75 Horror Movie Villains Who Are Truly Terrifying and Totally...
75 Horror Movie Villains Who Are Truly Terrifying and Totally Classic

75 Horror Movie Villains Who Are Truly Terrifying and Totally Classic

The horror genre is experiencing a reemergence, largely thanks to A24. With recent hits like , , , and , the production company has merged high quality filmmaking with genuine terror. Even now, people are streaming the new Ari Aster horror, , and buying tickets to the scariest movie of the year, . Be it a high production slasher film or a found footage manifesto, a horror movie lives or dies (but mostly dies a horrible death) by its villain. I don't know about you, but watching a deranged serial killer run, walk, slink, or crawl across my screen sounds like the perfect way to end a tough week. Here are the scariest horror movie villains to ever terrorize the big screen. Ari Aster’s surrealist horror is a winding tale that will have you scared without even knowing what of. New horrors are around every corner in this film, but the most bone chilling performance comes from the legend Patti LuPone who plays Mona Wassermann, Beau’s mother. In flashbacks of his life, Mona is played by Zoe Lister-Jones, who is equally scary in the role. This new Netflix horror stars ’s Sarah Snook in her first project since the series wrapped. The film follows a single mother and her seven year-old daughter Mia who becomes attached to a stray rabbit found in their house. From there, things spin out of control, but we won’t spoil. One of the best horror films of the last 20 years, stars Ethan Hawke as a true-crime writer who finds brutal snuff films in the attic of his new family home. A demonic presence named Bughuul appears in the shadows of each of these films, sending him on a mission to figure out what is happening before his own family befalls the same fate as those on the videos. A24’s newest horror hit, is currently in theaters, so far be it from us to spoil before it streams. Just know, the film follows a group of teenagers who communicate with the dead using an embalmed hand. is a 2018 horror film starring Nicolas Cage and ’s Andrea Riseborough. The film follows a couple living in the mountains who encounter a dangerous religious cult, led by Jeremiah Sand. Did you know Robert De Niro has played a non-Mafia villain? He plays Max Cady in the 1991 thriller a recently released convict who terrorizes the family of his former lawyer. This found footage film features a villain that is far from human, a towering creature who decimates New York City. A horror flick so great it gives us two villains—Hannibal Lecter and Buffalo Bill. The latter is a serial killer who targets young women and skins them. The 1922 silent film is one of the earliest iterations of vampire lore, aka the first . The main villain in this horror is Count Orlok, a vampire who targets the wife of his real estate agent, which is comical for 1922. This 2018 horror film brings the lore of Slender Man to the screen, so it's obvious who the villain is here. Biological Essentialists, Fielding pregnancy queries at family functions is already a real-life horror, but this new film raises the stakes. Dianna Agron plays a woman who enrolls in a clinical trial aimed at igniting her dormant child-bearing instincts, "fixing" her "broken" biological clock in horrifying fashion. M3gan, campy horror icon of the year, the people’s princess–welcome to the stage, M3gan. This self-aware AI companion is the It Girl of 2023, playing opposite another emerging horror icon, Allison Williams. Maud, Maud of is a hospice nurse who, fresh off of a religious awakening, becomes fixated on a patient in her hospital. Convinced that she must save the patient’s soul, Maud turns to increasingly dangerous (read: creepy as hell) tactics. Peter Graham, Like any good possession flick, each character in gets the chance to flex their horror skills. That said, the most bone chilling performance in the movie goes to Naked Brothers Band alum Alex Wolff, who––in the final moments of the film, descends to the kingdom of Hell as King Paimon. Ernest Toller, This psychological drama stars Ethan Hawke as the pastor of a church in upstate New York in the midst of a crisis of faith. Ernest Toller is not your typical scream-worthy horror character, but if you’ve seen that ending sequence, you know why he’s on this list. Chef Julian Slowik, Filmmakers like Ari Aster, David Cronenberg, and Ti West, alongside talent like Mia Goth, have ushered in a new genre–“elevated horror.” which comes from director Mark Mylod, isn’t exactly bone chilling horror, but it’s in the elevated horror stratosphere. The ever-iconic Ralph Fiennes plays Chef Julian Slowik, a mysterious celebrity chef whose pretentious dining experience turns deadly. His mission? Death to foodies. Pale Man, ’s Pale Man is certified horror camp. Have you seen the movie? Maybe not. Have you seen this image? Absolutely. Despite only being in a single scene, Pale Man is the movie. Pale of skin and hands of cornea, this iconic monster has a taste for children, devouring them in his lair. The Woman in White, Any Nickelodeon kid will remember the biggest jump scare of 2013, seeing Amanda Cantwell, of fame, looking ghastly and terrifying as The Woman in White in this hit horror sequel. Her name isn’t actually “The Woman in White,” it’s