Let’s face it, life would be much scarier without our friends — although, not all friendships have fairytale endings, especially in the world of horror.
It is great to have a best friend ready to help you through anything. Unfortunately, some friendships can end in disaster. Horror has shown us both sides of this spectrum — from the best to the worst kinds of brotherly and sisterly bonds. In honor of International Day of Friendship, here are eight of my favorite examples of the highs and lows of friendship.
Warning: There are significant plot spoilers ahead.
If you haven’t seen any of the great films on this list, I strongly encourage you to watch them before reading my thoughts. I’ve included information at the end of each film discussion where you can stream it for free or for a low digital rental fee.
1. Andy and Chucky – the Child’s Play franchise (1988-present)
For the clarity of this article, I will stick to talking about the original Child’s Play film and the events that followed in the original sequels.
For his 6th birthday, Andy Barclay (played by Alex Vincent in Child’s Play 1 & 2, Curse of Chucky, and Cult of Chucky) is given a Good Guy doll who goes by the name Chucky . Andy instantly bonds with the doll, and Chucky promises to be Andy’s “friend to the end.” Unbeknownst to Andy or his mother, Karen, this particular Good Guy doll had been taken over by the soul of serial killer Charles Lee Ray (Brad Dourif, who also voices Chucky).
Several strange things occur after Andy receives Chucky as a birthday gift, including the death of Karen’s best friend, Maggie. After Andy’s mother finds out that it was actually Chucky behind the death of her friend, she becomes determined to do anything to keep her son Andy safe. Chucky must perform the voodoo ritual to transfer his soul in Andy’s body. The first film ends with Chucky being shot and killed after an unsuccessful attempt at burning him.
Chucky is “killed” several times throughout these films, but always returns with the same intention: to transfer his soul in Andy Barclay’s body. Chucky even goes as far as to follow Andy to military school in Child’s Play 3. These two are seen playing a game of cat and mouse throughout several of the Child’s Play films. Most recently, they were seen together in Cult of Chucky.
Though they may not exactly be “friends to the end,” giving their numerous attempts to kill each other, they definitely seem to have an unbreakable (albeit entirely toxic) bond.
Currently, the original Child’s Play (1988) is available to stream on Netflix, YouTube, and Vudu for free.
2. Oskar and Eli – Let the Right One In (2008)
This film introduces us to Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant), a 12 year-old boy that is bullied at school and has a hard time making friends. He meets his new neighbor, Eli (Lina Leandersson), who appears to be a young girl of the same age, and the two become close rather quickly.
Oskar explains to Eli that he is bullied at school, so Eli encourages him to defend himself. Oskar soon finds out that Eli is a vampire, but this does not end their friendship. Rather than fearing the vampire Eli, Oskar discovers that Eli is actually a loyal protecter. This is best highlighted during the film’s infamous swimming pool scene.
After accidentally splitting open one of his bully’s ears in an attempt to defend himself, Oskar is cornered by the bully, as well as his group of friends and his older brother. They create a diversion to lure the P.E. coach out of the pool area so that they have no chances of being caught. The older brother tells Oskar that he must hold his breath under water, otherwise he will lose an eye.
Oskar is mercilessly held underwater, when suddenly, we see different body parts of the bullies being dragged across the pool and floating to the bottom of the pool. Oskar is pulled out of the water by Eli, who is revealed to have killed the bullies to save Oskar.
Oskar and Eli are an underrated duo. It is clear when Eli saves Oskar from his bullies that she is willing to do anything for him, just as any good friend would do. While the American adaptation of this film, Let Me In (2010) may have been a bit gorier, the original film shows us how strong of a bond these two share.
Let the Right One In can be streamed on Hulu, or rented on Amazon Prime for just $1.99.
3. Billy and Stu – Scream (1996)
When you think of BFFs in horror, chances are this pair comes to mind, although they are not exactly the model of a healthy friendship.
Billy (Skeet Ulrich) and Stu (Matthew Lillard) are friends of Sidney (Neve Campbell), whose mother was murdered a year prior to the events of the film by an unknown assailant. As if that wasn’t bad enough, there’s now another killer in town who begins picking off Sydney’s friends and classmates one by one.
