man has captured the family and set an assortment of brutal traps in their home. His conscience getting the better of him, Arkin attempts to save the family while avoiding becoming the killer’s next victim.
It’s said everywhere The Collector that the titular villain always takes one. This is proven in the finale when Arkin is kidnapped by the killer and locked in a wooden box. The final shot reveals Arkin trapped in the Collector’s hideout, with the masked murderer free to plan his next crime.
The Collector is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video and Tubi.
‘My Bloody Valentine’ (1981)
A classic 80s slasher, My dear love takes the holiday of love and turns it into a bloodbath. When a group of teenagers decide to throw a Valentine’s Day party in their town’s mines, they quickly fall victim to a psychopath in mining gear who dispatches them with a pickaxe.
Initially, the murderer is believed to be Harry Warden, the sole survivor of a collapse twenty years ago. However, the killer is revealed to be Axel, one of the teenagers who went insane after seeing his father murdered by Warden as a young boy. Escaping from the police, Axel promises to return and finish what he started by fleeing deeper into the mines.
My dear love is available to stream on HBO Max.
“Urban Legend” (1998)
One of the best 90s slasher movies to appear after Scream revitalized the genre, Urban legend gives a unique twist to the murderer’s methods. When a killer begins to terrorize students at an American university, they realize the deaths are staged to look like famous urban legends that have been passed down for decades.
With most of her friends dead, the last daughter Natalie (Alicia Witt) finds out that the masked killer is actually her best friend Brenda (Rebecca Gayheart). Brenda is seemingly indestructible, surviving being shot and thrown out of two different windows only to reappear during the film’s final moments. She also has a cameo in the sequel, hinting that her killing spree has only just begun.
‘Wolf Creek’ (2005)
Proving that it’s not just wildlife that will kill you in Australia, wolf creek has terrorized the country’s tourist board since its publication. When two British backpackers and their local friend run into car trouble deep in the outback, they accept help from the seemingly friendly Mick (John Jarrat).
It doesn’t take long for Mick to reveal his true colors, and the hunter begins to torment the trio through the unforgiving landscape. Despite Ben (Nathan Phillips) escaping and alerting the authorities, they are unable to find Mick and the serial killer is free to continue his murderous reign in a place where bodies are easy to hide.
wolf creek is available to stream on Tubi.
“Don’t Breathe” (2016)
Following his interpretation of evil Deadone of the best horror remakes, Faith Alvarez struck gold again with don’t breathe. When three teenagers decide to break into a blind man’s house to steal his safe, they don’t realize he’s a trained killer with a terrifying secret in the basement that he’ll do anything to hide.
After a tense chase throughout the house, the sole survivor Rocky (Jane Levy) manages to subdue the blind man (Stephane Lang) and left him for dead. As she boards a train with her younger sister sometime later, a news report reveals that the man survived his injuries and returns in a sequel where he is now portrayed as the hero.
don’t breathe is available to stream on Tubi.
“The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (1974)
One of the godfathers of the horror genre, The Texas Chainsaw MassacreThe suffocating atmosphere is still terrifying today. When five friends on a day trip break down in the Texas countryside, they are soon attacked by Leatherface, a tall, masked man wielding a bloodied chainsaw.
With her dead friends, Sally (marilyn burns) is brought to Leatherface, where she is to have dinner. Managing to escape, she leaps out of a window and leaps into the back of a passing van, laughing maniacally as her pursuer swings his chainsaw down the road in frustration.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is available to stream on AMC+, Shudder and Tubi.
The most influential slasher movie of all time, Halloween started as a simple story of a masked man who hunts down and kills babysitters. While caring for two young children on Halloween night, teenager Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) comes face to face with evil incarnate, Michael Myers.
With the help of Michael’s psychiatrist, Dr. Loomis (Donald please), Laurie overcomes the killer and Loomis shoots her from a balcony. Of course, when they go to make sure he’s dead, Michael’s body is nowhere to be found. His heavy breathing is soon heard as he plans the next stage of his rampage.
Halloween is available to stream on Shudder and AMC+.
NEXT: 10 Best Slashers That Aren’t “Halloween” Or “Friday The 13th”