Not all horror movies are created equal. Indeed the success or failure of a horror movie often depends on how terrifying (or sometimes likeable) the “villain” is. So here we present those villains who have given us bad dreams, great one-liners, and sometimes even bladder control problems.
15. Melvin Hubble – In 2003, indie horror director, Amy Lynn Best, turned out a movie called Severe Injuries, which took the classic horror formula of lots of terror with some good one-liners and turned it on its head, essentially making a comedy with lots of gore. At the center of Severe Injuries is the bungling homicidal maniac, Melvin Hubble, who is trying to do his family proud by slaying an entire sorority house. Horror-filled hijinks ensue.
14. The Blair Witch – What makes The Blair Witch one of the greatest villains is that there was actually no Blair Witch. We never saw her. Never had a body count. Not even a drop of blood (well, one scene with an ear or something). Instead, the Blair Witch was built on the fear and panic that could happen. And sometimes, that is enough.
13. Leprechaun – What happens when you cross St. Patrick’s Day and Halloween? Leprechaun, that’s what. When Dan O’Grady gets between a Leprechaun and his pot of gold, it’s all out, green-knuckle fury. Proof positive that terrifying things can come in small packages, Leprechaun will have you thinking green for days. Bonus: It features Jennifer Aniston before she was Queen of America.
12. Cujo – While the average adult male Saint Bernard will consume about 70 pounds of food a month, Cujo is no average Saint Bernard. Rabid to the bone, Cujo eats anything in his path, including family members, local villagers, and a few small cars. Domestics, no less!
11. Chucky – Young Andy Barclay’s Good Guy doll is anything but good. Containing the spirit of serial killer Charles Lee Ray (aka, The Lakeshore Strangler) that was put there via voodoo curse, Chucky comes to life. And this doll is not playing games.
10. Pumpkinhead – Witches. Conjured demons. Revenge. Pumpkinhead has all the ingredients for horror movie success. Even the name is perfect. While the demon at hand doesn’t actually have a pumpkin for a head, the name will ensure that, at the end of October for years to come, Pumpkinhead will be scaring the bejeebers out of you!
9. Regan MacNeil – Sure, the name doesn’t sound horrifying. And looking at 12-year-old Regan at the beginning of The Exorcist wouldn’t give you any clue that she would go on to play one of the most terrifying roles in movie history. When the young Regan is possessed by a demon, she is, at once, both the enemy and the victim. Profane in every sense of the term (by 1973 standards), The Exorcist is one of the most award winning films in history – a rare feat for the horror genre. It’s almost enough to make little Regan’s head spin!
8. Jigsaw – Part psychological thriller, part horror film, the Saw movies have been so successful because of one man: Jigsaw. Rather than taking the conventional path of cutting off heads or skewering people, he puts people in positions to kill each other or be killed themselves. It’s brilliant, really… wickedly, wickedly brilliant.
7. Freddy Krueger – You know that when Freddy Krueger shows up on the list, it’s game on. Director, Wes Craven, had been building his credentials for years, but when he unleashed Freddy Krueger on the world, he changed the face of horror movies forever. Star of the Nightmare on Elm Street films, Krueger kills you in your sleep. Then you wake up dead, sort of. Along with “Jason” Voorhees, Freddy ruled the ’80s horror scene.
6. Pinhead – Any time a movie trailer starts with, “From the mind of Clive Barker…” you know you won’t be getting any sleep that night. Such is the case with his most famous bogeyman: Pinhead. Star of Hellraiser, Pinhead hits the terror trifecta: S&M demons, human sacrifice, and zombies. Just simmer and serve.
5. Nosferatu – Before Freddy. Before Jason. Before Leatherface. Heck, even before movies even had sound, there was Nosferatu. Taking his spot as the oldest movie villain on the list, Max Schreck turned in a performance as Count Orlock that was a watershed moment in horror movie history. Based on Bram Stoker’s book Dracula, Nosferatu has a dark cinematic quality that horror movies of today spend a lot of time and money trying to achieve. Originally released in 1922, you could say it was a little ahead of its time.
4. Jack Torrence – Until this point, our bad guys have taken lots of shapes: demons, dolls, dogs, even little girls. Perhaps no villain decorates more dorm room walls that Jack Torrence, innkeeper turned ax-welding maniac. It’s hard to pinpoint Jack Nicholson’s best role or Stanley Kubrick’s best movie; but when the two came together to bring Stephen King’s The Shining to life, however, the result was a match made in cinema hell.
3. Jason Voorhees – Don’t let the “Voorhees” part throw you, this is the Jason. With superhuman strength, crazy mad skills with a machete and whatever garden tools might be at hand, Jason is a horror movie legend. Rising from the waters of Camp Crystal Lake, where he drown as a young boy, Jason systematically dismembers anyone who gets in his way. He, alone, is the reason we wear hockey masks on Halloween.
2. Leatherface – Picking up a hitchhiker in front of a slaughterhouse, while on your way to visit your grandfather’s grave used to be a lot of fun until 1974, when John Carpenter unleashed Leatherface on the world. Gunner Hansen landed the role of a lifetime as the star of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The role fit so well, Hansen has wielded a chainsaw in at least one movie every decade since. Just the same, it is Leatherface that still makes the kids cry… and a few of the adults, too.
1. Michael Myers – The thing that makes Michael Myers of Halloween the number one villain on our list is the raw, indiscriminate way he goes about killing. He’s not out for revenge. He’s doesn’t have a particular target. He’s a lunatic that just stabs, crushes, and rips the heads off of anybody and anything that gets in his way. No one is safe… ever. What could be more awesomely terrifying than that? How about 6 sequels!