Sidney initially suspects the killer is her boyfriend, Billy. But she abandons this thought when she receives a phone call from the killer while Billy is in custody. However, in a clever twist, we learn that Billy was in fact behind the murderous rampage after all — only he had some help.
His accomplice turns out to be his best friend, Stu. These two poorly adjusted teens explain to a terrified Sidney that they were also behind the murder of her mother, a punishment for her mom having slept with Billy’s father and breaking up the marriage of his parents.
Billy and Stu make a demented but compelling onscreen pair. Anyone would want a BFF that would go so far as to kill for them, right? It’s the ultimate expression of loyalty and devotion. Unfortunately, it’s also completely psychopathic and does not end well for the bloodthirsty buds.
Scream is currently available to watch for free with ads on Vudu, or it can be rented on other streaming platforms like Amazon and YouTube.
4. Willow, Xander, and Buffy – Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)
While the rest of the friends on this list come from the world of cinema, I had to include at least one television show — especially one as iconic and influential as Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Although we’re talking about a series, its origins do still lie in the world of film, as it was born from the 1992 black comedy film of the same name. The film version of Buffy was written by Joss Whedon, but the director, Fran Rubel Kuzui, took it in a different direction than Whedon intended. Thus, five years later, he created the darker and acclaimed TV series.
The show follows Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar), a teenage vampire slayer. Throughout the different seasons, a lot happens in Buffy’s life — from the typical trials and tribulations of a teenager coming of age and discovering who she is, to the very atypical pressure that comes from being solely responsible for saving the world from vampires and other evil beings. She experiences a lot of heartbreak and trauma, including dying and being brought back to life against her will, as well as significant loss.
The one constant in her unpredictable life are her friends, known as the Scooby Gang, including her two closest friends, Xander (Nicholas Brendon) and Willow (Alyson Hannigan). She also has her Watcher, Giles (Anthony Head), to help guide and support her. And though he is one of the people she trusts most in life, he’s more of a father figure than a best friend.
Throughout everything, Xander and Willow are there for Buffy. They do whatever they can to help her fight monsters and survive growing up. While we may never face the supernatural battles Buffy endured, we all have our own personal demons to slay and real life horror to contend with. Xander, Willow, and Buffy exemplify what it means to have a ride or die friend that will never let you down.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is available to stream on Hulu.
5. Jennifer and Anita “Needy” – Jennifer’s Body (2009)
Friendship is complicated. And friendship among teenage girls is especially complex — especially when one of the girls happens to be a man-eating succubus.
Jennifer and Needy are two high school-aged friends who are complete opposites. Jennifer (Megan Fox) is a beautiful, outgoing, popular cheerleader. Needy (Amanda Seyfried) is the more shy, bookish, girl next door. She’s considered a Plain Jane compared to Jennifer — but let’s be honest, she’s still stunning. Needy idolizes Jennifer and even gets accused of having more than platonic feelings for her.
One night, the girls go to a dive bar to listen to an indie rock band called Low Shoulder. A fire suddenly starts in the bar, and Jennifer leaves with the band, despite Needy’s pleas for her not to do so.
It is revealed that the band has attempted to sacrifice Jennifer to Satan, in a quest for fame and fortune. However, the ritual goes terribly wrong because it requires a virgin sacrifice. And, since Jennifer lied about being a virgin, she instead becomes demon possessed.
Needy discovers that Jennifer is now a succubus who must eat human flesh. Because she is a succubus, she also becomes extremely strong and even more beautiful after feeding.
After Jennifer kills Needy’s boyfriend, Chip, Needy realizes she must kill her best friend. But the bond between the two girls is definitely real, and even Jennifer’s monstrous fate doesn’t diminish the love they feel for each other.
When it was released, this movie failed to get the love it deserved. Fortunately, it has since found a strong cult following and has been reassessed in later years as the smart and subversive horror comedy it really is.
Jennifer’s Body is available to stream for free with a Starz subscription, or you can rent it on YouTube, iTunes, or Amazon Prime (among others) for $3.99.
6. Shaun and Ed, Shaun of the Dead (2004)
This beloved and immensely quotable horror comedy tells the story of Shaun (Simon Pegg), an electronic salesman. After a night of drinking with his best friend, Ed (Nick Frost), he realizes that a zombie apocalypse has spread throughout London.
