10 Greatest 80s Horror Movie Villains (2024)

October 27, 2021March 22, 2022 by Jonah Rice In Uncategorized Leave a comment

While not the most critically acclaimed genre of all time, Horror movies have provided the industry with some of the most iconic characters to ever grace the silver screen, and most of the franchises were at their pinnacle in the 80s. By the way, that cover image is by the fabulous BenzieQueen and you should check out her Etsy page.

Here are the best of the best horror villains of the 80s:

10 Greatest 80s Horror Movie Villains (1)

10. The Thing

The epitome of the category “cult classic”, the popularity herein is in large part due to the design of the titular antagonist. If you’ve never seen the movie, I’ll just stop here. Go check it out. Also, you should probably be ashamed at this point.

Hardcore film fans will likely close the page here at the kickoff, as John Carpenter (and most every movie he’s ever made) is heralded as one of the best filmmakers not just of his generation, but of all time.

That said, you’ll see more out of Carpenter later in the list — for now, let’s give the other horror icons from this decade their due.

10 Greatest 80s Horror Movie Villains (2)

9. Leatherface

This is a pretty well-known character, no doubt about it, so why this low? Well, the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre released way back in 1974, and while the media franchise grew to more expansive heights as years went on, there was only one sequel released in the 80s.

Sure, there was also an Atari game that came out in 1982, but the lone film of the decade (simply called The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2) definitely paled compared to its predecessor.

Nonetheless, Leatherface is undoubtedly one of the most outright horrifying villains just by looking at him, and when you throw in that screech-like noise he makes when attacking his victims… that’s horror of a whole different caliber.

10 Greatest 80s Horror Movie Villains (3)

8. Pinhead

The original Hellraiser eluded my interest for the majority of my life because, well… that Pinhead dude really freaked me out.

Just five minutes into the movie, Pinhead realigns the body parts of his latest victim, as if putting together the most macabre puzzle on the face of the earth — there would be terror and suspense injected into the audience whether he had needles penetrating every inch of his skin or not.

Just so happens, he does have needles penetrating every inch of his skin, or at least every inch of his face, and that character design alone is enough to warrant the number eight spot.

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7. Jack Torrance

Alright, everyone: I’m limiting this list to ONE Stephen King character. Just one, and I think this axe-wielding maniac played perfectly by Jack Nicholson is the go-to pick.

Sure, I could’ve gone with Gage Creed from Pet Sematary, or with the eponymous, rabies crazed Cujo, but sheesh, the “Here’s Johnny!” line from Kubrick’s 1980 film The Shining is so ubiquitous in itself, I’m surprised Jack didn’t get an Oscar nomination — that’s how popular his performance was.

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6. Xenomorphs

This entry marks the first of two films where the hero – or heroine in this case, the badass and lovely Ellen Ripley – probably overshadows the villain, but still, xenomorphs are a fantastic monster for a horror movie, and, I mean, come on. The movie is called Aliens.

I don’t need to delineate the popularity of the films themselves, lest the design quality of the antagonist, but seriously, just look at that thing. It’s no wonder a crossover movie materialized with the Predator.

Although only one film in the series released in these ten years — Aliens in ’86, arguably the best of the lot — the xenomorphs were an easy pick for number six.

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5. Kandarian Demon

As the leader of the Deadites — the eponymous zombies from the Evil Dead franchise — the Kandarian Demon drove every ounce of intrigue and suspense that the series had to offer.

The humor scattered throughout, on the other hand, for the most part came by way of Ash Williams, one of the more prolific horror protagonists of all time and a cult movie phenomenon. His antagonistic counterpart, Evil Ash, was definitely up for consideration, but again, that side of him is controlled by, you guessed it: The Kandarian Demon.

I wanted to put this higher, to be honest with you, but I understand that this entry won’t be nearly as recognized as the four that follow it.

4. Chucky

One of two fictional characters that ever made me “scared”, or whatever. That’s what these movies aim to do, right? Make us scared? I usually just laugh.

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Anyway, I was six years old, eating a sandwich at a local deli in my hometown after a grueling t-ball game, and Child’s Play was on the TV.

Why they had this playing in a family-friendly establishment, the world may never know, but it definitely had me shaking in my sheets that night. I mean, its plot revolves around a sentient, knife-wielding doll that’s capable of manhandling grown adults. That’s stuff of true nightmares.

3. Michael Myers

Man, it pains me to place him at the bottom of the top three. Michael is my favorite horror villain ever, but unfortunately for his placement on this list, his debut — and arguably most iconic portrayal — came in 1978, not in the 1980s.

However, Michael did show up in Halloween II (released in 1981) and Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (released in 1988). He didn’t appear in the franchise’s third installment, but let’s not delve too deep into that one. That movie is, just… strange.

