We have had some sleepless nights courtesy of the iconic baddies in the horror genre. Like any other genre, horror-flicks, too, have thrived on some powerful characters that are synonymous with pure evil! In this video, we will take you through a throwback on these powerful horror villains as we have ranked some of these notable characters on our list. These characters have terrorized an entire generation and appeared in our worst nightmares, and this is our way of paying homage to their legacy.
Michael – Halloween
A six-year-old named Michael Myers brutally murdered his elder sister and was sentenced for fifteen years. Towards the end of his sentence, almost 15 years later, he was being taken for a court trial, and he managed to escape. Now, this inborn maniac killer is on the loose, and he goes back to his quiet hometown in Illinois, where people are preparing for Halloween. Little do they know that the spooky time of the year is about to get terrifying with this psycho looking for his next victims!
This movie franchise is the sheer brilliance of veteran director, John Carpenter, who managed to scare an entire generation with a rather low-budget movie! The film Halloween personifies everything that we fear and instill a sense of uncertainty with every scene. Credit is due for the notorious Michael Myers, who often appears in places where you would least expect him to.
The scene where Annie is about to go and pick up Paul, and Michael strikes in her car is an absolute shocker! The brute strength combined with a terrific intelligence makes him a lethal force, and if you add his stalking psychotic nature, you have a dangerous killer. He is portrayed as pure evil, who has an interesting timeline in various Halloween movies.
The role has been played by various actors in the course of time, such as Nick Castle, Tony Moran, Dick Warlock, etc. Even though several movies in the franchise, including the first one, show him being killed, he manages to survive and come back stronger each time!
Pazuzu – The Exorcist
The Exorcist was one of the iconic horror films back in the 70s that stirred a race for several sequels to become a popular franchise. The main antagonist in this series is Pazuzu, a demonic force that commands fear. It is almost like a form of Satan and manages to possess a little girl who was playing with her Ouija Board. The girl starts behaving weirdly, displaying obscenity in her mannerisms and words.
While the doctors think her problem is psychological, the priests try to conduct an exorcism to get rid of Pazuzu! Pazuzu is a name that is synonymous to fear for many of us. The sheer supernatural powers of this demon, from its superhuman strength to abilities to possess human hosts, it is an entity that will give you the jitters.
The character on screen was played by Eileen Dietz, who did a fabulous job in perfecting the crazy moves of this demon. While Pazuzu remained the villain for all the movies in the franchise, it is the most terrifying in the first movie that was adapted from the novel.
The scenes that show the demonic force growing in strength, or fighting the attempts by the priests, will send shivers down your spine. Father Merrin and Father Karras perish in their attempt of exorcism, but they do manage to disperse the evil force, as it had no human host to hang on to! However, it does return for the sequels of both the novel and the film.
Pinhead – Hellraiser
You certainly can’t imagine the Hellraiser franchise without the presence of Pinhead, the leader of the Cenobites! The original film tells the story of a woman who finds out that her ex-lover Frank got involved with the evil dark forces by solving the puzzle of the Lament Configuration, which is like a doorway to hell.
Now, the woman has to bargain with the Cenobites, who are a gang of other-dimensional demon sadists. To be free from the clutches of Pinhead, Frank has to carry out a series of blood sacrifices, for which his ex-lover has to help him out!
When Clive Barker gives shape to a horror-film antagonist, you know that it will be terrifying! Pinhead is no exception, and a mere look at his appearance is enough to scare the life out of you! With pins popping out of his face, this character specializes in the worst forms of torture.
Pain is equivalent to pleasure for him, and once someone is stuck with him, there is no easy escape! The moments of torture are nightmarish stuff that involves anything from knives to hooked and barbed blades. Pinhead can even summon hooked chains at will to perfect his torturous methods.
The character wouldn’t be half as menacing had it not been for the brilliance of Doug Bradley, who effortlessly embraced the role. Although the woman manages to banish him back to his realm in the movie, he reappears for the sequels and haunts the audiences with some hair-raising antics!
