Horror films sometimes seem like they are taking place in an alternate reality where the rules of real life and logic don’t apply. The biggest and strongest characters are often the first to go and it’s not uncommon to see a killer taken down by someone half their size. The hero or heroine is almost always someone that didn’t know he or she was the heroic type until they were thrown into a situation where they had to go ahead and save the day. Horror films often celebrate the underdog and we think that’s a good thing. It’s exciting to see an ordinary person rise to the occasion and save the world. So, we will now pay tribute to seven of the most unlikely heroes from horror cinema. Some spoilers ahead, read with caution.
Ash from The Evil Dead trilogy
“Shop smart. Shop S Mart.” Ash is not the type of person one would see on the street and peg as a hero. He is seemingly just an ordinary guy that works an ordinary job as a store clerk. However, when things get real, he proves himself to be a proper hero and kicks some major ass. Throughout the course of the trilogy he proves to possess many dormant skills; he reveals a hidden talent for crafting interchangeable, replacement body parts and the masterful ability to stand up to and decimate deadites.
Shaun from Shaun of the Dead
Like Ash from the Evil Dead films, Shaun is a mild mannered store clerk but he finds inner strength that even he didn’t know he had when the zombie apocalypse hits his hometown. Shaun goes from mild mannered store clerk to wise cracking ass-kicker in an instant and he is a hero that audiences love to cheer for.
Reggie from Phantasm
If I were put up against a deranged undertaker that was decimating entire towns, only to reanimate the corpses for inter-dimensional slave labor, an ice cream man is not the first person I would expect to rise to show up and save the day. However, that’s exactly what Reggie does and he does it with ease. He is the kind of character that can hold his own with the guys and charm the ladies. We learn more about Reggie as the Phantasm franchise unfolds and he becomes the main character; and he just keeps getting more awesome.
Charley Brewster from Fright Night
Charley is an awkward adolescent that doesn’t look like he could put together a jigsaw puzzle, much less a team of vampire hunters to defeat his undead neighbor, Jerry Dandridge. But, when it’s necessitated by circumstance, Charley gets his act together, and along with his recruited companions, heroically defeats Jerry.
Kazan from Cube
Kazan isn’t a hero in the conventional sense. He seems to be a hindrance to the group for a large part of the film but once they discover that he is a mathematical genius and able to solve complex equations in his head, he becomes an essential component to the continued survival of the group. Kazan is also an unlikely survivor. Upon first watching the movie, I wouldn’t have expected him to make it out of the cube alive but he ends up being the only member of the group to walk away from the experience.