22 Most Iconic Horror Movie Villains of all Time

22 Most Iconic Horror Movie Villains of all Time

The 22 most iconic horror movie villains of all time

Beginning in the early 1900s with Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster, all the way to the Armitage family in “Get Out,” horror movie villains have each pushed the genre and terrified us in their own way. If you’re looking for a scary movie to watch this Halloween weekend, look no further: Insider has rounded up the 22 most iconic horror movie villains in history.

1. After Jason Voorhees made his debut in “Friday the 13th Part II,” hockey masks were never the same.

Friday the 13th Part 2 Is an AWFUL Sequel You'll Watch Over and Over Again

In all, there have been 12 movies about Jason and his unyielding quest for vengeance on teens having sex, and the titles become more and more ludicrous as time goes on (see: “Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan” and “Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday.”) The most recent movie was the 2009 reboot, “Friday the 13th.” Honestly, Jason’s movies are extremely frightening. 

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2. Freddy Krueger, of the “Nightmare on Elm Street” series, has been making kids everywhere afraid to sleep for decades.

What inspired “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and Freddy Krueger? | Read | The  Take

 “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” has made is difficult for everyone to fall asleep, just in case Freddy and his razor-claw glove are there to kill them in their sleep.Freddy’s been the star of nine films: “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984), “A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge” (1985), “A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors” (1987), “A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master” (1988), “A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child” (1989), “Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare” (1991), “Wes Craven’s New Nightmare” (1994), “Freddy vs. Jason” (2003), and the 2010 reboot “A Nightmare on Elm Street.”

3. Annabelle, the demonic doll, plays a small part in “The Conjuring,” but proved so frightening that she earned her own spin-off series.

The Real Haunted Annabelle Doll Has Escaped… Or Has It? | News Break

When did dolls turn from being cute to being frightening?  

Annabelle first appeared in 2013’s “The Conjuring” as part of Ed and Lorraine Warren’s creepy collection of possessed objects — and she’s so powerfully evil that she has to be blessed regularly in order to keep her at bay. Obviously, she breaks free and causes some sheer terror in the Warren household before getting shut back in. This will definitely scare the living hell out if you!

4. Before we had Annabelle, there was Chucky, the star of “Child’s Play.”.

The 1988 Child’s Play follows Charles a serial killer who magically transforms into a good guy doll, which obviously doesn’t make him a good guy. Chucky fans have watched him wreak havoc on Chicago in eight films from  “Child’s Play” (1988), “Child’s Play 2” (1990),  to the 2019 reboot, “Child’s Play,” which saw Mark Hamill take over as the iconic voice of Chucky.

5. Facehuggers, Chestbursters, Xenomorphs — whatever you want to call them, the aliens from the “Alien” franchise are not for the faint of heart.

The first of its kind, “Alien” movie, released in 1979, is a straight-up horror film in a way the rest of the films are not — but no matter what movie they’re in, whether it’s “Aliens,” “Alien3,” “Alien Resurrection,” “Prometheus,” “Alien: Covenant,” or either of the “Alien vs. Predator” movies, the Xenomorphs are guaranteed to elicit a jump or gasp from the bravest person you know.

6. The Predator is another very scary, very deadly alien that kills its victims in gruesome ways.

The 22 most iconic horror movie villains of all time |

First appeared in 1987 the Predator follows Arnold Schwarzenegger as Major Alan “Dutch” Schaefer, a Special Ops officer who is sent to a Central American jungle to rescue a politician and his aide from a hostage situation. Little does Dutch know that he’d soon be dealing with a preternaturally gifted super-alien with heat vision, a bug-like jaw, and the ability to cloak itself.

