When it comes to horror, the villain is what sells a story. We all have our favourites and whether people like it or not, horror movie villains are anti-heroes idolised by horror fans the world over. So sit back, relax and pit your favourites against mine…
Horror movies always have a formula. There’s good and there’s evil in an eternal battle. Evil can take many forms from deranged psychopaths and crazy madmen, to spiritual entities, to monsters and demons.
It got me thinking. Why do we watch horror movies? We don’t go to see them because of this epic battle between good and evil. We go for the bad guys. We go to see the villains that have made our favourite horror movies terrifying. We go to see what type of carnage they are going to unleash this time. We go to see them up their body count and to see them terrify a new generation of characters (and audiences).
So without further ado, please allow me to count down my Top 13 Horror Movie Villains.
The dentist already installs fear into most people. The smells of the office, the sounds of the drills, the weird looking instruments on the trays. But in Dr. Alan Feinstone’s clinic, your mind is put at ease. Each room is specially designed to relax the patients. From an opera room to a wild jungle to ‘cloud 9’, the patients are the first priority. Of course, that’s all well and dandy but Dr. Feinstone is a bit of a nutter. Upon discovering his wife is having an affair with the pool boy (as you do), Feinstone then goes into a bit of rage, killing a neighbours dog before attacking his patients. Destroying molars, ripping out teeth and cutting out his own wife’s tongue is the reason this dentist lands on this list.
There’s just something generally evil about clowns but Tim Curry as a clown? Now that is something nightmares are made of. Pennywise, in a nutshell, is an evil demon that poses as a child-killing clown. In 1960, seven young friends known as ‘The Loser Club’ fight the clown only to discover that thirty years later, they have to fight him again. But while the movie version was scary, nothing beats the book version. See, I told you clowns are evil and Pennywise is the most evil of them all.
Loveable Australian larrikin, John Jarratt stunned cinema goers when he went from all round nice guy to freakin’ terrifying fiend as Mick Taylor in Wolf Creek. Mick starts out seeming like a nice guy, aiding a group of stranded tourists. He offers to fix their car and allows them to spend the night at his ‘home.’ But upon waking, the tourists realise he’s not exactly Mr. Nice Guy at all. Mick has separated them, tied them up, gagged them (even though there’s no one for miles) and is slowly torturing (and raping) them, enjoying every minute of it. When one girl makes a break for it, Mick is on her tail. With a background in shooting roos from a far distance, Mick is one deadly, and sick, son of a bitch that you really don’t want to come across.
The Lakeshore Strangler, Charles Lee Ray, was a diabolical human being, killing who knows how many people before finally being wounded and seeking refuge in a toy store. While the police are hunting him, Charles uses all he knows about voodoo to pass his soul into the body of a Good Guy doll…and that’s where the fun really begins. Posing as a doll named Chucky, Charles’ reign of terror isn’t over as he seeks out and kills those that wronged him while he was alive and anyone who gets in his way. But Charles gets himself into trouble when it comes to his attention that while being inside the body of the doll, he is becoming human and needs to transfer his soul into the body of the first person he revealed himself too, which just happens to be a six year old little boy, Andy Barclay. A killer doll with a foul attitude and language to match, Chucky isn’t one to be messed with. Come on, you know the line. Say it with me. “Hi, I’m Chucky. Wanna play?”
Growing up in a family of grave robbers is bad enough, but grave robbing cannibals? Leatherface didn’t really stand much of a chance of a normal life. So naturally when a group of five young tourists come to town to visit a grave that has been desecrated, they pick up a strange hitch-hiker, eat some home grown meat and move into the old family home completely unaware of the nightmare that will bestow them. What the cannibal family lacks in social skills, they certainly made up for in power tools, and gives Leatherface (and his family) the number 9 spot on this list.
Most people tend to forget that it was Ghostface who first uttered the line “I wanna play a game.” Armed with hundreds of useless facts of about horror movies (and one very sharp hunting knife) Ghostface hacked his way into the Woodsboro community, seemingly after one thing: Sidney Prescott. Never before has a phone ringing caused so much panic and never before have I met a killer that I could match facts and wits with. Each phone call started the same way…say it with me. You know you want to. “What your favourite scary movie?”
