Scariest Movie Villains of All Time!

A film may center around a hero, but it’s the villain that really makes or breaks the legacy status of a film. With Halloween drawing closer, we’re taking a look at some of the spookiest movie characters in cinema history. The characters don’t necessarily need to belong to a horror film to qualify, as long as they ran chills down our spines. 

Jack Torrance – The Shining

We can’t even begin to imagine this list without Jack Nicholson’s alluring performance as Jack Torrance in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. Witnessing Jack’s spiral from average family man to homicidal maniac is a fascinating, albeit frightening, endeavor that audiences embark on when watching this 1980 classic. The Overlook Hotel is filled with enough thrills and chills as it is, but it’s the demons that Jack brings with him that truly make him terrifying. Who else would chase their family with an axe due to writer’s block?

The Thing – The Thing

Jump scares aren’t what really scare us, it’s the lead up to it. It’s the eerie music, the creaking doors, and the uncertainty of what’s to come. With John Carpenter’s The Thing, you get all of that and more. When the thing that’s trying to kill you can disguise itself as anything or anyone, you’ll undoubtedly start to feel suspicious of those around you. The Thing truly was the Among Us of its time.

HAL 9000 – 2001: A Space Odyssey

It’s hard to believe that the concept of artificial intelligence taking over existed in 1968, way before the internet, smartphones, or virtual assistants ever existed. When an A.I. named HAL begins to malfunction onboard a spacecraft, the crew decides that the best course of action is to disconnect him. This results in HAL’s retaliation by eliminating the crew one by one. HAL’s composed voice and bright red lens were all he needed to strike fear into the hearts of everyone watching this Stanley Kubrick classic.

Jigsaw – The Saw Franchise

Only Jigsaw could make the phrase “let’s play a game” one of the most frightening lines ever uttered on-screen. Following a cancer diagnosis, John Kramer drove himself off a cliff. Having survived the attempt on his life, Kramer discovered a newfound appreciation for life and wanted to ensure that others feel the same. The only flaw in what sounds like a good-natured plan was the fact that Kramer, now Jigsaw, believed that people needed to inflict severe physical torture upon themselves and others to truly appreciate life. We haven’t even mentioned that nightmarish puppet yet.

Freddy Krueger – A Nightmare on Elm Street

You can run from threats all you want, but you can’t outrun sleep. Sooner or later, everyone needs to close their eyes to get some rest, and that’s when Freddy strikes. The spirit of a disfigured serial killer, Freddy is nearly invulnerable in dreams. Anytime he kills a victim in their dream, they die in the real world. Identified by his disfigured face, fedora, red-and-green striped shirt, and trademark metal-clawed leather glove, Freddy is quite literally the thing of nightmares.

Darth Vader – The Star Wars Franchise 

Have you ever wondered what lengths you’d go to for love? Well, use Darth Vader as a cautionary tale. Tormented by the thought of losing his pregnant wife Padmé, Anakin Skywalker turns to the Dark Side, which subsequently results in the death of millions – including his own wife. Fueled by anger and hate, Anakin transforms into Darth Vader, a being that strikes fear into the hearts of men and women across the galaxy. Keep the younglings away from him at all costs.

The Joker – The Dark Knight 

There’s nothing scarier than someone who has nothing to lose. Heath Ledger’s Joker might describe himself as a haphazard “dog chasing cars” but in reality, he’s a careful, calculating, domestic terrorist who wants to prove to the world that deep down, everyone’s as ugly as he is. The Joker is willing to do whatever it takes, at any cost, to spread his message. From murdering someone on a television broadcast to bombing hospitals, The Joker wears the “agent of chaos” badge with pride.

Michael Myers – The Halloween Franchise

The embodiment of pure evil, Michael Myers has no redeeming qualities. He’s an unstoppable force of nature that lurks in the shadows, waiting to strike. His lack of motives, refusal to speak, and emotionless mask make Myers a blank canvas for his victims to project their fears onto. It doesn’t help that he flat out refuses to die no matter what. Who would’ve thought that William Shatner’s face could become one of the most frightening things ever put to film?

Carrie White – Carrie

Carrie might tell a story of vengeance, but Carrie’s turn from a young, unassuming girl trying to simply survive her teenage years to a horrifying villain is purely the result of her environment. After years of abuse and ridicule at the hands of her classmates and mother, Carrie is pushed to her limits and manifests telekinetic powers. She reaches her breaking point during prom night when a prank goes horribly wrong, killing her date and humiliating her. Carrie, in a fit of rage, kills nearly everyone in the auditorium. What makes Carrie so compelling, however, is that unlike many of the other villains on this list, her actions come from a place of pain, not evil or malice. 

Anton Chigurh – No Country for Old Men

In 2014, a Belgian psychiatry professor and his colleagues analyzed 400 films over the course of three years. They concluded that Anton Chigurh was the most accurate depiction of a psychopath ever put to film. His invulnerability and resistance to any form of emotion or humanity was a key factor in their conclusion. Throughout the film, Chigurh kills or tries to kill nearly everyone he comes across, but not without reason. He appears to have his own twisted set of morals and justifications for his actions, no matter how abstract they may be. You just better hope you call the right side of that coin.

Do you agree with our list? Let us know who you think is the scariest movie villain. Stay tuned for more exciting VOX Voice articles right here and make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay up-to-date on the latest movie news and announcements.