The third day of our 31 Days of Horror series brings us to the villains themselves, or at least a selection of them. With such a huge catalogue of films to pick from, there are a considerable amount of villains we could’ve included, but then we’d be here all day.
To be a truly great horror villain, the character needs a few simple things; the desire and conviction to kill, a regular and iconic method of murder, and some sort of scary look, be it a mask or deformity. Here we take a look at some of the most terrifying and iconic horror villains.
Star of the Hellraiser franchise, Pinhead is one of the Cenobites, and definitely the most iconic. If you ask someone about the franchise, even if they’ve not seen a single entry in it, they’ll know about Pinhead and the Lament Configuration, his fancy box basically.
It’s not often horror villains are killed in their own franchises, but the Saw franchise bucked that trend by having their main character killed off in the third of nine films. Whilst still appearing in the following films via flashbacks and tapes, Jigsaw continued his ‘work’ long after his death thanks to his prior planning and with the help of his deadly apprentices.
Anyone that hasn’t seen A Clockwork Orange needs to before reading on… Alex DeLarge is out and out a psychopath, which makes him scarier than some of the supernatural entries you can find in horror films. Everything that he does could in fact happen to you, or for all you know, someone you walk passed in the street could have solar impulses. It’s this realistic take on the extremes of human nature that makes the character terrifying when he’s on screen.
A serial killer inhabiting the body of a toy was unique for its time, partly because the idea of a tiny toy managing to kill with wanton abandon without being stopped is ridiculous, and partly because it’s unnerving to imagine our kid’s toys being murderous spirits.
Star of the Scream franchise, as well as parodied in Scary Movie, Ghostface is a character who’s played by multiple people throughout the films. Used as a mask to protect their identities and keep the audience guessing as to who the murderer is, Ghostface ends up being an amalgamation of horrifying and gruesome characters throughout the series.
Pennywise ranks pretty highly for a number of reasons… he’s a clown, he’s a supernatural entity and he preys primarily on children. All of those combined gives us a visceral, intimidating and frankly humorous at times horror villain that seems to have fun with his murderous rampage every twenty seven years he re-emerges.
A chainsaw wielding, human face wearing giant of a man whose only motivation seems to be to murder as many people in as many gruesome ways as possible. What’s not to be scared by? With every entry into the Texas Chainsaw franchise comes a more brutal, bloodier version of the iconic horror villain.
Another entry that is purely human. No supernatural strength, immortality or inability to talk, Lecter is a cannibal that finds politeness as important as his next meal. Just as well considering he ‘eats the rude’.
Star of the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, Krueger is a long dead paedophile who preys on his victims when they’re sleeping. Unlike others in this list, you can’t outrun Freddy, everyone needs to sleep after all. Watching his kills play out in the real world is also mesmerising in a way, as we see the consequences of his actions play out in a bloody and scary fashion.
A victim of child abuse, neglect and suffering some severe mental health issues as a result, Michael Myers doesn’t stop at just murdering his sister in the first one. He ends up fixated on ‘the one that got away’ in Laurie Strode, butchering his way through whomever gets in his way of achieving his final goal.
A staple of horror films and the horror villains in them is the constant, unstoppable progress of the villain in their mission to murder those they consider to be their victims. A trait shared between our previous entry and Jason, the iconic star of the Friday the 13th franchise, there doesn’t seem to be any stopping him, no matter how hard someone fights, he always gets up and always wins… he also always ends up surviving for the next film.
There’s so many other horror villains we could have included, but we have to stop somewhere. What other villains would you have included? And what villains do you think have no place in this list?