If the original Halloween had come out in the same decade as its sequels, Mike would have undoubtedly taken the top spot. However, number three will have to do!

2. Jason Vorhees

I feel like these top two were sort of a given, if any of you decided to sit back and think about it. Perhaps the single most identifiable character on this list, Jason’s trademark hockey mask and his go-to weapon — that dastardly machete — create an incredibly creepy tandem that haunts teenagers at summer camps to this day.

But character design isn’t everything, as there’s also the factor of characters creating a fresh dynamic to the plot of their respective films that remain exclusive to that person, their backstory, and those around them.

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The plot twist that came with the original Friday the 13th back in 1980 is what I’m referring to here, and while that very twist could raise questions about this inclusion in general, you’d know how warranted the number two spot is if you’ve checked out any of the sequels.

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  1. Freddy Krueger

Okay, just look at a picture of this guy. He’s got freaking knives for fingers, his skin complexion resembles roadkill, and in the movies Nightmare on Elm Street, songs are sung by local children regarding the ghost-like ability Freddy has to inhabit people’s dreams (one, two, Freddy’s coming for you). Could any of you design a better horror villain? I’ll wait.

If we want to get into numbers: the Elm Street series had a whopping five installments through the decade (even though the first film released only in 1984) and each entry made pretty decent numbers at the box office.

There were TV shows, video games, comic books, novels… they even did a crossover film with the Friday the 13th franchise called Freddy vs Jason, which was cool to see, but not all that great. If any of you have children, I’m sure they’ve shown interest in dressing up as Freddy for Halloween, and with good reason. I wouldn’t want that guy anywhere near my dreams.

Agree with our List?

Really, you could toss these names into a bag, pull them out at any given order and someone out there would agree with the placements. These are some of the biggest names in horror movie history — they all deserve a spot on the list, no matter where they ended up.

10 Greatest 80s Horror Movie Villains (2024)


10 Greatest 80s Horror Movie Villains? ›

1. Count Dracula, the Dracula films (1931–present) Dracula is the most influential horror villain of all time. The Count stalks like a slasher, murders in droves like a serial killer, and is the inspiration for every single vampire movie made after 1931.

Who is the most iconic horror movie villain? ›

1. Count Dracula, the Dracula films (1931–present) Dracula is the most influential horror villain of all time. The Count stalks like a slasher, murders in droves like a serial killer, and is the inspiration for every single vampire movie made after 1931.

Who was the iconic horror movie characters 80s? ›

Ranking All the Horrifying Horror Icons of the '80s
  • 6) Michael Myers. The original Halloween premiered in 1978, but the masked killer took center stage in three sequels in the '80s, making it his most popular decade. ...
  • 5) Leatherface. ...
  • 4) Pinhead. ...
  • 3) Jason Voorhees. ...
  • 2) Chucky. ...
  • 1) Freddy Krueger. ...
  • Honorable Mention - Elvira.
Oct 10, 2022

Was the 80s the best decade for horror movies? ›

The '80s horror masterpieces are the most eventful, artistic, and iconic – truly the greatest decade in the history of horror cinema.

Who is the scariest horror movie character ever? ›

Pennywise - IT

Stephen King has created many creepy characters throughout the decades, but the flesh-eating clown Pennywise (played by Tim Curry and Bill Skarsgård) from IT seems to be the most haunting. Children and adults alike are terrified of the killer clown and for good reason.

Who is the most iconic horror slasher? ›

Some of horror's biggest movies are slashers, with the sub-genre birthing some of the most recognizable characters in cinema. Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, and Michael Myers have all transcended the medium to become essential parts of popular culture.

Who is the scariest slasher? ›

#1: Jason Voorhees from “Friday the 13th”

These strengths have contributed to Jason having some of the highest kill counts in horror movie history. Having his own crossover movie with another iconic villain, Freddy Krueger, further proves his legacy.

What 80s horror film was banned? ›

The Evil Dead (1981)

The U.K. was especially critical of the film to where it was illegal to even distribute it. Other European countries refused to show it as well, citing the particularly gratuitous violence and one scene involving a woman being sexually assaulted by a demonically possessed tree.

What is the top 1 horror movie of all time? ›

1. The Exorcist (1973)

Why was 80s horror so good? ›

1980s horror movies benefited immensely from the introduction of home video. The VCR made movie watching a private activity for the first time in the medium's history, conducted in the home rather than in a regulated public theatre. What people wanted, of course, was pornography, lots of it.

Who is the hottest horror movie villain? ›

It used a scientific technique and Twitter data to conclude that Patrick Bateman from American Psycho was the sexiest Halloween villain, with a near-perfect 'sexy score' of 97/100.

