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Monday, July 9, 2012

Place Your Bets: Ghostface Vs. The Fisherman

When it comes to 90's horror, two franchises come to mind: Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer. Both original films were successful. Both went on to produce sequels. Both created villains that are now a part of pop culture. So which villain reigns supreme: The know-it all trivia king, or the creepy man with a hook for a hand.

Ghostface: It all began with a phone call and ended in a bloodbath. Two bored, sexually frustrated teens, Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich) and Stu Macher (Matthew Lillard) begin a killing spree one night in the small town of Woodsboro. From there, these two were immortalised on film which in turn spurned a long list of copy cats, Mickey (Timothy Olyphant), Mrs. Loomis (Laurie Metcalf), Roman (Scott Foley), Charlie (Rory Culkin) and Jill (Emma Roberts) all hell bent on the same thing – kill Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell). But what sets Ghostface apart is how knowledgeable 'he' is when it comes to horror trivia. “If you get it wrong, you die. If you get it right, you die.”

The Fisherman: A group of drunk teens (Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze Jr and Ryan Phillippe) hit a man with their car then decide to dump the body. No body, no crime. Yeah, I can see how he'd be a little pissed about that. The following year Julie (JLH) gets a letter in the mail with the chilling words 'I Know What You Did Last Summer' scrawled on a small piece of paper. Some one knows what they did. After a couple of scares (running Barry over with his car, cutting Helen's hair) the Fisherman ups the ante, killing Barry in a crowded room before stalking Helen in one hell of a chase scene that still gives me chills. His ultimate goal: Revenge.

So, let's get ready to rumble...

Both film franchises have sequels. Scream came out in 1996. It's sequel, Scream 2, arrived in 1997 while Scream 3 made it's debut in 2000. Scream 4 was the most recent film in the series, arriving in cinemas in 2011. There is talk of a possible Scream 5 to appear within the next couple of years. Hopefully this is just rumour.

I Know What You Did Last Summer came out in 1997 and it's sequel I Still Know What You Did Last Summer hit cinemas in 1998. There was a direct to DVD third film entitled I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer, but none of the original cast returned for it, so naturally, it failed. (Fun Fact: Muse Watson's Fisherman was played by Don Shanks in I'll Always Know. Don portrayed Halloween serial killer, Michael Myers, in Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers)

Like my past Place Your Bets articles, I'm going to be looking at the original films only.

The cast and characters always add to the success of the villains. In the case of Scream, Skeet Ulrich and Matthew Lillard were behind the slayings, and despite their very weak motives (“My mom abandoned me because my dad was having an affair with your mom” and “peer pressure”) their characters were still loveable right to the end (Hey, don't judge me, I thought Billy was hot). Notable deaths included Drew Barrymore at the beginning and Henry Winkler as the principle. (Fun Fact: A bronzed statue of Henry's character can be seen in the hallway of Woodsboro High in Scream 4 when Jill and Kirby are talking).

In the case of I Know What You Did Last Summer, casting an established stage and screen actor as the villain added to the fear factor. (Fun Fact: Muse Watson scared the living bejesus out of me in this film, but it was because of him and me wanting to watch him in something less scary that I began watching Prison Break and NCIS) Muse's movements were chilling from his long strides across the park as he chased Helen (Sarah Michelle Gellar), the way he held the hook in his hand, turning it oh so slightly so that the light reflected off it or just the fact that he gets this crazy look in his eye at the end all added to the creepiness factor that is The Fisherman. Notable deaths include The Big Bang Theory star, Johnny Galecki, Bridgette Wilson (Helen's older sister) and Stuart Greer.

When it comes to body count Scream leads the way with seven deaths, however only five of them were performed by the killers. Sidney, in self-defence, killed both Billy and Stu. (While Billy and Stu killed Sidney's mother, she never made an appearance in the original film, thus not including her in the body count) I Know What You Did Last Summer proved to be more damaging with Ben Willis performing all the kills himself. Six confirmed deaths in the film. (I am including that of David Egan at the beginning. We don't see David's death, but we know from later clues that Ben was responsible for his demise)

Weapon of choice is easy. For Ghostface, it's a hunting knife, and a telephone to inform his victim of when he's coming. For the Fisherman, it's a long sharp fishing hook that he holds in his right hand. At the end of I Know, Ben's hand is cut off so in the sequel, the hook replaces his hand.