Chucky – Child’s Play
Andy gets a doll as a birthday present from his mother and calls it Chucky. However, the doll is possessed by the soul of a serial killer, making it an unstoppable evil. The killer continues his killing streak, although he is now in the form of a doll. The cop who shot the serial killer gets involved, and he realizes that Andy’s claims about the doll committing murders are real.
Now Chucky must be stopped before it is too late. He is one of the recognizable horror icons that instilled a fear of dolls in many people. This possessed doll is an utter psychopath who takes sadistic pleasure from hurting others. Chucky nurses all his grudges against his enemies, and the foul-mouthed doll stops at nothing when it comes to getting his revenge.
Voiced by the legendary baddie Brad Douriff, the killer doll comes alive on screen and mesmerizes the viewer with his antics. His murder skills and strange abilities, such as to detach and re-attach his limbs are characteristics that haunt the fans.
The scenes where he lets the sarcastic humor rip through his words are simply unforgettable. As Child’s Play developed into a franchise, Chucky’s appearance had some minor changes, and he started developed human-like traits. In the original movie, the possessed doll is burned alive, but he does manage to come back meaner than ever for the sequels.
The Creeper – Jeepers Creepers
While driving home for college break, a brother and sister witness something bizarre in the basement of an Old Church. It turns out to be a hideout full of modified bodies, and a mysterious individual, the Creeper, seems to be dumping these bodies here. The siblings do not realize that the Creeper is actually an evil flesh-eating creature that comes alive every 23 years to prey upon humans. Can they put an end to this invincible monster?
All of us who have been witness to the Jeepers Creepers movie and the sequels swear by the demonic antagonist, The Creeper. It feeds off the human bodies to maintain its own and becomes a part of whatever it eats. For instance, if it eats lungs, it can breathe, and if it eats eyes, it can see. Basically, it has to keep eating people to continue living.
The manner in which it tortures people before slaying them makes it a monster that you would hate and fear! It had an interesting choice of weapons and booby traps that made it easier to slaughter the victims. Every 23rd spring, it starts the killing spree that continues for 23 days before it goes into hibernation. Jonathan Breck pulled off one of his best performances for this role, and he was cast in all three films of this franchise.
Officer Matthew “Matt” Cordell – Maniac Cop
Innocent people are being slain and strangled to death in New York City by a uniformed police officer. In an attempt to cover-up the mess, City Hall assigns Frank McCrae to conduct an investigation that finds a young cop, Jack Forrest, guilty. Forrest has been framed by the actual maniac killer, who goes by the name Matthew Cordell. He must solve the mystery behind the deaths and find the real killer before the murderous psycho can strike again!
This movie went on to be hailed as a cult classic horror action flick that the fans have loved over the years. None of the craze behind the film would be possible without the horrifying antagonist! He might be posing as a cop, but this undead monster isn’t here to serve and protect! The dreaded fellow was once a good-hearted but a hot-headed police officer who didn’t pay much attention to the protocols.
A corrupt Mayor and his accomplices framed him and got him sent to a correctional facility where he was killed. He was brain-dead, and the resurrected version was a maniac on the loose, going for a killing spree. The late Robert J. Zdarsky was just the right guy for the role, and he perfected the mannerisms of this undead cop.
The climax of the movie gives you a hint that he is alive, and his character does appear for the sequels again. Despite his brutal ways, you can’t help feeling for the guy who was wronged by the corrupt. Even then, with his brute strength, drive to kill, and deformed horrifying face, he is guaranteed a place on our list!
Freddy Krueger – A Nightmare On Elm Street
Nancy is bothered by her frequent nightmares, where a clawed killer named Freddy Krueger keeps appearing. She discovers that even her friends have similar dreams, and soon, they start dying in real life. Nancy must think of a plan to get rid of the evil Freddy Krueger, who is back to get his revenge on those who were responsible for his death. She tries to draw him out of the dreams into the real world, the only place where he is vulnerable!
The good thing about a nightmare is that you can escape the horror once you wake up. Not if you are faced with Freddy Krueger, the paranormal monster who kills people in their dreams! He was a dangerous man, and after being burned to death, he turned into a murderous evil entity.
