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Sackhead Slasher

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Jason Voorhees before he got his famous goaltender mask.

Malevolent Masked Men meets Overalls and Gingham. You're all set for Hillbilly Horrors, the Cannibal Larder is stocked and the Creepy Gas-Station Attendant gave those kids some great directions. But how is your bad guy dressed? Put a sack on his head. Not a wimpy paper bag, but a rugged, intimidating burlap bundle that happened to be lying around the barnyard. Like other masks, it dehumanizes the wearer, often reducing them to an imposing silhouette with only eyeholes for expression. It also invokes the same eerie Uncanny Valley effect of the Scary Scarecrow, who are often constructed with a burlap head covered in Scary Stitches. Expect a Nightmare Face to lurk beneath, if the mask comes off at all. A Stock Costume.

Compare Hockey Mask and Chainsaw. May overlap with Stock Slasher.


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    Comic Books 
  • The Protagonist of Burlap is a heroic example, as his intended targets are a gang of Serial Killers.
  • Houstus Graves' deformed sons in The Goon. They wear burlap sacks and denim overalls, and fight with pitchforks and shovels. They also help their father with Grave Robbing to provide the Zombie Priest to bolster the numbers of his gang. They were both born deformed as a result of their father's involvement with the Priest, corrupting their mother's pregnancy.
  • "Junior" in The Punisher MAX story "Welcome to the Bayou". Strangely, he isn't that deformed when the sack comes off.
  • Simon Dark: When the cult stops even pretending its members are still human the rank and file possessed goons start wearing black died sacks over their heads. Each and every one of them is a killer.

    Film — Live Action 
  • The Bagman: An Expy of the Part 2 version of Jason Voorhees stars in this Direct to Video Slasher Movie, getting revenge on a group for their murder of a disfigured kid while wearing a burlap mask on Friday the 13th.
  • Batman Begins: Jonathan Crane, in his persona as the Scarecrow, just wears a burlap sack on his head (well, a burlap sack with a high-tech gas mask and voice filter on the inside) along with ordinary civilian clothes (rather than his full Scary Scarecrow costume from the original comics).
  • Berkshire County: One of the intruders' masks is a burlap sack fashioned to look like a pig's head.
  • Blood Bags: The killer wears a sack over the upper half of his head.
  • In The Butchers, the Zodiac Killer wears an executioner's hood made out of a black bag with eye holes cut out (in keeping with the one eyewitness account of the real world Zodiac Killer).
  • In Dark Night of the Scarecrow, when Bubba is wrongly accused of murdering a young girl, he hides from a vigilante gang by donning a burlap mask and pretending to be a scarecrow. His disguise doesn't work, and the vigilantes kill him. When he comes back as a ghost to get revenge, he's still wearing the scarecrow getup. This is a rare case where the mask has a cut-out hole for the mouth, giving him an unsettling Ghostly Gape.
  • In The Elephant Man, John Merrick wears a sack over his head whenever he goes out into public, to disguise his severe deformities. While this is not a slasher movie and John is a harmless, lovable Woobie, there's still something distinctly eerie and unsettling about the scenes where he is wearing his sack mask.
  • In the Fear Street trilogy, the Camp Nightwing Killer (a pretty overt homage to Jason Voorhees, below) wears one of these. He features most prominently in the second film, Fear Street 1978, where he terrorizes a summer camp with an axe, although he doesn't actually get his sack-cloth mask until pretty late in the movie. An interesting twist is that he never actually puts the bag on himself - someone else puts it over his head to try to choke him, but it doesn't work, and he simply never takes it off.
  • Friday the 13th Part 2: When Jason Voorhees first took up the machete as one of slasher horror's more iconic villains, he wore a sack with a single eyehole tied around his neck with a bit of rope to hide his monstrous deformity. It wasn't until the next movie, Friday the 13th Part III, that he would receive his iconic hockey mask.
  • Hayride: Ol' Pitchfork donned a burlap sack in a Flashback before beginning his murder spree, and the killer wears a sack in the present day.
  • In Husk, the murderous scarecrow wears a burlap sack with a very disturbing smiley face stitched on it over his head. By placing bags over the heads of his victims, he is able to turn them into scarecrows that he is able to animate.
  • Nightbreed: When he moonlights as a serial killer, Doctor Decker wears a drab-looking scarecrow mask that visually clashes with his neat business suit.
  • One Night in October: The scarecrow killer's mask looks like a burlap cask with a skull face.
  • In The Orphanage, the ghost of Tomas wears one, which he also apparently wore in life to cover up a deformed face. Although undeniably very scary, he's not really evil.
  • The Redwood Massacre: The killer wore a burlap sack on his head, with the rough shape of a face made up of stitches on the front.
  • Return of the Scarecrow: The scarecrow has a burlap sack with some eye-holes and a mouth-hole. Virgil and Wyatt also don some burlap sacks on their heads when they dress up at the scarecrow.
  • Rise of the Scarecrows: The three Scary Scarecrows each have a burlap sack over their heads.
  • In Shrooms, the Lonely Twin wears a burlap sack over his head to conceal the burns he received from the Black Brother.
  • The Strangers: The crux of the film is a home invasion by a masked trio, one of whom (credited simply as The Masked Man) combines a suit and tie with a burlap sack, with a smile drawn on in marker, over his head.
  • The Town That Dreaded Sundown: The Phantom is never seen without a burlap gunnysack with eye holes covering his head. The film is Based on a True Story with the real life suspect being described as wearing a white mask with eyeholes cut into it.
  • Triangle: Jess and her friends are stalked and murdered by a mysterious person wearing a burlap sack mask before a Dramatic Unmask. The killer is an iteration of Jess at a different point in the "Groundhog Day" Loop concealing her identity from herself and friends.
  • Trick 'r Treat: Sam wears a burlap sack with buttons sewn on for eyes and a stitched on mouth as a trick-or-treater mask, making him a pint-sized and oddly adorable version of this trope. He is actually a demonic embodiment of the spirit of Halloween with a pumpkin-like Skull for a Head beneath the mask.


