Alexa Browning

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Character copyrightability is a complex and nuanced legal issue that the courts have wrestled with for decades. Due to this, the outcomes of copyright protection cases can be unpredictable. This unpredictability can lead the creators of original content to feel insecure in the preservation of their work, which is crucial for the future of impactful and creative original works. While the issue of character copyrightability has been explored, this paper will examine character copyright protection for infamous horror movie villains whose likenesses were appropriated following their rise to popularity. This article will utilize cases involving the villains Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, and Ghostface to delve into the issue of horror movie character copyrightability. Characters’ images and likenesses drive the popularity of horror movies and franchises. This is why the protection of horror movie characters specifically is imperative. Character copyright protection allows creators to freely produce original concepts and be rewarded for creativity. Character copyrightability should be a reliable legal approach to ensure the preservation of iconic horror characters.



The 1968 horror film Night of the Living Dead,1 co-written and directed by George Romero, has been cited as one of the most influential zombie movies ever made.2 Prior to the film’s release, the popular interpretation of zombies was heavily inspired by voodoo zombies.3 Romero’s Night of the Living Dead completely changed the popular perception of zombies and has continued to influence the depiction of zombies in modern film & TV up to this day.4 However, this groundbreaking film lives in the public domain and Romero hardly saw any profit from the movie, despite it being a box-office success and grossing thirty million dollars.5

Before the film was called Night of the Living Dead, the working title was “Night of the Flesh Eaters.”6 The title was not changed to “Night of the Living Dead” until shortly before its release.7 Unfortunately, after this change the distributor forgot to put the copyright notice in the final print and the film was unable to be protected under copyright.8 Therefore, the film lives in the public domain.

The horror genre specifically has experienced its fair share of copyright disputes. Horror has historically been overlooked as a genre and has not been considered a serious art.9 Due to this, horror filmmakers have often created films without a clear idea of how successful they would be. However, the unexpected widespread popularity of certain horror films has led to many attempts at appropriating infamous antagonists.10 This article examines character copyright protection and how it applies to infamous horror movie villains. Copyright protection for horror movie characters allows the original creators of the characters to portray them in the most authentic way possible. Characters are known to evolve over the decades for many reasons,11 but only their original creators can incorporate such changes while maintaining the heart of their characters and staying true to the original concept.

Section I will discuss the history of horror films and identify the horror movie villains discussed throughout the remainder of the article. Section II will examine copyright law and character copyright. Section III will review copyright cases that involve the horror movie villains identified in Section I. Section IV will conclude the article and argue why horror movie characters should be protected by copyright.

I. The History of Horror

Since the beginning of film there have always been “horror” movies, however, they did not gain widespread popularity until around the 1920s.12 Films such as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari13 and Nosferatu14 were catalysts for the genre’s popularity.15 Both are German films influenced by the country’s perspective on authority and fear after World War I.16 Since the release of these films, there have been an array of notable films that similarly reflect the social issues and fears of the time they were released.17

Frankenstein18 and Freaks,19 for example, both examine the theme of otherness that was prevalent in the 1930s. During this period, eugenics was a pervasive concern that caused high value to be put into a “healthy” or “superior” appearance.20 Due to this, “visible disability or difference was interpreted as a sign of this inner deviance, which was also interpreted in terms of immorality and criminality.”21 While Freaks22 features actors with disabilities, Frankenstein23 features a deformed monster. Although Mary Shelley, the author of the gothic novel Frankenstein,24 wrote her novel before the ideology of eugenics was popularized, the film incorporates more timely themes into the story.25 The two films present the audience with a prevalent social fear of “visible disability or difference.”26 This societal fear was so strong, in fact, that the director of Freaks, Tod Browning, saw his career ultimately end as a result of the film’s negative reception.27

The 1960s were another notable decade for the horror genre and the United States. Because of the rise of the civil rights movement and the civil unrest in many cities due to racial discrimination and police brutality, 1968 was a violent year in American history.28 The Vietnam War, which began in 1964, contributed to the ongoing presence of violence in the United States. As the first televised war, Americans at home were exposed to the horrors of combat in real time.29 Night of the Living Dead,30 released in 1968, sheds light on the fears widely held by society at the time. Just a year before the 1968 release of Night of the Living Dead, the March on the Pentagon took place with thousands of attendees protesting the Vietnam War.31 Additionally, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated that same year.32 As a whole, 1968 was polluted with violence and anger, which led many Americans to think “their country was having a nervous breakdown.”33 Although the director of Night of the Living Dead, Romero, did not intend for the film to be about race and unrest,34 he has since said that it captures the “anger” and “disappointment” of the time it was released.35

The societal changes and fears of the 60s carried on into the 1970s, with the effects of the Vietnam War prevalent in 1970s culture.36 The 70s saw a breakdown of traditional Christian values, a rise in individuality, and a surge of various liberation movements.37 Amidst these cultural changes, the 1970s were also when some of the most iconic horror villains came to life on the big screen for the first time.

In 1978, John Carpenter’s Halloween38 was released and popularized the slasher genre.39 Merriam Webster defines a “slasher” as a person who “mutilates or kills with an edged blade.”40 Slasher films typically feature an antagonist who stalks then harms or kills a group of people.41 Although Halloween42 was not the first slasher movie,43 its influence on the horror genre was massive and its impact is still apparent.44 It could be argued that without Halloween, the other films discussed in this article would not have been created.45

In 2006, Halloween was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry46 by the Library of Congress as being “uniquely artistic, frightening and a horror film keystone,”47 and the main villain, Michael Myers, has been ranked the greatest slasher villain of all time.49 In the first Halloween film, Michael wields a large butcher knife and is often associated with knives, but his weapon of choice changes depending on his surroundings.50 Halloween shaped the horror movies which came after it and aided in the rise of the slasher film.51

Shortly after, Friday the 13th52 was released in 1980. The film’s producers were inspired by the success of Halloween and wanted to create a similarly fashioned movie.53 The movie was a box office success54 and Friday the 13th is considered one of the most successful media franchises in the United States.55 Jason Voorhees is the antagonist in Friday the 13th56 and is widely recognized for his hockey mask.57 He often wears dark, drab, and tattered clothing.58 Although he is mistakenly known to carry a chainsaw,59 Jason most often carries a machete.60 Additionally, Jason is not the killer in the first installment of Friday the 13th;61 however, he is the killer in all the Friday the 13th sequels and represents the franchise.62 Jason’s mother, Pamela Voorhees, is the killer in the first Friday the 13th movie, where she dies at the end and Jason is resurrected.63

