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Brenda Bates appears as the main antagonist of the 1998 slasher film Urban Legend. She is portrayed by actress Rebecca Gayheart.

Character Summary[edit | edit source]

Brenda is a relatively new student at Pendleton University, New Hampshire and is best friends with the cautious, lonely Natalie. Brenda has, however, transferred to Pendleton to gain bloody vengeance on an unsuspecting Natalie for when the latter, along with her old high school friend Michelle Mancini, inadvertently murdered Brenda's fiancee, David Evans, one year earlier with a prank involving an urban legend known as the Gang High Beam Initiation.

Brenda, adopting the M.O of urban legends and bestowing them upon her victims, first kills Michelle Mancini and then murders Natalie's other friends one-by-one using urban horror tales as her methods. Her targets include fraternity prankster Damon Brooks, fraternity party guy Parker Riley, Natalie's goth roommate Tosh Guaneri, the University's Dean Adams, and sexy radio host Sasha Thomas.

Brenda's first appearance is in her hooded killer disguise. She hides herself in the backseat of Michelle Mancini's vehicle, and waits for the perfect opportunity. When Michelle mistakes a gas attendant's warning as an attack and drives away in terror, Brenda slowly rises in the backseat and decapitates Michelle with an axe.

Brenda is first seen without the parka at the student lounge with Natalie and Parker as Parker tells of a massacre that occurred on campus 25 years earlier. Natalie is skeptical of the tale, but Brenda seems interested. The story is discredited by school journalist Paul Gardner, for whom Brenda is infatuated.

The next day in class, Brenda is called upon by Professor Wexler to volunteer for an experiment. He asks her to eat Pop Rocks and drink a soda, which she refuses, as there's an urban legend about this bursting your stomach. Classmate Damon has no such fears and volunteers in her place. He fakes violent illness as a prank, fooling the everyone except for Wexler.

News of Michelle's death spreads throughout the campus, and Brenda feigns distress that a fellow student was murdered, possibly by another student. When discussing whether they knew Michelle or not, Brenda notices that Natalie hesitates when she answers. Brenda is aware that Natalie and Michelle were friends in high school, and wonders why Natalie is pretending to be unaffected by the news.

Her first target among Natalie's new friend group is the sleazy Damon. After discovering that Natalie had been friends with Michelle, Damon offers his condolences and takes Natalie into the woods in his car, with the hopes of hooking up with her. The hooded Brenda attacks Damon while he's outside urinating and then strings him up by rope above the car, with Natalie still inside. Brenda then appears in front of a curious Natalie and scares her. When Natalie tries to escape with the car, the rope around Damon is tightened and he is strangled to death and then propelled back onto the car's windshield. Natalie runs back to campus to alert the authorities and Brenda then removes the car and Damon's body from the scene, leaving campus security guard Reese to believe that Natalie had imagined the murder.

When discussing Damon's death the next day, Brenda pretends that she doesn't fully believe Natalie and acts more interested in whether they kissed or not. Brenda and Sasha giggle while Parker tells Natalie that she just imagined it being real when in reality Damon faked the whole thing as an elaborate urban legend inspired prank.

Brenda's next unfortunate victim is Natalie's manic depressive goth roommate, Tosh. Posing as a possible candidate on an goth dating website, Brenda slips into Tosh's room while she is out getting ready, and proceeds to strangle her on her bed. Natalie returns while the killing is in progress, but she leaves the lights turned off and mistakes the sounds of strangulation as sexual moaning.


The following morning, Brenda consoles a distraught Natalie, pretending that she believes Tosh's death to be a tragic suicide. Natalie asks Brenda if she can have some time alone to think.

Later that day, Brenda swims at the school's pool. A woman wearing a parka enters the pool, and a paranoid Natalie smashes a window trying to warn Brenda of the presumed danger. Brenda worries for Natalie and wonders why she's so scared. Natalie then tells Brenda about her mysterious past and why she wasn't on speaking terms with Michelle before she was killed. The story of the man's death from her prank leaves Brenda feeling down, but she suggests that Natalie accompany her to Parker's party that night to take their mind off of things. Natalie reluctantly agree to go.

Sometime later, she breaks into Wexler's office and kills him. She destroys his room in the process and takes his body and dumps it in the trunk of Paul's car.

Before the party, Brenda disguises herself and then hides beneath the car of Pendleton's Dean Adams. She slices the back of his heels before he can enter his car. As he crawls away, bleeding profusely, she shifts the gears of the car to neutral so that the car slowly runs him over and impales him on a row of tire spikes.

Brenda arrives at Parker's party before Natalie and excitedly hugs Natalie when she sees her. Brenda offers to grab some beers for the two of them. While returning from grabbing beers, she sees Paul and Natalie kiss, upsetting her and causing her to storm away in tears.

