Them The Scare: Is Edmund Gaines Inspired by a Real Killer?

Prime Video’s horror anthology series, ‘Them,’ returns with a second season titled, ‘The Scare,’ delivering yet another riveting season where horror is mixed with socio-political themes. The protagonist of the story is an LAPD Detective named Dawn Reeve, and parallel to her, we follow the arc of a struggling actor named Edmund Gaines. While Dawn investigates a series of brutal murders, we see Edmund go down a spiral where his mental health deteriorates, and he starts to lose his sense of reality. With each step, he begins to lose control and gets more violent. The show, though fictional, gives a realistic touch to Edmund’s struggles and his situation to make him feel more believable to the audience. SPOILERS AHEAD

The Fictional Edmund Gaines is Influenced by 90s Horror Icons

‘Them’ is an original series created by Little Marvin, who wanted to explore the genre of horror with racial and social commentary as an important part of the plot. After making a successful first season set in the 50s, he turned towards a more accessible decade, the 90s, and was influenced by the genre of supernatural serial killers, which had been quite popular at the time. He revealed his obsession with classic horror characters like Freddy Kreuger, Jason Voorhees, and Mike Myers, among others, and particularly focused on the iconography surrounding the characters. Each of them has a distinct thing— a claw or a mask, by which they are identified. These things have become synonymous with the horror characters, and Marvin wanted the same for the supernatural entity in ‘Them: The Scare.’

In Season 2, the murderous ghost appears to its victims and terrorizes them for a few days before killing them. He is identified for his distinctive red hair, which is later revealed to have been borrowed from a doll Edmund used to play with as a child. The doll and the red hair are a clear reference to the Chucky doll, another classic horror figure known for going on a murder spree in his overalls. In the same vein, the creator of the show pulled from several other inspirations from serial killers in the movies during the 80s and the 90s.

For actor Luke James, playing Edmund Gaines was an opportunity to tap into the emotions that his previous roles hadn’t allowed him. He credits Little Marvin for bringing Edmund’s character alive on the paper so well that he didn’t have to look anywhere else or research for any particular influences to don the role and do it the justice it deserved. Instead of looking outward, the actor decided to look inward and found common ground with his character to give more gravity and humanness to Edmund.

The first thing that James related to with Edmund was his life as a struggling actor. Being an actor himself allowed James to feel the hopelessness and humiliation that Edmund feels day in and day out when he is rejected from roles or the simple fact that he is not given enough range of characters because he is Black. Edmund’s need for validation and his desire to be accepted by people around him were also things that James understood. Describing himself as a bit of a loner growing up, James said that he could see the space Edmund would be in but make it ten times worse.

The character’s loneliness chips away at him with every passing day because he has literally no one to call family or fall back on, which puts him on a path that ends in bloodshed. Still, even with the evil that Edmund turns into, James tried to find the humanity inside him and to keep him grounded even as he descends into the madness that claims several lives.

Read More: Them The Scare: Where Was Season 2 Filmed?