1984 ushered in the next big slasher film in the genre, A Nightmare on Elm Street.64 Directed by Wes Craven, A Nightmare on Elm Street,65 marked a shift in the slasher genre, as it subtly departed from its predecessors.66 Unlike Halloween67 and Friday the 13th68, the main villain in A Nightmare on Elm Street69 is not a masked and silent killer. Instead, Freddy Krueger is cocky, loud, and expressive.70 Freddy has severe burn marks on his face, and he wears a brimmed brown hat with a green and red striped sweater.71 His most iconic feature, however, is his razor-fingered glove.72 A Nightmare on Elm Street73, supra note 64.[/efn_note] was one of the first films produced by New Line Cinema, which would later be referred to as “The House That Freddy Built.”74 The film was nominated for Best Horror Film by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Horror Films in 198575 and was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 2021.76

The 1990s turned away from traditional slasher films. Movies like The Silence of the Lambs and The Blair Witch Project were released and veered closer to psychological or supernatural thrillers, and yet were still widely celebrated.77 Then in 1996 the self-aware and sometimes humorous Scream was released.78 The film was monumental and pioneered the modernization of the slasher film.79 Halloween and Scream have been cited by horror enthusiasts as the two most influential films for the horror genre,80 and the characters in Scream81 are even shown watching Halloween in a scene during the movie. To further solidify the two films’ significance, Scream was the highest-grossing slasher film in the world until the 2018 release of Halloween.82

Scream features its infamous antagonist Ghostface.83 Although the culprit underneath the mask changes in each installment of the franchise, Ghostface always looks the same.84 The killer always dons the distinctive white mask that features a long and distorted face.85 He (or she) also wears a black cloak, often wields a discrete knife, and uses a voice changing device that distorts their speech into the famous “Ghostface voice.”86

Michael Myers,87 Jason Voorhees,88 Freddy Krueger,89 and Ghostface,90 are four of the most prolific horror movie villains, and have been leaving audiences terrified for half a century. The slashers from Halloween,91 Friday the 13th,92 A Nightmare on Elm Street,93 and Scream94 all gained enough popularity to produce numerous sequels and have notable franchises within the horror movie industry.95 The Friday the 13th96 franchise, for example, has a whopping 12 movies, including a 2009 reboot.97 A Nightmare on Elm Street98 follows closely behind with 9 movies, which also includes a 2010 reboot.99 Scream 6,100 which was released in 2023 and became the highest grossing film in the franchise101 brought in a new generation of fans. Similarly, Halloween Ends, the final film in the rebooted Halloween trilogy, was released on October 14th, 2022, marking the franchise’s thirteenth film.102

II. Distinctly Delineated: Precedent for Copyright Protection

Copyright protection for original characters has been argued for decades. Through certain cases, the courts have produced reliable character copyrightability tests that have been continually upheld, and pave the way for original works to receive protection.103 Its intended purpose is to give authors the right to protect their creative works from infringement.104 However, copyright protection is not inherent to all creative works. The Copyright Act states that if a work is original, creative, fixated, and falls within one of the eight categories outlined, such as dramatic works or motion pictures, then the work is eligible for copyright protection,105 and the author can apply to register a work through the U.S Copyright Office.106

Regarding character copyright protection, a key foundational case is Nichols v. Universal Pictures Corp.107 Anne Nichols, author of the play Abie’s Irish Rose, sued Universal Pictures Corporation for copyright infringement.108 Universal Pictures Corporation produced a play titled The Cohens and the Kellys, which Nichols believed infringed on the copyright of Abie’s Irish Rose.109 Both stories feature Jewish and Irish Catholic families who deal with the scandal of interfaith marriages.110 The court found that the similarities of the plays mostly involved the young lovers and fathers in each story.111 However, both plays have unique attributes and plot points.112

The court held that the characters in Abie’s Irish Rose were not distinctly delineated and therefore, were not able to be protected by copyright.113 The Second Circuit Court of Appeals reasoned that characters who are well delineated may be protected by copyright.114 Nichols established a three-step test to decipher how a character can be distinctly delineated.115 First, the character must have a personality and identifiable physical expression.116 Second, the character must be delineated enough to be recognized outside of the work that features the character.117 Third, the character must have unique attributes.118 Based on these three elements, the court found the characters in Abie’s Irish Rose to not be copyrightable.119

The “distinctly delineated”120 character test was later applied to a new set of facts in Warner Bros. Pictures v. Columbia Broadcasting System.121 Dashiell Hammett (Hammett) was the author of a mystery story titled The Maltese Falcon. Each installment of the story was copyrighted by the publisher.122 The publishing company, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. (Knopf), entered a contract with Hammett to publish The Maltese Falcon as a book, and subsequently copyrighted the book.123 After the book was published, Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc. (Warner Bros.) was defined as a purchaser of the work.124

Within the contract between Hammett, Knopf, and Warner Bros., along with the assignment of copyright executed by Knopf, the motion picture company was granted defined rights to use The Maltese Falcon stories in motion pictures, radio, and television.125 Following this contract, Hammett continued to use the characters from his stories and so did Warner Bros.126 Warner Bros., however, claimed copyright infringement because Hammett was contracting with and allowing third parties to use the character Sam Spade from The Maltese Falcon in motion pictures, television, and radio.127

Applying the “distinct delineation” test established in Nichols,128 as well as other precedents, the court found the character Sam Spade unable to be protected by copyright.129 The Ninth Circuit court held that a character can be protected by copyright if the character “constitutes the story being told.”130 The court ruled the character Sam Spade was a “vehicle” for the story.131 This created the Sam Spade test, which would be utilized in later character copyright cases.

Building upon the holdings in Nichols132 and Warner Bros.133 came the decision in Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Kamar Industries.134 Universal City Studios, Inc. (Universal) produced the major motion picture entitled E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, which premiered in May of 1982.135 The movie focuses on E.T., an alien puppet character. Universal owned the copyright to the movie, which became a box-office success.136 In collaboration with the licensing agent Merchandising Corporation of America, Universal was able to profit from licensed E.T. merchandise ranging from toys, mugs, and clothing.137 However, Kamar Industries (Kamar) began to promote merchandise with the phrases “I E.T.” and “E.T. Phone Home!” without Universal’s consent.138

Texas’s Southern District court ruled that characters who are an essential part of a story are protected by copyright, including Nichols139 and Warner Bros.,140 along with the “common law of trademark infringement and unfair competition.”141 Addressing the copyright claim, the distinctly delineated142 test was applied to the character E.T. and the court found E.T. to be a developed and well-delineated character,143 as the movie E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial144 would not be the same without the character E.T., and the story of the movie revolved around him.145 Based on this reasoning, E.T. was granted copyright protection.146

Similarly to Universal City Studios,147 Anderson v. Stallone deals with the issue of iconic characters and their copyright protections.148 Sylvester Stallone wrote and starred in the successful motion pictures Rocky I, II, and III.149 In the movies, Stallone plays the titular character Rocky Balboa, who is the main character in each of the film installations.150

