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The Top 4 Horror Villains Of All Time

From Superman to Luke Skywalker, everyone loves a good hero. Foiling an evil plot and saving the day is the standard formula for a good ending, but more often than not this plot was envisioned and introduced by a villain. Villains don't get enough credit, in our opinion: They are the silent prime movers of the story, heroes are just reactionary characters and plot resolvers. For example, without the Empire there would be no rebellion, and without General Zod, Superman would not have to emerge from the shadows and push back an alien invasion. But which villains are the ones that keep you up at night, and which villains make their movies shine above all the others?


Pennywise is terrifying. As a morphing character, it's scary enough that he can change into whatever worse fear the director wants to portray, but when people think killer clown, they think Pennywise. Clowns sit deep in a scientific theory referred to as the "Uncanny Valley", this is where the familiarity of an object reaches the point where it can be identifiably human, but it is still something else. For example nestling right at the bottom of the uncanny valley are zombies. Clowns occupy a similar spot in our brains as they're human like but made to be different; it's very hard to identify a horror clown's intentions from the get-go.

In It, Pennywise is made more terrifying by the amazing story progression of the rest of the novel and film plot, but at the centre of it all is Pennywise calling the shots, appearing where it wants and never quite being human enough to settle the audience.

simonwiers, Pixabay, (CC0 1.0 Universal)


Leatherface sits in the uncanny valley, much like Pennywise. He is human, but he is so deranged and so indiscernibly dangerous that he deserves a spot on this list. The original Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) would grow, almost overnight, from a small low budget film into a critically hated horror cult phenomenon, and again, at the centre of it all is Leatherface.

As a franchise, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre would gain several more movies, comics, books and various other cult paraphernalia. Leatherface is widely considered to be one of the greatest movie villains for slot machines and, as 32Red points out, Leatherface is made all the more scary as he's based on the real-life exploits of the murderer Ed Gein.


Ridley Scott's Alien is an aberration. It's a mismatch blending of humanoid features, of bone and skin with a terrifying killer instinct and uniquely discernible sound, size and appearance. It comes into the world in as a terrifying and perverse variant of the human lifecycle. Unlike Pennywise or Leatherface, we can watch and understand Alien. But the more you watch, the more you truly comprehend how dangerous and predatory it is. It's a creature that humans cannot negotiate with, and cannot kill.

In Ridley Scott's original 1979 film, what truly makes Alien special is how little the alien is physically present, but how the audience feels that it's always there. Every black shadow could hide it, and in the black and barren halls of the USCSS Nostromo hold plenty of opportunities for a Xenomorph to hide and strike. Interestingly, there's also an official Alien vs Predator (another excellent horror icon) slot machine, available on a few casinos online, including Ruby Slots. Quite predictably, aliens in general but not Alien the franchise also feature in slot games on sites such as Web Slot Casino.

Alien Movie UK, Facebook

Hannibal Lecter

Hannibal Lecter, the cold, calculating cannibal star of Silence of the Lambs is another cult classic villain that, through with little effort at all, sends shivers down the spine of any watching audience. This scheming killer sits atop a throne that many horror characters have since tried and failed to topple. A throne that, as 32Red presents, has produced multiple books, films and an acclaimed TV series.

Hannibal's intelligence is what sets him apart, just like Hans Gruber from Die Hard, his intelligence is presented through his actions and mannerisms. But Hannibal goes further than Gruber, while Hans plays the CIA like a comedic genius, Hannibal works towards something far more sinister. We can be pretty sure Gruber would never eat another human, with Hannibal we have every right to suspect the opposite.

These villains are the best of the best, and they all have two things in common. Firstly, they're unique, and part of “the other”. All of them are identifiably humanoid, but in each film, they prove time and time again that they are not capable of stable human interaction. Secondly, they control the plot. What makes them truly scary is not that they're capable of killing, but that the audience knows they need to kill again for their stories to end.

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