Michelle Crane if you’re nasty. Despite being unseen in the first film, this horrifying villainess is the main antagonist of the franchise. The Predator, This particular (fictional, whew) species of alien is also the villain of, like, half a dozen other movies, but I gotta shout out the most recent, stripped-down entry set in the Comanche Nation with the absolutely fabulous Amber Midthunder in the lead as the heroine who goes up against the classic movie villain. Predators are almost scariest when you don't see them, because it reminds you that anyone (or anything) could be stalking you at any given moment. Dean, Missy, and Jeremy Armitage, The entire Armitage family in is terrifying and freaking psychotic. They possess the kind of passive, manipulative creepiness that absolutely fucks with your head and sends shivers through your whole body. That and the fact that they embody the insidious racism our country was built on. Jean Jacket, Jordan Peele's latest spooky flick introduced a new kind of villain: an alien who capable of being understood but might gobble you up before you have the time to figure it out. It's better to just, as the title suggests, say "NOPE" and turn around. Larry Talbot, Nowadays, werewolves are tragic and romantic figures—innocent humans who can't help the monsters they become, like a furry version of the Hulk. But while the classic movie werewolves were scarier than the ones teaching at wizard school or fighting a vampire for a teenage girl's affections, they were also sympathetic. This particular villain reminds us that sometimes the scariest monster.. is ourselves! OoooOOOOoOoOoOooooohh!! Steve, It's only my biggest fear that I'll hit it off with some guy only to end up chained in his basement (and not in a fun and/or consensual way). This movie just gets wilder, scarier, and more twisted as it goes on! Sebastian Stan is so much of a charming everyman that it makes his villainous turn much more likely to haunt you for weeks. Pearl, and 2022 gave us a new (and... kind of adorable?? but in a terrifying way) slasher played by Mia Goth in not one but movies plus a third one on the way. We haven't seen the last of this lady killer yet... Audrey II, Don’t feed the plants. Patrick Bateman, Nostalgia for the '80s hits differently when you’re watching one of its most iconic characters commit brutal murders with a Rembrandt smile. The fact that Bateman’s killing may or may not be happening in his head makes him somehow scarier. If even he doesn’t know what’s real…do you? Frank-N-Furter, Tim Curry is so campy, sexy, and entertaining in the cult musical that you forget he’s actually pretty friggin’ evil, tries to kill almost all of the characters, and is ultimately defeated at the end of the movie. Just because this twist on the “car broke down outside a spooky mansion” trope includes a dance-off doesn’t make the stakes any lower. The Mother, Most folks say not to learn anything about before seeing it... so I won't tell you anything about the villain or how you may or may not feel about them at the end. has a lot of twists that make it an instant classic. Lucille Sharpe, Spoiler alert: though he’s played many villains in his career, Tom Hiddleston is the villain . It’s his character’s sister and her creepy incest vibes that you need to watch out for in Guillermo Del Toro’s film. Godzilla and/or King Kong They're such classic horror movies that we even love to see them fight each other! Jennifer, This underrated film is getting the praise and recognition that it deserves. It's such a good campy horror movie. Megan Fox is incredible as the villain. It's funny and feminist and so freaking good. If you're a f*ckboy, you should be scared of her. Men, Okay, so there are actually a few specific and terrifying characters in the A24 film who would technically be classified as "the villain" in a more traditional sense. One of them is based on "The Green Man" from folklore, which also popped up in a recent-ish season of But it's just men, right? It's always just men. The Facility, Monsters and jump scares are a dime a dozen in this spooky comedy, and any one of them is likely to shake you to your very core. The film’s “big bad” is an organization of corporate types who gleefully sacrifice young people and bet on which gore-filled horror will get them first. Somehow these heartless dweebs are the scariest of all. (That said, special shoutout to the Merman, always.) Vivian Tyrell, Well…*pushes glasses up nose* the villain is gentrification, but who better to represent that than the white girl who is new to the neighborhood and just so happens to be a bloodthirsty vampire? It's not as subtle as , but since when has horror ever aimed for subtly? Mama, A possessed, demonic, and spidery creature, this controlling mother is none too pleased when her two young daughters are adopted—even though she abandoned them in the woods for, um, five years. So she does what any mother would do: she terrorizes and tortures everyone, including her! own! children! Carrie White, You could argue that Carrie White is actually the victim in this story. But just because her murdering rampage is kinda warranted doesn't mean it's not also horrifying as hell. The Thing, No one knows exactly what the Thing is in John Carpenter's 1982 classic sci-fi horror film. Because there's really no better name for a slimy conglomeration of limbs and hands and teeth than the Thing. Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett, Not gonna lie, time a movie shows someone getting shaved by a straight razor my blood turns to ice. It's 100 percent because of this musical. The Scarlet Witch, Now, do I love that Elizabeth Olsen's Marvel hero made such a dramatic villainous turn after seemingly getting closure in ? Not really! But that's where we're at, and I was delightfully spooked by all of the gruesome ways she magically murdered people in the movie. Seth Brundle, Seth Brundle was just your typical crazy mad scientist trying to impress a girl with a supposed breakthrough invention. Until the experiment took a very different course...one that involves Brundle slowly morphing into a human-sized fly creature that's just as gross as it sounds. Henry, Michael Rooker's harrowing performance as serial killer Henry Lee Lucas is deeply, deeply disturbing. You know this is based on a true story of a real-life murderer, right? Do not, I repeat, do *not* watch this alone at night. Anna Ivers, I don't want to give away too much butttttt the movie revolves around Anna, who has been in a psych ward for nearly a year following the death of her terminally ill mother. In this psychological thriller, it's unclear what's real and what's a hallucination until the very, very end—at which point, one last twist awaits you. Brahms, Why do we let little kids play with dolls and pretend like they aren't the scariest things ever?!?!? Brahms is a creepy, life-like doll who terrorizes anyone who comes in contact with him. Thanks Hollywood, but I don't need another reason to harbor ridiculous paranoia about dolls! Esther, Listen, obviously little kids can be super cute and adorable, but they can also be freaking CREEPY. Exhibit A: Esther, from Esther epitomizes Evil Child Syndrome, which is a real thing, apparently. Lestat, Of course, Lestat is only really the villain from Louis's POV. But just because we fantasize about being on his good side doesn't mean we wouldn't want to be on his bad side. Antiheroes can be friggin' terrifying too. Griffin, This 2020 retelling of H. G. Wells’s classic novel of the same name modernizes the evil Dr. Griffin by making him a super-possessive ex-boyfriend/inventor who fakes his own death and makes a techy suit that turns him invisible so he can terrorize his ex-girlfriend Cecilia. His hobbies include sneaking into Cecilia’s room and pulling off the bed covers while she's sleeping and tackling her from behind, ya know, just stuff that makes everyone around Cecilia question her sanity. The Shark, This circa 1970 shark might look kind of fake, sure. But if you’ve ever been afraid of the deep blue sea, this massive great white villain—with his rows of razor-sharp teeth, hankering for human flesh, and a not an ounce of remorse—will only confirm your fears. You’ll definitely want to say “no thanks” to any cruise or boat trip opportunities forever. Pelle, Incoming *controversial* take! Can we just talk about the fact that Pelle—as good as he thinks his intentions might be—literally took all his new “friends” on this trip to Sweden to visit his ~cute~ cult family and subjected those same “friends” to human sacrifice, bad shroom trips, and general gory chaos. Like? IDK? Sounds pretty villainous to me. Also, he is just too ready to comfort Dani. And his smile? It’s creepy. Ghostface, Fact: Ghostface is terrifying. I get that most people, at this point, associate Ghostface with things like their little brother’s Halloween costume or and maybe don’t find him that scary. But no. Literally, at that mask. The eyes are too empty and the mouth is way, way too long to be natural. The Xenomorph, There are countless iterations of this parasitic and murderous alien monster, but there’s nothing quite like the OG Xenomorph from the first movie. This guy comes out as a weird crab-like creature that pops out of an even weirder fleshy egg that latches on to your face and falls off before a little demon-alien baby (think: Bella’s vampire child but scarier) bursts out of your stomach and grows into a human-size killing machine with an extra jaw. Need I say more? Tom Ripley, This may be more of a thriller than a horror movie, and half of the stuff that Matt Damon does feels kiiiiiiiiind of aspirational until you realize that he's a sociopath. But like some of the other villains on this list, it's the quiet ones you need to watch out for. The so-called "nice guys" you don't see coming. Michael Myers, Ruining Jamie Lee Curtis’s trick-or-treating and otherwise harmless sheet masks since 1978. You might want to hide all your sharp knives after this one. If you haven’t seen , allow me to explain the setup: You have sex with someone infected by the entity. The entity, which can take the shape of anyone, including people you know, starts following you. The entity follows you until it kills you or you pass it on to someone else through sex. If the entity kills that person, it comes back for you. You can never go anywhere with only one exit, you can never trust anyone, and you can never sleep again. Basically, you are fucked for all eternity. Good luck! (Bonus: For a good three or four days after watching this movie, you will believe every single person you see is a sex demon coming to murder you.) Annabelle certainly isn’t