After seeing Rocky III, writer Timothy Anderson wrote a thirty-one-page script summary entitled “Rocky IV.”151 Anderson hoped his summary would be used by Stallone and the production company MGM/UA Communications Co. (MGM) as a sequel to Rocky III.152 The script summary written by Anderson used characters created by Stallone in the Rocky franchise and listed Stallone as a co-author.153 Without consulting Anderson or formally acknowledging his script summary, MGM released a fourth Rocky movie that had similar components to the summary written by Anderson.154

The court ruled that Rocky was a well-delineated character.155 The court stated that the original author of a copyrightable work cannot infringe on a derivative work by another author.156 Additionally, they asked whether the Rocky characters were entitled to copyright protection.157 Based on the application of law, the court found that Rocky was identifiable by his physicality and mannerisms.158 Similar to E.T., Rocky was also ruled to be necessary for the story of Rocky and therefore, the character was protected by copyright.159

Several years later, the same district court in California applied the rule established in Anderson v. Stallone160 to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer v. American Honda.161 The motion picture studio, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (Metro), brought action against the automobile manufacturer, American Honda Motor Co. (Honda), and its advertising agency.162 Metro argued that Honda was airing television advertisements that infringed on the studio’s character James Bond.163 Metro had copyright of the character James Bond, who appeared in sixteen Metro produced films.164 The court affirmed the holdings in Nichols,165 Warner Bros.,166 and Anderson167 and serves as a recent interpretation of copyright protection for characters.

III. A Villain’s Day in Court

The courts have established a rule of law to determine the copyrightability of certain characters. The distinctly delineated test, along with the Sam Spade test, can be applied to all fictional characters, including horror movie villains. Therefore, an application of the distinctly delineated test and the Sam Spade test to the characters from Halloween, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Scream provide the most accurate analysis in regard to the copyrightability of these characters.

Don Post Studios, Inc. v. Cinema Secrets, Inc.168 questions the copyrightability of a horror villain’s mask. Don Post Studios (Don Post) created a prototype mask for the 1978 movie Halloween, which is donned by Michael Myers for the entire length of the movie.169 Although the mask was created by Don Post, the company did not reserve any rights to the mask worn by Michael.170

After the release of Halloween, Don Post created their version of the Michael Myers mask for sale after they were denied a license from the filmmakers to sell the mask.171 Don Post attempted to secure a copyright registration for their mask; however, their first application was rejected.172 Don Post reapplied without any mention of the character Michael Myers or Halloween and the copyright application was approved.173

Two years later, in collaboration with the holder of the Halloween copyright, Cinema Secrets Inc. (Cinema Secrets) began to produce and market a Michael Myers mask based on the movie character.174 Don Post subsequently filed a lawsuit against Cinema Secrets, alleging that Cinema Secrets’ mask copied their mask.175 The court ruled that Don Post’s copyright in their mask was invalid for “lack of originality” because Don Post copied the Michael Myers mask from Halloween.176 Conclusively, the court held that Cinema Secrets’ sale of the masks did not constitute copyright infringement.177

Michael Myers is a well-delineated character when analyzed through the scope of the distinctly delineated test.178 Michael has a quiet yet threatening personality and an identifiable physical expression.179 His slow and stealthy walk, accompanied by his large, tall frame can be unmistakably recognized as Michael Myers.180 Although other slashers, such as Jason Voorhees, have a similar slow walk and large frame, Michael Myers is individually recognizable outside of Halloween.181 His physical expression combined with his unique attributes are what make him so iconic, even outside of the Halloween franchise.182 Michael’s most unique attribute, aside from his navy-blue utility jumpsuit, is the white mask he dons.183 The white mask is so unique to Michael’s character that it was the crux of the debate in Don Post Studios.184

Michael Myers also passes the Sam Spade test.185 The story of Halloween186 would not be the same without Michael. Like E.T., the character disputed in Universal City Studios, Inc.,187 Michael begins the story being told in Halloween.188 Michael’s point of view is also a recurring shot throughout the movie that builds suspense and puts the audience in Michael’s shoes.189 Furthermore, the plot of Halloween and most of its sequels rely on Michael to push the story forward.190 Many of the characters in Halloween are focused on Michael, whether it is the sheriff or Michael’s psychiatrist, the characters in Halloween are centered around Michael.191 While Michael Myers is the main villain, Laurie Strode is the heroine, or final girl,192 in Halloween193 and both characters rely on each other for a purpose within the movie.194

Following the Don Post Studios case, the motion picture company, New Line Cinema Corporation (New Line) and their production company sued toy company Russ Berrie & Company, Inc. (Russ Berrie).195 New Line claimed Russ Berrie infringed on its copyright and trademark for the character Freddy Krueger.196

New Line was the sole owner of a valid trademark for A Nightmare on Elm Street and the Freddy character.197 Utilizing their trademark, New Line began selling a “Freddy Glove” in 1987.198 The glove was a model of Freddy Krueger’s glove from the movie, which features protruding razor blades.199 However, in 1993, Russ Berrie began selling a similar glove with protruding razor blades and called it the “Ghostly Gasher.”200

Furthermore, the court held that the copyright protections of A Nightmare on Elm Street and Freddy Krueger extended to the glove worn by Freddy because “‘[c]opyright protection is extended to the component part of the character which significantly aids in identifying the character.’”201 Due to these rulings, and the evidence that Russ Berrie had access to New Line’s copyrighted material, the court held that Russ Berrie did infringe on New Line’s copyright of A Nightmare on Elm Street and Freddy Krueger.202

The distinctly delineated test203 also shows that Freddy Krueger is a well delineated character. Freddy has a loud and boisterous personality and a distinct physical expression.204 Whereas Michael and Jason are tall and solid, Freddy is smaller and makes fluid movements.205 The limbo between dreams and reality that continues throughout A Nightmare on Elm Street is also represented by Freddy’s physicality.206 He is a surreal character with surreal physicality; he is shown ripping his face off, filled with maggots, and cutting his fingers off.207 Along with that, Freddy is recognizable outside of A Nightmare on Elm Street.208 He does not rely on the story or setting to be a distinct and independent character.209 Unique attributes associated with Freddy are not only his outfit and burned skin,210 but most notably his razor blade glove which was the topic of dispute in New Line Cinema Corp. v. Russ Berrie & Co., Inc.211

Freddy also passes the Sam Spade test.212 His character constitutes the story being told because A Nightmare on Elm Street is about Freddy.213 Throughout the movie, Freddy terrorizes the character Nancy in her dreams.214 Later, Nancy’s mother reveals that Freddy used to be a real person who was a child murderer.215 Due to his crimes, and no conviction, her mother and other teens at the time trapped Freddy in an old warehouse and burned it down with him inside.216 Freddy’s dark and twisted backstory is what fuels his malevolence and makes his character a central aspect of the A Nightmare on Elm Street story.217 He is the thread between all the movies in the franchise and makes the story.218

