What is it about the everyday job of butchering meat that makes it so frightening in a horror context? Is it the thought of the those big, shiny knives and cleavers slicing up human victims instead of steers and pigs? Is it the idea of encountering a madman inside a walk-in freezer with blood caked on the walls and floor? Does no one want to know how the sausage is made?
Whatever it is, butchers are scary as hell when you run into them in video games. Some stab at you with giant meat hooks, while others opt for even crazier weapons like buzzsaws and sharpened bone. But these are the choicest cuts of all. Let's start with a nice chunk of...
Condemned: Criminal Origins' loco lunch lady
Detective Ethan Thomas travels all over Metro City during his investigations, and at one point he finds himself in St. Joseph's Secondary School. A large figure taunts him as he explores the hallways and classrooms, dispatching minions to stop the gumshoe for good. Eventually, he reaches the freezer, where the butcher herself attacks.
This crazed cafeteria work stands seven feet tall, with plenty of weight to throw around. She can absorb entire magazines of ammo--only well placed headshots or blows from melee weapon can take this elementary schoolers' nightmare down. Still, shes only 5% more scary than the lunch lady I grew up with.
Dead Rising's fresh meat fiend
Larry Chiang. The name isn't intimidating, but when you watch this guy drag your friend Carlito into his meat processing plant, you know he's pure evil. His plan is to grind Carlito into "fresh meat" after all.
The boss fight that follows is a series of meat cleaver slices and thrown meat: Larry actually pulls down choice cuts to throw at hero Frank West during the fight. He'll even eat some canned mystery meat during the fight. Stopping him means saving Carlito and taking the meat cleaver as your own weapon.
Silent Hill: Origins' Pyramid Head Jr.
When you play a Silent Hill game, you expect to run into big bad Pyramid Head, and you try your best to keep your bodily functions in check when you do. That's not the case in Origins. Instead, Travis Grady encounters the equally horrifying Butcher.
He first shows up in The Family Butcher shop, slicing a nurse (the monster, not the kind that takes your blood pressure) from the belly down. Later on, he is found in front of the shop with the same nurses wound now spread open. In a final showdown in the Riverside Motel, you can end the Butcher's reign of terror for good--by stabbing him in the spine with his own cleaver.
Dead Island's armless assailants
Meat cleavers? Carving knives? The Butchers in Dead Island have no time for your silly weapons. Instead, they use their own forearms: their flesh and muscle have been removed, leaving them with sharp bones jutting from the bicep. Get too close with a bat or wrench, and their bone-blades will make short work of you.
Luckily, they only appear in the jungle in the first Dead Island. Solution: stay out of there. But in Dead Island: Riptide, the Butchers show up in all sorts of missions and locations. Good luck avoiding these handless horrors, buddy.
Diablo 3's demon
Lumbering giants with meat cleavers are hellish, but Diablo's Butcher (returning from the first game) is literally from Hell, a blade-wielding cousin of Baal, Mephisto, and the other Evils. You can find him in the Chamber of Suffering--a fitting name given how the boss fight goes down.
The Butcher can swipe and slam his carver into the ground, but he also wields a sickle and multiple spears. That's a lot of weaponry to dance around, and I haven't even mentioned the fire below your feet. That's right: the grates on the floor belch fire throughout the fight, just waiting to cook up what the Butcher filets.
Sleeping Dogs' murderous mother
The Water Street Gang are already pretty ruthless, choosing to use knives or their bare fists in combat. Their leader Winston Chu is the toughest of the bunch, but even he pales in comparison to his mother, Mrs. Chu.
Mrs. Chu owns the Golden Koi restaurant, where the Water Street Gang does its business. At first she just appears to be a tough manager, yelling at her kitchen employees. But it's in that kitchen that she butchers rival gang member Johnny Ratface and forces his boss Dogeyes to eat pieces of his corpse. The term "momma's boy" never sounded so sinister.
Dishonored's buzzsaw badasses
Who needs a dinky little butter knife when you've got a giant buzzsaw? That's the mentality of the Butchers in Dishonored's DLC pack Knife of Dunwall. They're found in Slaughterhouse Row--that level name should be your first red flag.
Those saws aren't for slicing up lunchmeat, either. These Butchers carve up freakin' whales, using the ocean mammal's mysteriously powerful oil to power their buzzsaws. Don't think you can just run off with one of their badass buzz-weapons either. Listen to their conversations, and you'll learn that they cut their coworker's hands off just for touching the damn things.
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow's chef
He's called the Evil Butcher, and he's hideous. Despite this, he is the vampire's official cook, tasked with feeding the beasts that roam the castle grounds. Once Gabriel slips into the vents and reaches the kitchen, the battle with the Butcher is on.
The Evil Butcher wields--you should see this coming by now--a giant metal cleaver, which does heavy damage. Other tools in his kitchen are just as deadly in his hands: hooks, dinner bells, you name it. You can't even finish the big guy off until he makes the mistake of dropping a large soup pot on his own head. Appetites are a common weakness among evildoing freaks, I guess.
Shank's washed up wrestler
The titular Shank has a bit of history with this husky hulk. The Butcher used to win fights thanks to some shady Mafia deals, and that made him a renowned wrestler. Then Shank and his buddy Falcone beat him up for missing one of his payments to the mob.
Later, the Butcher was sent to kill Shank, though he only succeeded in fracturing his skull. Shank gets his revenge in spades: he strangles the Butcher with his own chains, strings him up, and sends him through a meat grinder. He butchers the Butcher.