He has some very exciting powers, and the more he kills, the more he is able to blur the lines between the virtual world and reality. This unbeatable serial killer has a grotesque appearance, complete with his razor-sharp clawed glove. His ability to manipulate his victims through trickery, and his superhuman strength, make him an antagonist that is second to none! The way he invades people’s dreams and kills them in reality is nerve-wrecking stuff! In the dream world, he is immortal, but in the real world, he loses some of his powers.
He is defeated in some of the movies of this popular franchise, but one of the important fear-factors in these films is his invincibility! After all, even after he is killed, the only thing he needs to reappear is fear in the locals. This villainous role was aced by Robert Englund, and the horror-fans were delighted by his exceptional work.
Jason – Friday The 13th
Jason was a young boy who went camping at Crystal Lake and died. Many years later, when the camp-site was reopened, his mother gets revenge for the negligence that led to his death. She kills all those around the camp-site until Alice gets the better of her. However, much to her shock, a decomposed corpse attacks Alice, and somehow she manages to get away. Jason is still residing in the lake-region and is waiting to prey upon unsuspecting victims.
Jason, with his funky hockey mask, is one of those villains who typically attack only those who are immoral. However, he is typically a menacing villain who gave us sleepless nights. Jason’s extreme strength and regenerative abilities make him so powerful.
This undead serial killer even crossed paths with the brutal Freddy Krueger in one of the movies and managed to kill him. His use of a machete or an ax leads to some of the most ruthless murders that you would see. Throughout the franchise, some terrific actors like Ari Lehman, Steve Daskewisz, Richard Brooker, and Ted White played the role.
This maniac killer is not the brightest but makes up for his lack of intelligence with the ability to withstand pretty much anything to attain his goals. Several storylines in these numerous sequels portray him differently, modifying his characteristics. But, he remains a relentless undead psycho who is regarded as one of the most badass horror villains of all time.
Tall Man – Phantasm
Mike is a young boy who follows his brother to a funeral. He becomes witness to the acts of a strange tall grave robber, who is referred to as the Tall Man. He shrinks the dead bodies to half their size and reanimates them to form his army. Now, Mike must convince others about the deep dark secret of the mortuary. Time is running out for him because the Tall Man has identified him as a possible threat!
If a horror film villain collects dead bodies to create an army of the living dead, you know he means business! Tall Man is the immortal mastermind behind such sinister plans and uses his supernatural powers to accomplish his goals. Besides his monstrous mind and intelligence, he has supreme strength, telekinetic abilities, and the power to resurrect. The late Angus Scrimm had just the right features to pull off this role, and he did so without a hiccup for all movies in the Phantasm series.
The Tall Man is evidently tall and roams around in a black tuxedo suit, making the weirdest facial expressions. His lethal arsenal of terrible weapons threatens anyone who stands in his way. He was not always the monster that he is and used to be an ordinary mortician who was fascinated with the connection between the world of the living and dead. He undertook the journey to the realm of the dead, but after coming back to this world, he wasn’t the same anymore.
Candyman – Candyman
Local legends and myths are best left unexplored, and Helen learns it the hard way when she investigates the legend of the Candyman. He is supposedly a dangerous soul with a hook for a hand, who appears if you say his name five times before a mirror! Helen summons this murderous demon and soon begins a series of horrible murders. Can they deal with reality when they figure out that the legend might actually be true?
Granted that Candyman appears intimidating and does some terrifying stuff, but his backstory will make you feel sorry for him. He was accused of interracial love back in the 19th century and brutalized. He was then smeared with honey and left out to be stung to death by bees. Now, he is an angry ghost looking for vengeance, and can you even blame him! The character of the Candyman was made charismatic intentionally to give the jitters to the audience in a fun way.
Tony Todd does excellent work of playing this role for the entire series spanning several movies. The tall assassin has the ability to hypnotize his victims and killing them in the most extreme ways. Although he has been killed, he has the unique ability, like most horror villains to come back and haunt the viewers some more!
Pennywise – IT
Pennywise is a shape-shifting monster who disguises itself as a clown to stalk the innocent victims in the small town of Maine. A group of kids band together to find a way to get the better of this demonic presence. But, to take on a force so powerful is no mean task, and the kids are about to find out soon!