Years later, the Friday the 13th franchise found itself in a legal battle in Horror Inc. v. Miller.219 The film production company, Horror Inc., along with its successor, Manny Company (Manny), sought a legal declaration that Friday the 13th‘s screenwriter, Victor Miller, was a work for hire.220 Miller wrote the screenplay for the film in 1979; however, in 2016 Miller gave notice to Manny that he planned to terminate Manny’s copyright.221

Manny argued Miller was an employee of the company, and therefore Manny owned the screenplay because it was a “work made for hire.”222 However, Miller argued that he was an independent contractor for Manny when he wrote the screenplay, giving him the authority to reclaim the screenplay as his own.223 After considering the factors used to distinguish independent contractors and employees, as well as the factors used to analyze whether a work is prepared as a work made for hire in the context of copyright law, the court held that Miller was an independent contractor when he wrote the screenplay for Friday the 13th.224 This ruling meant Miller was entitled to authorship rights for the screenplay.225 Additionally, the court held that Manny and Horror Inc. did not recant Miller’s authorship in a way that would generate a limitations period for an authorship claim.226

When examined under the lens of the distinctly delineated test, Jason Voorhees passes.227 Jason has a dull disposition and an identifiable physical expression.228 He is slow in his pursuit of his victims, but unlike Michael Myers, is not graceful.229 Jason is also recognizable outside of Friday the 13th and does not rely on his settings to be familiar.230 Jason’s unique attributes aid in making him recognizable outside of the Friday the 13th franchise.231 Jason’s hockey mask is undoubtedly his most unparalleled attribute.232 In Horror Inc. v. Miller,233 the discussion of having a masked killer is included in the facts of the case. The creators of Jason’s character were inspired by Michael Myers, so the inclusion of a masked killer was necessary for the story.234 Although there are similarities between Jason and Michael, their personalities, physical expression, and unique attributes make them both distinctly identifiable.235

Jason also constitutes the story being told. The Friday the 13th franchise is about Jason and the audience learns more about his childhood and character overall as the franchise continues.236 In the first film, the audience learns that Jason drowned as a child at camp while the counselors were neglecting their duties.237 Motivated by Jason’s death, his mother, Pamela, seeks revenge by killing camp counselors.238 At the end of the film, Jason is inexplicably resurrected, and from then, he continues his mother’s legacy of killing.239 Although Jason is not the killer in the first movie, Pamela is motivated by Jason’s death and Jason pushes the story forward.240 While the characters Jason targets change in each movie, Jason remains the common denominator in all the Friday the 13th movies.241

The Scream franchise dealt with its own copyright issues in Easter Unlimited, Inc. v. Rozier.242 Easter Unlimited Inc. (Easter Unlimited) designs, manufactures, and sells costume supplies and novelty gifts,243 and the Ghost Face Mask is one of the many products sold by the company. Additionally, they’ve held the copyright for it since 1993.244 Along with the mask, Easter Unlimited also holds a trademark registration for a stylized Ghost Face logo.245 In 1996, Easter Unlimited gave Dimension Films a license to use their Ghost Face Mask in the movie Scream.246 The movie’s villain, Ghostface, wears the mask throughout the film.247

In 2018, Terry Rozier, a successful basketball player in the NBA, earned the nickname “Scary Terry” from sports media outlets and fans.248 The popularity of this nickname encouraged Rozier to start his own line of merchandise featuring a cartoon version of himself wearing the Ghost Face Mask used in Scream.249 Scary Terry merchandise never claimed to be affiliated with Easter Unlimited, and Easter Unlimited never authorized use of the Ghost Face Mask for any merchandise created by Rozier.250 Subsequently, Easter Unlimited claimed that Rozier committed copyright infringement.251

For the purpose of subsequent analysis, the court assumed that Easter Unlimited did own a valid copyright,252 and found that, despite the imagery being used across different mediums, Rozier did copy elements of the Ghost Face Mask.253 The court stated that substantial similarity “’is a factual question and the appropriate test for determining whether substantial similarity is present is whether an average lay observer would recognize the alleged copy as having been appropriated from the copyrighted work.’”254 Using the facts of the case, the court held that “the two works are substantially similar.”255

Although the court found Rozier to have committed unauthorized copying, the court also held that fair-use doctrine protected256 Rozier’s use of the Ghost Face Mask.257 Out of the four factors that make up the fair-use doctrine,258 the court reasoned that factors one and four supported Rozier’s fair-use claim.259 Factor one pertains to the purpose of the use and factor four questions the effect on the market value of the copyrighted work. The court also found factors two and three, which relate to the nature of the work and the importance of the portion of the work being used, respectively, to be unable to overcome the strength of factors one and four in the overall decision.260 The court subsequently held that Rozier’s “use of the Scream mask constitute[d] fair use.”261

Ghostface is also a distinctly delineated character.262 Although the culprit behind the mask changes throughout the films, Ghostface always has the same voice and demeanor.263 The person wearing the mask always reveals their use of a voice changing device that makes their voice sound the same as the voice in the first Scream movie.264 Additionally, Ghostface consistently acts with swift and furtive movements.265 Ghostface is recognizable outside of Scream.266 The villain’s most unique attribute is the stark white mask, which was the object of contention in Easter Unlimited, Inc. v. Rozier.267 Ghostface is especially unique because the mask existed before Scream;268 however, the mask is now widely associated with the movie.269

Like other slashers, Ghostface is in all the Scream installments and plays an essential role in the story.270 The movie starts with Ghostface terrorizing a teen alone inside her home in Woodsboro, where Scream is set.271 Panic then ensues in the small California town and the characters discuss the masked killer, and their true identity, at length throughout the movie.272 Like Halloween, the main heroine in Scream, Sidney Prescott, relies on Ghostface to tell her character’s story and vice versa.273 Scream and its sequels rely on Ghostface to incite terror and continue the story.274

The characters Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, and Ghostface have similarities, though, that are applicable to other horror villains. Michael, Jason, and Ghostface all wear masks which is a recurring theme in the horror genre. While their masks are unique, being a masked killer is not unique in horror.275 Additionally, the antagonist in horror movies usually wears plain and tattered clothes, like Jason, Michael, and Ghostface. While Freddy’s clothes are not plain, they are noticeably tattered.276 The villains in horror movies are also typically tall and large to make their character even more intimidating.277 Michael and Jason fit this description, whereas Freddy’s build is less evident.278 The killer under the Ghostface disguise changes in every movie so his build changes but is generally depicted as tall and large.279 Horror villains usually always wield a bladed weapon that varies in size, hence their victims being “slashed” to death.280 Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, and Ghostface are no exception to this generalization.281


George Romero passed away in 2017, leaving behind a legendary legacy of horror films.282 Regrettably, he did not see any monetary credit for his first and extremely notable work Night of the Living Dead because it was not protected by copyright.283 Copyright laws allow for authors to protect their work and preserve it for up to seventy years after their death.284 This protection is crucial because creators of horror movies and characters know their creations best; they are able to produce the most authentic versions of their stories and characters. Although remakes in horror franchises can be passed along to different directors, producers, etc., the original creator of the film and its characters are the core of these franchises and thus deserve reliable protection.

