Scientists use the term Behavioral Modernity to describe a suite of sophisticated traits thought to have evolved around 50,000 years ago, marking the start of the Upper Paleolithic. For example Richard Klein noted that before 50,000 years ago, virtually everyone made artifacts out of stone, while after 50,000 years ago, folks suddenly started using bone, ivory, antler or shell. He cited this fact, among many others, as evidence of a genetic increase in intelligence that occurred in our species.

If using diverse materials to make artifacts is evidence of more intellect among cavemen, perhaps using diverse weapons to kill people is evidence of more intellect among slashers. In honor of Halloween, I decided to see how some of our favorite fictional slasher villains would stack up.

Jason

In Friday the 13th part II (1981) (the first film that features Jason as a slasher), Jason kills 8 people with 6 weapons (ice pick, barbed wire, hammer claw, machete, spear, and butcher knife). That’s a ratio of 6/8 or 0.75.

Michael Myers

In the original Halloween (1978), adult Myers kills 4 people (and two dogs) with at least 3 weapons (knife & phone chord): Score 2/4 = 0.5

Pam

She kills 8 people with 5 weapons (hunting knife, arrow, bow and arrow, machete, and axe). Score 5/8 = 0.63

Billy

In Silent Night Deadly Night (1983), he kills 8 people with 6 weapons (Christmas lights, knife, hammer, bow and arrow, deer horns, axe). Score 6/8 = 0.75.

Leatherface

In the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) he kills 4 people with 3 weapons (hammer, hook and saw). Score 3/4 = 0.75

Distribution of scores

Mean Behavioral Modernity Quotient = 0.68 (Standard Deviation = 0.1)

On a scale where British people average IQ 100 (standard deviation = 15), the criminally insane probably average about 76 (SD = 15?).

By equating the Behavioral Modernity mean and SD of the slashers (0.68 and 0.1) to the criminally insane IQ mean and SD (76 and 15), we get the following rough measures of non-verbal IQ:

Jason = IQ 87

Michael Myers = IQ 49

Pam = IQ 69

Billy = IQ 87

Leatherface = IQ 87

These numbers don’t seem to correlate at all with the intelligence of these characters. But a low correlation is to be expected given the small and fictional nature of the sample. More research on large data-sets of real life serial killers might give better results.