We know what scares us individually. Some of us are still afraid of the dark. Maybe the thought of a knife-wielding maniac trying to break into our homes sends shivers down our backs. Maybe your parents made a terrible mistake and decided to invite a clown to your birthday party when you were a child and it traumatized you.
Whatever the case may be, it’s the month of October and Halloween is just around the corner. You know what that means: it’s time to list the top ten scariest villains in horror films. Particularly, I’m going to list antagonists from slasher films. Most of you will have seen these films already and know these characters by heart. However, I’m going to break down why each of these horror fiends should still be feared.
#10 GHOSTFACE (Scream, 1996)
Ghostface is a serial killer who enjoys cold-calling his victims. He instills fear by letting them know he’s watching them and knows personal information about them. The bizarre motive for his murderous intentions is his love of horror movies. With his first victim, Casey Beckers, he plays a brief trivia game where he promises to spare the life of her boyfriend, Steven Orth, if she gets his question right. Now, we all have some sort of guilty obsession, but this guy takes it a step too far as his obsessions literally bleed into reality. He feels no remorse and gets angry when his victims don’t play along. What’s most disturbing is that Ghostface turns out to be two teenagers (Billy Loomis and Stu Macher) who wanted to recreate their favorite horror movies. They had no qualms about killing their girlfriends or several innocent people to do so just so they could be named heroes after “surviving.”
#9 LEATHERFACE (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, 1974)
Leatherface is a mentally disabled, cannibalistic serial killer. Because of inbreeding within his family, Leatherface was born horribly deformed so he wears masks made of human skin, an inspiration borrowed from the notorious Ed Gein, who was a real-life cannibal and serial killer. Mostly, he follows orders from his family members out of fear. He kills whenever he feels threatened in some way or when strange people enter his home uninvited. He’s tall, strong, and spends a lot of time screaming in the movies. His favorite weapon is, of course, a chainsaw. However, he’s been shown to use other weapons including sledgehammers, meat hooks, and meat cleavers.
What’s most disturbing about this villain is that he’s basically a fictional depiction of Ed Gein. It’s scary to think Leatherface can actually exist out there somewhere. Not just him but his family, too.
#8 CHUCKY (Child’s Play, 1988)
Here is where things get supernatural. I don’t know about you, but I’ve always found dolls creepy, and I don’t mean stuffed animals. I’m talking about everything from barbie dolls to those baby dolls with dead eyes and frozen expressions. Chucky is one such doll, or at least he is at first. Originally, Chucky was a human by the name of Charles Lee Ray. After a failed robbery leaves hum a fatal gunshot wound and his crime partner bails on him, Charles becomes desperate and, to avoid certain death, transfers his soul into a Good Guy doll using a voodoo amulet called the Heart of Damballa.
From this point on, Chucky becomes a menace. He pretends to be a normal doll to fool unsuspecting adults but then kills anyone who gets in his way. The first film alone sees creative deaths like, defenestration, explosion, voodoo stabbing, and electrocution. He’s hard to kill and even when he is killed, he’s resurrected. I can’t imagine a world where dolls run around with no batteries and talk in human voices.
What’s even spookier? Robert, a real-life haunted doll, served as inspiration for Chucky. How creepy is that?
#7 THE CREEPER (Jeeper’s Creepers, 2001)
The Creeper is an ancient demon with mysterious origins. Every 23rd spring, it hunts for 23 days. During this period, it hunts down humans to replace its old or damaged organs. It purposely frightens its victims, using the scent of their fear to judge which victim to feed on. The creature is a towering figure with green skin, claws, fangs, and even wings. It usually wears a long coat, a wide-brimmed hat, and trousers to blend in with society. Although incapable of speech, it is highly intelligent and has been shown to be adept at using weapons, driving vehicles, and distinguishing different human anatomies It’s even clear from the license plate on its truck that it can likely read and write.
What’s probably most disturbing about this villain is its ability to regenerate. It has survived for centuries after sustaining gunshot wounds and being impaled by sharp weapons. Also, It can gain either knowledge or memories from the heads of its victims.
#6 PENNYWISE THE CLOWN (It, 1990)
Clowns terrify lots of people (both children and adults) despite being people themselves. However, Pennywise (aka It) is no ordinary clown. He’s an evil, billion-year old demonic entity that kills and feasts on children every 30 years in Derry, Maine. Despite living on Earth for many years, he originated outside the regions of space in a void known as the Macroverse. This is horrifying since we are still learning about space and everything within it so to learn that such terrible creatures exist outside of reality is shocking.