Movies, characters, and franchises can evolve over time and still be great. However, without the original movie, remakes and sequels would not exist. Without John Carpenter’s creation of Halloween,285 there would be no Halloween Ends.286 Without Wes Craven, there would be no Scream 6287 or even Scary Movie franchise. Without Sean Cunningham, Victor Miller, and Craven, there would be no Freddy vs. Jason.288 Remakes and sequels are controversial,289 however, film is constantly building upon itself and the source material for remakes and sequels is valuable intellectual property.

Many horror films are based on existing novels,290 like Frankenstein.291 This furthers the point that the original authors of stories and characters can do them the most justice. Similar to remakes and sequels, films based on novels can be valuable and enjoyable. Yet, those films would not be what they are without the original source material. For example, Stephen King is one of the most notable horror authors who has numerous movies based on his novels.292 King’s novels and the movies based on his books are cherished by horror fans; so much so that there is a podcast dedicated to King’s works.293 For some projects based on his work, King was able to collaborate with the filmmakers to produce an authentic adaptation of his stories.294 The movies that King was able to have input on uniquely captured his characters and stories.295

Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, Freddy Kruger, and Ghostface, however, are all original characters; they were not based off any book. The four characters are pillars of the horror genre and have inspired other horror filmmakers to invent villains of their own.296 After decades of films, it is difficult to create a truly unique and distinctly delineated horror villain. It would be remiss not to reward creativity and original concepts. The originality of unique horror villains, like the ones covered in this article, should be preserved by copyright, even when it comes to sales of merchandise, video games, and toys.

For many horror fans, 2022 was considered a notable year for the genre.297 After such an outstanding year for horror, there are a growing number of aspiring horror artists that should be able to rely on copyright protection for new and unique horror characters. Unlike other genres, the antagonists in horror drive the plot of the film and are a critical component to the story. Copyright protection for horror villains in particular is so vital because without them, these iconic films, franchises, and legacies would not exist. As the horror genre continues to expand and grow in popularity, it is imperative to analyze the application of copyright protection to horror villains. Character copyright protection is a reliable legal approach to preserve horror villains that are the crux of their stories and should be applied to these villains to secure the future of the horror genre.


