Oh, the much-maligned horror villain. How unfairly judged thou art, despite the fact that, without thy presence, thine motion picture would suck ass. Well, it’s true. You can’t have a horror without an antagonist. During the 80’s horror heydays, we were spoiled for choice in enigmatic villains, but over the years there have been may who have gone far too unappreciated. Hopefully this list goes some way towards rectifying that.
Mick Taylor is evil, pure and simple. Probably the most disturbing fact about this is that he’s completely human, not some sort of imagined monster. The things he does (torture, rape, murder what whatnot), he does not because he’s driven to it or possessed or anything remotely similar. He does them because he wants to, because he enjoys it. He is truly a nasty piece of work.
In the annals of horror history, Cujo has, for some reason, been almost forgotten. I can believe there are many people out there who, since watching the film, have found themselves distinctly uncomfortable around St Bernards ever since. In essence, Cujo was just driven mad by rabies, but rather than going out relatively gracefully (a la Old Yeller), that insanity combined with his natural canine instincts and a taste for human flesh, making for a truly terrifying beast.
Take what should be an upstanding, trustworthy servant of societal justice and turn him into a mass-murdering psychopath who kills without any sign of conscience or remorse. Okay, yes, at first it seems quite clichéd, but when given some thought, you realise that the creators took a figure who is supposed to instill a sense of trust and safety in us and turned him into our worst fears. That in itself is cruel. Then for the sequel they raised him from the dead and turned him into an unkillable zombie. Seriously.
Now here’s a guy(?) who doesn’t get nearly enough credit in horror circles. Granted, this is largely due to the film he appeared in (Jeepers Creepers) flying under the radar, but probably also due to the timing of the film which was at a point where the horror market was oversaturated. The Creeper stood out, though, as a creature made up of flesh, bone, teeth, wings (and numerous other things) who was almost untouchable due to strength and speed and when he killed, left with a piece of his victim that he added to his “collection”. A truly nasty, though unappreciated piece of work.
The first of two children to appear on this list. You won’t see many films that do a better job of taking a complete innocent and turning them into such an evil antagonist. The cat was bad enough, but after Gage is killed and buried in the cemetery, he returns as the complete antithesis of his true character: an evil, malevolent little bastard who just happens to look like a 5 year old boy. Playing to paternal instinct was just the rotten, worm-filled cherry on top.
Because any horror list is incomplete without Clive Barker. Similar to #8, Decker is a trustworthy figure by day and a nasty, remorseless serial killer by night, completely oblivious to the suffering of his victims. And then there’s his mask. THAT mask. Without it he’s chillingly evil. With it, he’s the stuff of nightmares.
How have so few people seen Phantasm? The Tall Man is old, close to 7′ tall, gaunt as the corpses he embalms (he’s a mortician) and cares less about you than anything else in the universe. As if that wasn’t creepy enough, he has a silver metal orb which can fly through the air and sprouts various different implements like a Swiss Army knife, the favourite being two bladed spikes that impale the orb on the victim’s head and then a drill that bores into the victim’s skull and drains all the blood out in something of a horizontal fountain behind the orb. Need I say more?
“Beep beep, Richie!”. Yeah we all remember him. As if clowns weren’t already creepy enough, someone had to go and make one demon possessed and with a full set of sharpened teeth and the ability to affect people’s minds. Oh, and then cast Tim Curry in the role. That’s just wrong. On so many levels.
This one feels like a bit of a cheat, since The Omen is about the coming of the Antichrist, who is the very personification of evil and can’t really be underrated. Having said that, the films (all three) don’t get the credit they deserve and the portrayal of Damien as this sweet, innocent, yet completely evil little child in the original was masterful and left audiences with that slight bit of optimism after each killing that maybe, just maybe, Damien was just a poor, naive little boy who didn’t know what he was doing. WRONG!
And at #1, a well-deserved revisit to Barker. Tony Todd as the titular Candyman is nothing short of terrifying. Literally everything about him makes your skin crawl. The bloody stump with a meat hook shoved into it and the blood-splashed fur coat combine with not just Todd’s voice, but the sheer presence he brings to the screen which has made him a legend of modern-era horror. Oh, and the bees. You can’t get that sound out of your head for days afterwards. Candyman is comfortably in my top three all-time favourite horror villains and deserves the recognition.
Last Updated: September 26, 2013