7. Michael Myers, the seemingly unstoppable killer of the “Halloween” series, has been terrorizing us since 1978.

HALLOWEEN: The Mythology of Michael Myers -

What’s so creepy about Michael Myers? In total, Michael has been the star of 1978’s “Halloween,” 1981’s “Halloween II,” 1988’s “Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers,” 1989’s “Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers,” “Halloween II,” and the newest reboot trilogy (which has the return of Curtis), 2018’s “Halloween,” 2021’s “Halloween Kills,” and 2022’s “Halloween Ends.”Second only to Jason’s hockey mask is Ghostface’s ghoulish mask in 

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8. “Scream.” Yet there is nothing equal to the first one!


Any horror movie fan will be delighted to see this. “Scream” was followed by four sequels. In each movie, Neve Campbell’s Sidney tries to escape Ghostface (the mantle is taken up by different killers each movie): 1997’s “Scream 2,” 2000’s “Scream 3,” 2011’s “Scream 4,” and the upcoming “Scream 5” which is set to be released in 2022.

9. All Leatherface needed was a chainsaw to make his way into the Horror Film Villain Hall of Fame.

Most iconic horror movie villains of all time - Insider

Leatherface, first seen in 1974’s “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre,” is a serial killer who likes to wear a mask made out of the skin of his victims. Enough said. Establishing the slasher genre “Texas Chain Saw Massacre” inspired many more villainous hitchhikers, cannibals, and the lone creepy gas station, all things that would pop up in “The Hills Have Eyes,” released three years later. There are a lot more sequels for the Leatherface fans.

10. Norman Bates, the villain of “Psycho,” has since become shorthand for “sociopath.”

 The classic 1960 horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, is been taken so easy that we don’t realise how groundbreaking it is.  The shower scene, with its iconic score, remains one of the most chilling murders in horror movie history, and made more than a few people reluctant to hop in the shower, unable to see if anyone else was joining them in the bathroom.

11. Jack Torrance in “The Shining” will stay with you for a long time after finishing the film.

Does anyone remember Joey from friends mentioning a book by this name? “The Shining” (1980) is the story of one man’s descent into madness as he experiences writer’s block and an unconquerable case of cabin fever — plus, he’s stuck in the notoriously haunted Overlook Hotel, is battling alcoholism, is seeing ghosts, and only has his wife and young son to speak to. Jack’s relentless pursuit of his son Danny throughout the frozen maze gives us all nightmares.

12. While Regan isn’t technically a villain, the demon Pazuzu that possesses her in “The Exorcist” is enough to give anyone nightmares.

Revisiting The Exorcist: The Forbidden Pleasures of Resistant Reading |  Response

This is the movie to give you the ultimate Horror!”The Exorcist,” released in 1973, remains unsettling to this day. By the time Regan’s head spins around and she starts cursing out her mother, you’ve been on edge for so long it feels like you might just snap. Pazuzu, the ancient demon takes over innocent Regan’s body, has one of the most unnerving voices of any horror movie villain. Advice: Don’t watch this alone!

13. After seeing Damien in “The Omen,” parents all over the world began taking a closer look at their kids.

“Look at me, Damien! It’s all for you!“Has there ever been a more iconic beginning to a film? After Damien’s babysitter jumps off a roof and hangs herself at his birthday party, viewers knew they were in for something hell raising in 1976’s “The Omen.”Damien appeared in both sequels, 1978’s “Damien: Omen II” and 1981’s “Omen III: The Final Conflict. 

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14. Before he was a gay icon, Mister Babadook was a character in a mysterious storybook with the power to possess people.

the RPF on Twitter: "Mr. Babadook by Official Mister Babadook UK Cosplay  #Horror #Costume #CraftYourFandom… "

“The Babadook,” a 2014 Australian horror film, has a glowing 98% on Rotten Tomatoes, proving that it’s more than just another scary movie. Something that is different for Mr. Babadook is that he appears mainly in the story book that Essie and and her son Sam read as a manifestation of their grief for Sam’s dad.

Almost all of his other hijinks are performed by an unseen presence, save one terrifying nightmarish sequence in which he possesses Essie.”The Babadook” on Netflix categorized as an LGBT film. 