  1. Night of the Living Dead (Image Ten 1968).
  2. See Richard Newby, The Lingering Horror of ‘Night of the Living Dead’, Hollywood Rep. (Sept. 28, 2018, 9:00 AM), []; See also Alissa Wilkinson, George Romero Didn’t Mean to Tackle Race in Night of the Living Dead, but he did Anyway, Vox (July 22, 2017, 10:00 AM), []; see also Zombies & America’s Nightmares, Dead Meat Podcast (Aug. 7, 2018),\&list=PLbV5-cW2vcuNb2X8vEW_N-JYCdxpTaCHq\&index=5 [].
  3. See White Zombie (Halperin Productions 1932); see also Zombies & America’s Nightmares, supra note 2.
  4. See Wilkinson, supra note 2; See also Daga Nyang, The Surprising And Enduring Importance Of Night Of The Living Dead, Fla. Int’l Univ.: Film Studies Certificate Program (Apr. 17, 2019), [].
  5. See The First Horror Movie & The History of the Horror Genre, N.Y. Film Acad. (July 21, 2022), []; See also Michael Kennedy, How Night of the Living Dead Accidentally Became Public Domain, Screenrant (Nov. 16, 2019), [].
  6. See Kennedy, supra note 5.
  7. Id.
  8. See id.; 17 U.S.C. § 406.
  9. See Josh Rosenberg, When Will the Oscars Finally Give Horror Its Due?, Esquire (Mar. 10, 2023), [].
  10. See generally New Line Cinema Corp. v. Russ Berrie & Co., 161 F. Supp. 2d 293 (S.D.N.Y. 2001); Don Post Studios, Inc. v. Cinema Secrets, Inc., 124 F. Supp. 2d 311 (E.D. Pa. 2000); Easter Unlimited, Inc. v. Rozier, No. 18-CV-06637, 2021 WL 4409729, at *1 (E.D.N.Y. Sept. 27, 2021).
  11. See generally Scream 4 (Outerbanks Entertainment 2011).
  12. See The First Horror Movie & The History of the Horror Genre, supra note 5.; See also Open Culture, The First Horror Film, George Méliès’ The Haunted Castle (1896), YouTube (Nov. 26, 2016), [].
  13. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Decla-Film 1920).
  14. Nosferatu (Prana Film 1922).
  15. See The First Horror Movie & The History of the Horror Genre, supra note 5.
  16. See Siegfried Kracauer, From Caligari To Hitler: A Psychological History of the German Film 72 (2019).
  17. See Nightmare on Our Street: Social Commentary in Modern Horror, Writers Guild of Am. W. (Nov. 12, 2021), []; see also How Social Fears Play an Important Role in Horror Films, UKEssays (Aug. 24, 2021), [].
  18. Frankenstein (Universal Pictures 1931).
  19. Freaks (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer 1932).
  20. See Karen Norrgard, Human Testing, the Eugenics Movement, and IRBs, Nature Educ. (2008), []; See also Eugenics, History (Oct. 28, 2019), [].
  21. See Kristen Lopez, ‘Freaks’ Is the Granddaddy of Disabled Horror, for Better and Worse, IndieWire (Oct. 6, 2020), [].
  22. Freaks, supra note 19.
  23. Frankenstein, supra note 18.
  24. Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (1818).
  25. Frankenstein, supra note 18.
  26. See Lopez, supra note 21.
  27. See id.
  28. See Farrell Evans, The 1967 Riots: When Outrage Over Racial Injustice Boiled Over, History (June 17, 2021), [].
  29. See Jessie Kratz, Vietnam: The First Television War, Pieces of Hist. (Jan. 25, 2018), [].
  30. Night of the Living Dead, supra note 1.
  31. See U.S. Marshals and the Pentagon Riot of October 21, 1967, U.S. Marshals Serv., [].
  32. See The Day That Martin Luther King Jr. Died, Nat’l. Const. Ctr. (Apr. 4, 2022),\#:~:text=At%206%3A05%20P.M.%20on,and%20died%20an%20hour%20later []; Robert F. Kennedy is fatally shot, History (June 2, 2022), [].
  33. See Kenneth T. Walsh, 1968: The Year That Changed America Forever, U.S. News & World Rep. (Dec. 31, 2017), [archival link omitted].
  34. See Nyang, supra note 4; See also Joe Kane, How Casting a Black Actor Changed ‘Night of the Living Dead’, The Wrap (Aug. 31, 2010, 5:20 PM), [].
  35. Nightmares in Red, White, and Blue (Lux Digital Pictures 2009).
  36. See Ryan Bergeron, ‘The Seventies’: Time Magazine’s Take on the End of the Vietnam War, CNN (Aug. 17, 2015), [].
  37. See 1970s America, Nat’l Archives (July 6, 2021), [].
  38. Halloween (Compass International Pictures 1978).
  39. See Samuel R. Murrian, John Carpenter’s 1978 ‘Halloween’ Is One of the Best, Scariest Horror Movies of All Time—Here’s Why, Parade (Oct. 12, 2022), [].
  40. Slasher, Dictionary (2022), [].
  41. See generally Stacey Abbott Et Al., Style and Form in the Hollywood Slasher Film (Wickham Clayton ed., 2015).
  42. Halloween, supra note 38.
  43. See Murrian, supra note 39; See also Psycho (Shamley Productions 1960); Peeping Tom (Michael Powell Theatre 1960).
  44. See Murrian, supra note 39.
  45. See What Tropes and Themes Did “Halloween” Help Introduce to the Horror Genre?, The Take,\#:~:text=It%20was%20largely%20responsible%20for,staples%20within%20the%20horror%20genre [].
  46. Complete National Film Registry Listing, Libr. of Cong., [].
  47. Brief Descriptions and Expanded Essays of National Film Registry Titles, Libr. of Cong, [{].
  48. Chad Byrnes, A Killer List: The Greatest Slasher Movies of All Time, La Weekly (Oct. 22, 2018), [] Michael Myers’ defining characteristics are his slow and steady pace, blue utility jumpsuit, and white mask.48See Halloween, supra note 38.
  49. Id.; See also Jake Dee, Halloween: Michael Myers’ 10 Best Murder Weapons, Ranked, Screenrant (Mar. 28, 2021),\#:~:text=Just%20as%20Freddy%20Krueger%20is,majority%20of%20his%20Halloween%20victims [].
  50. See Amanda Bell, The Evolution of Slasher Films Explained, Looper (July 14, 2021, 3:01 PM), [].
  51. Friday the 13th (Georgetown Productions, Inc. 1980).
  52. See Kelly Konda, Celebrating Friday the 13th By Looking at The Origins of the Film It Ripped Off: John Carpenter’s Halloween, We Minored in Film (June 13, 2014), []; See also Samuel Lowery, The Brutal Horror Movie Friday the 13th Copied (Not Halloween), Screenrant (Sept. 10, 2022),\#:~:text=It%27s%20no%20secret%20that%20Friday,in%20a%20new%20location%20while [].
  53. See Matt Slovick, ‘Friday the 13th’ Film History, Wash. Post (1996), [].
  54. See Top 25 Movie Franchises of All Time: #7, IGN (May 14, 2012, 3:44 PM), [].
  55. Friday the 13th, supra note 52.
  56. See Adrienne Tyler, Friday the 13th: How Jason Got His Hockey Mask (In Both Versions), Screenrant (Sept. 12, 2019), [].
  57. See Friday the 13th, supra note 52.
  58. See Joséphine Michèle, How The Simpsons Convinced People Jason Voorhees Carries a Chainsaw, Screenrant (Dec. 18, 2021), [ ].
  59. See Melody MacReady, Friday The 13th: Jason Voorhees’ 13 Best Weapons, Screenrant (Oct. 11, 2022), [].
  60. See Friday the 13th, supra note 52.
