Movie murderers make killer crushes


(Illustration by Raka Sarkar | Senior Staff Illustrator)

In a darkened movie theater, a pale face appears, grinning evilly from the depths of a sewer grate. A masked man in a dark jumpsuit stalks menacingly down a corridor with a knife. A creepy loner stares fixedly at a female guest over the front desk of a motel in the middle of nowhere.

Most of the audience reacts with fear to the macabre images of the killer as he appears onscreen in a horror movie. Yet unbeknownst to the jittered many, a secretive few have a different reaction to the villain — they think he’s kind of cute. In the age of the internet, a lot of clandestine desires have come out of the shadows to bask in the light of mainstream society — and they’re not going away anytime soon.

Released early last month, the film remake of Stephen King’s “It” has attracted seemingly more attention from fans sexually attracted to its villain, Pennywise the dancing clown, than from fans watching for the plot. And while hybristophilia — sexual attraction to murderers — and coulrophilia — sexual attraction to clowns — both have histories in the annals of psychology, the Pennywise craze is almost unprecedented in pop culture.

“I want to have sex with Pennywise and I never had sexual fantasies about a serial killer,” one viewer said.

“I want Pennywise and [me] to have a sexy makeout session,” another viewer added.

“Pennywise the clown from IT is super hot and I’m very confused right now,” a Twitter user said.

It feels unfair for one killer clown to get all the attention, though. Pennywise is only one type of horror movie villain, and not everyone has the same type. Sure, he’s good with kids, ageless and can use makeup to embrace his feminine side. But in the spirit of inclusion, we want to talk about some other types of horror movie villains we’d love to get to know more intimately.

There’s nothing more attractive than a man who knows how to dress. Leatherface from “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” series is arguably the best-dressed man in horror. Throughout the series, he demonstrates his attention to picking the perfect clothing combo, but he also shows his more sensitive side when carefully hand-sewing assorted face masks from the skin of his victims.

Not only is he talented and well-dressed, but he cares about the environment, too. After killing his victims, he uses their skin to construct endearing facial decor and eats their flesh, so nothing goes to waste. He’s the total package, an environmentally conscious DIY dreamboat. Think James Bond ordering a Vesper Martini in a suit of human skin.

But maybe your horror movie cup of tea is poured by the withered hands of an aging mother. If that’s the case, then Norman Bates from “Psycho” is likely the momma’s boy of your fantasies. Nothing illustrates a man’s character more than his relationship with his mom. If he cares for her then not only is he dependable, but also in tune with a woman’s needs.

Norman Bates is nothing if not stable. He owns a house, tends to his mother’s welfare and manages a motel. And the Bates Motel will provide you a safe, comfy and convenient place to spend the night. Best of all, you’ll never fall prey to that pesky monster-in-law trope.

Just because you’re a wrathful ancient spirit unearthed at an archaeological dig doesn’t mean you’re incapable of love. Just look at Pazuzu, the demon at the heart of “The Exorcist.” He’s an old soul who’ll keep you up late at night with stories of the good old days in ancient Mesopotamia. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t hip to the new curses on the street.

Anyone who’s seen “The Exorcist” also knows the ancient demon’s quite the freak in bed — there’s no question a night with Pazuzu will keep your neighbors up. And the demon has a fiercely independent streak as well — don’t try taking this one to the altar.

If you’re looking for a guy who’s more into the life of the mind, look no further than the witty mass murderer from “Scream.” Ghostface might keep his distance at first, preferring to call you up on the phone from your back porch at night. But once you get to know him, he’ll dazzle you with his puns and extensive knowledge of horror movie trivia.

The Blair Witch — the “girlfriend who lives in Canada” of horror movie miscreants. You don’t get to see her as often as you’d like, but when you do it’s always an adventure. Despite the distance, she remains a supportive partner and always encourages your hobbies, even the most embarrassing ones, like amateur videography and glamping. It’s like the overlords always tell you: absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Of course, there’s no beating the classic — and you aren’t likely to meet a guy more classic than Michael Myers of “Halloween” fame. After audiences watch Myers wait 15 years in a high-security mental prison before escaping to take out his revenge, it’ll be hard for them to find a more patient guy. He’s got the burly strength of an ox and he’ll never give up on getting the girl.

Yes, he’s a bit old fashioned at times, losing his temper whenever kids, drugs and premarital sex get in his way. And he’s not much of a conversationalist. But you’ll find yourself too busy staring into those cold, soulless eyes to care much.

Obviously, everyone has their own type, both when it comes to romantic interests and to film genres. But just because you don’t like horror movies doesn’t mean you can’t get anything out of sitting through a horror movie with your friends this Halloween. Who knows? You just might find your next romantic obsession.