She takes this opportunity to disguise herself as the hooded killer and plans out Parker and Sasha's deaths. To kill Parker, Brenda uses Damon's cell phone and an edited voice. She calls Parker at his house during the party and tortures him by microwaving Parker's beloved dog, Hootie. Brenda then follows Parker to the upstairs bathroom where he is vomiting and knocks him unconscious. She ties him to the toilet and when he wakes she forces a funnel down his throat and force feeds him a package of Pop Rocks and follows it with pipe cleaner. He struggles and chokes before dying.

Shortly afterwards, Brenda, in her hooded coat, slips into Pendleton's WZAB radio station and silently kills Sasha's radio engineer in the adjacent room to where an unsuspecting Sasha is hosting her show. Then Brenda waits for a confused Sasha to inspect the engineering room before she attacks Sasha with the axe. Brenda slowly pursues Sasha through the radio station, allowing Sasha's desperate screams for help over the radio as a means of keeping track of where she is. Brenda surprises Sasha on a staircase and Sasha's feeble punches have no effect on Brenda's athletic body. Brenda pushes Sasha over the railing and she injures her leg as she falls from the staircase. An injured Sasha then takes the elevator back to the top floor to hide. Brenda slowly makes her way back upstairs and finds Sasha pounding on a window calling out to Natalie, who has just arrived and watches from below. Sasha crouches into the corner, begging Brenda to spare her life. With Natalie as a witness, Brenda mercilessly hacks Sasha to pieces. Brenda mockingly waves to a horrified Natalie before she leaves.

Ditching the coat and axe and storing the bodies of Damon, Dean Adams, and Parker in Stanley Hall, Brenda then pretends not to know what is happening when she runs into Natalie and Paul. She claims she was listening to Sasha on the radio when Natalie informs her that Sasha's dead. Brenda feigns shock and joins the two on a mission to go find help. As they drive away from campus Brenda subtly alerts Natalie to the presence of Professor Wexler's body, making Natalie believe Paul is the killer.

Natalie and Brenda then run away from Paul, with Brenda pretending to fall behind and be captured by Paul. Brenda then sneaks off and grabs her disguise and heads back out. While a passenger in the janitor's car, Natalie sees the disguised Brenda approach in a car with its headlights turned off. The janitor flashes his car's headlights and Brenda swerves and then pursues the janitor's car. Brenda forces them off the road, knocking the janitor unconscious and leaving Natalie shaken but unhurt. Brenda then heads to Stanley Hall and waits for Natalie to approach. Brenda screams for help, loud enough so that Natalie will hear and come to her rescue. When Natalie reaches the final room where Brenda waits, she pretends she has been killed. When Natalie begins to cry over the death of her last and best friend, Brenda sits up and punches Natalie in the face, knocking her unconscious.

Brenda enters the room hooded when a tied and gagged Natalie wakes up, but quickly pulls back the hood to a terrified Natalie. Brenda taunts Natalie over the death of her friends and how they are all now urban legends. She then reveals to Natalie that the man that died as a result of Natalie and Michelle's prank was Brenda's fiancee. Brenda then attempts to kill Natalie via the Kidney Heist urban legend by cutting into her belly and almost reaching her belly button. However, Reese the campus security guard arrives and holds a gun on her while she unties Natalie. Brenda manages to slice Reese's arm with a hidden knife and then shoots her in the struggle for the gun. With her plans going awry, Brenda decides to just shoot Natalie to be done with it, but Paul appears and tries to trick Brenda into giving up the gun and joining him. She sees through his lies and points the gun at him too. When she's about to pull the trigger on Natalie, she's shot in the arm with Reese's backup gun and drops her own gun. Natalie picks up he gun and hesitates a moment before shooting her former best friend. Brenda screams and falls backward out the window and down to the street below.

Not being dead, Brenda however stows away in the backseat of Paul's car with her axe. When Paul and Natalie leave campus to go find help Brenda attacks. Paul swerves the car upon Brenda's attacks, and when he crashes into the railing of a bridge she flies through the windshield and out onto the river below. Her motionless body is carried away by the current.

Brenda is believed to be finally dead but, in the ending sequence, she is seen at a new University with a group of students discussing the Urban Legend of the Killer Brenda Bates. The film ends with Brenda beginning to tell a new story, a story of how the story actually happened.

Brenda is seen briefly in the second installment, Urban Legends: Final Cut, when she pushes the second movie's killer through the halls in a hospital wheelchair.

Character Type[edit | edit source]

While pretending to be Natalie, Damon, Parker, Paul and Sasha's friend, Brenda comes off as shy, resistant and genuinely shocked the gruesome murders transpiring. In reality, however, she is scheming, taunting, infuriated and vengeful. She is also very jealous and easily upset over men, as when Natalie is seen in the film sharing a kiss with Paul, whom Brenda expressed to Natalie that she liked.

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