I always find killers without motives to be scarier. Billy tried to play that card before confessing to Sidney that he killed her mother because she was having an affair with his father and it was the reason his mother left. Stu cited peer pressure as the reason for his involvement. In the case of the Fisherman, it's purely and simply revenge. He killed David Egan because he was responsible for the death of Ben's daughter, Susie. Then when the mains hit him with their car and try to cover it up, he seeks them out, delivering one hell of a line when Julie tells him it was an accident. “I know all about 'accidents', and let me give you some advice: When you leave a man for dead, make sure that he's REALLY dead!”

In the height department, Ghostface fluctuates throughout all movies except the third one. Skeet Ulrich is 5'10 in height while Matthew Lillard is 6'3. This has been one of many issues I've had with the Scream series. As for the Fisherman, being played by the same actor helps prevent this from happen. Muse Watson is 6'1 but still manages to be menacing. When Muse was replaced by Don Shanks in the horrendous third film, then the Fisherman's height shot up to 6'4-6'5.

If popularity was a war, then Ghostface won it hands down. He became more popular than the Fisherman, but like Freddy Krueger before him, Ghostface became more comical than scary. The Fisherman, whilst not commercially as popular as Ghostface, still manages to keep his creep factor, not giving in to the comedy side of horror.

So who wins the battle of the 90's horror villains?

Despite three sequels, a never-aging cast, and Wes Craven's direction, this battle surpasses Ghostface in favour of the hook wielding maniac, The Fisherman. With the hottest cast of the late 90's, a shiny sharp fishing hook, and very neat handwriting, Benjamin Willis, a.k.a The Fisherman of Southport, North Carolina, takes home this trophy for successfully scaring audiences and the main characters to the point of wetting themselves.

Giving horror fans the world over reason to fear small towns, a stupendous chase sequence that rivalled the original Halloween, and ethics that should you hit someone with a car, go to the police before they come back to kill you, the Fisherman is one man you don't really want to meet in a dark alley. Just ask know what I mean.

Winner: The Fisherman


  1. I'm a Scream fan but I fully back this. Ghostface is too funny while the Fisherman is still creepy. Love your work, Rei.

  2. Both series are lame. Both killers are stupid.

  3. Ghostface is really funny but at the same time his voice on the phone terrifies me. The Fisherman was just scary all the time. I would have died if he had been in my bedroom and cut my hair. Because of that scene I check my closet before I go to sleep.

  4. Biased opinion once again. You've stated a million times that I Know What You Did Last Summer was the movie that began your love of horror so of course you'll say that the killer was better than anyone else. The Fisherman wasn't scary. He was a wimpy old man.

    1. I get the feeling your the guy who i had to put in his place last time you reared your fugly head, Why dont you man up and stop hiding behind Anon and put a name to yourself..... And honestly if her opinion is so distasteful just fuck off and dont read it

    2. Testy. Lover boy's back to defend his perfect horror princess. All I'm saying is the Fisherman was an old man who they could easily kick the shit out of. But no, she doesn't view it like that because he scared her. What a whimp. Hand back the Scream Queen crown, Rhiannon. You're pathetic as a horror writer.

    3. Yep your the pathetic twat Just go away coward only worthless chicken shits hide behind Anon come on stand up and be counted or just go back under the rock like a slimball you are

    4. Oh and Anon as you clearly dont know shit a life working on a fishing boat give people certain traits like being Fitter and stronger than most, Then add in the rage one would of felt at the slight he recieved that stewed over the year, The Ghostface kiddies might have had youth but not much more and the fact they hid behind a mask shows that they were weak just like you.

  5. Anonymous,
    Rhiannon Elizabeth Irons has indeed stated that I Know was her introduction to Horror. But if you ever see this film with her, you'll understand why the Fisherman comes out on top. By the end, she is shaking more than a leaf on a tree and the slightest noise causes her to jump.

