Horror movies have been a constant presence in Hollywood for nearly 100 years. During these hundred years, Hollywood has provided its audiences with some of the most horrifying movie villains of all time. These are the kinds of villains that haunt our nightmares long after the movie has ended. They are the kind of villains you can’t help but think about when you are in a dark room or when you get the eerie feeling that someone is watching you. Over the years, Hollywood has upped the ante as to what makes a truly terrifying horror movie villain. As a result, the villains have become more bloodthirsty and their kills have been steadily getting gorier and gorier. Below is a list of the most terrifying horror movie villains of all time. Some of them are classic horror villains like Freddy Krueger, while others are newer to the horror game, but that doesn't make them any less terrifying. So in honor of all the movies that make audiences everywhere scared of things that go bump in the night, here is a list of twelve of the most bloodthirsty horror movie villains of all time.
Samara is the villain in the terrifying movie, The Ring. Samara is a young girl who gets pushed down a well by her adoptive mother and dies seven days later. To avenge her death, Samara creates a cursed videotape to spread all the suffering she had in her own life. Before Samara became a villain, her life was actually pretty tragic. She was almost drowned by her mother when she was a baby, and then Samara was neglected and killed by her adoptive mother. Although Samara’s story is a tragedy, the numerous deaths that she caused throughout the movie makes her one of the most terrifying villains of all time.
Chucky is a murderous doll who has starred as the lead villain in no less that six movies. The character is actually based on the true story of Robert the Doll, a doll that was cursed by a man named Eugene, who was skilled in the art of black magic and voodoo. Throughout the Chucky series, Chucky is shown as a bloodthirsty doll who will kill anyone to get what he wants. Don Mancini, the creator of Chucky, has announced plans for a future Chucky movie. Mancini also mentioned that he would like to do a crossover movie between Annabelle and Chucky.
Although the Scream series has provided its audiences with numerous different villains, the mask of Ghostface is what all of the killers choose to wear when they cut open their victims. The Ghostface costume was inspired by Edvard Munch’s famous painting The Scream. Another name that Ghostface goes by is the Woodsboro Killer. This murderous villain scares his or her victims by taunting them on the phone, asking them horror movie trivia, and finally by stabbing them with a hunting knife. A fifth installment for the Scream series has been rumored and a television spin off of the series is in the works.
9 Jack Torrance
Although Stephen King has vehemently expressed that he is not a fan of Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of The Shining, many audience members would disagree. One of King’s biggest criticisms of the movie was the portrayal of Jack Torrance. In King’s novel, Jack is portrayed as a man who tries desperately to preserve his family but ends up losing to his inner demons. In the film version, Nicholson portrayed Jack as an insane man who doesn't have a loving bone in his body for either his wife or son. However, even though King wasn't a big fan of Nicholson’s portrayal, Jack Torrance is still considered to be one of the best villains of all time.
John Kramer (better known as Jigsaw) is the sadistic serial killer of the Saw series. In the series, Kramer is a former civil engineer who is dying of cancer. After Kramer attempts to kill himself and fails, he finds a new appreciation for life and decides to try and help others find the same kind of appreciation. Unfortunately, the way he helps people find their appreciation for life is by forcing his victims into deadly scenarios in which they need to inflict pain on themselves or others, in order to survive. If Kramer’s victims are unable to make it through his game, Jigsaw, takes a puzzle piece shape of flesh from their bodies.
Stephen King has the uncanny ability to create horror villains that haunt our nightmares. It is a movie based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, that tells the story of a clown who lives in the sewers and kills little children. In the story, a group of kids, who in the 1950’s attempted to kill Pennywise, reunite 30 years later to finish the bloody deed. The book was turned into a TV movie in 1990, starring Tim Curry as Pennywise. Although the movie did not receive rave reviews, it did inspire a fear of clowns in children and adults everywhere.
Leatherface is a character in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre series who engages in cannibalism and murder along with his family. The villain wears a mask made of human skin, which is where the name Leatherface comes from. The inspiration for the character Leatherface came from real life serial killer Ed Gein, who also wore a mask made of human skin. Although Leatherface is considered to be the main villain of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre series, he is completely under the control of his murderous family. Gunnar Hansen, who portrayed Leatherface in the original film, said this of his character, he is, “completely under the control of his family. He’ll do whatever they tell him to do. He’s a little bit afraid of them.”
Pinhead is the main antagonist from the Hellraiser series. He is the leader of the Cenobites, who are creatures from an extra dimensional realm who have traveled to Earth to harvest human souls. Unlike other villains, Pinhead is shown as being both intelligent and articulate. In addition, Pinhead is described by Doug Bradley as being stronger than both Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers and he even has supernatural abilities. He can teleport, create explosions, pull objects out of thin air, and he can create other cenobites. So basically, Pinhead is not the kind of villain you want to mess with.
4 Hannibal Lecter
Hannibal Lecter is the creation of writer Thomas Harris, who first introduced us to the serial killer in his novel Red Dragon. In 1986, Red Dragon was adapted into a film with Lecter being portrayed by actor, Brian Cox. In 1991, Anthony Hopkins took on the role of Hannibal Lector in the movie, The Silence of the Lambs, for which he won an academy award. In 2003, the American Film Institute named Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter, the number one movie villain of all time. Entertainment Weekly has also named Hannibal Lector as one of the 100 Greatest Characters of the Last 20 Years.
3 Jason Vorhees
Jason Vorhees is the villain of the Friday the 13th series. Originally, Jason wasn't meant to continue on as the main antagonist in the series, but the character continues to appear in film after film. In the films, Jason is driven to stalk and kill his victims as a result of his rage over being drowned as a child. However in the first Friday the 13th movie, Jason doesn't even make an appearance. The original villain of the Friday the 13th series was actually Jason’s mother, who goes on a murderous rampage to avenge her son’s death. It is only in the second movie that Jason appears alive and well and ready to avenge his mother.
2 Michael Meyers
Michael Myers is the main villain in the Halloween series. We are first introduced to Michael as a young boy who murders his older sister on Halloween. Fifteen years later, Michael returns to his home and starts killing again. Michael is portrayed as pure evil in the series. At the end of Halloween 2, Michael dies, only to come back in the fourth movie to kill some more. In the final Halloween movie, Laurie kills Michael by stabbing him in the face and chest with his own knife. However, if there is anything to learn from horror movies, it’s that the villain never actually dies.
1 Freddy Krueger
There is nothing scarier than a serial killer who takes his victims when they are most helpless, when they are sleeping. Freddy Krueger is the villain of the Nightmare on Elm Street series who uses his gloved razors to kill his victims while they are dreaming. In the dream world, Freddy is indestructible. However, when he is pulled into the real world, he becomes more human. Over the years, Freddy has been named one of the best villains in history by numerous sources. Wizard magazine ranked Freddy as the 14th greatest villain of all time, the American Film Institute ranked Freddy as number 40 on the 100 Heroes and Villains list, and in 2010, Freddy won the award for best villain at the Scream Awards.