The Collector Is a Terrifying Horror Villain

The 2000s were a violent and thrilling time for the horror genre. Following the success of movies like Saw and Hostel, both of which feature people being gruesomely tortured, a trend of like-minded films emerged that focused on slaughtering their characters in creatively despicable ways. The goal of these “torture porn” flicks was to satiate our cinematic bloodlust, and while many of them provided plenty of sick fun, none of them managed to escape the massive shadow cast by the Saw franchise.

That said, The Collector and its sequel, The Collection, are two of the better movies to spawn from the post-Saw torture movie boom. Neither movie rewrites the rules of the genre by any means, but they hit the sweet spot when it comes to delivering demented thrills and bloody carnage. It’s a fun series that a small but loyal contingent of fright fare fans have been dying to see more of.

Well, the good news is that another movie is in the works. Bloody Disgusting recently confirmed that the long-awaited sequel to The Collection is finally underway after Josh Stewart, who played the protagonist in the first two movies, shared a poster for the planned third installment on Twitter. Titled The Collected, the upcoming sequel will likely pick up right after the events of The Collection, which left the door open for the saga to continue.

Like Jigsaw in the Saw movies, the Collector series features an antagonist with a penchant for offing his victims with booby traps and sharp objects. Because of this, many critics dismissed the movies as Saw knock-offs. The similarities between the series didn’t end there, either. Director Marcus Dunstan and screenwriter Patrick Melton also co-wrote a number of Saw sequels, so it’s easy to understand why people thought they were trying to capitalize on the successful franchise.

Perhaps Dunstan and Melton were inspired by Saw when they came up with the idea for their own twisted horror saga. Both series provide a similar kind of thrill, after all, and every filmmaker wants their movie to reach a large audience. The Saw flicks have made bucket loads of money, so targeting their base makes sense. However, the Collector movies — particularly the first — are much more than a copycat killer of the franchise they’ve been frequently compared to.

There’s no denying that Jigsaw is a memorable pop culture boogeyman. He has his own creepy doll with its own catchphrase, and it’s the stuff of nightmares. Jigsaw is already an undeniable icon of fright, and he’s more than earned his immortal status. But it’s still a shame that the Collector has lived in his shadow all these years simply because he also likes to set traps and because his creators have contributed to Jigsaw’s legacy.

Quite frankly, the Collector is an entirely different kind of villain. Jigsaw is a cancer patient with a twisted moral agenda. He’s actually quite sympathetic in a way. And while his murderous ways are quite vicious and scary, his agenda is to make people fight for their lives so they can appreciate the gift of life. He communicates with his victims and we understand his motives.

In the case of the Collector, though, he’s just a vicious lunatic who kills for the pleasure of it. He’s merciless, inhumane, everything most horror fanatics want from their bad guys. His goal is to add human beings to his “collection” and brutalize them. He also wears a latex mask that gives him a gritty, perverted sheen that’s just downright disturbing to look at. Essentially, like the original Michael Myers, the Collector represents the idea of pure unadulterated evil.

Horror is a genre that turns its antagonists into celebrated pop culture icons, and it’s surprising that the Collector hasn’t captured the widespread imagination in the same way many of his peers have. The mayhem he unleashes is enough to satisfy audiences looking for a gory good time. Who doesn’t love a well-executed trap? On top of that, his appearance could inspire some frightening Halloween costumes if only he found the widespread exposure to resonate with trick or treaters around the world. He deserves to sit at the same table as Jigsaw, Freddy, Jason, Myers, Ghostface, and other famous killers of filmland because he’s equally fascinating in his own sick way.

At this point, I just hope the new movie wraps up his story in a satisfying way. But hopefully, it generates enough buzz to see this particular monster break out of the shadows and into the nightmares of more viewers.

Kieran Fisher: @HairEverywhere_ Kieran is a Daily Curator for the website you're currently reading. He also loves the movie Varsity Blues.