  61. Friday the 13th Part 2 (Georgetown Productions, Inc. 1981); Friday the 13th Part III (Paramount Pictures, Jason Productions, Inc. 1982); Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (Paramount Pictures 1984); Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (Paramount Pictures, Georgetown Productions, Inc., Terror, Inc. 1985); Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (Paramount Pictures, Terror, Inc. 1986); Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (Paramount Pictures, Friday Four, Inc. 1988); Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (Paramount Pictures, Horror, Inc. 1989); Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (New Line Cinema 1993); Jason X (Crystal Lake Entertainment, Friday X Productions 2001).
  62. See Friday the 13th, supra note 52; Friday the 13th Part 2, supra note 62.
  63. A Nightmare on Elm Street (New Line Cinema 1984).
  64. Id.
  65. See Cathal Gunning, Most Modern Slasher Movies Steal Nightmare On Elm Street’s Best Trick, Screenrant (June 24, 2022), [].
  66. Halloween, supra note 38.
  67. Friday the 13th, supra note 52.
  68. A Nightmare on Elm Street, supra note 64.
  69. Id.
  70. Id.
  71. See New Line Cinema Corp. v. Russ Berrie & Co., 161 F. Supp. 2d 293, 293 (S.D.N.Y. 2001).
  72. \text{A Nightmare on Elm Street
  73. See The House that Freddy Built (Automat Pictures, New Line Home Entertainment 2006).
  74. Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Horror Films, USA 1985 Awards, IMDb, [].
  75. Complete National Film Registry Listing, supra note 46.
  76. See Aja Romano, Understanding Silence of the Lambs’ Complicated Cultural Legacy, Vox (Feb. 16, 2021, 4:30 PM), []; See also Josh Billinson, ’90s Kids Were Terrified By The Blair Witch, But Here’s The Story Behind The Movie, Buzzfeed (Oct. 21, 2019, 10:56 AM), [].
  77. Scream (Woods Entertainment 1996).
  78. See Paolo Carlos, Scream at 25: How Scream Revived and Changed the Slasher Genre, Nylon Manila (Oct. 28, 2021), [] (showing the film broke a box office record for the genre).
  79. Dead Meat, Movies That Changed Horror, YouTube (May 22, 2018), [].
  80. Scream, supra note 78.
  81. Genre Keyword: Slasher, Box Office Mojo, []; See Carlos, supra note 79.
  82. Scream, supra note 78.
  83. Scream, supra note 78; Scream 2 (Craven-Maddalena Films, Miramax Films, Konrad Pictures, Dimension Films, Maven Entertainment Inc. 1997); Scream 3 (E1 Entertainment, Dimension Films, Craven-Maddalena Films, Konrad Pictures 2000); Scream 4 (The Weinstein Company, Corvus Corax, Outerbanks Entertainment 2011); Scream 5 (Paramount Pictures 2022); Scream 6 (Paramount Pictures 2023).
  84. See id.
  85. See id.
  86. Halloween, supra note 38.
  87. Friday the 13th, supra note 52.
  88. A Nightmare on Elm Street, supra note 64.
  89. Scream, supra note 78.
  90. Halloween, supra note 38.
  91. Friday the 13th, supra note 52.
  92. A Nightmare on Elm Street, supra note 64.
  93. Scream, supra note 78.
  94. See The First Horror Movie & The History of the Horror Genre, supra note 5.
  95. Friday the 13th, supra note 52.
  96. Friday the 13th (New Line Cinema, Paramount Pictures 2009).
  97. A Nightmare on Elm Street, supra note 64.
  98. A Nightmare on Elm Street (New Line Cinema, Paramount Pictures 2010).
  99. Scream 6, supra note 84.
  100. Rebecca Rubin, ‘Scream VI’ Crosses$100 Million, First in Franchise to Hit Box Office Milestone in 26 Years, Variety (Apr. 6, 2023, 11:09 AM), [archival link omitted].
  101. Halloween Ends (Universal Pictures, Miramax, Blumhouse Productions, Trancas International Films, Rough House Pictures 2022).
  102. See What is copyright?, U.S. Copyright Off., []; See also Kurt Saunders, Saunders’ Intellectual Property Law: Legal Aspects of Innovation and Competition 259 (West Academic Publishing 2016).
  103. See Saunders, supra note 103.
  104. See id. at 262.
  105. See Registering a Work, U.S. Copyright Off., [].
  106. Nichols v. Universal Pictures Corp., 45 F.2d 119 (2d Cir. 1930).
  107. Id. at 120.
  108. Id.
  109. Id.
  110. Id. at 121–22.
  111. Id.
  112. Id. (holding that the themes and characters of the plaintiff’s play relied on abstract and generalized stereotypes that lacked the novelty that is essential to copyright).
  113. See id. (“A comedy based upon conflicts between Irish and Jews, into which the marriage of their children enters, is no more susceptible of copyright than the outline of Romeo and Juliet.”).
  114. Id.
  115. Id.
  116. Id.
  117. Id.
  118. Id.
  119. Id.
  120. Warner Bros. Pictures v. Columbia Broad. Sys., 216 F.2d 945 (9th Cir. 1954).
  121. Id. at 946.
  122. Id.
  123. Id.
  124. Id. at 948.
  125. Id.
  126. Id.
  127. Nichols, 45 F.2d at 119.
  128. Warner Bros. Picture v. Columbia Broad. Sys., 216 F.2d at 951; see generally Warner Bros. Pictures v. Majestic Pictures Corp., 70 F.2d 310, 311 (2d Cir. 1934) (indicating the line between infringement and non-infringement must be drawn).
  129. Warner Bros. Picture v. Columbia Broad. Sys., 216 F.2d at 950.
  130. Id.
  131. Nichols, 45 F.2d at 122.
  132. Warner Bros. Picture v. Columbia Broad. Sys., 216 F.2d at 950.
  133. Universal City Studios v. Kamar Industries, No. H-82-2377, 1982 WL 1278, at *3 (S.D. Tex. Sept. 20, 1982).
  134. Id. at *1.
  135. Id.
  136. Id.
  137. Id. at *2.
  138. Nichols v. Universal Pictures Corp., 45 F.2d 119, 119 (2d Cir. 1930).
  139. Warner Bros. Pictures v. Columbia Broad. Sys., 216 F.2d 945, 945 (9th Cir. 1954).
  140. Universal City Studios, 1982 WL 1278, at *4.
  141. Id. at *3.
  142. Id. at *4.
  143. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, (Amblin Entertainment 1982).
  144. Universal City Studios, 1982 WL 1278, at *3.
  145. Id. at *4.
  146. Id. at *1.
  147. Anderson v. Stallone, No. 87-0592 WDKGX, 1989 WL 206431, at *1 (C.D. Cal. Apr. 25, 1989).
  148. Id.; Rocky (Chartoff-Winkler Productions 1976); Rocky II (Chartoff-Winkler Productions 1979); Rocky III (Chartoff-Winkler Productions 1982).
  149. Anderson, 1989 WL 206431, at *1.
  150. Id.
  151. Id.; Rocky III, supra note 149.
  152. Anderson, 1989 WL 206431, at *1.
  153. Id.
  154. Id. at *6-7 (citing Walt Disney Prods. v. Air. Pirates, 581 F.2d 751, 755 (9th Cir. 1978); Olson v. Nat’l Broad. Corp., 855 F.2d 1446, 1451–52 n.6 (9th Cir.1988)).
  155. Anderson, 1989 WL 206431, at *8; 17 U.S.C. § 106(2).
  156. Anderson, 1989 WL 206431, at *7.
  157. Id.
  158. See id. at *8.
  159. Id. at *1.
  160. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer v. American Honda, 900 F. Supp. 1287, 1293 (C.D. Cal. 1995).
  161. Id. at 1291.
  162. Id.
  163. Id.
  164. Nichols v. Universal Pictures Corp., 45 F.2d 119, 119 (2d Cir. 1930).
  165. Warner Bros. Pictures v. Columbia Broad. Sys., 216 F.2d 945, 945 (9th Cir. 1954).
  166. Anderson v. Stallone, No. 87-0592 WDKGX, 1989 WL 206431, at *1 (C.D. Cal. Apr. 25, 1989).
  167. Don Post Studios, Inc. v. Cinema Secrets, Inc., 124 F. Supp. 2d 311, 315–16.
  168. Id. at 312.
  169. Id.
