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10 Most Iconic Horror Movie Weapons

The most successful horror franchises, e.g. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th, tend to give their frightening icons a specific tool unique to them. However, it’s not just long-running franchises that bestow their villain with a memorable weapon.

Furthermore, weapons aren’t always sharp or blunt objects, sometimes they can be internal. It all depends on what the antagonist or pseudo-antagonist is trying to accomplish. Sometimes that can be stalking counselors at Camp Crystal Lake. Other times it can be an attempt to dissuade bullies from being themselves. Either way, the best horror icons have a tool that suits their personality, or lack thereof.


Leatherface’s Chainsaw

Tobe Hooper’s 1974 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a masterpiece fuelled by subtlety. The movie has a reputation that precedes it, and that gory reputation is incorrect.

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The title includes two words that would put most viewers off, but Hooper’s classic is relatively tame in reality. Everything is left to the audience’s imagination save for some dangling chicken bones, and the impact of Leatherface’s whirring chainsaw is amplified by the lack of graphic violence. Viewers imagine what it’s doing, and that thought allows the chainsaw to ascend the ranks of horror weaponry.

Cropsy’s Hedge Clippers

Cropsey Maniac holding hedge clippers on the poster of The Burning

Along with being one of Scream Factory’s best 1980s movie releasesThe Burning also introduced a horror icon in Cropsy.

While Cropsy ended up being a one-off, the film is substantially bolstered by the makeup effects of Tom Savini (Dawn of the DeadFriday the 13th). The artist’s work elevates The Burning above similar “cash-in” slasher films released in the wake of both Halloween, and it arguably contains the best work of his career. Unlike other slasher villains, Cropsy doesn’t go for diversity in his kills but rather sticks with garden sheers. This includes the film’s notorious raft scene, which features the antagonist swiftly (with some clever editing) dispatching several teens in one fell swoop.

Carrie’s Mind

A still from the 1976 adaptation of Stephen King's Carrie.

Brian De Palma’s adaptation of Stephen King’s first novel, Carrie, has managed to stand as one of the best translations of his work to date because Sissy Spacek makes the character feel lived in.

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Carrie may have deadly telekinetic superpowers and an overly-religious mother who locks her in closets as punishment for nothing, but deep down she’s just a normal young woman trying to make it through high school. She’s relatable, even when the third act twists her into something vengeful and unrecognizable

Jigsaw’s Various Traps

Shawnee Smith as Amanda in Saw II

John Kramer, AKA Jigsaw, came up with any number of increasingly grotesque and convoluted traps for his supposedly immoral victims. Many of them are new to the world of horror, particularly in the later sequels. However, the first two films each hold a standout trap.

James Wan’s Saw iconically put Shawnee Smith in a reverse bear trap which, when sprung, rips the victim’s jaw forward and head back. It’s grizzly and repulsive, but somehow not as much as the needle pit trap from Saw II. Arguably the most simplistic trap of the franchise’s run, the needle pit shows Jigsaw’s propensity for subjecting victims to manufactured consequences directly related to their choices on the outside.

The Tall Man’s Orb

The Tall Man with his sphere in Phantasm.

The Tall Man, like Freddy Krueger, is iconic because of the actor in the role. Angus Scrimm’s rail-thin, bony physicality makes for a perfect bedfellow with a graveyard, which incidentally is a location he frequents.

Furthermore, on top of his jarring appearance, the Tall Man is the one horror cinema villain to kill his victims with a silver orb. However, it’s not an ordinary crystal ball, but rather a flying, spiked almost-sentient weapon with the ability to drill into one’s skull. It’s deadly, efficient, and exclusive to Phantasm‘s world.

Michael’s Butcher Knife

Michael Myers Halloween Kills

The Halloween franchise is loaded with hidden details, but Michael Myers’ massive butcher knife isn’t one of them. While the Silver Shamrock masks in Halloween III: Season of the Witch are terrifying and formidable weapons in their own right, there’s little comparison to Myers walking slowly towards his prey, knife in hand.

The scariness behind Myers is based on his simplicity. He’s a blank slate, a machine with a pulse, and the basicness of a knife that can be found in any kitchen coalesces perfectly with his absence of personality.

Candyman’s Hook

Candyman, an adaptation of Clive Barker’s (Hellraiser) story, “The Forbidden,” features one of the most sympathetic villains in horror history.

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Tony Todd’s sensitive performance as the titular candyman allows the audience to look beyond his bloody, cavernous, bee-covered chest and meaty hook hand, but his appearance is still iconic, as is the hook. The superb 2021 continuation kept the hook but changed up the Candyman. And, considering how scary the delayed sequel is, it appears the hook is still an effectively frightening tool, whether it’s on the hand of the Candyman or in the hand of a fisherman chasing Sarah Michelle Gellar through a mardi gras-type street party.

Ash’s Chainsaw And Boomstick

Before Bruce Campbell was cameoing in Sam Raimi’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, he led the fight against The Evil Dead.

Ash really became the iconic Deadite fighter in Raimi’s sequel, Evil Dead II. In that film, he loses a hand, only to replace it with a chainsaw. If that weren’t unique enough, Ash also has a shotgun. However, it’s not the existence of the shotgun that’s iconic, but rather what he calls it in Army of Darkness: his “boomstick.”

Jason’s Machete

Jason Voorhees wielding his machete in a spotlight in Jason Goes To Hell The Final Friday

When he’s doing walking tours of the iconic horror location Camp Crystal Lake, Jason always has his machete in hand. Over the course of 12 movies, Jason has diversified his murderous portfolio, but at least once in every movie, he sticks with the old faithful.

The machete usage also applies to Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning‘s Roy Burns, who perhaps used it even more than the genuine Voorhees. Furthermore, Jason’s mother, Pamela Voorhees, also used a machete, notably in the first film’s opening scene and the off-screen death of Ned Rubenstein.

Freddy’s Glove

If any other horror character after Freddy Krueger wore a razor glove, they would rightfully be deemed a copycat. The homemade knife glove is arguably the most horrifying weapon in a horror film because it’s an invention. The scarred Krueger spent time constructing it, and only for one purpose: to end the lives of young people.

Krueger is contemptible, even if sequels turned him into a jokester, and the fact that he made something with the sole purpose of harming others makes him horrifying even without a weapon. Furthermore, the razor glove works aesthetically; Krueger is a relatively frail man, particularly when next to the hulking Jason Voorhees, and the finger knives make more sense with his frame than a heavy machete.

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