10 Horror Movies Where Pranks Brutally Backfired

While most love a good joke, these films prove that some pranks are really no laughing matter...

Sorority Row
Summit Entertainment

The prank-gone-wrong is a staple of movies aimed at a certain demographic, generally teens and young adults. Pranks generally play a role in two sorts of movies. The first is raunchy comedies, where stuffy authority figures are taught a lesson in a sea of nudity, sex, and booze, leading to lots of laughs.

The second is not those things.

No, the second is the horror movie, and while the nudity and sex may still be there, the laughs aren't, and the pranks generally go very wrong, usually leading some poor innocent to humiliation, madness, disfigurement, death, or some combination of those unfortunate outcomes.

While the ideal is never to root for the killer, (although, let's face it, we love our Jasons, Michaels, Freddys, and Leatherfaces), some of these films make it very difficult not to take the side of the villain of these pieces, who, for the most part are simply going about their (usually depressing) lives when they are the butt of a life-changing prank.

In these movies, though, the joke is on those setting up the pranks, as even their best-laid plans go very wrong in these instances, leading to them getting their comeuppance in the worst way.

The victims in these movies aren't laughing so much now...

10. Friday The 13th Part 3 (1982)

Sorority Row

Jason Voorhees, the antagonist of almost a dozen Friday the 13th films, is a cultural icon. Part of his appeal is a now legendary piece of his look, a white hockey mask with red triangles. Funny thing is, the mask was an accident born out of a cinematic shortcut.

Filming a movie is grueling at the best of times, and it can only be imagined movies with heavy makeup and gore effects are even worse. During lighting tests one night, it was decided to just plop a goalie mask on the actor playing Jason instead of doing his makeup. A few tweaks to the mask, and out of necessity was born a legend.

But how to work this great prop into the film? It was decided that character Shelly was to be a prankster, constantly annoying the other characters. At one point, he pops out of the water wearing the mask, scaring another character and ending up alone and sad. After Shelly makes a poorly timed trip to Jason's hiding spot, the hulking killer becomes the proud new owner of an iconic costume.

With this act of prankery, Shelly inadvertently added the final piece to one of cinema's most infamous killers. The mask made Jason an unreadable, emotionless monster, adding tremendously to his character and mystique and making him one of the most popular movie characters of the '80s.

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