Which horror villain has the most kills? ›

10 Horror Movie Villains With the Most Kills, Ranked by Their...
  1. 1 Pinhead — 'Hellraiser' Franchise — 321+ Kills.
  2. 2 Jason Voorhees — 'Friday the 13th' Franchise — 163+ Victims. ...
  3. 3 Michael Myers — 'Halloween' Franchise — 160+ Victims. ...
  4. 4 The Invisible Man — 'The Invisible Man' (1933) — 122 Victims. ...
Mar 22, 2023

Who is the weakest horror movie villain? ›

15 Lamest Horror Movie Villains (That Aren't Actually Scary)
  • Rothman (Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation) ...
  • Goblins (Troll 2) ...
  • Ahmanet (The Mummy) ...
  • Clowns (Killer Klowns From Outer Space) ...
  • The Leprechaun (Leprechaun) ...
  • Critters (Critters) ...
  • The Gingerdead Man (The Gingerbread Man) ...
  • Jack (Jack Frost)
Oct 11, 2020

Who was the king of horror movies? ›

Stephen King's status as the master of horror is well-earned. The famous author has over 60 novels to his name, but his unique ability to tap into the human psyche and uncover what scares us the most remains truly unmatched.

What were three of the major horror movie franchises that came out in the 80s? ›

The 16 Best Horror Sequels of the 1980s, Ranked
  1. 1 Evil Dead II (1987) Rosebud Releasing Corporation.
  2. 2 Aliens (1986) ...
  3. 3 Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981) ...
  4. 4 A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) ...
  5. 5 Zombi 3 (1988) ...
  6. 6 Halloween II (1981) ...
  7. 7 Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986) ...
  8. 8 Psycho II (1983) ...
Apr 27, 2023

What are 80s horror movies called? ›

Slashers: These are your standard knife-wielding (or saw-wielding) homicidal maniacs. Horror movies from the 70s and 80s that fall into this category include Halloween, Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Who is the smartest slasher villain? ›

Jigsaw (Saw Franchise)

Each one is smart in their own way but John Kramer stands out the most. John meets his end when Saw III (2006) wraps up, and he continues to be mentioned throughout the next films in the popular Saw slasher franchise.

Who was the first horror movie killer? ›

There's no consensus on when slasher movies actually began, since the development of the subgenre is a continuum of sorts, but Tobe Hooper's 1974 classic The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is the first movie to introduce a long-running slasher character (chainsaw-wielding hillbilly killer Leatherface).

Who is the oldest horror slasher? ›

Thirteen Women (1932) is perhaps the earliest example of what would become a slasher film. It documents eleven (not thirteen, as two women's scenes were cut before theatrical release) women being harassed and murdered after a clairvoyant swami mails them a horoscope foreseeing swift doom.

Who is King of the slashers? ›

When comparing him to peers like Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees, dream demon Freddy Krueger stands out on all levels. The most important feature of a good slasher franchise is of course the villain.

Who was the first slasher? ›

Most importantly for filmmaking in general, Psycho is considered by many to be the first slasher movie, and the success of this film spurred a whole series of slasher films in the near future, ultimately opening the door for the subgenre's golden era, the extremely blood eighties.

Are there any female slashers? ›

Slashers have been predominantly male, but a few of them through the years have been female and one could even say that more and more of them are female, a fun change in the sub-genre. Pearl is one example of the recent slasher resurgence on the big screen and she's one killer lady!

What 80s horror movie has a monster in the toilet? ›

Critters (1986) has a scene where a "Critter" comes out of a toilet as an homage to this film.

What was the 80s gym horror movie? ›

Killer Workout

What was the worst decade for horror? ›

The '90s have been notoriously known for being the worst decade for horror films to many horror enthusiasts. The things that entertained audiences in the '80s didn't amuse them to the same extent anymore.

What are the big 3 horror movies? ›

These top three big original horror movies have been watched continuously by viewers. Halloween (1978), A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), and Scream (1996) are classics that have been popular amongst people, especially during October.

What is the scariest movie according to science? ›

The winner of the 'Science of the Scare' award for the scariest horror movie of all time is HOST.

What is the golden age of horror? ›

The “Golden Age” of horror, during the 30s, was a significant boom when Hollywood produced many classics like Dracula, Frankenstein, and others. Since then, movies have changed as the world changed. The “Atomic Years” focused on psychological horror , while Slashers gained traction during the 70s and 80s.

When was the golden age of horror? ›

The golden era can be definitively pinpointed by the early 1920s to the late 1930s. Films that fall into the Golden Era category seem to derive from periods of societal anxiety and fear, like the Great Depression. The classics of the late 1920s and late 1930s became the building blocks of horror.

What was the highest grossing horror movie of 1980? ›

1980 was the year of The Empire Strikes Back, but there were quite a few horror films that made a financially strong name for themselves. Ironically, the highest-grossing, Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, was actually considered somewhat of a box office bomb.

