While watching Dawn of the Dead (remake) yet again, I got to thinking what an utter jack-ass the character of Steve was, and of course because my mind is always percolating possible blog entries, I thought a mini-retrospective on jackasses in horror was called for. So here it is.
Steve from Dawn of the Dead
Sure, Steve was witty and hilarious, I'll give him that. But he didn't give a thought to anything except his own well-being. Which, though his sarcasm hit new levels of audacity, still makes him a class one jack-ass. He was heartless about the deaths of others, looked out only for number one, and yet still managed to make me laugh. And he made a kick-ass zombie, short-lived as he was.
Harry Cooper from NOTLD
This guy was under my skin from the moment he appeared onscreen. I couldn't wait for his ghoulish daughter to take him out. If I'd have been Ben, I'd have shot him straightaway and saved myself the agony of listening to his bossy moaning and groaning. Face it dude, you had butkus in the way of good ideas. STFU!
Franklin from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Oh, shut your whiney mouth, Franklin!
And while you might accuse me of picking on a cripple, I say I'm doing no such thing. I run an equal-opportunity blog here. Anyone - regardless of race, handicap or intelligence level - can be a jackass in my book. I was pretty GD happy when 'ole Leatherface took a chainsaw down the middle of this hapless blockhead. So there.
David from Shaun of the Dead
Ahh, David. Classic jackass. Carrying a torch for Shaun's girl the whole way through the movie, David didn't want to lift a finger to help anyone else, did he? He was strangled by his own self-preservation, and made it a point to quickly change sides from pacifist to all out aggressor when it came to saving his own ass. He died the best death in the movie, in an homage to the original.
But man, I so wanted to slap him!
Dr. Chilton from Silence of the Lambs
Now here's a dude that got his comeuppance at the end of SOTL. When we first meet Dr. Chilton we realize within two seconds that he is there for us to abhor. First he comes on to Starling in his office (ick!), and when she turns him down, he suddenly becomes all business, and soon rudely tells her that she could have told him back in his office about going in to see Lecter alone. I'd have cleaned his clock right there. When she finally dismisses him on her third visit and tells him to call the Attorney General if he has a problem, I laughed about as hard as when I heard that last Lecter-delivered line, "I'm having an old friend for dinner."
Wilma from Creepshow
Our lone female on the list, Wilma encompasses everything you love to hate about a swarmy, sleasy female character. She drives her husband crazy with her condescending manner of speaking, all the while humiliating the hell out of him and herself with her embarrassing alcoholic antics. In his daydream, he shoots her right between the eyes, while everyone claps and cheers. I have no doubt that would have been exactly the response he'd have gotten. No doubt whatsoever.
And no disrespect to Barbeau, either. She rocks.
Jeff from Cabin Fever
In an intended homage (I assume) to Night of the Living Dead, Jeff comes rambling off the porch in Cabin Fever, blubbering about his incredible luck to be the only one alive, when police officers shoot him dead. It was one of the best parts of the movie, and I couldn't have been happier to see that receding hairline-hometown-hero-wannabe go down in a blaze of contempt. He was so annoying throughout the entire film that his death was a revelation.
Mayor Larry Vaughn from Jaws
"You do whatever you have to do to make them safe, but those beaches will be open!"
Dickhead. I'm sorry but I cannot think of another word to describe this dude. After all the pleading Brody and Hooper did - with substantial reason, mind you - to try to get the beach closed, this yay-hoo wouldn't have it. I was always sadly disheartened that Mayor Vaughn didn't get violently torn to bits by Bruce. That would have made my day.
Sears from Ghost Story
John Houseman was really good at playing crotchety old gomers. In Ghost Story, he was the arrogant and pompous Sears, continually bossing his three other friends around. Houseman was great as the elder Sears, but Ken Olin also did a bang-up job as a youthful Mr. James. Either way, the pushy old gent was almost purely un-likeable. When Sears sees Eva/Alma standing on the road in the snow right before his death, it is one of my favorite creepy moments in horror.
But God... he was a prick.
Mr Toomey from Psycho II
Rounding out the list, we have Mr. Toomey (Dennis Franz), who just may well be the biggest jackass off all. Dr. Chilton runs a close second, but wow. Poor Norman Bates, just trying to get back to his old life (well, maybe that's a poor description...) but Toomey makes that pretty hard - running the Bates' motel like a drug-infested cheap ass cathouse, calling Normal all kinds of derogatory names in front of everyone, and hitting on Mary - the girl staying with Norman. A typical movie sleaseball - that gets what he deserves, true enough.