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Serial killers: The 8 most memorable soap-opera mass murders

Days of Our Lives will be celebrating the show’s 50th anniversary this fall, with a serial-killer story set to knock off several contract players and perhaps even a few returning fan favorites. (Which sounds like the opposite of a historical celebration to me. Then again, General Hospital commemorated its 52nd anniversary this past April by totally rewriting several characters’ histories, so maybe spitting in long-term fans’ eyes is the new hip thing.)

Of course, serial killers are a big part of DOOL‘s history. There was the Salem Strangler in 1981 (triggering one of soaps’ earliest fan campaigns to bring back Marlena, whom fans thought had been killed); the Salem Slasher in 1983 (not to be confused with the Riverfront Slasher of 1988), when Marlena’s cousin and others were killed by Tony’s lookalike cousin, Andre; and the Salem Stalker of 2003, when that same Marlena was believed to have killed many of her friends and neighbors. Except it wasn’t really her. It was Andre (again). And they weren’t really dead. Andre only made Marlena think she’d done it. The victims were actually being kept on a mysterious island. Yeah, you had to be there.

All of the above stories were great for DOOL‘s ratings, meaning other soaps inevitably jumped on the bandwagon. Check out some of those most memorable daytime serial-killer stories below!

1. Sin Stalker, Another World

You’ve got to think the success of all those dead people in Salem promoted NBC to gently nudge its network-mate, Another World, toward a serial-killer story of its own. Oh, and it would be great if they could share initials. The Sin Stalker, in 1987, was a respected psychiatrist who, in his spare time, killed in order to rid the world of sinful women. What was weird was that he killed a few minor, inconsequential women, and left the bulk of the truly sinful ones still breathing. Oh, and he also attacked Crystal Gayle.

2. Satin Slayer, All My Children

Another double “S” stalker! The presumed-dead Alexander was killing women connected to Fusion Cosmetics, and he got longtime favorite Dixie with a stack of poisoned pancakes. Except he didn’t. Later, Alexander claimed he only took the blame for Dixie along with the others because … reasons. But she turned out not to be dead after all. (And the woman pretending to be the back-from-the-dead Dixie in the meantime was just a long-lost sister.)

3. Raven Lake Slasher, As the World Turns

Remember Scream? I Know What You Did Last Summer? Friday the 13th? Move it to daytime, make it every day of the week, and you’ve got ATWT‘s teen terror story. Teenagers at a summer resort are being knocked off one by one, and Maddie is the prime suspect. Then Maddie gets attacked. And Maddie’s boyfriend, Casey, is killed. And her brother-in-law, who raped Maddie as a kid, is the obvious suspect … but he’s killed too. A not-really-dead Casey finally unmasks the real killer. It’s Maddie’s sister, Eve, who blamed Maddie for her husband’s “affair.”

4. Killing Club Killer, One Life to Live

Marcie (really OLTL‘s head writer and bestselling author, Michael Malone) writes a book called The Killing Club. A minor character seeking revenge for Marcie and her friends being mean to him in high school copies the book’s plot and kills some other minor characters. No harm done. Let the record show that the ATWT tie-in book, The Man from Oakdale, which was written by Henry (really by me) and references Eve’s murders, does not cause anyone to die.

5. Eden’s Escort Service Murders, Guiding Light

A couple of day players died. The killer turned out to be Ben, whom viewers had seen born on screen, who grew up on screen, and who came back from boarding school played by Matthew Bomer. Seems he’d been molested in boarding school. So he became a gigolo. And a serial killer who confessed all on his death bed.

6. Carnation Killer, Santa Barbara

The show had too many blond actresses when it first premiered. So a serial killer came along to dispatch a few of them. He was played by Leeza Gibbons’ husband at the time, and he spared Kelly, as played by a pre–Princess Bride/House of Cards Robin Wright.

7. Loving Murders, Loving

Pretty much everyone in town was knocked off so the survivors could move to NYC and spin off The City. See: Top 10 Dramatic Character Exits from Soap Operas.

8. Franco, General Hospital

Movie star James Franco wanted to be on a soap opera. He wanted to be an artist and he wanted his character to be crazy. GH granted the actor’s wish, and created a crazy artist named Franco.

Franco was obsessed with hit man Jason. He blackmailed, kidnapped, set up a teenage boy to be raped in prison, and let Jason think Franco raped Jason’s wife, Sam. Then the character was recast with Roger Howarth. He came bearing DVDs that proved he hadn’t done (most) of the horrible things he was accused of (he just let people think he had—performance art, you know?). Oh, and he has a brain tumor, which means he isn’t responsible for any of his crimes and, after surgery, is totally fit to become soaps’ first serial killer to remain on the show. And turn into a romantic lead. The mother of the teenage boy even almost married him! Bygones.


Do you have a favorite soap-opera serial-killer story? (Or one you wish had never existed?) Tell us below!

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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