5 Underrated Badass Lines in Horror Movies
Warning: Spoilers Ahead
If you’re into horror movies- and even if you’re not -you already know the big quotes:
“You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”
“It puts the lotion on its skin.”
And they’re big quotes for a reason. The movies they belong to have sunk their claws into popular culture for decades. Even singular words now carry the weight of something much darker and infinitely more spooky than they did before. Which is kind of awesome, because even non-horror fans know that “groovy” isn’t just another word for “cool”- it’s an anthem for anyone who lost their ever-loving mind when a grown man replaced his recently-severed hand with a chainsaw, then proceeded to absolutely ruin the day of every Deadite in a five mile radius.
While the list of memorable badass lines in horror is virtually unending, I’d like to recognize some of the lesser-known gems. For the purposes of not getting yelled at by strangers on the internet, I will acknowledge that this list is based purely on my own opinion. I will be defining a “badass line” as one that is said directly before or directly after the speaker does something really, really neat.
So, without further ado, let’s get to the list.
5. “To the ships at sea who can hear my voice, look across the water, into the darkness. Look for the fog.” - Stevie Wayne, The Fog (1980)
John Carpenter’s The Fog may not have been as well-received (or quotable) as Halloween, but it’s fun and filled to the brim with spooky goodness.
The story focuses on several sets of characters throughout, the guiding voice on our journey is that of Stevie Wayne- owner/host of the local radio station. As Carpenter’s score gently guides us to the story’s conclusion and the fog rolls back toward the sea, Stevie imparts these words to anyone who may still be listening. Her words aren’t met with fanfare, nor does the film end here (I’m sure Father Malone wished it had), but the sheer adrenaline of what we have just witnessed- and the fact that Stevie somehow survives her own encounter with the ghostly crew of the Elizabeth Dane (on the top of a lighthouse and in heels, no less) -earns her line a spot on this list.
4. “You were not content with the stories, so I was obliged to come.” -Candyman, Candyman (1992)
While movies like Friday the 13th and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre got audiences used to the idea of a villain who doesn’t speak, I would argue that Candyman introduced us to the idea of, “what if the villain’s voice was…kind of sexy?”
Honestly, almost everything Candyman says in this film is worth putting on this list. And for that, I blame Tony Todd’s brilliance. Todd’s delivery during his character’s first physical appearance in the film strikes that perfect balance of hypnotic and really effing creepy. And our protagonist- Helen Lyle -definitely seems to agree. She’s literally hypnotized as he approaches her in a parking garage. And what’s more badass than stepping out of the shadows to prove that you are, in fact, more than just an urban legend?
3. “It’s time we cut out the cancer.” - Dr. Florence Weaver, Malignant (2021)
Listeeeen. I'm fully aware that James Wan's 2021 masterpiece film isn't universally beloved, and that passionate debates over whether the twist was brilliant or massively dumb continue to this day. HOWEVER, as far as film openings go, Malignant delivers a fast-paced, technicolor sequence of violence that culminates in the most comic-book-worthy line I think I have ever heard with my own two ears. The swell of music as Dr. Weaver looks directly into the camera and utters this sentence? Goosebumps. The drum beat that whisks us away to the credits directly after? In the words of Leslie Knope, “the drama”.
I can't even tell you what the doctor does after this, because I'm pretty sure it would be a spoiler somehow. But just know that it's really, really gnarly. Oh, and badass.
2. “My, my. What big eyes you have.” - Laurie, Trick ‘r Treat (2007)
Sam may be the first image that comes to mind when one thinks of Trick ‘r Treat. And rightfully so- he is the thread that sews the stories in the film together to create a beautiful, terrifying quilt. Plus, he's just really stinking adorable. But I would argue that one of the most satisfying segments in the film is “Surprise Party”, in which a (spoiler) local serial killer quite literally bites off more than he can chew when he targets Laurie- a young woman who is getting ready to lose her virginity. But not the sex kind. The murder kind. Well, there is an orgy, so maybe a bit of both.
As Laurie straddles her prey and begins to transform, she huskily whispers this epic line. There’s just something really badass about watching an absolute slime-bag of a human get a taste of his own medicine- from his would-be victim, no less.
1. “I’ve got good news and bad news, girls. The good news is that your dates are here.” What’s the bad news? “They’re dead.” - Det. Ray Cameron, Night of the Creeps (1986)
I will fully admit that I’m biased on this one, as it’s one of my favorite films of all time. But come on. Tom Atkins’s portrayal of the ever-cynical Ray Cameron exudes the sort of extra cheesy, B-movie tough guy energy that stands the test of time. And when you put a character like that against a backdrop of alien parasite-infested zombies and college rom-com hijinks? Amazing. My compliments to the chef.
In my opinion, everything Cameron says is some level of ridiculous/incredible. But this particular line- which he says confidently- with a cigarette in his mouth, because that’s how tough guys say things -is the best. It’s insensitive, it’s campy, and it’s one of the most badass lines I’ve ever had the pleasure of laughing at.