Top 10 Axe Murdering Maniacs

With Morgan J. Freeman’s Homecoming hacking its way onto DVD today (courtesy of Paramount Pictures), we here at Dread Central thought it a perfect occasion to take a look back at our favorite on-screen axe murderers as a way of indoctrinating this new blood into the mix.

10. Gaear Grimsrud (Peter Stormare) – Fargo (1996)
Grimsrud may not be an axe murderer per se, but you’ve got to respect the way in which this guy chooses to solve problems. After an irreparable altercation with his partner in crime, Grimsrud puts his conflict resolution skills to good use courtesy of a hatchet and a woodchipper.

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9. Lisa (Leslie Lee) – Lisa, Lisa (1977)
Known to some as The California Axe Massacre, that title is a bit over-compensatory considering only one victim bites it via the edge of an axe. Leslie Lee makes for a superior on-screen psychopath in this demented little quickie from the drive-in era, though, and if the axe carnage is limited, it’s nevertheless memorable.

8. Lillian Nebbs (Christina Marie Lane) – Edge of the Axe (1988)
A slashing spree kicked off by a nasty bout of amnesia, Lillian Nebbs goes about her task of taking revenge against a group of nurses with a real mean axe swing. This lost slasher “classic” from Jose Larraz (Vampyres) is well worth seeking out, and the constant barrage of axe murders make it a must for this list.

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7. The Monster (Carel Struycken) – The Prey (1984)
It’s not human. And it has an axe. The tagline may be more famous than the movie itself – especially since our resident maniac on the loose abandons said axe after just a few kills. Filmed in 1980, this one was shelved for several years until New Word decided to let this slasher out into the wilderness. Someone, please hear my plea. Give me this on DVD!

6. Harry Warden (Peter Cowper) – My Bloody Valentine (1981)
Harry Warden uses a pickaxe, but still, it has axe in the title, right? The Miner is a man of principle. And when the town of Valentine Bluffs decides to go against those principles, there’s only one way to deal with the situation. An honorable mention goes out to the 3D remake, where our maniacal miner uses nothing but the pickaxe – variety be damned!

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5. Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) – American Psycho (2000)
One of the most memorable scenes in axe murder history (who knew there was such a thing?) belongs to none other than Pat Bateman (although, for some reason, every YouTube clip of this scene had the embedding disabled). To this day I can’t listen to ‘Hip to Be Square’ without contemplating the murder of co-workers.

4. Billy Chapman (Robert Brian Wilson) – Silent Night Deadly Night (1984)
Bill Chapman’s axe murder spree could very well take the cake as the most mean-spirited murder spree in the genre’s history. That said, he does put it to the little bastard in the following clip in the most uproarious of ways. You can’t say the little shit didn’t have this coming…

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3. Madman Marz (Paul Ehlers) – Madman (1982)
As you might’ve noticed by now, I happen to love Madman. But even if it wasn’t a personal favorite, there’d be no way of refuting his spot on this list. Marz is a natural with that axe … just look at the way he saunters off into the wilderness waiting for the next crop of fools to speak his name above a whisper.

2. Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) – The Shining (1980)
I’ll let this one speak for itself…

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1. Jason Voorhees (Kane Hodder) – Friday the 13th Part VII – The New Blood (1988)
Over the years Jason has accumulated an impressive array of kills, but I’ve always liked seeing him deal out damage with an axe. There’s no better example than near the climax of Friday VII when Melissa (Susan Jennifer Sullivan) takes an axe to the face before being tossed across the room like a ragdoll. Of course, YouTube didn’t have the scene in particular, but I’m sure you all know it well.


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Matt Serafini


  1. The best thing about Madman is that goofy new wavish song that plays over the credits.

    Silent Night Deadly Night is also really underrated. People only remember it for the controversy surrounding it, but it is actually a pretty decent movie. I was shocked when I realized there was a coherent plot the first time I saw it.

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