    Live-Action Television 
  • Community: The Season 3 Halloween Episode has one of this in the scary stories they tell. He's played by Chang.
  • The Resident: The Halloween Episode "Nightmares" involves a woman suffering from chronic bad dreams in which she is terrorized by knife-wielding men wearing burlap sacks with faces scrawled on them.

  • Redmond Gore from Teddy Scares wears a sack over his head and likes to kill people with his axe.

    Video Games 
  • Dark Souls: The Butchers, a pair of massive and tough enemies in the Undead Burg Depths, ambush you with their giant cleavers and wear sacks on their heads. You can loot such a sack from their bodies and wear it yourself, although it offers next to no protection. Further down in Blighttown, there is also an NPC invader named Man-eater Mildred, who likewise wears a sack on her head and wields a Butcher cleaver. All three of them are said to be cannibals, and the first Butcher is introduced hacking away at what is very likely human meat.
  • Dread of Laughter: The killer pursuing Catheryn Barnett through the house wears a sack over his head with a clown face on it.
  • DUSK: The Leathernecks, burly men in overalls with potato sacks on their heads, are the first enemy encountered in the game when a group of them try to dice you up in a basement with chainsaws.
  • The Hunter from Little Nightmares 2 is the first enemy encountered in the game. He's portrayed as the least inhuman of the antagonists, being a backwoods psycho with a burlap sack over his head, killing and turning any person he finds into taxidermy.
  • Resident Evil 4: The Chainsaw Men are sack-wearing villagers who featured heavily in the marketing for the game. Infected with a malevolent parasite and controlled by the local cult, they are much more durable than the common Ganado enemy. Fail to keep your distance from them and Leon will suddenly find himself a good 10 to 12 pounds lighter. The remake's version forgoes decapitation in favor of an equally nasty chainsaw impalement, but you now at least have a chance to parry his One-Hit Kill attack.
  • Romancing SaGa 3 has a high level undead enemy called Carpenter that resembles a burly shirtless guy wearing a potato sack on his head and wielding a large serrated sword.
  • Splatterhouse has Biggy Man, a giant bloody ogre with a burlap sack covering his face and chainsaws grafted to his arm stumps.
  • Stay Out of the House: The Night Shift Abductor, also known as The Butcher, is a serial kidnapper and killer who wears a heavy rubber apron over red and black plaid along with a burlap mask.

    Real Life 
  • The Phantom Killer of Texarkana Moonlight Murders fame was a serial killer that operated from February 22nd 1946 to May 3rd 1946. His MO was very similar to the Zodiac Killer as he enjoyed killing couples at night with a pistol, he has to this day never been identified. He reportedly wore an improvised mask which was a simple sack fastened in place by tying a cord around his neck; his actual mask included a mouth hole but his film counterpart in The Town That Dreaded Sundown he only has the eyes cut out.
  • The Zodiac Killer famously wore an improvised executioner hood (actually a black bag with eyes cut out) during one of his murders; it is unknown if he wore this any other time since most of his other victims didn't get as lucky.


Video Example(s):


The Phantom

The Phantom is never seen without a burlap gunnysack with eye holes covering his head. The real life suspect was described as wearing a white mask with eyeholes cut into it.

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