  170. Id. at 314.
  171. Id.
  172. Id.
  173. Id. at 314-15.
  174. Id. at 315.
  175. Id. at 316.
  176. Id. at 320.
  177. See Nichols v. Universal Pictures Corp., 45 F.2d 119, 121–22 (2d Cir. 1930).
  178. Halloween, supra note 38.
  179. Id.
  180. Id.
  181. Id.
  182. Id.
  183. Don Post Studios, Inc. v. Cinema Secrets, Inc., 124 F. Supp. 2d 311, 311.
  184. See Warner Bros. Pictures v. Columbia Broad. Sys., 216 F.2d 945, 950 (9th Cir. 1954).
  185. Halloween, supra note 38.
  186. See Universal City Studios v. Kamar Industries, No. H-82-2377, 1982 WL 1278, at *3 (S.D. Tex. Sept. 20, 1982).
  187. Halloween, supra note 38.
  188. Id.
  189. Id.
  190. Id.
  191. See Carol Clover, Men, Women, and Chainsaws (1992) (originating the term “final girl” as the sole woman survivor in a horror movie).
  192. Id.
  193. Id.
  194. New Line Cinema Corp. v. Russ Berrie & Co., 161 F. Supp. 2d 293, 293 (S.D.N.Y. 2001).
  195. Id. at 294.
  196. Id. at 295.
  197. Id.
  198. Id.; A Nightmare on Elm Street, supra note 64.
  199. New Line Cinema Corp., 161 F. Supp. 2d at 295.
  200. Id. at 302 (citing New Line Cinema Corp. v. Easter Unlimited, Inc., 17 U.S.P.Q.2d 1631, 1633 (E.D.N.Y. 1989)).
  201. Id. at 305.
  202. Nichols v. Universal Pictures Corp., 45 F.2d 119, 121–22 (2d Cir. 1930).
  203. A Nightmare on Elm Street, supra note 64.
  204. Id.
  205. Id.
  206. Id.
  207. Id.
  208. Id.
  209. Id.
  210. New Line Cinema Corp. v. Russ Berrie & Co., 161 F. Supp. 2d 293, 293 (S.D.N.Y. 2001).
  211. Warner Bros. Pictures v. Columbia Broad. Sys., 216 F.2d 945, 948 (9th Cir. 1954).
  212. A Nightmare on Elm Street, supra note 64.
  213. Id.
  214. Id.
  215. Id.
  216. Id.
  217. Id.
  218. Horror Inc. v. Miller, 15 F.4th 232 (2d Cir. 2021).
  219. Id. at 240.
  220. Id at 236.
  221. Id. at 240.
  222. Id. at 236.
  223. Id. at 249–50; See Cmty. for Creative Non-Violence v. Reid, 490 U.S. 730, 751–52 (1989); Eisenberg v. Advance Relocation & Storage, Inc., 237 F.3d 111, 116 (2d Cir. 2000).
  224. Horror Inc., 15 F.4th at 259.
  225. Id.
  226. Nichols v. Universal Pictures Corp., 45 F.2d 119, 121 (2d Cir. 1930).
  227. Friday the 13th, supra note 52.
  228. Id.
  229. Id.
  230. Id.
  231. See Tyler, supra note 57.
  232. Horror Inc., 15 F.4th at 238.
  233. See Konda, supra note 53.
  234. See Friday the 13th, supra note 52; Halloween, supra note 38.
  235. Friday the 13th, supra note 52; Friday the 13th Part 2, supra note 62.
  236. Friday the 13th, supra note 52.
  237. Id.
  238. Id.
  239. Id.
  240. Id.
  241. See generally Easter Unlimited, Inc. v. Rozier, 18-CV-06637 (KAM), 2021 WL 440972, at *1 (E.D.N.Y. Sept. 27, 2021).
  242. Id.
  243. Id.
  244. Id. at *2.
  245. Id.; Scream, supra note 78.
  246. Scream, supra note 78.
  247. Easter Unlimited, Inc., 2021 WL 440972, at *2.
  248. Id. at *3; Scream, supra note 78.
  249. Easter Unlimited, Inc., 2021 WL 440972, at *3.
  250. Id. at *6.
  251. Id. at *9.
  252. Id. at *10.
  253. Id. (quoting Ideal Toy Corp. v. Fab-Lu Ltd., 360 F.2d 1021, 1022 (2d Cir. 1966)); see generally Knitwaves, Inc. v. Lollytogs Ltd., 71 F.3d 996, 1001 (2d Cir. 1995); Malden Mills, Inc. v. Regency Mills, Inc., 626 F.2d 1112, 1113 (2d Cir. 1980).
  254. Easter Unlimited, Inc., 2021 WL 440972, at *10.
  255. See generally Andy Warhol Found. for Visual Arts, Inc. v. Goldsmith, No. 19-2420-CV, 2021 WL 3742835, at *4 (2d Cir. Aug. 24, 2021) (quoting Blanch v. Koons, 467 F. 3d 244, 250 (2d Cir. 2006)) (“The fair use doctrine seeks to strike a balance between an artist’s intellectual property rights to the fruits of her own creative labor~…~’and the rest of us to express them—or ourselves by reference to the works of others.’”).
  256. Easter Unlimited, Inc., 2021 WL 440972, at *17.
  257. 17 U.S.C. § 107.
  258. Easter Unlimited, Inc., 2021 WL 440972, at *17.
  259. Id. at *15–16.
  260. Id. at *11.
  261. Nichols v. Universal Pictures Corp., 45 F.2d 119, 119 (2d Cir. 1930).
  262. Scream, supra note 78.
  263. Id.
  264. Id.
  265. Id.
  266. Easter Unlimited, Inc. v. Rozier, 18-CV-06637 (KAM), 2021 WL 440972, at *1 (E.D.N.Y. Sept. 27, 2021).
  267. Scream, supra note 78.
  268. See Rodrigo Kurtz, The Ghost Face Mask, Hello Sidney, []
  269. See Id.
  270. Scream, supra note 78.
  271. Id.
  272. Id.
  273. Kurtz, supra note 269.
  274. See Colin McCormick, 10 Best Masked Killers in Movies, According to Ranker, Screenrant (June 26, 2022), [].
  275. See A Nightmare on Elm Street, supra note 64.
  276. See Kayleena Pierce-Bohen & Shawn S. Lealos, The 10 Tallest Horror Movie Villains (\& 10 Shortest), Screenrant (Oct. 2, 2023), [].
  277. See Halloween, supra note 38; Friday the 13th, supra note 52; A Nightmare on Elm Street, supra note 64.
  278. Scream, supra note 78.
  279. See Ben Hathaway, 10 Most Iconic Horror Movie Weapons, Screenrant (May 15, 2022), [].
  280. See Halloween, supra note 38; Friday the 13th, supra note 52; A Nightmare on Elm Street, supra note 64; Scream, supra note 78.
  281. See Tre’vell Anderson, George A. Romero, ‘Night of the Living Dead’ Creator, Dies at 77, LA Times (July 16, 2017, 7:25 PM), [].
  282. See Kennedy, supra note 5.
  283. 17 U.S.C. § 302; See also Saunders, supra note 101, at 261.
  284. Halloween, supra note 38.
  285. Halloween Ends, supra note 102.
  286. Scream 6 (Spyglass Media Group 2023).
  287. Freddy vs. Jason (New Line Cinema, Crystal Lake Entertainment 2003).
  288. See Emily Kubincanek, Retracing Hollywood’s Fascination with the Remake, Film School Rejects (Mar. 20, 2020), []; Kayleigh Donaldson, A Nightmare on Elm Street and the Disappointing Mediocrity of Horror Remakes, Syfy Wire (Apr. 27, 2020, 7:05 AM), []; Keith Phipps, Will Anyone Remember Any of the 21st Century Horror Remakes?, The Ringer (Oct. 2, 2018, 6:00 AM), [].
  289. See Mike R., Top 10 Horror Novels Made Into Great Horror Movies, Hudson Booksellers (Oct. 9, 2015 3:30 AM), []; Alanna McAuliffe, From Page to Scream: 35 Spine-Chilling Listens that Inspired Horror Movies, Audible Blog (Oct. 22, 2022), [].
  290. Frankenstein, supra note 18.
  291. Movies – A to Z, Stephen King (2022), [].
  292. The Kingcast, A Conversation With Stephen King (Mar. 2, 2022, 4:00 AM), [].
  293. See, e.g., Creepshow (Laurel Entertainment 1982); Creepshow 2 (Laurel Entertainment 1987); Cat’s Eye (Dino De Laurentiis Company, Famous Films 1985); Silver Bullet (Dino De Laurentiis Company 1985); Pet Semetary (Laurel Productions 1989); A Good Marriage (Screen Media Films 2014); Cell (Benaroya Pictures 2016).
  294. See generally Movies – A to Z, supra note 292.
  295. Movies That Changed Horror, supra note 80.
  296. See Michael Cavna, How 2022 became a huge year for horror movies, Houston Chron. (Nov. 8, 2022), [].