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Our favorite horror movie villains

Halloween signifies the return of all horror villains that we have either grown up watching or become newly acquainted with. From Frank-N-Furter to Michael Myers, it’s the horror genre’s most famous terrorizers that make this season all the more spooky. 

With the holiday around the corner, it’s time to discuss a few of the best. Here’s a list of our favorite horror villains: 

The Thing from John Carpenter’s The Thing 

It slinks through the shadows until it finds its first victim, taking their identity, then slowly taking out an entire group of people as it shifts and mutates to victory. It’s an almost undetectable, shapeshifting being from outer space. It can be anyone you love, including your dog, and it’ll tear you to pieces in the goriest and visceral way possible. It induces paranoia and fear, killing not just people but the friendships between them as well as they investigate. It’s the perfect horror villain, striking both the physical and mental sides of the genre. What’s not to love? -Zach James

Jigsaw from Saw 

Call me crazy, but John Kramer, also known as Jigsaw from the Saw installations is pure evil, yet logical in his malicious actions. Jigsaw doesn’t just kill to kill -- he actually wants to give those who have deep, dark secrets and have committed a lot of wrongdoings in life, to own up to those crimes and get a second chance at life. The only difference between him and a therapist is that Jigsaw creates complex death traps to get his prospects to an unfortunate conclusion. 

Either way, Jigsaw, a former good samaritan who developed cancer, tries to tackle the idea of why bad things happen to good people, and as a result decides to explore the possibility that bad things should happen to bad people. Without Jigsaw, we wouldn’t have the shocking ending of the first film and the constant loops Jigsaw throws us for throughout the nine films. -Emma Dollenmayer  

Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Leatherface is an integral horror movie villain. He’s a cannibalistic psychopath who cuts up unknowing hippies with a chainsaw. I don’t know what qualifies as terrifying, but I’d say wearing a person's face as a mask has to. Leatherface is one of the first and best horror movie villains, and he doesn’t even try, it was just the way he was raised. All he’s ever known to do is murder, and that’s what makes him such a scary dude to run into. -Sean Eifert

Michael Myers from Halloween

It’s a classic, but there’s a reason why the Halloween formula has remained tried and true in the horror genre. A disturbed individual with a thing for knives is always going to make a fun villain. The original film uses Myers the most effectively, building an eerie atmosphere through both at-a-distance tension-building and 1st person lurking where the viewer is in the position of Michael. Creepy mask, signature outfit, great navigation skills. Myers is one of the best. -Lydia Smith

Frank-N-Furter from The Rocky Horror Picture Show

He’s the maddest scientist of all mad scientists. He’s able to manipulate anyone in his path with his masterly seduction skills. While he is exceedingly evil, killing off people he’s jealous of, he is also incredibly mesmerizing. He is unapologetically flamboyant and knows how to make an iconic villain entrance. 

Tim Curry’s performance as Frank-N-Furter is absolutely unforgettable. As a child, he gave me so many nightmares that I wasn’t able to watch the movie again until I was much older. He’s a cross-dressing mad scientist that sings and kills, making him one of the most iconic villains out there. -Logan Humphrey

Carrie White from Carrie 

There’s nothing scarier than a misunderstood teenage girl about to reach her boiling point. Carrie White shows us that not all horror villains come with scary masks, burned skin and mutilated appearances; sometimes they come soaked in bloody prom dresses. Although the 1976 film has been an iconic horror movie for generations, I prefer the 2013 adaptation that stars Chloe Grace Moretz as Carrie White (and because Ansel Elgort plays Tommy Ross, obvi). 

Unlike most horror movies, Carrie is a character that begins as an underdog protagonist that lives a life of abuse and bullying until she reaches her villain status at the end. She gets a full character development that most horror villains don’t. If anything, Carrie is a huge break from the high school mean girl archetype. The girls at school may think it’s all fun and games as they bully Carrie, until she eventually gets supernatural powers and reaps vengeance on them in the end. Iconic, to say the least. -Madyson Lewellyn

Hannibal Lecter from Silence of the Lambs

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love Silence of the Lambs. Lecter truly captures the serial killer's essence; he has a bizarre moral compass as he helps Clarice find Buffalo Bill while simultaneously driving Miggs, his neighbor in the mental asylum, to swallow his own tongue. The juxtaposition between his sophisticated persona Lecter presents versus the feral behavior has always fascinated me as a viewer. With a character so iconic, it’s no wonder there were two more movies in the Silence of the Lambs trilogy featuring Lecter.  -Jillian Craig

The Joker from The Dark Knight

I’m not a huge scary movie fan, but I do love Heath Ledger as The Joker. He puts you in a trance when you watch him, and honestly steals the attention away from Batman. I love the manic aspects of this villain; they’re so disturbing to watch, you just can’t look away. As someone who prefers superhero movies, The Joker is a villain who definitely made a mark on me. Nonetheless, this is one of Ledger’s most iconic roles as an actor. -Grace Koennecke

Jennifer Check from Jennifer’s Body

As Needy (Amanda Seyfried) puts it in the film, “hell is a teenage girl.” Although Jennifer’s Body may not be deemed as a conventional horror movie, it’s filled with enough blood and gore to satisfy the horror feeling. Jennifer Check (Megan Fox) is the perfect combination of deadly and sexy with her snarky, nonchalant attitude that translates into seduction and cunningness. Fox plays the role well, and it’s difficult to not be captivated by her as a succubus. -Mimi Calhoun

The Alien from Alien

The xenomorph alien stands as one of the most formidable presences to ever appear in either a horror or sci-fi film. As sleek and terrifying a sight as the creature is, the blood-curdling direction of Ridley Scott enhances the scare factor tenfold -- we don’t get a clear glimpse of the mysterious hunter of our main characters until it’s too late. From the way the alien is hatched to the parasitic nature of laying its eggs inside a host body to the sheer size and predation of its final form, this horror villain after 40 years still resonates. -Camden Gilreath 

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