15. One of the most frightening images in modern horror is Billy, a puppet, biking around his warehouse of horrors.

Has anyone ever thought of Jigsaws and ghosts? James Wan’s 2004 instant classic “Saw” introduced us all to the Jigsaw Killer, a man who created horribly violent experiments testing various victims’ will to live. One of the main ways that Jigsaw communicates with his prisoners is through Billy, a puppet that Jigsaw originally created as a gift for his unborn son, who died before he was born.

16. Pennywise from “It” no doubt sparked a fear of clowns in many of his viewers.

Whether you’re more partial to Bill Skarsgård’s performance in “It” and “It: Chapter Two,” or Tim Curry’s version of the character in the 1990 ABC miniseries, we can all agree that Pennywise, the clown iteration of It, an ancient evil entity that must eat children to survive and preys upon our fears, is horrifying.

Although the end of Stephen King’s story shows that standing up to your fears is the only way to truly overcome them … we’d still run the opposite way if we ever saw Pennywise dancing his way towards us.

17. Annie Wilkes in “Misery” isn’t supernatural, but she’s chilling all the same.

Castle Rock Season 2 Will Be A Misery Prequel With Young Annie Wilkes -  CINEMABLEND

Maybe Annie’s lack of demonic possession and supernatural powers make her scarier than anyone else on this list. She’s dangerously obsessed with author Paul Sheldon, and commits atrocities in order to keep him with her. The scene in which Annie breaks both of Paul’s ankles so he can’t escape was even voted one of Bravo’s 100 scariest movie moments.

18. Hannibal Lecter of “Silence of the Lambs” has made sure we’ll never see Chianti or fava beans the same way ever again.

Hannibal Lecter - Wikipedia

We all preach this movie. Although Hannibal isn’t the only antagonist of 1991’s “The Silence of the Lambs,” this liver-eating cannibal is the one that stays with you forever.. His strange monotone voice, his frightening mask, and his genius-level intellect is a package, much like they pull in Agent Clarice Starling.

In 2013, Mads Mikkelsen began playing him in the NBC series “Hannibal,” which lasted for three seasons.

19. The original vampire is, of course, Dracula.

Oh, we all know Dracula!Count Dracula first appeared in Bram Stoker’s 1897 gothic horror novel, “Dracula.” And ever since, people have been under the thrall of the vampire and his mythology. The Transylvanian has been the subject of multiple novels, plays, and films, most famously 1931’s “Dracula,” 1970’s “Count Dracula,” 1979’s “Dracula,” 1992’s “Bram Stoker’s Dracula.” we all know where “the Vampire Diaries” and “Twilight” come from.

20. Frankenstein’s monster is a tragic villain, but still one of the most recognizable symbols of Halloween.

Frankenstein’s monster is a famous figure. He’s a reanimated hodge-podge of a person who questions his existence and happiness.Weird! He first appeared in Mary Shelley’s classic 1818 novel “Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus,” and has since appeared in dozens of other works, including multiple movies, cartoons, TV shows, and books.

21. “Get Out” would not have been the same without the chilling Armitage family.

Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford, Allison Williams, and Caleb Landry Jones all came together for 2017’s “Get Out” to play the Armitage family —a family that makes Black people their target of hypnosis and then steal their bodies for some really strange immortality thing.

“Get Out” came at a time when mainstream horror was in a slump, and director Jordan Peele’s “social thriller” essentially revitalized the genre, establishing him as the modern king of horror.

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22. Whatever you do, don’t say the Candyman’s name five times in a mirror!

Candyman (character) - Wikipedia

In many ways, “Get Out” would not have existed if not for 1992’s “Candyman,” a film focused on racism, social inequality, and poverty. The titular Candyman is an urban legend — the story follows like he is the spirit of a slave’s son who was murdered by bees for his relationship with a white woman. Exactly.. what? Now, if you say his name five times in a mirror, a man with a hook for a hand will appear and murder you — oh, and he has a rib cage full of bees.

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