the first villain to prove that dolls are horrible and should never be allowed in the hands of human children, but she does hold the distinct honor of being based on an IRL doll believed to be responsible for the death of at least one person. Having , I can confirm that she is just as scary in real life as she is onscreen, if not more so. Jason wants revenge for getting drowned in a lake, and I get that. I really do. But did he have to drag his mother into it? The only thing worse than a serial killer hell-bent on destruction is one who has to get his mother to do it for him. Does he ask her to wash his underwear too? In Minnie’s defense, she’s not the only resident of the Bramford who conspired to get Rosemary knocked up with Lil Satan, but she’s definitely the one you’d least expect—and that’s what makes her terrifying. She might look like an innocent elderly neighbor who just wants to help calm your pregnancy nerves (for the love of god, don’t take the herbs!), but in reality, she’s a devil worshipper determined to make sure your newborn ends up in a black bassinet designed for a hell spawn. He has his father’s eyes! "The Beast" a.k.a. "The Horde," (and ) Deranged James McAvoy it's secretly a sequel to ???? Yes please. As was established with Esther in , children are terrifying, but they’re even worse when they start hallucinating a character from a kid’s book and crafting homemade weapons to defend themselves from said character. It also doesn’t help that the Babadook looks like your childhood vision of the bogeyman. I mean, hello. Look at him. Everyone’s had nightmares, and everyone knows they’re awful. Freddy Krueger is what happens when those nightmares come alive and actually start killing you. Sweet dreams, suckers! Before she was killing it on as formidable villains Delphine ( ) and the Butcher ( ), Kathy Bates ruined lives as Annie Wilkes, a psychopath who takes the word “superfan” too far. She’s the single reason Harry Styles doesn’t respond to your daily Twitter mentions. Pour one out for all the ’90s kids who saw this at the video store and mistook it for a sequel to . If this guy offers you an Everlasting Gobstopper, do not take it under any circumstances. Actually, forget what I said about "super cute and adorable." Children are terrifying. This is a fact. Even in real life, they talk to people who aren’t there, they think a fairy comes to their rooms at night and hands over money in exchange for lost teeth, and they could accidentally kill themselves at any moment. But no child, real or imagined, is more terrifying than Samara Morgan, a monster so nightmare-inducing that after I first saw , my mom offered to take my television out of my bedroom lest Samara crawl out of it and strangle me. May Samara fall down that well one more time and never slink out of it again. He could have just been a serial killer with a talent for uncomfortably compelling conversation. But nooo, he had to be a cannibal too. Have the lambs stopped screaming, Clarice? No, Hannibal, and they never will as long as your face is visible on cable 40 times a month. No matter how many times you see , the image of Jack Nicholson’s face popping through that door after he bashes it in with an axe will never stop being bury-your-face-in-the-couch terrifying. Side note: This movie makes a great case for never marrying a writer. If a boy tells you his best friend is his mother, run. As Carrie Bradshaw so wisely said, “Nothing’s scarier than a clown,” and no clown is scarier than Pennywise, who is not even really a clown but an evil otherworldly entity that just takes the of a clown so he can more easily murder children. (TBT to the infamous !) What, you thought it was gonna be Regan MacNeil on this list? You can’t blame for all that green vomit and floor pee! It was all Pazuzu’s fault. (Although, technically, none of this would have happened if she hadn’t been playing with that Ouija board in the first place.) Spoiler alert: That’s not really leather. This dude gets off on sewing people’s mouths to other people’s buttholes. What else could you need to know? The only thing scarier than the Nun is the fact that she’s based on . Who wouldn’t want a talking pet goat, right?! Unless you’re all alone in the middle of nowhere with your family and that goat is actually Satan. Then, I guess, no one? Chucky, He's only just the reason that people are scared of dolls. Well... him and Anabelle. Also his wife Tiffany. Dolls are scary, ok?! If one came to life IRL it would be freaky AF, not fun and cute like Joker, Christopher Nolan's second Batman movie is not a horror movie, but Heath Ledger's Joker definitely thinks he's in a horror movie. That's what's so scary and chaotic about him. Alex Forrest, The new Netflix movie asked us to embrace our Glennergy in homage to this classic, so let's give it the frighting shoutout it deserves. 's villain is scary on her own and scary how she convinced men IRL that this is how "crazy" girls get when they have a crush. Forgive us for having feelings, Hollywood!! is a freelance writer covering all things entertainment and pop culture, having previously written for , , and . Her locale of choice is New Jersey, her emotional support show is , and her toxic trait is romanticizing mafia culture. You can follow her on Instagram .

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