The Best Brains In Horror
In horror movies, there is a classic overarching characterisation that there are five main characters - the "Final Girl", the "Slut", the "Fool", the "Jock" and the "Brain". We've looked at the best Final Girls, Sluts, and Fools, but just who is leading the pack when it comes to horror movies?
The character of the "Brain" in horror movies is usually seen as the one who is smart enough to survive the events, but doesn't necessarily live in the end. Sometimes overlapped as a geek and seen as the "Fool" as well, the "Brain" is also seen as the nice guy, who is often overlooked because he isn't as charming or popular as the Jock. He is, however, the character who tells everyone they should stick together, or go in other directions.
Randy Meeks, Scream
If Marcie Stanley started the Slut characterisation in Friday the 13th, than it was Randy Meeks who started the characterisation of The Brain in the Scream franchise. Played by Jamie Kennedy, Randy is a horror movie geek who knows everything there is to know about surviving a horror movie, and is the one who suggests to other party goers how to get out alive. He successfully does, despite getting shot, and Randy is actually one of the only Brains to make it to the sequel, where he is eventually killed by Ghostface on campus. He does appear in the third movie though, to give the Final Girl some sage advice about surviving.
Randy is nerdy, virginal, and often looked -over, crushing on the Final Girl which becomes a staple for most Brain characters. They are always the bridesmaid, never the bride, and is always seen as gangly, witty and geeky.
Kirby Reed, Scream 4
With the death of Randy and Scream 4 on the way, a new Brain character had to emerge, and this Brain had all of the awesomeness of Randy and then some. Played by the stunningly beautiful Hayden Panetteiere, the character of Kirby brought the Brain some pizzazz in her leather jackets, her short haircut, speedy driving, witty retorts, and her love of all things horror. Best friends with Sidney's niece Jill, Kirby's most iconic scene as the Brain is where she is on the phone, prattling off a series of answers based on the most famous and spine-chilling horror movies around.
Unfortunately Kirby is ultimately tricked by the man she has been crushing on and is stabbed outside her own home - a trait that tends to befall most Brain characters.
Ray Bronson, I Know What You Did Last Summer
Ray from I Know What You Did Last Summer is the ultimate nice guy when it comes to horror movies. Played by Freddie Prinze Jr in the 90's horror film where he met his future wife Sarah Michell Gellar, Ray is actually the boyfriend of Final Girl Julie, who breaks up with him when he sides with their friends Barry and Helen in dumping the body of the Fisherman. Staying on in Southport and following in his father's steps to become a fisherman, Ray leads a very quiet and unassuming life who just wants to get back with Julie, and he ends up battling against the Fisherman to land the girl of his dreams, being one of the only Brain characters to actually survive.
Clay Miller, Friday the 13th
Played by horror darling Jared Padelecki, the character of Clay Miller in the Friday the 13th reboot is by far the brains of the operation, arriving into the area of Camp Crystal Lake looking for his long-lost sister who disappeared at the hands of Jason. Knowing that his sister would in no way abandon their ailing mother like that, Clay puts all of his time, effort and knowledge into tracking her down. Along the way he comes across Jenna and her friends, his nice guy attitude and simple attempt to help causing Jenna to turn her back on her friends and help Clay track down his sister.
Clay is deemed the Brains of the movie because he is a true hero, out to do the right thing and take on the responsibility of his family, being smart enough to do so. He and his sister end up being the only survivors, taking Jenna out of the mix as a twist on the Final Girl character.
Holden McCrea, Cabin in the Woods
We've mentioned all of the other characters from Cabin in the Woods for being the quintessential stereotypes of the horror movie tropes, so it seems unfair not to mention Holden McCcrea, played by Jesse Williams. Holden in invited to the cabin by his friend Curt as a potential love interest for Final Girl Dana. He is attractive, like the other stereotypical Nice Guy Brain characters, and is on the football team so a lot points his character more towards being a Jock than anything else, but after the Chem Department take control of the other characters he starts transitioning into the Brain role, donning glasses and showing small bouts of increased intellect such as translating Latin.
Holden lives on to the idea of never getting the girl, despite his brief make out with Dana, and is stabbed in the throat in the RV as they try to escape the woods.