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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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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