Pennywise simply means terror for those who watched the movie IT. The unreasonable and heartless sadistic monster is a deadly predator, and no kid is safe with him around. His ability to change forms makes it hard to detect him before it is too late. His psychic powers and mind-controlling gimmicks allow him to become near-invincible.
Pennywise enjoys the idea of scared kids and bullies his victims before killing them. With a psychopathic sense of humor, this monster taunts the victims with the meanest of words. Tim Curry made short work of this challenging role and blended into the character effortlessly. However, despite all the mighty powers of the monster, he ultimately succumbs to a ritual! But, that takes nothing away from his mind-boggling presence on screen that made him feature in our list of some iconic horror villains!
Mr. Cyphre, AKA Lucifer – Angel Heart
Mr. Louis Cyphre hires a private detective named Harry Angel, to track the whereabouts of an iconic singer, Johnny Favorite. Unfortunately, the investigation seems to be going nowhere as anyone Harry questions seem to die under mysterious circumstances.
Eventually, he learns that the singer was exploring black magic, and his real identity comes to the fore. However, Harry is yet to come to terms with the real nature of Mr. Cyphre. Maybe hiring Harry wasn’t a random move after all!
A villain has to be truly mean and evil to feature in the top three of our list, and Louis Cyphre fits the bill perfectly. He is Lucifer, or Satan himself, and is the mastermind behind the entire plot that unfolds before the viewer. He has some unique supernatural powers besides the usual abilities to possess people and steal their souls. He is best at corrupting innocent minds, and such a mean antagonist wouldn’t be possible without the brilliance of veteran actor Robert De Niro.
This prolific actor makes every scene stand out, and you almost start believing him to be Satan in real life! Unlike in most horror flicks, the villain here doesn’t really meet with a defeat. You seem him in the final scenes owning the souls of both the singer and the detective.
The Xenomorph – Alien
It all starts when the crew of a spacecraft, Nostromo, intercepts a distress signal from another planet and goes off investigating. They soon find themselves in trouble with a strange alien being that has invaded the ship. These are the Xenomorphs that have an incredible life cycle. Now, the crew must deal with the consequences, with chances of survival looking bleak.
Most of the dreaded villains that we elaborated upon happened to be humans or a demon in a somewhat human form! Xenomorphs certainly deviate from the norm, but they are as bad as anything else in this list. These creatures are merciless and horrifying. That they cannot be defeated only adds to their dreadful nature.
Your only options are managing to escape the clutches of this murderous being. Even as babies, these creatures kill their hosts and develop into a killing machine with an insatiable urge to kill. Some stealthy moves from the Xenomorphs make for some terrifying death-scenes in the movies. Although these aren’t human, the Xenomorphs pick up new information with ease and seem to be having decent intelligence.
They hardly show any emotion, and there is almost no weak-link in these creatures. Alien soon turned into a popular franchise, and the depiction of the Xenomorphs started to vary. For instance, in later films, they are shown as shorter and bulkier organisms. Their mean, ruthless nature, however, seems to be constant!
Kayako – The Grudge
Kayako was a sweet young woman who was murdered by her husband for developing feelings towards another man. She died in pain, and her agony and anger developed a deadly curse around the house. Kayako is now a mean spirit who can cast her spell around her victims without them having a chance to getaway!
We wanted a horror villain to be ranked one in this list, who remains undefeated. Kayako not only satisfies the condition but claims the number one spot with the sheer evilness of her character. She is the vengeful ghost of a woman who was mercilessly murdered by her husband several years ago.
The state of her death, where she acquired a lot of grudges, left her in the state of an evil spirit who seeks revenge. Now, she has transformed into this unforgiving entity that the victims simply cannot escape from. Her wide range of supernatural abilities ranges from possession to paralyzing people.
She can even alter reality, making it almost impossible to get the better of her. For this reason, most of her movies seem to have tragic endings where she remains undefeated. Takako Fuji is the actress who played the part, and for the third installment of this movie, she was replaced by Aiko Horiuchi.