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In horror, we often see innocent lives destroyed. But sometimes, we get the satisfaction of seeing real monsters get their karmic justice.

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Very often, the scales of horror aren’t balanced. There will be more victims than victimizers; we will witness murders, assaults, torture, and manipulation, for there are so many emotional tactics horror can use to rip your heart out when someone just doesn’t deserve what happened to them.

More often, we see that scenario, the hero dying for a righteous cause, an innocent dying to deliver gravity. Sometimes, though, horror gifts us moments of righteousness against some less-than-savory characters, and when it does, justice is sweet.

I’ve gone through the revenge tales, and anthologies turned life lessons to tease out the instances of karmic justice throughout horror, and I’ve rounded up ten instances I believe fit the bill for your judgment.

Did these characters get what they had coming? Did some people get off too easy? Is there an ultimate moment of karmic catharsis I’ve overlooked that you’ve experienced? Share your karmic horror tale if I have neglected it; otherwise, enjoy the just desserts.

1. The Menu (Tyler’s Bullshit)

The Menu

The 2022 horror comedy The Menu hit the spot for me, with pitch-perfect casting in Anya Taylor Joy, Ralph Fiennes, and our subject, Nicholas Hoult (Renfield). Playing the incessantly annoying, casually disrespectful worst date ever that’s brought our working girl Margot to a dinner scheduled to end in death, Tyler is a loathsome character from the moment he starts talking.

A “foodie” and all around know it all about kitchen tools and spices, Tyler is overbearing throughout the entire painful dinner service.

Finally, when he’s said and done too much to assert a talent he only craves to possess, Chef Slowik gives him a chance it seemed he was so eagerly awaiting — the opportunity to cook in Hawthorn’s kitchen.

Tyler turns white as the chef’s jacket is slipped over him, calling for leeks, shallots, butter, lamb, a random assortment which he embarrassingly undercooks and serves in a pile which is entitled “Tyler’s Bullshit.”

The humiliation should have been enough to make him die on the spot, but in a moment that still remains a movie secret, Chef Slowik leans in and whispers something unknown to Tyler that shakes him to his core.

It’s only minutes after, as we pass through the kitchen that we see that the experience, and whatever words the chef had to offer, finally shamed Tyler into doing one last thing for himself and to the mercy of Margot — ending it all in a closet instead of tasting his humble pie.

2. Barbarian (A Mother’s Touch)

Barbarian

In one of the most controversial and disturbing horror releases of 2022, Barbarian covered the darkest corners of human nature and dared to show us the consequences. The movie is littered with victims of rape, abuse, and poverty, but its villains and their ends are the focus of this karmic piece.

AJ (Justin Long) has been accused of rape, and the crazy thing is, he fesses up to it. A charismatic, self-serving man, the irony of his disgust, when he encounters the true barbarian and his horror at the man’s suicide, is borderline comical as he stares into an image of what he could become.

As he flees the house with Tess (Georgina Campbell), desperately trying to escape The Mother, the pair end up at a dead end at the top of a water tower, and AJ does the unthinkable: throwing Tess off as a way to distract The Mother.

Her actions are not what he anticipated. Sacrificing her own body, The Mother leaps from the tower and saves Tess, breaking herself mortally in the process to protect her baby. Upon seeing AJ, however, motor mouth running with excuses of last-minute thinking and survival, there’s no time for reconciliation.

In stunning fashion, The Mother crushes the rapist’s head in her hands, ending the trial for another abuser.

While she must pay the ultimate price for saving Tess, she doles out justice for victims past and possibly prevents the birth of new victims, displaying the rage and true survival instinct of a woman reshaped, mind and body, by the crimes of a beast.

3. Piranha 3D (Fish Food)

The busty, bloody horror comedy Piranha 3D made a star-studded splash for good and bad reasons when it landed in 2010.

This movie about prehistoric killer fish released from a tremor was said to rack up the body count but lost all intelligence along the way, but I don’t ever think this movie was aiming to be elevated. Spring break isn’t a classy affair, so it’s no-holds-barred when Spring breakers arrive at Lake Victoria to party.

The plot is led by Jake, a kid whose crush has just resurfaced during the all-day parties, but he’s stuck watching his younger siblings. After meeting with sleazy adult video producer Derrick, Jake decides to embark with him on his boat to film a porno. This purveyor of flesh, however, is about to be stripped of his own.

When Derrick rams the boat into some rocks in the lake in an attempt to rescue Jake’s siblings, the boat begins to sink, and Derrick and his crew go overboard.

While one of them gets away, the lead actress is devoured, and Derrick, before losing a whole lot more of himself, has his manhood bitten off.

When he’s finally pulled aboard he’s nearly just a talking torso, he’s paying a painful price for this location for his skin flick.

After all of his sexist behavior, bullying, manipulation of underaged men and women, and generally selfish disposition, it only seems fitting that the only portion of himself he valued would be eaten first and that Derrick never gets to find his sea legs, as the piranha has made a meal of them.

4. Trick ‘r Treat (Urban Legends)

Garnering a strong cult following as one of the best Halloween films to watch, even after production delays and limited screenings in 2007, Trick ‘r Treat is one of the most entertaining anthologies we have to date.

Starring the likes of Dylan Baker, Anna Paquin, and Brian Cox, the film had some star power and followed a few ghostly tales of people out in the usually sleepy fictional town of Warren Valley, Ohio. The focus of our karmic justice is in the section about a girl named Rhonda and a horrible prank turned vicious justice delivered.

In a small sea of stories, the Halloween School Bus Massacre stands as perhaps the most frightening and fair story of the bunch. According to legend, a group of “troubled” kids boarded their usual bus one day, unaware their parents were tired of tending to their embarrassing offspring. In a deal with the devil, they pay the bus driver to take care of their problem — permanently. When the plan doesn’t go as expected, and the bus and all its occupants are presumed dead, it becomes a town legend, sparking a group of kids to plan a prank.

Four teens bring a girl they’ve dubbed “Rhonda the Retard” to the abandoned quarry where the bus and its riders supposedly met their fate.

The horrible prank leaves Rhonda terrified and injured, and the mostly unapologetic teens get to gather their gear and call it a night.

However, the ghosts of the past don’t enjoy being mocked, especially at the expense of another innocent. Rising like swamp monsters from their quarry grave, the pranksters are chased down by the specters of the lost children. Finding that Rhonda has locked herself in the only elevator up, they beg for mercy to be let in, but Rhonda is too traumatized and is done with tricks.

She leaves the group below to be dealt with by the not-so-urban legend of the children on the bus and the pent-up rage that simmered below the quarry’s surface for a generation.

5. Train to Busan (Last Stop)