Top 10 most iconic horror movie villains!

People love being scared. It’s that rush of adrenaline, like when you’re on a roller coaster or about to check how much you have in your bank account, that makes you feel alive! That’s never more true, I’d argue, than when you’re watching a great horror movie. And while there are so many things that go into a great horror movie – such as directing, music, and editing – one of the most important factors of a successful horror movie is having a great horror villain. And below are ten of the most iconic villains in all of horror moviedom:


Pinhead just straight up looks goddamn cool. While HELLRAISER is a legitimately good movie, and its sequel surprisingly decent (if flawed), the films take a downward slide to terrible pretty quickly. As a horror franchise, HELLRAISER is awful, but that still doesn’t take away from how unique and iconic Pinhead's Goth-band/BDSM-on-steroids aesthetic is. And what a voice! Actor Doug Bradley gives him a nice, creepy baritone (with the help of pitchshifters), where I could honestly see him front a Goth/industrial band, and I’d definitely watch him play! However, the less said about this...

...the better.   


Scary clowns are nothing new. They’ve been nightmare fuel pretty much since the day some sad soul decided that pancake make-up should go on your face and not on…whatever pancake make-up was used for previously. However, arguably no evil clown is as iconic as Pennywise the Clown from the films IT. First he terrorized readers in the mid-80s as the villain of Stephen King’s horror novel, and was then portrayed (in an iconic performance) by Tim Curry for the 1990 TV movie of the same name, giving ‘90s kids a reason to keep a nightlight on until they were in their late ‘20s (or was that just me)? Now, Bill Skarsgård made Pennywise his own in the recent IT remake, and I can’t decide which one I like better. Though, that just goes to show how powerful the character of Pennywise is. Unfortunately, as much as I loved Tim Curry’s performance, he still doesn’t have dance moves like this:


Before being an unlikely LGBT icon, Babadook was the star of a horror movie about how awful kids are. In fact, like some of the best horror films, BABADOOK was an allegory for real-life anxieties, so it makes sense that the fear of being a bad parent or of having a difficult child would be the basis for a memorable monster. The fact that The Babadook is manifested from a creepy children’s book drawing (not unlike Mike Myers in CAT IN THE HAT) is just icing on the cake. However, what makes Babadook stand out is his unique look – the black charcoal smile and stovetop hat – and the creepy chant of “Babadook” he does. Hey, at least he’s always smiling!  


SCREAM is perhaps one of the greatest slashers ever made. Obviously there are many reasons for this, from the meta-textual script, to the smart and nuanced protagonists, to the legit scares wrung out by horror veteran Wes Craven, and so on; however, no slasher is complete without an iconic look for its killer. And the Ghostface mask that SCREAM utilizes is one of the all-time greats…which is ironic, as the mask was chosen specifically for how generic and easily accessible it was. But either way, it worked. And I don’t know about you, but whenever someone asks “What’s your favorite scary movie?”, it’s Ghostface’s voice I always hear saying it.


Coming of age as a horror fan in the mid-00’s, I definitely have a soft spot for the SAW series. I loved the grimy aesthetic, the nu-metal soundtrack (in fact, still love it), and the unique, grotesque traps. But, beyond all that, I loved Jigsaw himself. I’ve maintained that his ambiguous morality is what kept the franchise afloat, as unlike pretty much every other horror icon on here, Jigsaw does generally want to help people. Just in a, you know, really fucked up way. He made the film way more nuanced than it any right to be, and is the reason I maintain SAW still exists as a viable franchise, while the torture porn sub-genre as a whole is all but dead and buried at this point. Also that twist at the end of the first SAW, with the music swelling, is still an all-timer.


Leatherface, one of the many characters “based on” prolific serial killer Ed Gein, is a unique creation. Part lumbering force of nature (ala Jason Voorhees), part child with a temper tantrum, Leatherface is at once terrifying and pitiful. His mask is also one of the most disturbing, as it is supposed to be made out of the face of his victims (thus, the name Leatherface). He is also the reason I’ll never, ever visit Texas. However, like Pennywise above, he's also got some dance moves of his own!


Who knew that Captain Kirk’s face painted white would look so terrifying? However, judging by his current tweets, we should have known way sooner. In any case, even though the mask was made out of no money and desperation, Michael Myers became a horror icon, and arguably the star of the first real slasher (in the same way DOOM wasn’t the first FPS, but was the one that made them viable). Also, he’s just creepy looking as hell. And while the HALLOWEEN franchise is a mess (with more reboots and retcons than STAR TREK), Michael Myers has always remained terrifying throughout, even in the worst entries (except HALLOWEEN III, but that wasn’t his fault).


Before Freddy Krueger became a quip machine who spent his time scaring fat rappers and having his face slapped on kid’s lunchboxes, he was scary as hell. Not only is Freddy’s burnt face, brown hat, striped Christmas sweater, and knife hand an iconic look, but the way he kills his victims makes him by far the most dangerous of anyone on this list. I mean, you can run away and hide from pretty much any other horror villain, no matter how difficult or unlikely. Freddy Krueger, on the other hand, lives in your dreams, meaning you can never truly escape him. And while most horror villains will stab or eat you, Krueger goes the extra step to imaginatively torture you, like sucking you into your bed until guts explode onto the ceiling, or killing you in a videogame. Which is just humiliating on top of everything else.


I’ve always loved Jason, because he never seemed to have malice. He was more like a shark, a creature made with the express purpose of killing. Jason’s not going to torture you, make you feel bad, or discriminate – he’s just going through Crystal Lake like it’s his own personal ocean, taking out teenagers and anyone who gets in his way as if they’re minnows and he’s simply just hungry. Sure, Jason’s personality changes a bit depending on the sequel, but apart from the recent (or at least most recent) remake, in general he’s just a big, dumb, lumbering force of nature, which – in the context of this list – almost makes him admirable.


What’s not to say about Dracula, arguably one of the most iconic horror movie villains in cinematic history? He’s dangerous, charming, and – above all – extremely powerful. He’s almost always the leader whenever monsters mash together (such as MONSTER SQUAD or VAN HELSING), and was the star of many classic horror films, such as NOSFERATU (a film that doesn’t namecheck Dracula, but which got sued for its similarities), the 1931 original with the iconic Bela Lugosi performance, BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA, and DRACULA 2000 (okay, three-out-of-four ain’t bad). He also is just so damn stylish. I wish I could rock a cape like that!

So there you have it. Let us know what you think of these choices in the comments, and give a shout out to any we might have missed or overlooked. And, either way, have a Happy Halloween Schmoes! 

Extra Tidbit: Honorable mentions included Candyman, Chucky, Leprechaun, and the "It" from IT FOLLOWS.
Source: JoBlo.com



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