Top 15 best horror villains of all time

By Kat Kynes - November 2 2015

From the era of silent films, horror has evolved from Nosferatu and Dracula to our present day  favourites Hannibal, Freddy and even Jaws. We all love a good hero, but it’s the villains that truly  stick with us, but who is the nation’s favourite? We’ve just conducted a survey to find out, take a look at the top 15 horror villains below!

1. Hannibal Lecter  

There’s one villain that truly has it all. Aside from the horrific acts that you can’t escape in any  installment of the Hannibal series, it’s his intelligent and incredibly charismatic nature that makes  Hannibal even more unsettling. A cult classic, Anthony Hopkins made Hannibal the cult icon that he  is today, terrifying us all with penchant for cooking and eating his guests. The series has since been  adapted into a tv show by NBC.  Robert Harris, creator of Hannibal, revealed the identity of the Mexican doctor who was the main  point of inspiration for Hannibal Lecter. Dr. Alfredo Balli Trevino murdered his lover, a medical  intern, and cut his body into pieces then burying them in attempt to conceal his horrific act of  violence. Harris described Trevino as a ‘small, lithe man with dark red hair. He stood very still and  there was a certain elegance about him.’ Sounds familiar, right? Knowing that the nation’s favourite  horror villain was in fact based on a real person makes it all more chilling.

2. Freddy Kruger  

We have all have one thing in common that Freddy Kruger capitalises on to create an unavoidable  fear factor. Sleeping is when we’re all at our vulnerable, the idea of Kruger invading our dreams to  hunt, torture and kill us whilst we sleep is chilling to even the hardiest of horror-enthusiasts.  With a 2010 reboot being the latest installment, the original Nightmare on Elm Street remains the  critic’s favourite.

3. Alien  

With the next installment of Sir Ridley Scott’s Alien, freshly announced to begin filming in Australia,  catch up with the classics this halloween. The first Alien (1979)  was a true masterpiece, the  Xenomorph is a tall, dark (but not very handsome), creature impressively created without the use of  CGI.

4. Norman Bates

Perhaps the most average of all the villains on our list, the twisted Norman Bates is furthermore  unsettling due to his mundane setting, making him the villain next door. The deeply disturbed  manager of Bates Motel, has a seriously twisted development of an oedipus complex. Absent are  special effects and jump scares in Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960), with the director alternatively reliant  on psychological elements that make you hauntingly question the effect that a demented upbringing  can have on someone.

5. Terminator

With the recent installment of the franchise, Terminator Genisys (2015), Schwarzenegger proved  that he really would be back. Kicking off the series with the critically acclaimed The Terminator in  1984, Schwarzenegger played the title role of a Cyborg who travels back in time from the not-so-  distant 2029 to kill Sarah Connor.

6. Jaws  

This controversial classic has a villain of a different kind. The cleverly illusive great shark is always  looming, with that iconic theme-tune sending chills down the audience’s spine, jaws is a terror that  filtered into real life. The 1975 movie sparked a global terror in the wake of its phenomenon, causing  beach-goers everywhere to fear the deep blue sea and what might be lurking in its depths. The first  hour of the film is a filter of perfectly timed teases, leading up to the big reveal when we finally catch  our first real sight of the previously unseen enemy.

7. Candyman  

While researching the urban legend of Candyman, Helen Lyle unknowingly summons the villain by  looking into her mirror and saying ‘Candyman’ five times. Don’t try that at home. Equipped with a  hook for a hand and a chilling disposition, Candyman isn’t nearly as sweet as he sounds. In the first  installment, Candyman (1992), Lyle proves the villain’s existence, but at what cost?

8. The Thing  

Upon release, the film was a failure, threatening director John Carpenter’s reputation as the new  king of horror. Initially hated by critics, The Thing later became a cult classic and is arguby  Carpenter’s best work. Icy suspense is built throughout, with both the viewers and main characters  caught in a sense of shared unknowing as to what is going on in the desolate research facility. With  The Thing sets a tone of paranoia in the arctic setting, everyone at the height of paranoia.

9. Pennywise  

Based on Stephen King’s 1,142 page book , It, is a 1990 miniseries that makes an irrational fear of  clowns seem pretty rational. If you’ve never understood the phenomenon of clown terror, perhaps  after becoming acquainted with Pennywise, it’ll all start to make much more sense.

10. Michael Myers

Before Jason and Freddy, came Micheal Myers. The original halloween paved the way for every  slasher movie that followed, becoming a timeless classic. Carpenter brings brutal violence to your  screen in a way that is well-crafted and just as haunting as Michael Myers himself. That peculiar  craving we all feel from time to time to be truly terrified is definitely satisfied by Halloween (1979).

11. Pinhead  

Arguby the most visually terrifying villain on the list, some struggle to even look at Pinhead, yet  alone sit through the 1987 horror. Setting his victims against a puzzle known as the Lament  Configuration gain the twisted reward of a one-way pass to Pinhead’s realm. Whilst most of the  villains on this list have little resolve when it comes to their scare tactics, Pinhead sits in the same  exclusively regal circle as Hannibal.

12. Jason Voorhees

Known to most as simply, Jason, the Friday the 13th Villain is a character that is known even by  people who’ve yet to see the film itself. Instantly recognisable by his trademark hockey mask, the  sinister Jason wields his deadly machete with horrifying consequences. Victims beware, Jason just  keeps coming back.

13. Sadako Yamamura  

If there’s one scene that has become the epitome of horror, it’s the part in The Ring where we see  Sadako crawl out of a TV screen awash with black and white static, right into the living room.

14. Leatherface

The most chilling of all horror villains are most often those inspired by real life villians. Leatherface is  based on Ed Gein, a killer who no one suspected. Crafting masks made from the skin of his victims,  there’s a terrifying appeal to the fact that we never really know what’s going to come next.

15. Ghostface

Horror satire at its most iconic, Ghostface is the villain who belongs to the Scream series. With a new  killer taking up the mask in each installment, the mystery is built around who exactly is Ghostface?  Drawing out each kill to make murder a slow game to play, Ghostface is forever caught in the  process of killing the young, beautiful, and humorously whitless. Scream is the movie that’ll have you  and your friends yelling ‘Don’t go outside!’ at the screen.

Did your favourite villain make it onto the list? Let us know in the comments below!

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