What’s most disturbing about Pennywise are his numerous abilities. He can morph into various forms, whether it be a person, an animal, or an object. He possesses low-tier omnipotence, telepathy, mind control/possession, illusion abilities, invisibility, telekinesis, chlorokinesis (plant manipulation), weather control (possibly), teleportation, superhuman strength and speed, and invulnerability. Like The Creeper, Pennywise can sense fear. Since children are easier to scare, the fear he instills in them enhances their flavor. While he is definitely downright creepy, the only thing keeping this villain from the number one spot is that he seems to keep to Derry, Maine. That and he’s killable.
#5 CANDYMAN (Candyman, 1992)
There’s a reason I’m placing Candyman above Pennywise. Like “It,” He’s a vengeful, immortal spirit who always seems to come back after “dying.” He’s been around for centuries, doesn’t age, and doesn’t require food or water to survive. He can also teleport and phase through walls. Other powers include regeneration, the ability to summon a swarm of bees (which also seem to be a part of his form), telekinesis, flight/levitation, and invisibility.
His weapon of choice is a hook where his left hand should be. What’s most disturbing is that this villain can be summoned anywhere and at any time just by saying his name five times in a mirror. He kills the person who called him along with anyone who witnesses his appearance. So don’t say the name.
#4 PINHEAD (Hellraiser, 1997)
Pinhead, also called The Hell Priest, is a cenobite: a demonic, extra-dimensional being belonging to a communal religious order in the realm of Hell. Affiliated with Hell’s army, he’s a servant of Leviathan possessing demonic powers and a mastery of sado-masochistic torture. Pinhead leads other cenobites and often tears his victims apart using hooked chains, considering his infernal entourage as “explorers in the further regions of experience. Demons to some. Angels to others.”
What’s most disturbing about Pinhead is his appearance: a pale bald head with pitch black eyes and covered in pins from front to back and top to bottom. He and his fellow cenobites are capable of entering Earth’s reality through a rift in time and space using otherworldly artifacts, usually a puzzle box called the Lament Configuration. Pinhead abducts all who solves this puzzle and tortures them in the labyrinth that is Hell. This sounds like an apocalyptic nightmare but without the actual apocalypse. What’s worse is that you’re not even safe in a crowd with this guy and his crew around.
#3 FREDDY KREUGER (A Nightmare on Elm Street, 1984)
If the physical world isn’t safe, then at least we’re safe in our dreams. Right? Wrong. Enter Freddy Krueger: a literal nightmare demon who invades people’s dreams and kills them within the dream world. If you die in your dreams, you die in reality. Like Pennywise his main target is children, the result of Freddy- formally a child serial killer murdered by their parents after getting released on a technicality- getting revenge on the parent’s offspring. His favorite weapon is the iconic clawed glove, looking like something straight out of Edward Scissorhands.
The most disturbing thing about Freddy is that he’s very evil and sadistic, not to mention darkly hilarious. Much like Pinhead, he’s a master tormentor and comes up with many different ways to end his victims. The only upside is that he can’t reach you in the real world, as long as you don’t fall asleep.
#2 MICHAEL MYERS (Halloween, 1978)
Michael Myers might as well be a supernatural entity since he refuses to die. This is a man who made his first kill at six-years-old and was sent to a psychiatric hospital where his doctor diagnosed him as pure evil. Throughout his reign of terror, Meyers wears a plain white mask, a boiler suit, and never speaks. He goes on a relentless mission to slaughter his entire family and anyone who gets in his way. Every time it seems like Michael will finally die, he’s rescued somehow as if fate had been looking out for him. He only stops once he finally murders Laurie. Well, not really. He kills some college kids who decided it was a good idea to intrude on his family home to look for answers.
What’s most disturbing about this villain? Everything. He’s a nightmare, a literal bogeyman whose actions lack any rational beyond evil. He has a kill count of 121 people across 10 films. The only comfort we have is that in real life, once criminals die, they stay dead.
#1 JASON VOORHEES (Friday the 13th: Part 2, 1981)
You should have seen this coming. Jason Voorhees is the number one scariest killer on this list. Jason has the highest body count in slasher history with about 157 kills across his movie career. This doesn’t even include his offscreen kills. Despite not appearing as a villain in the Friday the 13th films until the second entry, Jason has come to define the slasher antagonist in the same way as Meyers: a completely silent, unstoppable killing machine. He also shares similarities with Leatherface, as he is physically deformed and suffers from mental disabilities. He hides those deformities with his signature hockey mask, acquired only in the third film but since becoming an recognizable horror image.
What’s most disturbing about Jason is that he’s difficult to kill. This guy has been incinerated, blown to bits, and even dragged into Hell. And these solutions only stopped him temporarily. He can be resurrected through high volts of electricity like Frankenstein’s monster. Then it’s off to the killing again, all to impress his dead mother.