    I am a Scream fan, but I can understand from personal experience why Rhiannon chose the Fisherman as the winner in this battle. Ghostface tends to trip over his own feet and has the shit kicked out of him on a regular basis. Rhiannon also backs up her point of view nicely in this article.

    By today's standards of horror, yes, these series are 'lame' but they are good, fun slashers. As for the killers being stupid, I'd like to see how long you'd last against them.

    That sequence was terrifying. I couldn't imagine how violated Helen would have felt that someone was in her room while she slept - not to mention cut her hair off. As for checking the closets before sleeping, my ex-wife use to do that too.

    I'm inclinded to agree completely with you. Ghostface, like all of Wes Craven's creations, has become a joke. The Fisherman (ignoring the third film because it wasn't Muse Watson under that slicker) still has a creepy factor. I always hated the part where he jumped out, grabbing Helen in the Shivers' store. That would scare anyone.

    Now to my own views on this article. Brilliant work by our favorite Aussie author, Rhiannon Elizabeth Irons. Can't wait to read her Horror Icon Of The Month article on Muse Watson (The Fisherman) and I'm even more excited to see which two horror icons she'll drag into the Horrordome next. Keep up the good work, ReiRei.

  6. LMFHO!!! How brave are you, "anonymous"? "Anonymous" because you are scared that the wimpy old man would break your girly little arm and beat you with the bloody stub? You would be right. See, this wimpy old man is still able to take care of the likes of you ..... and would .... if you were not so "anonymous". LOL

    1. As if you're the real deal. This blog isn't cool enough to have actual celebrities on it. The Fisherman sucks. Ghostface all the way.

    2. Oh, seriously, you think Muse is being fake here? Go look at his facebook page or his twitter'll find he's the real deal and will be haunting your dreams for years to come now. You made a big mistake, 'Anonymous'. That reminds me, I need to see 'I Know' again. The Fisherman is the most scariest person I've ever seen....and blows the rest of the 'horror' creations away.

  7. Hi everyone! Thank you for the comments. Let me take a few minutes to address each one.

    Dom and CiCi,

    You two are my most avid readers and I can't thank you enough : ). Scream is more popular, but as a killer, Ghostface is rather whimpy compared to the likes of the Fisherman. Thank you for allowing my opinion.


    I think Trent hit the nail on the head with his response to you. Thank you for voicing your opinion.


    Seeing as this is my blog, I think I have a right to be biased in what I write on it, however seeing as you enjoy picking me apart, let's see you write a better one.


    As always, THANK YOU!


    What can I say to you other than Thank you for scaring me when I was 12. Because of you I love horror and have a healthy sense of paranoia. I certainly hope my Horror Icon Of The Month article will do you and your illustrious career justice.

    Thank you everyone once again for your comments. Glad this could generate some debate : )

    Much love,

    Rhiannon Elizabeth Irons.

  8. Anonymous - FUCK OFF. Go troll some other site. Rhiannon Irons is one of the hippest, fun-loving, sensual writers around. Her stories and articles always leave readers wanting more. If you think what she writes is shit then why do you a) read it and b) comment. If you think you can do better, then go ahead.

    ReiRei, my sufing chicka, much love for this article. While I love Scream more than I Know, I can totally see where you're coming from. And judging from Muse's comment, there might be some life left in that hook lol :)

  9. Interesting debate. I'm not one for horror movies, and these two gave me chills. I love how you back up your arguments.
    And to the fuckwit that hides behind Anonymous, I think you take things out on Rhiannon because you're a 40 year old man still living at home with your mother. Get a life.

  10. Nice article. I agree. Fisherman wins this hands down. :-)


  12. Oh interesting battle between the 90's titans. True, the Fisherman is still scary to this day and Ghostface is more mainstream. I think the winner is decided based on if they were coming at you, who would you run from. Sorry Scream fans, but I'd be too busy laughing at Ghostface to turn and run. I agree with Rhiannon Irons on this one. Fisherman wins by a hook.