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10 Most Iconic Horror Movie Villains


Villains are the foundation of horror, especially when it comes to movies. That’s why many horror franchises go on for as long as they do – they focus on villains, rather than a hero or protagonist. Eventually, these evil beings become cultural icons in their own right, much to the delight of horror fans.

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The great thing about horror villains is that they span the spectrum of the genre itself. Everything from old human killers to supernatural slashers, and even fantasy creatures are easy to adapt. They share a single common denominator – a shared penchant for evil, sadism, and depravity.

10) Master of Wishes

Source: Wishmaster, Artisan Entertainment

The saying “be careful what you wish for” generally applies to comedy. There’s usually a trickster who turns the wish into something wacky or silly. Master of wishes decided to take this concept and apply it to horror.

It takes the premise of a jinn who is angry and bitter at the restrictions on his power, and uses that as motivation to go after ordinary people. What’s scary is that the concept makes a lot of sense, because who wouldn’t be pissed off having unlimited power that can only be used for others?

9) Leather face

Source: Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Cannon Group

The thing about The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is that the movie wasn’t explicitly about Leatherface, but he’s such a towering figure that he had to command attention. Jason has a machete, Freddy has his glove, and Leatherface has a chainsaw. This is the image that stuck in the minds of horror fans.

He also doesn’t have the most typical build of a slasher. Rather than a tall, hulking boogeyman like Michael Myers or Jason, Leatherface has a wig and, most terrifying of all, a skinned human face as a mask. No wonder he’s a horror icon.

8) Michael Myers

Source: Halloween Kills, Dimension Films

Halloween can be considered the measuring stick for all slasher movies, and that’s largely down to Michael Myers. A horror movie like this had never really been made before, and John Carpenter is an innovator for what he achieved with such a stoic figure.

Michael’s story and origins have changed over time as Halloween the franchise has exploded with sequels and reboots, but the fact remains that he is the epitome of psychotic evil and will live on in the halls of horror infamy.

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7) Leprechaun

Source: Leprechaun, Trimark Pictures

Some of the best horror stories are those that took something innocent, even sweet, and turned it into something despicable. It’s exactly there Leprechaun falls. What was typically an amusing creature from Irish mythology soon turned into something much more sinister.

Just as Freddy Krueger is portrayed by Robert Englund, the leprechaun is synonymous with Warwick Davis. He’s also not the first choice to become a major horror villain, but the franchise was only so successful because the actor completely owned the role.

6) Jason Vorhees

Source: Freddy vs. Jason, New Line Cinema

Jason’s evolution to become a horror icon has probably been the most interesting. The first one Friday 13 was simply produced as a counterfeit Halloween, and Jason wasn’t even the main villain. It didn’t show up in force until the sequel, which only came about due to the success of the first.

Yet somehow Jason, who only got his iconic hockey mask in the third entry, became a pop culture sensation without uttering a word. Its eerie presence has returned time and time again to kill teens and delight audiences for decades.

5) Pinhead

Source: Hellraiser, MGM Studios

Pinhead is a rather unusual horror icon as he is part of a group of extra-dimensional demons called the Cenobites, whose job is apparently to torture any human unfortunate enough to summon them. Although Pinhead is the most notable of the group, he also shares the hellraiser projector with the puzzle cube, which summons them.

Together, Pinhead and the Cube, which is called the Lament Setup, represent a level of horror and torture that surpasses almost any other villain on record. That being said, Pinhead is by far one of the most complex horror villains out there, and it was hard to classify him as purely evil, at least until his dark identity was severed from his consciousness in Hellraiser III.

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4) Jigsaw

Source: saw, twisted images

John Kramer is perhaps the most cerebral of the horror villains on this list. In fact, Jigsaw is just a nickname given to him by the media. What makes him unique is that he doesn’t kill anyone directly. Rather, all of his victims perish because of the circumstances he creates rather than through his direct actions.

What’s even more impressive is how powerful Jigsaw’s legacy has become. Unlike other human killers who have a nickname that others have adopted, there can only be one puzzle, no matter how many imitators it inspires.

3) Ghost Face

Source: Scream, Dimension Films

After a slew of slashers in the 80s and 90s, the genre seems to be playing out. Then came Ghostface which breathed new life into the trope with equal parts terror and humor. Wes Craven essentially parodied and ridiculed the genre he helped define, while creating a truly chilling and entertaining horror film at the same time.

The weird thing about Ghostface is that it’s not about a single person, as much as a title. The first killers to don the Ghostface mask aren’t as important as what the mask itself represents, which is a love of horror and the fact that anyone can pick up a knife and become an icon.

2) Chucky

Source: Child’s Play, Universal Pictures

When the phrase “horror slasher” comes to mind, there is a certain image that resonates. It could be a brooding killer like Jason or a demonic creature like Pinhead. Chucky blows all of those notions out of the water by simply being a killer doll.

More than that, Chucky has a real personality. He would never have been so successful as a horror villain if he was just a killer doll on his own, but since Charles Lee Ray was a crass degenerate, he makes the idea all the more to be killed by a two-foot-tall children’s toy. creepy.

1) Freddy Kruger

Source: A Nightmare on Elm Street, New Line Cinema

It’s hard to top Freddy Krueger in almost any aspect of horror. The clumsy combination of Christmas sweater, wide-brimmed hat, scorched face, and slasher glove only added to the already terrifying thought that he could kill people in their sleep.

More than that, Freddy has evolved with his films. Each episode showed Freddy growing as a villain with Robert Englund’s passion for the role. Some might say it actually watered down the character at the same time, and there’s some truth to that. However, Englund’s versatility as an actor has given the character a charisma that makes Freddy worthy of the top spot on this list.

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