Who comes out on top?
Halloween is on Sunday! I have three big horror rankings planned for this week as well as a Halloween special review that I am releasing on Sunday. It's going to be a fun week for horror fans on the blog. The first of these rankings is the villains! There are lots of great horror movie villains, but my list may be more controversial than others. There are characters, such as Leatherface, Pinhead, and Pazuzu, that did not make the cut. My top five is not a super normal top five. Check it out and
15. Jack Torrance (The Shining)
The Shining is not my favorite horror movie, but Jack Torrance is a great character. Jack Nicholson's performance is incredible. His crazy, scary portrayal of a man that is losing his sanity because he's so isolated is just perfect. Besides that, watching Jack's descent into madness is terrifying. He is unhinged from the beginning, but slowly becomes a full on psycho throughout the film, culminating in his chase of Danny and Wendy through the hotel and eventually through the maze. It's a great, slow-burn character arc that is extremely effective.
14. Xenomorph (Alien)
Alien is essentially a slasher movie in space, and I think that part of the reason it works is because of how terrifying the alien itself is. The way that it slinks from shadow to shadow inside of the Nostromo is just so scary. The helpless location of the vastness of space make this character even scarier. I love the look of the long, eyeless head with multiple tongues and a bug-like body. The alien is a creepy creature and I absolutely love the way he is used inside of Alien.
13. Jason Voorhees (Friday the 13th)
A lot of people have Jason in their top three horror villains. I've never been a fan of either. I much prefer Michael Myers and Freddy Krueger to Jason Voorhees. Both Halloween and A Nightmare on Elm Street have good movies inside of their respective series. I don't think that there is a genuinely good Jason movie. Now, of course, he is one of the most iconic slasher villains. His hockey mask is the second-best mask in film (besides Michael Myers). But I think the lack of good films in the Friday franchise puts Jason on a lower level than most horror villains. He's still great. He's still scary. He's still one of my top fifteen horror villains. His movies just aren't that good.
12. Chucky (Child's Play)
Alongside Freddy Krueger, Chucky is one of the most charming horror movie characters. The idea of the character is very cool. A serial killer transports his soul into a killer doll and hunts people as a child's toy. The first Child's Play explores the horror of a doll actually being a killing machine and how people wouldn't believe a six-year-old kid that claims his doll is possessed. Over sequels, Chucky becomes this wise-cracking, bad boy killer, but in that first film, he is genuinely scary. I also think that the contrast between smily, innocent Chucky that pretends like he's an actual doll and serial killer Chucky is really cool.
11. Frankenstein's Monster (Frankenstein)
Commonly referred to as Frankenstein (which is technically incorrect), I think of Frankenstein's monster as the definitive horror monster. He is the prototype for all zombies and ghosts to follow him. Everything about the look of the character is iconic: the flat top, the ripped clothes, the screws in the neck, etc. Frankenstein's monster has become a logo for Halloween season. Every time you go trick-or-treating, there will always be a blow-up or statue of Frankenstein's monster. I think he's a super cool villain, and I had to include him on this list, simply for the impact that he has had on pop culture.
10. Norman Bates (Psycho)
I haven't seen Psycho, but I really want to. One of those reasons is Norman Bates. Norman's split personality with his psychotic mother is absolutely chilling. Anthony Perkins' quiet performance that hides his true nature is horrifying. I love the little moments and quotes that foreshadow the eventual reveal of him being the villain, such as "We all go a little mad sometimes.". I am excited to see Psycho and I'm sure he will move up on this list after I watch it.
9. Jigsaw (Saw)
Jigsaw is an interesting character. He doesn't think of himself as a murderer. He always gives people a way to survive...even if their survival means crippling injuries that will last a lifetime. He also is somewhat like Dexter Morgan from Dexter. He only kills people that aren't really good, and I've always found that idea interesting. Also, the traps provide some of the coolest kills in horror movies.
8. Ghostface (Scream)
This is kind of cheating, because Ghostface himself is not a character. He's more of a persona. I just think that the idea of a whodunit inside of slasher film is cool. And Ghostface is the mystery inside of the Scream movies. I love the look of the character with the ghost mask and the black robe. The creepy stalker calls are really cool. The silent, deadly figure of the character is so much fun. Ghostface is part of what makes the Scream movies great.
7. The Armitage Family (Get Out)
I think that the Armitages have one of the most evil and disturbing plans of any horror villains. They don't exactly kill people. They are so racist that they make black people suffer a fate worse than death. While I am not necessarily scared of them, I would be if I was black. The idea that people like this could actually exist makes them even more horrifying. I love Get Out and I love it's villains. They are some of the most disgusting people in horror movies ever.
6. The Candyman (Candyman)
I find Candyman to be one of the most badass characters in modern cinema. Tony Todd's gothic portrayal of this horrifying character is so cool. From the hook to the epic trench coat to the deep, soothing voice, Candyman is awesome. One of the biggest disappointments of the 2021 Candyman was the fact that Tony Todd's Candyman was barely in it. My favorite moment in that film is when he makes a cameo appearance at the end. He is also a sympathetic character, which is interesting, because most horror villains don't have a rich backstory and mythology. Candyman does. And it's tragic.
5. Freddy Krueger (A Nightmare on Elm Street)
In 1984, Freddy Krueger showed horror fans that antagonists don't always have to be these silent, faceless killers that wear scary masks. Robert Englund spent a long time in a makeup chair to bring the nightmare on Elm street to life. The thing that makes him stand out is his charisma and likability. Before Krueger, we had had villains like Leatherface, Michael Myers, Jason, etc. He was the first lively slasher antagonist. Also, his bladed glove is the best horror weapon of all time.
4. Rose the Hat (Doctor Sleep)
I didn't rank these villains by scariness. Otherwise Rose the Hat would've been number two (behind my number one). She is ruthless. She is evil. But she also has a motivation, which can make her even scarier, because she will never stop. Rose the Hat enjoys torturing and murdering people. And not just any people. Small children that have the shining. One of the most horrifying scenes ever is in Doctor Sleep. Just look up "Doctor Sleep baseball boy". You will not sleep for weeks.
3. Pennywise the Dancing Clown (It)
I find Pennywise to be one of the scariest supernatural things ever. He is a shapeshifting demon that will transform into your worst fear right before brutally murdering you. And his default form is this horrifying clown that is played to utter perfection by Bill Skarsgard in It and It: Chapter Two. The fact that they call Pennywise "It" is just scary in general. Clowns were scary. But they weren't nightmare fuel until Stephen King created It in the 80s.
2. Hannibal Lecter (The Silence of the Lambs)
Definitely one of the most complex horror movie villains on here, Hannibal Lecter is not always a villain. He isn't the main antagonist of any of his novels/films, appearing as the central character but never really being the main threat. However, this man is an absolute psychopath. He is disgusting. He is horrifying. He will enter your mind and play with it like a 5-year-old playing with toy trucks. And there is something so chilling about the psychology of Hannibal Lecter. And Anthony Hopkins' performance in The Silence of the Lambs is one of the most iconic portrayals of a character ever. It's great.
1. Michael Myers
The classic slasher villain, Michael Myers is still terrifying audiences to this day. With this retconned Halloween franchise (Halloween and Halloween Kills), we now have the slasher movies of my generation. He has been the icon of horror films for almost forty-five years at this point. Michael's childlike curiosity combined with his absolute lack of emotion is incredibly scary. The mask is one of the most iconic images in Hollywood. Michael is the embodiment of pure evil, and his hulking, scary figure will appear in your nightmares every time you watch a Halloween movie.