13 Scariest Movie Villains Of All Time

Who are the scariest movie villains of cinematic history? Horror movie fans debate the question fervently. Of all the bad guys, who is the worst bad guy? Here a guide to the creepiest horror villains of the movie world.

The classic horror movie monster: The Thing

horror movie monster
The horror movie monster from The Thing makes an appearance. The Thing

In John Carpenter’s classic, The Thing, the titular beast is an alien parasite, it takes the form of its host. The paranoia and dread established when the cast realizes they are fighting an extraterrestrial that could look like anyone is unnerving. We don’t know who to trust or where the monster is going to strike next. There’s a reason this movie is brought up again and again when talking about movies that haunt viewer’s nightmares.

Weapon: Shape-shifting.

Biggest scare: Emerging from Norris after his body is defibrillated.

Weakness: Dynamite.

Scare Factor: 9/10

Creepiest villain from cinema history: Nosferatu / Count Orlok

creepy villain
The creepy villain from Nosferatu makes an appearance, F.W. Murnau

Count Orlok is the vampire and titular character the horror classic Nosferatu is based on. His guest (and the story’s protagonist) Thomas Hutter begins to notice something amiss with Orlok. As Hutter reads about vampires, he notices the many similarities between what he reads, and his host’s strange behavior. Cowering in his tower room at night, he witnesses Orlok’s vampire powers as he opens doors without touch. Hutter realizes the truth as Orlok sets his sights on a new victim, Hutter’s wife Ellen.

Weapon: Sucking blood.

Biggest scare: Creeping up the stairs in his castle.

Weakness: Daylight and his coffin.

Scare Factor: 7/10

The creepiest clown in horror: Pennywise the Dancing Clown

Horror’s classic clown, Pennywise. It

The most famous clown in the horror field, Pennywise the Dancing Clown (a favorite embodiment of It) terrorizes children in the sleepy town of Derry, Maine. But growing up isn’t enough to escape. As adults, convinced the events of their childhoods were exaggerated or childhood legend, the members of the Loser’s Club once again discover the horror of Pennywise’s appearance in their lives. Never has a single red balloon seemed so frightening.

Weapon: Feeding on children

Biggest scare: Attacking Georgie Denbrough from the sewer grate.

Weakness: Friendship.

Scare Factor: 8/10

The nightmare on Elm Street: Freddy Krueger

Scariest movie villains
A Nightmare on Elm Street

There’s a reason A Nightmare on Elm Street works on all demographics and from generation to generation. We immediately understand the threat of not being able to sleep. Freddy Krueger is a horror movie monster that ensures we can never let our guard down, never rest, never assume it’s really over. With Freddy, the fight never stops and every night we are in bed getting ready to shut out eyes is an opportunity for terror.

Weapon: Dream infiltration and knives for fingers

Biggest scare: Decorating Johnny Depp’s room with his insides

Weakness: The real world

Scare Factor: 6/10

The creepiest serial killer in horror: Michael Myers / The Shape

horror villain
Horror villain Michael Myers, Halloween

For many, many horror fans Michael Myers is the first boogeyman they ever feared. The Shape is a hulking man devoid of any human emotions. He is Halloween incarnate. He doesn’t even have to run, walking is enough to stalk his prey. No matter how many times you try to kill him, he always comes back. Know that.

Weapon: A butcher’s knife.

Biggest scare: Disappearing from a yard after being shot and falling from a second story window.

Weakness: Seems to only be able to strike around Halloween.

Scare Factor: 7/10

Scariest Demon: Pazuzu

Scariest demon
The scariest demon horror movie villain, The Exorcist

The demon from The Exorcist is something most of us can associate with a visceral fear memory from the first time we saw the film. 12-year-old Regan McNeil becomes possessed after she plays with a Ouija board. She is transformed from a star’s tween daughter to a feral beast. It’s up to two priests to see if they can save Regan’s life.

Weapon: Pea soup.

Biggest scare: Crawling up the stairs.

Weakness: Jesus.

Scare Factor: 5/10

Fan favorite horror movie villain: The Strangers

classic horror bad guy
Classic horror movie bad guy scene, The Strangers

After we see the titular Strangers stalk and murder a couple at a remote cabin we see a flashback of the couple asking who the strangers are, and why they have come to this particular cabin or chosen them to murder. The strangers only answer is “Because you were home.” The randomness of the terror this couple faced is what sticks with you from this movie. From now on anytime you’re somewhere remote, you’ll know anyone, for any reason, could come for you.

