Seems like as long as there have been iconic horror movie killers, we’ve been discussing who would win in a fight. Leatherface or Michael Myers? Chucky or Jason Voorhees? Ghostface or Freddy Krueger? Of course, we’ve already had one fight, between Jason and Freddy, and it was the prowler of the Friday the 13th movies that won gold (with a teased rematch that never happened).
But we’re here to ponder another match-up for the ages: Crystal Lake’s monstrous entity versus Michael Myers, Haddonfield’s Boogeyman. One is a conscious ripoff of the other, since Friday the 13th happened because of John Carpenter’s original Halloween movie, and they’ve both enjoyed (and endured) storied franchises across multiple decades.
They seem equally matched in many respects, and under better circumstances, would probably share a drink together over silly sequels and the best methods for slicing up teenagers. But this isn’t an exercise in making friends, it’s about deciding who’d leave the other in a bloody mess, and we’ve weighed up either corner of the ring to decide who’ll be crowned heavyweight champion of horror, and who should pack it in.
What are Michael Myers’s powers?
Defining the powers of Michael Myers is a tricky thing to do because, really, he’s exactly as strong or as durable as any given screenplay needs him to be. Broadly, though, he’s got superhuman strength, stamina, endurance, and an incredible threshold for pain.
In the original Halloween, he’s a straightforward slasher killer that clearly feels some pain, but not enough to be slowed down. It’s like he’s numb, or found a way to ignore it as he continues on his psychopathic mission. Though he uses a butcher knife, he can crush people or tear them apart, and lift extremely heavy objects as if he’s some sort of bodybuilder.
He’s quiet, too. Unnervingly so. Michael Myers can get anywhere without anybody noticing, despite his tall stature. Truly, the terror lies not just in what he can do if he gets his hands on someone, it’s that quite often his victims are already too close before they even realise he’s in the house.
The amount of punishment Michael can take is staggering: he’s faced just about everything across the franchise, from being shot to being set on fire, bludgeoned, injected with acid, and he almost always gets back up. It’s only when he takes a particularly extreme number of injuries, like in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers or Halloween Resurrection, that anything truly phases him.
Michael Myers is an unflinching killing machine. You can’t reason with him, and you’ll struggle to find something that can actually do damage to him. Anyone’s best bet is to run, and fast, even if they’re another heavy-duty killer.
What are Jason Voorhees’s powers?
As something moulded in the image of Michael Myers, Jason shares many of the same traits. He’s a hulking murderer who can do a lot of damage regardless of his trademark machete. He doesn’t show signs of injury much, and don’t count on him getting tired.
Jason is about as sneaky as Michael, but he’s less graceful. His broad shoulders and scrappier getup make him more distinctive to notice. The full-on blade he carries isn’t exactly discrete either, nor does it make for clean, quick kills that won’t alarm anyone.
That said, he has been known to use the environment to his advantage. In Friday the 13th Part 2 and Freddy Vs Jason, he sets traps and makes use of tools around him for maximum pain. Jason’s resourceful and cunning, perhaps more than many expect.
A core difference between them is that Jason has been brought back to life, and after Friday the 13th Part 6, it’s generally accepted he’s immortal, or at the very least can only die by some ultra specific means. Once he’s resurrected, such as by Freddy Kreuger or the naïve space teens in Jason X, he’s impervious to most Earthly threats due to a healing factor that makes Wolverine’s look shoddy.
Current, canonical Jason has to be awakened somehow, and when he is, all bets are off. Not even Freddy Kreuger managed to stand up to him, despite blinding the guy. Not an opponent we’d want to be stuck against.
So, who would win?
The only real answer to that question is us. If Jason and Michael had a bout in film form – and they absolutely should someday – it’d be immensely entertaining. The unstoppable force meets the immovable object, with a load of obnoxious kids thrown in to keep them sharp.
However, there are no draws. Only one can remain, and on paper, it’s Michael, because if it’s just him and no other extraneous factors, Jason can’t be brought back to life so it’s over before it even begins.
If someone does summon Jason, and his movies dictate that one day someone will, then he becomes the favourite. He’s genuinely supernatural, a ghoul who can punch people’s heads off and can only be distracted, not hurt. Michael has died on more than one occasion, and he’s neither as limber nor as well travelled as Jason, who’s been to New York City and space.
Jason Voorhees may have started as the copycat killer, but he’s outdone his biggest influence and then some, at least in this regard. Let’s not get into the quality of their films though, that’s just a race to the bottom, isn’t it?
Have a look at our guides to the Hellraiser movies and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre timeline if you’d like to weigh up more icons.