It’s that time of year again SpicyPulpers.
Halloween is here and it’s time to celebrate all things spooky. This year I asked the SpicyPulp team about their favourite horror villains of all time, and just for fun, I included three of my favourites too. Check them out below:
Norman Bates, Psycho (1960)
Norman Bates, proprietor of the Bates Motel, has a few psychological problems – the sort that makes him prone to spying on his guests, stabbing them in the shower, and dressing up like his dead mother. He was introduced in Robert Bloch’s 1959 novel Psycho and then immortalised onscreen by Anthony Perkins the following year in Alfred Hitchcock’s horror masterpiece.
Hannibal Lecter, Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Because we’re talking iconic villains, the conversation has to include Hannibal Lecter. Intelligent and charming in equal measure, Hannibal is also a serial killer fond of cooking and eating his victims (with some fava beans and a nice chianti of course). A master manipulator, the brilliant psychiatrist was first introduced in Thomas Harris’ 1981 book Red Dragon and was initially played by Brian Cox in the 1986 movie adaptation. However, the character didn’t become truly iconic until Anthony Hopkins took over the role in 1991’s Silence of the Lambs – one of my favourite horror/thriller films of all time.
Mister Babadook, The Babadook (2014)
The Babadook is one of the best horror movies of the last decade. Mister Babadook is a towering, shadowy figure dressed in a black coat and hat, with long, claw-like hands and a pale frightening face. While at first introduced as a nightmarish figure in a children’s book, the meaning and manifestations of Mister Babadook keep shifting as the film progresses – making him all the more terrifying. Mr Babadook isn’t just a monster hiding under the bed; he’s a family secret, the hidden rot at the heart of a small family which pushes a mother to the brink of sanity.
Samuel, founder and co-editor
Max Cady, Cape Fear (1991)
Robert DeNiro was terrifying as the vicious and vengeful Max Cady – a convicted rapist who takes his pent-up revenge of being incarcerated for 14 years out on his prominent lawyer (and former public defender) Sam Bowden (Nick Nolte). Rippling with muscle mass, Cady went to great lengths to infiltrate and destroy Bowden’s life, including killing the family’s beloved dog, and trying to seduce and corrupt Bowden’s rebellious teenage daughter Dani.
Michael Myers, Halloween (1978-2007)
As the pure incarnation of evil, serial killer Michael Myers offered no reason for the violence he inflicted upon his baby sister Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis). This silent and menacing figure could never be stopped, appearing out of nowhere and ready to gut his prey in pure silence. In his two primary incarnations by actors Nick Castle (1978) and Taylor Mane (2007), he caused audiences to scream and cower in fear of what he might do next.
Billy Loomis and Stu Macher aka Ghostface Killers, Scream (1996)
Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich) and Stu Macher (Matthew Lillard) were two seriously depraved serial killers who gleefully decided to bring their favorite horror movies to life. While Billy’s motives were out of pure revenge, Stu was more of a patsy who easily caved to peer pressure. As the first incarnations of the Ghostface killer, Loomis and Macher really set the bar high with their inventive and ruthless methods.
Freddy Krueger, Nightmare on Elm Street film series (1984-2003)
His razor glove, loud red-and-green striped sweater, and brown fedora did nothing to settle my nerves, but from the moment I saw that burned, disfigured face I was hooked. Created by Wes Craven and played by the brilliant Robert Englund, Freddy Krueger is, in my opinion, the greatest film horror villain of all time. The way he taunts and plays with his victims is downright terrifying (and occasionally humorous), and the fact that he cannot be destroyed, well…it almost makes you want to forgo sleep altogether.
Pennywise, IT (1990)
What possessed my brother and I to watch this at the tender ages of 13 and 10 I will never know, but to this day I still feel like screaming when confronted by a clown. Based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King, IT was the miniseries that taught children everywhere never to stick their arm down a storm drain. Pennywise the clown (Tim Curry) was its sadistic and playful villain, who was particularly proficient at presenting himself (or itself) as a victim’s worst fear. Handy trick to have down your sleeve when you’re trying to scare the living daylights out of someone.
Jason Voorhees, Friday 13th film series (1981-2003)
I feel for Jason. Poor guy drowned in a lake because the people who were meant to be watching him were too busy getting jiggy with it. I’m guessing they were unaware of the whole ‘thou shall not bang in a horror film’ rule. You don’t have to be a horror fan to recognise Jason Voorhees’ trademark hockey goalie mask and machete, nor do you have to know much about the Friday 13th series to know that some of the best slashers of the 80s were thanks to this vengeful villain. Fun fact: it was in fact Jason’s mother, Mrs. Voorhees (played by Betsy Palmer), who was the series’ first villain in 1980.