Top 10 Horror Movie Villains


Kate Sallee, Staff Writer

With the Halloween season coming up, it’s now the time to dress up and watch scary movies in tribute to this holiday. While many people have mixed opinions on horror movies, most will agree that they have left a huge mark on pop culture. The thing that makes horror movies so memorable is the frightening scares that they provide. Usually, the terror comes from the antagonists and villains of the movie. What makes these villains so great is that they usually make up for the movie’s slow or undeveloped plot. Ranging from typical slashers to supernatural beings, here are the top 10 horror movie villains you should know about for the spooky season.

10. Jack Torrance, The Shining (1980)

Originally written by Stephen King, The Shining follows Jack Torrance along with his wife, Wendy, and their son, Danny, as they spend the winter by themselves in the Overlook Hotel. During their stay, what was supposed to be an idyllic vacation turned into a torturous nightmare. The hotel, plagued with evil spirits, drives Jack into complete madness as it possesses him. His state of insanity then convinces him to hunt down and kill his family in the final act. Even though director Stanley Kubrick’s film is very different from the source material, anyone who watches this movie will easily remember Jack Nicholson’s chilling performance as this famous character.


9. Cujo, Cujo (1983)

Cujo is another adaptation of a Stephen King novel, and the dog has become the most famous killer dog in horror history. Cujo is a St. Bernard who, while chasing a rabbit, gets his head stuck in a cave where a bat bites him on the nose. As the dog becomes rabid, he brutally murders those unfortunate enough to cross his path. While the human character plot is very well developed for a horror movie, Cujo is the most memorable part of the movie. Cujo shows how in an instant, the most lovable creatures can become terrifying monsters in this genre.


8. Norman Bates, Psycho (1960)

In one of the most famous Alfred Hitchcock movies of all time, Psycho’s killer is played by Anthony Perkins. Norman Bates, the owner of the Bates Motel, killed his mother and her lover ten years before the events of this movie. However, the man felt so guilty about what he had done that he pretended she was still alive, and created her personality in his head, playing the role of both himself and his mother. When Marion Crane, the protagonist, stays at the motel, she sets off a chain reaction of catastrophic events, all in the hands of the insane Norman Bates.


7. Leatherface, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

From the menacing name, Leatherface is a terrifying character right from his introduction in the movie. Wielding a chainsaw in the southern country, his motive for killing is simply because he and his family are cannibals. However, in addition to eating people, he wears their faces. In the 2003 reboot, we see that he has a skin condition, which is his sole reason for doing this. Even though he is not killed by final girl Sally Hardesty, he lives on through many sequels with the same element of terror that was brought in the original’s masterpiece.

6. Ghostface, Scream (1990)

With this movie, director Wes Craven basically brought the horror genre back from the dead. The style of Scream is super self-aware and humorous, while still incorporating plenty of horror elements and tropes as well. Ghostface, the name given to the murderer(s) over the course of the franchise, is well known for the costume worn by whoever chooses it. Even though Ghostface ends up being defeated by the brave final girl Sidney Prescott in the movies, the mask they wear is memorable enough to still be found in modern costumes.


5. Jason Voorhees, Friday the 13th Franchise

As a mentally and physically disabled hockey mask wearing killer, Jason Voorhees has survived through a very long franchise. He was declared dead when everyone thought he drowned due to the camp counselors not paying attention. Even his mom thought he was dead, inspiring her to kill the teen counselors at Camp Crystal Lake as an act of vengeance. However, Jason now kills misbehaving teens for the same reason; and also because he’s a “mama’s boy”. This massive and completely silent character is someone you would not want lurking around a summer camp.


4. Pennywise, IT (2017)

Once again, Stephen King novels are some of the best horror content provided for movie making. It is an ancient evil entity that can shapeshift into the fears of the kids it preys on, most commonly seen as Pennywise the Dancing Clown. Even though Tim Curry’s performance of the character in a 4 hour miniseries of this story was spectacular, the newest movie in 2017 and its sequel that was just released in theaters this year are overall everyone’s favorite version of this story. In both adaptations, Pennywise is still one of the scariest monsters that horror has seen.


3. Michael Myers, Halloween (1978)

In one of the most famous and influential horror movies of all time, Michael Myers is a stalker who kills his victims without motivation or purpose. At a young age, he killed his sister Judith, and was locked up in a mental institution because of it. However, he manages to escape, while getting his famous mask on the way to Haddonfield, Illinois. Here, he starts killing once more, targeting final girl Laurie Strode, played by Jamie Lee Curtis, and her friends. Michael Myers has been around for such a long time in horror culture that almost everyone knows who he is. Even though he never seems to die, that’s what makes him so scary: it’s almost impossible to stop him.


2. Chucky, Child’s Play (1988)

When serial killer Charles Lee Ray is shot and on the brink of death, he desperately transfers his soul into the body of a doll, therefore becoming Chucky. His main goal throughout the franchise is to return back to being human by transferring his soul into the body of someone else. Along the way, he tortures many families, and even starts one of his own. Besides the fact that Chucky is probably the most famous killer doll alongside Annabelle from The Conjuring Universe, he has so much sass and character to him that you can’t help but remember him.


1. Freddy Krueger, A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Finally at the top of the list is Freddy Krueger, who kills people in their dreams in order to get revenge on those who murdered him. While Freddy’s finger knives and backstory are brutal, he’s so memorable because of the constant one-liners he uses. Robert Englund gives him so much character, adding goofy elements of humor to lighten up the tone of this very dark movie. His lines and knives have become the most memorable aspects of horror culture.