Who killed more Jason or Michael? ›

Michael Myers Has The Highest Kill Count

However, his biggest killing spree took place in Haddonfield, in 2018, as Halloween Kills, the second entry in the reboot timeline, ended up having the franchise's highest body count, which in turn gives him a higher number than that of Jason Voorhees.

How many kills does Michael Myers have total? ›

Michael Myers Kill Count: 159

Michael racks up 159 kills over 12 films and will be adding more kills to the list later this year. To find out more about Michael Myers, check out our overview of the famous slasher!

What movie character has killed the most? ›

John Matrix (Commando) - 87
  1. 1 The Expendables - Estimated 1,190-2,000.
  2. 2 James Bond - 597. ...
  3. 3 Ogami Ittō (Lone Wolf & Cub Series) - 500+ ...
  4. 4 John Rambo (First Blood Series) - 493. ...
  5. 5 John Wick (John Wick Series)- 399. ...
  6. 6 Alice (Resident Evil Series) - 271. ...
  7. 7 Frank Castle (The Punisher Series) - 173. ...
  8. 8 Mr. ...
Mar 27, 2023

Who is the lamest villain? ›

Below are 45 movie villains so awful, they ruined the movie for people forever.
  • Alonzo Harris (Training Day) ...
  • The Hunter (Bambi) ...
  • Scar (The Lion King) ...
  • Pennywise (It) ...
  • The Shark (Jaws) ...
  • Anton Chigurh (No Country for Old Men) ...
  • Nurse Mildred Ratched (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest) ...
  • Joan Crawford (Mommie Dearest)
Jan 20, 2022

What are the bad guys in horror movies called? ›

The antagonists of a horror film.

Who is the tallest villain in the horror genre? ›

Horror Villains Heights Tallest to Shortest
  • Pennywise(Book): 8 feet tall.
  • Jedidiah Sawyer(2013)(Dan Yeager): 2 metres, or 6 feet 7 inches.
  • Jason Voorhees(Ken Kirzinger): 1.96 metres, or 6 feet 3-4 inches.
  • Stu Matcher(Matthew Lillard): 1.91 metres, or 6 feet 2 inches.

Who is the most iconic villain in the world? ›

1Hannibal LecterThe Silence of the Lambs (2)
2Norman BatesPsycho
3Darth VaderThe Empire Strikes Back
4The Wicked Witch of the WestThe Wizard of Oz
9 more rows

Is Michael Myers the best horror villain? ›

A study recently found the 10 scariest horror movie villains of all time thanks to the 'villain effectiveness score,' which is calculated by using the average number of kills and jump scares, and it's Michael Myers who takes the top spot.

Who is the best villain in American Horror Story? ›

American Horror Story: 10 Scariest Villains, Ranked
  • 8 Madame Lalaurie. ...
  • 7 Papa Legba. ...
  • 6 The Countess. ...
  • 5 Sister Mary Eunice. ...
  • 4 Kai Anderson. ...
  • 3 The Butcher. ...
  • 2 Bloody Face. ...
  • 1 Twisty The Clown.
Nov 21, 2022

Who is the most evil villain ever? ›

Darth Vader can be considered the greatest villain of all time for a plethora of reasons, namely his appearance, his iconic voice, his immense strength and his unrelenting rage.

Who is Disney's #1 villain? ›

1. Cruella De Vil (One Hundred and One Dalmatians) Cruella De Vil, 101 Dalmatians' glamorous, sociopathic, and elitist villain, is on top of our list.

Who was the first villain of all time? ›

The first supervillain, Sub-Mariner, appeared in Marvel Comics #1, in 1939, along with the first superhero, the Human Torch.

Who can beat Michael Myers? ›

Verdict: Jason Voorhees Is Stronger Than Michael Myers

While Michael has proven time and again that he can survive nearly anything, he doesn't stand a chance against Jason. Jason's immense strength and ability to keep killing no matter the circumstances show that he can withstand a full-on assault from Michael.

Who is the main villain in AHS 1984? ›

Margaret Booth is the main antagonist of American Horror Story: 1984 and the true culprit of the 1970 Red Wood Camp massacre, for which she framed Benjamin Richter, her former best friend.

Who is the villain in coven? ›

Fiona Goode is one of the two main antagonists (alongside Marie Laveau) of American Horror Story: Coven, the third season of the FX television series, American Horror Story and a posthumous antagonist in the eighth season, Apocalypse.

Who is the most powerful person in AHS? ›

Michael Langdon is a formidable being

According to a poll on Reddit, Michael Langdon (Cody Fern) is the most powerful of all the magical characters in "American Horror Story" history, beating out other formidable beings like the deity Scathach (Lady Gaga) and witch Fiona Goode (Jessica Lange) to earn the top spot.


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