Shaun and Ed decide they must save Liz (Kate Ashfield), Shaun’s ex-girlfriend, and Barbara (Penelope Wilton), Shaun’s mother. They devise a plan to wait out the apocalypse in the Winchester, their favorite pub, where they will “have a nice cold pint, and wait for all of this to blow over.” While that idea may seem like a slice of fried gold, it doesn’t exactly go according to plan.
The group heads to the Winchester, imitating zombies as a way of not getting bitten. Unfortunately, Barbara is bitten along the way, resulting in the difficult decision to shoot her after she becomes a zombie. Later on, Ed is also bitten by a zombie.
We are then shown events six months in the future, when civilization has returned to normal. Ed is not dead, but rather, a zombified version of himself. Luckily, Shaun did not have to kill Ed, and the two are able to maintain their friendship, despite Ed being a zombie.
One of the best things about this film is the strength of Ed and Shaun’s friendship. While Ed could have selfishly hid on his own and saved his own skin, he instead chose to help his best friend save the woman he loved and his mother. His selflessness even resulted in his own death, but it didn’t seem to bother him much. In case there is ever a zombie apocalypse (KNOCK ON WOOD), I hope to have a friend, or maybe several, that will be there for me just like Ed was there for Shaun.
Shaun of the Dead can be streamed for free with a Cinemax subscription, or it can be rented for $3.99 on most digital platforms.
7. Sarah, Nancy, Bonnie, and Rochelle, The Craft (1996)
This classic movie introduces us to four high school girls who don’t quite fit in. But that’s not all they have in common. They are also bound by an affinity for witchcraft. Practicing the craft together as a coven, they become extremely powerful.
While this seems to make life better for the girls, for a while, it also comes with some dark consequences. And one of the girls in particular, Nancy, becomes a little too obsessed with her new power.
Eventually, Nancy (Fairuza Balk) kills a popular boy at a party. Afterwards, Sarah (Robin Tunney) attempts to cast a binding spell on Nancy to prevent her from doing any more harm. This does not work, and the other girls in the coven (Neve Campbell and Rachel True) turn against Sarah. They begin to terrorize her in her dreams and threaten her. They even use their powers of illusion to convince Sarah that her father and stepmother died in a plane crash.
The girls try to convince Sarah to attempt suicide, and Nancy cuts Sarah’s wrists. Sarah is able to heal herself and fight back against the attacks. She finally defeats Nancy, who is the ringleader of the three, and binds her to never harm again.
It is hard to not absolutely love this film. But the friendship it represents is extremely toxic. Although it starts out fast and strong, it is easily destroyed when the girls start abusing their powers. If only this coven had not turned against Sarah, they could have used their collective powers for much good.
The Craft is available to watch for free with a Showtime subscription, or you can stream it on Vudu or Amazon Prime for only $2.99.
8. The Loser’s Club, IT (1990; 2017-2019)
You didn’t actually think I would talk about horror movie BFFs without acknowledging The Loser’s Club, did you?
This group of childhood friends endure a lot together. Brought together by their shared pain and outsider status, they are also united by a mysterious evil clown that takes the form of their greatest fears and continuously terrorizes them.
The leader of the club, Bill, loses his little brother, Georgie, to the clown, so he becomes obsessed with defeating it. With the help of the fellow Losers, young Bill is finally able to temporarily end the clown’s reign of terror. He also keeps his promise to return to Derry if the clown should ever return, which it does 27 years later.
With one tragic exception, the other Losers keep their promise as well.
Even though not all of them survive their encounter, it is the tremendous bond they all share that helps defeat the evil entity once and full all, finally freeing themselves and the town of Derry from It’s curse.
I absolutely love The Loser’s Club. Even when they are young, we see how much they mean to each other and the lengths they will go to protect each other. Their friendship survives time, distance, and even memory loss. As soon as they reconnect, even almost three decades later, they are immediately reminded of their unbreakable bond.
IT Chapter 1 (2017) is available to stream on YouTube and Amazon Prime for $3.99, or for free on TBS or TNT if you have a cable provider. IT Chapter 2 (2019) is available for free on HBO Max, or you can also rent it on Vudu for $2.99.