The Top 10 Scariest Horror Movies Villains of All Time

There are so many reasons to love horror movies. They can be anything from downright terrifying to completely hilarious, or even both at the same time! Best of all, horror movies have brought so many awesome characters to the big screen. From kick-ass women like Laurie Strode from Halloween to iconic heroes like Ash Williams from The Evil Dead, there's a horror icon for everyone. It's worth noting, though, that none of these heroes would have much to do if it weren't for the villains! I've compiled a (spoiler-filled) list of the top ten scariest horror villains that took their movies to the next level of scary:

10. The Gremlins - Gremlins

Sorry, Gizmo. You may be cute, but your fellow gremlins are totally creepy. This movie scared the crap out of me as a kid, and with good reason. I mean, those things literally launched an old lady out of her house on a stairlift. Sure, it was hilarious and she deserved it, but still! Gremlins has become less terrifying and more hilarious to me as the years have gone by, and today it's one of my favorite black comedies — but I still think the gremlins are scary enough to earn a spot on this list.

9. Freddy Krueger - A Nightmare on Elm Street

A child serial killer who was burned to death by a mob of angry parents, Freddy Krueger returns to haunt (and kill) the teenage children of his killers. The creepiest thing about Freddy Krueger is, unsurprisingly, the fact that he can kill you in your dreams. As someone who had their fair share of nightmares growing up, Freddy always particularly tweaked me out. (His creepy theme song doesn't help either.) 

8. The Entity - It Follows

The stunning cinematography of It Follows is almost enough to make you forget that The Entity is completely terrifying. Nobody knows what it is or where it came from, not to mention why it relentlessly pursues whoever is unfortunate enough to become its next victim. The Entity can take the form of anything that will help it get to close to its victim, a fact which serves to make it all the more creepy. Worst of all, we never find out if our heroine, Jay, is free from The Entity at the end of the film. (At least she'll always have her cool seashell cell phone!)

7. Pennywise - It

Coulrophobes, look away! It was one of my favorite films of 2017, and it wouldn't be nearly as fantastic if it weren't for Pennywise the Dancing Clown. He can transform into your worst fear — although if you're like me, you probably find him pretty scary the way he is. I regarded storm drains with suspicion for a few months after seeing It, so needless to say Pennywise stuck with me for a while, and I'm looking forward to seeing The Losers Club finally put an end to him in the 2019 sequel.

6. The Alien - Alien

There's something viscerally terrifying about the alien (sometimes called a Xenomorph) that I can't quite put my finger on. Maybe it's the way it attaches itself to your face and basically impregnates you while simultaneously dooming you to a violent death. Or it could be the whole "mouth within a mouth" thing. Whatever it is, it's worth enduring to watch Ellen Ripley kick ass and take names on the big screen. 

5. The Cult - Hereditary

Hereditary ruined a lot of things for me. Those things include ceiling corners, dark closets and telephone poles. Most of all, though, it ruined Ann Dowd. I know she already plays a villain on The Handmaid's Tale, but this movie really sealed the deal for me. She's somehow both completely welcoming and totally creepy, and the way she and the rest of her creepy demon-worshipping cult manipulate Annie as she recovers from her grief is so subtle at first and then suddenly so nefarious. Side note: Peter Graham deserved better.

4. The Shark - Jaws

Poor Chrissie. She just wanted to go for a late-night swim and instead she ended up being bitten into a bunch of pieces. To be fair, the shark (affectionately called Bruce by fans of the franchise) was only trying to enjoy a meal, and the true villain of Jaws is actually a corrupt government official. All jokes aside, Jaws basically doomed all of us to feel at least a little bit nervous in the ocean — or pool, if you're as irrational as I was at age ten. Ironically, the scariest thing about the shark is how little you actually see of it until the climax of the film. You can thank Steven Spielberg's malfunctioning shark-bot for that!

3. The Thing - The Thing

The Thing is one of the best horror films ever made, and most of that is due to the nature of the villain. The Thing can morph into a perfect replica of any other creature, and its only goal is to assimilate and imitate as many other living organisms as possible. The only problem with that goal is that in order to do so, the Thing has to absorb (read: kill) that lifeform. You can try to destroy it with fire, but if even a single cell of the Thing survives, it can live to imitate another day. The fact that anyone at any time could, in fact, be the Thing generates the paranoia that fuels the film and keeps the characters (and the audience) constantly on edge. (Fun fact: Kurt Russell almost died when throwing a stick of dynamite at the Thing, which is still probably only the third coolest thing he's ever done.)

2. Jack Torrance - The Shining

At the start of The Shining, Jack Torrance is already kind of the worst. He's abusive to his wife and son and just generally creepy. By the end of the film, however, he's evolved into a full-blown family-killing monster. Witnessing this transformation is disturbing in and of itself, and when you add in the other supernatural elements of the film you have a recipe for one of the most effective horror villains ever. You know what they say: all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy — and also a murderer, apparently. 

1. Michael Myers - Halloween

Is there anything scarier than a masked man who exists for no other reason than to kill? Michael Myers basically ruined my circadian rhythm for a month when I first watched Halloween, and I'm guessing his appearance in the newly-released sequel is probably going to ruin it all over again. Everything about Michael Myers is terrifying, from the way he relentlessly stalks Laurie Strode for no apparent reason (the new sequel retcons the idea that she's his sister) to the fact that he's seemingly invincible. (Also, he ruined any chance of me ever becoming a babysitter.)