When it comes to the horror genre in cinema, there are always going to be some unavoidable casualties. It’s only natural that the protagonist of a film makes it out alive by the end (or close to it) as the story needs a character to follow, but very few protagonists come out of their order completely unscathed.
Perhaps each horror film’s protagonist gets the privilege of surviving to the end, but many of these main characters are forced to endure fates worse than the bloody deaths of their friends. Whether it be psychological or physical pain, these leading characters sometimes endure the most pain despite escaping with their lives. Here are some horror movie protagonists who suffered the absolute most.
Disclaimer: Major spoilers ahead!
8 David Drayton (The Mist)
This 2007 film was based on the 1980 Stephen King novella of the same name. The mist follows the journey of David and his son Billy as they try to survive the mysterious mist that has enveloped their town and quickly kills anything that wanders near it.
In a failed attempt to flee the monsters within the mist, David is forced to mercy kill his own son and three other survivors, only having enough bullets for them. Not only did David witness the destruction of his home, the death of his wife (and many others), and was forced to kill innocent people (including his own son), but he then also went on to live with the guilt of knowing that had he waited just a little longer before pulling the trigger, he would have seen that help and salvation were on the way.
7 Adam Faulkner-Stanheight (Saw)
Throughout the Saw film, Adam (and his fellow prisoner, Dr. Gordon) suffer in many ways; both physically and psychologically. To start things off, Adam’s life before getting violently kidnapped, imprisoned, and forced to play one of Jigsaw’s horrific games, already wasn’t that great, to begin with.
Adam explains his living situation, how he resorted to spying on people for money, and that he had just been through a rough breakup. In the film, Adam is psychologically tortured by his captor, electrocuted, shot, and ultimately left to rot in a dark room, chained to a toilet just like he had begun his journey. Adam’s only saving grace from him was having Amanda (his ex from him and Jigsaw’s accomplice) mercy kill him instead of leaving him to suffer and starve to death instead.
6 The Graham Family (Hereditary)
While Annie takes the main stage in hereditary as the primary protagonist, the entire Graham family (including, or rather, especially Annie’s late mother) all have their own intricate stories that intertwine into one tragic end. Due to Annie’s mother’s dabblings with an ancient witch coven, Annie’s entire family and bloodline were doomed to all die horrific deaths even before Peter or Charlie were even born.
All the misfortune Annie’s family suffered was part of the intricate planning her mother’s fellow coven members had orchestrated. In an attempt to summon their King Paimon, Annie witnessed her daughter’s decapitated corpse and her husband de ella being burnt alive. Meanwhile, poor Peter was then forced to watch his possessed mother de ella take her own life, right before finally becoming possessed himself.
5 Samantha Williams (Contracted)
The zombie genre is a rather popular one but usually films about the undead coming to life focus on hoards and how an outbreak would affect the nation as a whole. However, contracted uses a microscopic lens and hones in on the terrifying evolution of a singular person.
The film begins with Samantha being drugged and assaulted during a party she had attended to take her mind off her recent breakup. Her attacker de ella had then infected her with a horrific virus and her life de ella from that point on becomes absolute hell.
Dealing with medical complications is difficult enough but experiencing painful symptoms with no real answers from doctors can be a terrifying experience filled with agonizing uncertainty. As the film progresses, Sam’s body of her slowly decays until her final moments of her when she loses the little humanity she had left.
4 Sally Hardesty (Texas Chainsaw Massacre)
Sally Hardesty is an iconic character in horror cinema history as she was the main catalyst for the famous “final girl” trope that is now often seen within the horror genre. While the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre isn’t as gory as the rest of the series, Sally’s character definitely endures a great deal of psychological torture, especially during the dinner scene.
Sally, after witnessing Franklin’s death and tossing herself out of a second-story window in a failed attempt to escape, is then captured and forced to sit through Leatherface and his family’s deranged taunting. In the end, Sally may have escaped, but by the second film, it’s revealed that Sally eventually became a shell of her former self de ella after the ordeal, and was left in a traumatized catatonic state.
3 The Gardener Family (Color Out Of Space)
Yet another family that shares the spotlight as “main character” is the Gardener family from Color Out of Space. Nathan Gardener and his family’s lives of him all change the day they witness a meteor being struck by a bolt of lightning followed by an eerie entity only referred to as the “Color”. After this mysterious Color arrives, the Gardener’s crops all wilt, the family members begin displaying fits of spontaneous rage towards one another, and they are even forced to euthanize their farm’s llamas after they had violently mutated.
By far, the most disturbing thing that happens in the film is when Nathan’s wife and son are grotesquely fused together into one, continuously mutating mass of flesh. Nathan’s daughter, Lavinia, is then terrorized by the monster that was once her mother and brother de ella before Nathan himself is eventually forced to kill them to save his daughter de ella.
two Lindsay (The Human Centipede)
Lindsay is one of three main protagonists in The Human Centipede, and while all three of them suffer a great deal after the thick surgery, Lindsay is definitely the one that somehow still got the short end of the stick. Lindsay and her friend de ella Jenny are sewn together with a Japanese tourist, Katsuro to create a being that shares a single digestive system.
Poor Lindsay is placed in the middle, completely stuck between the two, and if that wasn’t miserable enough, by the end of the film, Katsuro ends up committing suicide and Jenny dies of an infection from the surgery, leaving Lindsay stuck (and connected) between two corpses. The two detectives that came to investigate the house and the doctor himself were all killed in their confrontation, leaving Lindsay to die on her own with not a soul knowing about her whereabouts.
1 Wallace Bryton (Tusk)
Wallace is the unfortunate victim of retired seaman Howard Howe, who drugs Wallace in order to relive his glory days with his dear friend (and Walrus) Mr. Tusk. Wallace goes through horrific surgeries in order to achieve his full walrus transformation from him; including having his own leg amputated in order to make tusks out of his own bone from him.
After being sown into a life-size walrus suit made from human skin, Wallace is then trained and conditioned to act and think like a walrus, even being dragged into the water, forced to learn how to swim in his walrus suit. By the end of tuskWallace is so far gone that his only choice is to be surrendered to a wildlife sanctuary to live the rest of his days out as an animal.
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