The Top Ten Greatest Horror Villains

Sarah Buchmann

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Last year, The Argus gave a list of their top Halloween movie picks. This year, I’m taking it a step further and answering the question: who are the greatest Halloween villains of all time? Here’s my top 10 ranking.

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10. Jennet Humfrye, The Woman in Black. The Woman in Black is one of the lesser-knowns, but just as terrifying as its fellow contenders. The Woman is the ghost of a grieving mother, Jennet, who convinces children to commit suicide in some form. She’s an omen of death – if she’s seen, a child is going to die. And in true horror and suspense fashion, the last thing the audience sees at the end of the movie is Jennet’s face. 

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9. The Sanderson Sisters, Hocus Pocus. When it comes to the “most iconic” Halloween villains, the Sanderson Sisters definitely belong in the top 10. Winifred, Sarah and Mary are bumbling witches with a hunger for the blood of the town of Salem’s children in order to be completely reborn. They might not be as scary as the rest, but no other villains can claim that they’ve charmed an entire town into dancing to the iconic hit “I Put A Spell On You.”

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8. Hannibal Lecter, Silence of the Lambs. Less of a Halloween villain but still a timeless classic, Dr. Lecter is famously known as “Hannibal the Cannibal” and for delivering quotable lines such as “Good evening, Clarice.” 

(Fun fact – my dad wanted to name me Clarice just so he could say that!) Dr. Lecter also has a great recipe for fava beans and a nice chianti, but I’m not so sure the rest of the meal is as appetizing.

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7. Samara, The Ring. Yes, that’s the girl who voiced Lilo in Lilo and Stitch. . .and what I look like if I comb my hair over my face. Nonetheless, the vengeful spirit of a little girl is absolutely terrifying, especially when she’s crawling out of your TV. Ohana means revenge, right?

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6. Pennywise, It. Difficulties come in trying to narrow down which Stephen King character is the most terrifying, but Pennywise has an edge over all the others: he knows your deepest, darkest fears. Plus, he’s a clown, and after the scary clown sightings in 2016, I’m pretty sure we’re all traumatized. No one’s really sure where Pennywise came from, and that just adds to the horror and mystery. 

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5. Chucky, Child’s Play. Chucky is probably the most famous haunted doll out there – even Annabelle doesn’t hold a candle to a “Good Guy” doll inhabited by a serial killer’s spirit. Chucky was just evil Toy Story before Pixar was even an idea, and it certainly didn’t help when talking baby dolls became popular. The next time I hear a kid’s toy go off in the middle of the night, I’m booting it right out the door.  

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4. Ghostface, Scream. Remember back in elementary school days when none of us had watched the movie, but we all knew Ghostface? Hence, why I put him in my top five – he’s one of the most recognizable villains anywhere. 

The costume itself was designed to be easily adoptable for the wearers to be anonymous, adding to the real fear of the character. Anyone could be Ghostface – even those you most trust.

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3. Jason Voorhees, Friday the 13th. Hannibal Lecter, mentioned earlier at number nine, first started the hockey mask trope, but Jason Voorhees made it the symbol of slasher horror that it is now. Armed with a machete and incredibly bloodlust, Jason is one of the last people you’d want to run into after hours at summer camp.

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2. Freddy Kruger, Nightmare on Elm Street. Freddy Kruger was only on screen for seven minutes during the first movie, and was so terrifying to audiences that even the clashing red and green sweater causes fear. Even Robert Englund, who played Freddy, took a nap in the costume and was scared by his own reflection in the mirror when he woke up. If that doesn’t convince you of how terrifying the character is, I don’t know what will. 

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1. Michael Myers, Halloween. At our number one spot is the Halloween villain himself, Michael Myers. Starring in one of the longest running horror movie franchises with 13 films, Myers is indisputably the most iconic villain of all time. The William Shatner mask paired with the dark blue jumpsuit is recognizable anywhere and instills fear into the hearts of those who have never even seen him before. Myers has been on the screen since 1978, and will continue to haunt our screens for many more years to come.
Honorable Mentions: Annabelle and Bathsheba (The Conjuring); Black Phillip (The Witch); the Shark (Jaws); the cult (Midsommar); King Paimon (Hereditary).