Never again will you be able to listen to Phil Colins and not think about Patrick going off on one of his tangents about how the music can influence today and what Phil was thinking at the time he wrote and performed the songs. Cool, calm, calculating and not completely collected, Bateman became more aggressive with a round of business cards than he did with a round of coke. Epitomising the ideal man, Bateman’s chiselled good looks and suave attitude helped him find his victims. His downfall was his rage which he constantly struggled to suppress. In any case, just make sure your business card is not as nice as his…
Hannibal Lector’s idea of a delicacy is human liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti. But he wasn’t always such a manipulative psychopath. At one stage of his life, Lector was a respected psychiatrist. Psychiatrist to psychopath. Yeah, I can make the connection. But now he plays mind games, taunting those that come to him for help. He’s smart and unpredictable which make him all the more dangerous.
A tragic villain by any standards, Jason Voorhees, has been through it all and, thirty years after his first appearance, we’re still cheering him on. Whether he’s punishing rowdy teens that decide to make out at his camp, or fighting off another well known villain, trouble seems to follow whenever Jason comes to town. Not the smartest of villains but by far one of the greatest, Jason’s body count is the highest in horror history which makes this goalie one that you really don’t want to get mad.
When you’re in a crisis and need help I suggest you seek it from someone other than Annie Wilkes. Claiming to be the number one fan of Paul Sheldon, Annie saves him from a car accident. She aids him and seems like a nice lady until she reads his latest work which results in the death of her favourite fictional character, Misery. Then Annie’s truly demented side comes out to play. She breaks Paul’s ankles with a sledgehammer and often talks about killing them both in a true Shakespearian romantic way: her killing him then committing suicide so she can be with him forever. This deranged nurse certainly shows that when it comes to bite, women often can be worse.
Sleeping has never been so dangerous until this dream demon came to town. Frederick Charles Krueger wasn’t always a dream demon though. He was a child killer that was set free by the courts on a technicality after being arrested for murder. But he wouldn’t be free for long as the parents of Springwood came for him, taking justice into their own hands and burning Krueger alive. Before he died, Freddy made one final vow that he would return where the parents wouldn’t be able to protect their children: in their dreams. By far the smartest killer of the list, Freddy strikes with fear and what he lacks in a body count, he makes up for in flair and creativity. Plus he’s fun and how many other villains can boast that they have a nursery rhyme sung in their honour. You know the one. “One, two…Freddy’s coming for you…”
Gentle, kind and handsome are all words to describe this shy innkeeper of the Bates Motel out on the old highway. Norman wouldn’t harm a fly. He’s tall, dark and mysterious with a passion for taxidermy and loves to chat with the victims…ugh…guests at his motel. Why does Norman rank at number two on this list? Because to me there is something that is truly terrifying about a young, normal looking man who kills people. Something about Norman reminds me of Ted Bundy. Good looking with just a hint of psycho. But it’s not really Norman that you need to look out for…it’s his mother.
Was there any doubt that number one was going to be Michael Myers? He began his killing spree when he was just six years old, murdering his older sister Judith on Halloween night, 1963. Fifteen years later, he’s back, knife still in hand, and is hell bent on finishing what he started.
Michael has proven himself to be a deadly combination of brute strength and cunning intelligence, finding his way back to Haddonfield despite not knowing how to drive. He stalks silently, patiently, before striking with power reserved only for the seriously insane. The carnage he leaves behind is second to none and those that are lucky to survive tend to try to just disappear from the radar. Plus that mask still creeps us out after all these years.
So there you have it. My top 13 Horror Movie Villains. How does your list stack up?
Mrs. Pamela Voorhees (Friday The 13th – 1980) – Where the Voorhees legacy started
Jigsaw – (Saw – 2003) I want to play a game
The Fisherman (I Know What You Did Last Summer – 1997) – A strong warning to be careful when you drive
The Creeper (Jeepers Creepers – 2001) – It’s all in the eyes
Jack Torrance (The Shining – 1980) – Two words: “Here’s Johnny!”
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