The Horror Honeys: Why See No Evil 2’s Jacob Goodnight Rocks

Why See No Evil 2’s Jacob Goodnight Rocks

A Guest Honey Editorial by Chassity

Slashers. Everyone’s got their favorite, and everyone’s got their reasons why. 
Up until just recently, if you’d asked this horror fanatic to pick one, I’d have been hard pressed to come up with an answer. 

I am an unashamed lover of all things slasher. Slasher films were my first horror love; they were what first brought me to the genre. Yet, while there are plenty of people in the Jason Voorhees fanbase, lots of Michael Meyers lovers, tons of Freddy Krueger fanatics, and a huge Team Leatherface; I have never fallen into any of these categories, or any other. I appreciate these slashers and their iconic places in horror history, but to me they’ve always seemed somewhat generic. Maybe it’s the fact that they are so iconic that’s the problem; maybe a little too mainstream for my taste. Call me a horror hipster if you must. 

My lack of idealism over a slasher has all changed, now that I’ve been reunited with Jacob Goodnight. He is by a long shot my favorite slasher.
As a wrestling fan (Kane being one of my favorite wrestlers), I’ve always thought that the role of Jacob Goodnight was perfectly cast. Jacob has all the generic things that make a great slasher: he’s big and muscular and a little bit off mentally, which makes him perfect for eerie stalking scenes and allows him to overpower his victims. But he is not in the least bit generic.

Jacob Goodnight has layers. The first See No Evil showed this, and the sequel expanded on it delightfully.

I watched See No Evil 2 for the first time recently and was reminded just how awesome Jacob Goodnight is. As in the first film, he starts off as the strong, silent type we know his predecessors like Michael and Jason to be. He patiently stalks his victims, and revels in their fear. And he is relentless in his pursuits. He seems to be everywhere at once. One minute he’s in the morgue, lying there supposedly dead as can be, and the next he’s somehow made it to the other side of the room without the two drunk 20somethings in the room with him even noticing. And then he appears behind them, out of nowhere, silently waiting for them to notice him so he can make his move. 

However, unlike Jason or Michael, Jacob isn’t limited by an emotionless nature. No, he actually has emotions. Which means he can get angry, he can run if he wants to, he can show emotion when he uses his strength to capture his victims. And unlike Jason or Michael, his value as a slasher comes from that anger. You can see that anger every time Jacob grabs a victim from behind, every time he even looks at one of them. Michael and Jason (or even Leatherface) are scary because they have a one track mind to kill and are so sociopathic that they can’t be reasoned with. Jacob Goodnight is scary because he absolutely can be reasoned with (he feels things, and knows right from wrong) but he’ll probably still kill you anyway.

Another big thing with slashers is backstory. We are never meant to sympathize with Michael because he’s been a cold blooded killer since he was a child. Jason’s backstory is so ridiculous that there’s almost nothing scary about it. Same deal with Freddy. But Jacob has a backstory that explains why he’s the way he is and almost makes him sympathetic. He was an abused child whose mother used religion to control her son and turn him into a mindless machine she could control. We’ve seen him as an icky, wretched, decrepit…thing who was almost not human; so messed up and confused by the murders he’s committed, and by the beliefs he was taught, that he even kills his own mother. 
Now, in See No Evil 2, he is much more human, much more mentally aware. He kind of comes into his own and is dealing with the fact that he’s in control now, and how to handle that. While we never see Michael, Leatherface, or the others really struggle with who and what they are, Jacob does. He cries over his mom’s body, sad but not wanting to be what he wants her to be. He doesn’t see the sin. I don’t think he ever did. But she was, after all, his mother, and he loved her. If you ask me, See No Evil 2 is all about Jacob becoming his mother: seeing the sin in everyone; not because he wants to but because he feels guilty about killing his mother, and because at the end of the day, he doesn’t have anything else or know any other way to be. 

That’s layers. Jacob is evil, but has a soft side. He’s all the things the mainstream classic slashers aren’t. And so is his story, which makes him, and it, among my favorites.