Horror movies are nothing without a truly depraved and menacing villain. They come in many different forms; sometimes the villain can be a person, demon, monster, or something in describably nasty.
The villains are usually interested in exacting revenge or dishing out as much cruelty onto the world as possible.
We decided to gather a list of some of the scariest villains cinema has ever created. Good luck sleeping after having these monster running through your mind.
1. Hannibal Lecter, The Silence of the Lambs
There is something especially frightening about a smart villain. Lecter isn’t an axe wielding cliché; he’s methodical. He kills people and then eats them, which adds an extra layer to his insanity.
2. Pennywise the Clown, It
Pennywise falls under the supernatural category which is an unfair advantage for anyone trying to escape his wrath. He also hangs out in the sewer and preys on children’s fears so you know you’d better run.
3. Leatherface, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
If you flaunt your kills around by wearing the face of your victims, then I have to say you deserve a spot on this list.
4. Norman Bates, Psycho
This guy had some serious issues with his mom, not to mention his smile may be more foreboding than the film’s iconic soundtrack.
5. Samara Morgan, The Ring
When people watch television they get into a relaxed mind state, no one is prepared to run from a villain. A demon cunning enough to attack people while they’re watching TV is ruthless.
6. Freddy Krueger, A Nightmare on Elm Street
This villain messes around with your dreams. It’s kind of like Inception, except he doesn’t look anything like Leonardo DiCaprio. Anyone willing to stalk and kill their victims while they sleep is terrible and that makes Freddy one of the top horror villains of all time.
7. Cujo, Cujo
This is the only dog to be featured on this list. He famously terrorized a mother and her child while they were trapped in a car. St. Bernards got a bad rap after this, and it was probably worth it.
8. Ghostface, Scream
To this day I’m still haunted by that mask and the weird black cloak that makes Ghostface look like a cheap death eater from Harry Potter.
9. The thing, The Thing
Think about the paranoia that you have to endure if the villain can transform into anyone or anything. If you’re fighting a villain and you don’t know who it could be, well then you would be rightfully terrified. As are we when we watch, or think about, the thing.
10. The alien, the Alien movies
Take some time to think about how xenomorphs (the aliens from the Alien movies) kill their victims. They attach themselves to the victim’s face, embed an egg in the person’s stomach, and then a baby aliens bursts out of their chest. And then that baby grows up super quick and goes on to kill everyone else around. The aliens are some of the worst villains because these are all horrific ways to die.
11. Annie Wilkes, Misery
You haven’t met a true super fan until you’ve met Annie Wilkes. Torturing your favorite writer so they can write a book is truly wicked.
12. Jason Vorhees, the Friday the 13th movies
This machete wielding, hockey mask wearing villain is all about revenge. His greatest skill is his inability to die. His vengeance even carried him all the way to space in 2003’s Freddy vs. Jason.
13. The house, The Amityville Horror
You know what’s worse than a demon crawling out of your television, it’s a demon that decides to take over your entire house. Where do you hide if a demon decides to shack up in your new crib?
14. Pinhead, Hellraiser
Do you really think anyone stands a chance against this demon. Just take one look at that face and you know it’s over. Cinobites will have your life and your soul, and there’s very, very little you can do about it.
15. Michael Myers, Halloween
We have to acknowledge that Michael’s weapon of choice is truly iconic. No one makes a large knife look so deadly. He’s been killing since he was 6 years old and he has over 100 kills to his name. He is truly one of the most iconic villains.