Weapon: Guns, knives, and axes.

Biggest scare: Staring back when someone looks out the window.

Weakness: Locked doors.

Scare Factor: 7/10

Scariest movie monster: The Entity from It Follows

villain from it follows
“The entity” is the villain from It Follows, It Follows

After sex, Jay is informed by her new boyfriend Hugh that an “entity” will now be following her. He waits for the entity to arrive and shows her that it will take on the appearance of a person. He then drops her off and disappears. Jay soon realizes that Hugh’s warnings were true as she continues to encounter the entity. Like Michael Myers, the entity’s approach is slow but steady.

Weapon: Shape-shifting.

Biggest scare: The naked woman.

Weakness: Water.

Scare Factor: 6/10

Creepiest alien horror movie monster: Xenomorph

Xenomorph, the villain from Alien, Alien

In Alien, Xenomorph is the type of extraterrestrial who attacks our protagonists. A natural predator, xenomorphs are adept at quickly and efficiently eliminating any enemies. As the Alien franchise evolves, so do the gifts of the xenomorphs.

Weapon: A move called the “face hugger”.

Biggest scare: Bursting out of Kane’s chest.

Weakness: Fire.

Scare Factor: 7/10

Creepiest killer in a slasher movie: Jason Voorhees

classic horror bad guy
Classic horror bad guy Jason Voorhees, Friday the 13th

Jason is the trope we envision when we think of the phrase “horror movie villain”. He’s the bad guy with the mask who stalks screaming teens in all states of undress as the stumble through the woods. If we’re not careful, we might fall for another trope in the horror genre and forget that Jason’s mother, Mrs. Voorhees, was the original killer in Friday the 13th. Camp Crystal Lake wasn’t haunted by Jason until the sequel.

Weapon: A machete.

Biggest scare: A unforgettable handstand + machete combo. If you know, you know.

Weakness: His mother’s sweaters.

Scare Factor: 6/10

Creepiest bad guy: Hannibal Lecter

Classic horror bad guy Hannibal Lector
Classic horror bad guy Hannibal Lector, Silence of the Lambs

All the creepier because he is a mortal man with no superpowers, Hannibal Lecter is notable for his intelligence… and his cannibalism. In Silence of the Lambs, we meet an imprisoned Lector obsessed with young FBI trainee Clarice Starling. The two work together to figure out the identity of a brutal serial killer nick-named Buffalo Bill. The character is expounded in Red Dragon, Hannibal, and Hannibal Rising.

Weapon: A scalpel.

Biggest scare: th-th-th-th-th-th-th

Weakness: His ego and Clarice Starling.

Scare Factor: 9/10

Creepiest female villain: Annie Wilkes

Female horror villain Annie Wilkes
Female horror villain Annie Wilkes, Misery

Horror’s favorite nurse, Annie Wilkes seized the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take her favorite author, Paul Sheldon, hostage. When her hopes of nursing Paul back to health were dashed by his escape attempt, she was forced to hobble him so that he could write a new book that had her desired ending. A true patron of the arts, Miss Wilkes provides meals and nursing services at no charge.

Weapon: Sedatives.

Biggest scare: The hobbling.

Weakness: Her soft spot for Paul Sheldon.

Scare Factor: 4/10

Creepiest villain never shown on camera: The Blair Witch

Creepiest horror villain
Creepiest horror villain: The Blair Witch Project, The Blair Witch Project

Legend has it the child-killing Blair Witch haunts the woods in and around Burkittsville, Maryland. The found footage we see in The Blair Witch Project is terrifying. From sleepless nights in a tent, tormented by outside forces to the final minutes filmed in the supposed Blair Witch’s home. You won’t be wandering into the woods anytime soon.

Weapon: Witchcraft.

Biggest scare: Mike standing in the corner.

Weakness: Powerless outside of Burkittsville, Maryland.

Scare Factor: 3/10.

Some of our other favorite horror movie villains

  • Star Wars (1977) no list of creepy anti-heroes would be complete without the famous Darth Vader. He’s a given, a staple of movie history and villainous Halloween costumes, and needs no introduction.
  • The doll, Annabelle, in The Conjuring is seriously freaky and psycho doll.
  • Hellraiser (1987) is a horror/slasher with a famous villain Pinhead, played by actor Doug Bradley. He was brought into hell where he was made a Cenobite, and the scariest one.
  • Avengers: Infinity War (2018) has one of the most well-known villains of the late 2010s, Thanos (or F. Thanos) who wants to destroy most of the world to save it.

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