(WARNING: This article contains massive spoilers for the films mentioned. Proceed with caution.)
Those who watch horror movies do so to be frightened and escape the horrifying realities of everyday life. It's not just the gore, the jump scares or the body count that provide that spine-chilling entertainment — the characters in #horror films play the largest roles in getting viewers interested, holding their attention and making the films more terrifying.
More times than not, the creepiest characters in horror films are the ones doing the killing, but this is not always the case. On occasion, even the innocents of the films make us cringe. Here are 16 creepiest horror movie characters (The obvious choices have not been included, we all know that Jason, Michael, Freddy and Leatherface are all creep).
16. John Doe
Movie: Se7en (1995)
Played By: Kevin Spacey
Why: John Doe sent police on a wild goose chase with cryptic messages while performing grizzly murders based on the seven deadly sins. He's not a supernatural character, he is a flesh-and-blood man that snapped, making him all the more terrifying. This character was based on a real serial killer, and there have been more, similar cases since.
15. Crazy Ralph
Movie: Friday the 13th (1980) and Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
Played By: Walt Gorney
Why: Ralph is an example of a horror film innocent that turns out to be one of the creepiest characters in the film. While his intentions are good, you can't just run around and grab people and yell about blood curses — it is guaranteed to get you labeled a weirdo. Not only can he be found outside the perimeter of Camp Blood, but he is seem a few times watching the promiscuous teens skinny dipping and breaking slasher film rules, so he is the crazy "the end is near" kind of guy and a peeping Tom.
14. Carol Anne
Movie: Poltergeist (1982)
Played By: Heather O'Rourke
Why: Innocent and completely adorable, Carol Anne is still one of the creepiest characters in horror. There is just something unsettling about a sweet little girl communicating with "things" from another dimension via a television set. No matter how long you have been watching horror films or how much gore you can stomach, when she utters "They're here," you get a little uneasy.
13. The Tall Man
Movie: Phantasm series
Played By: Angus Scrimm
Why: He is the main antagonist of the #Phantasm films. Not only is he, well, very tall, his entire appearance is nothing short than menacing. Not only is his presence terrifying, little is known about him, and nothing is scarier to us humans as the unknown. Nobody wants to hear "You play a good game, boy, but now you die" from anyone, and he just kind of pops in out of nowhere.
12. Angela Baker
Movie: Sleepaway Camp
Played By: Felissa Rose
Why: Yes, Angela appeared in more than one film, but Felissa Rose's Angela was by far the creepiest. Angela was born a boy who was abused by his mother who wanted a girl. After becoming Angela and the model camper, she was the quintessential creepy girl. She is yet another character who is just a "normal" person who had been pushed over the edge due to abuse and bullying. The "Angela face" has become one of horror's creepiest expressions. There is nothing creepier than something that can't be explained away as "just a movie."
Movie: Laid to Rest (2009) and Chromeskull: Laid to Rest 2 (2011)
Played By: Nick Principe
Why: For those that have seen the Laid to Rest films, there are a couple obvious reasons #Chromeskull is creepy, beginning with the fact that he's massive and is more than proficient with sharp objects. The elements that make him even creepier are, like most slashers:
- He doesn't speak (he communicates through cell phones and computers).
- He records his "adventures."
- He wears a suit and dress shoes (at least he kills in style).
- He has an entire team to ensure his success and that he doesn't get caught.
Perhaps the creepiest thing about him is that his motives for killing are never revealed. Every other slasher has a clear motive for killing, Chromeskull seems to do it just for sport and the possibility of underground snuff films.
10. Gage Creed
Movie: Pet Sematary (1989)
Played By: Miko Hughes
Why: He's a flesh-and-blood (not plastic) version of Chucky. Gage starts the film as a sweet little boy, only to turn into a rather dapper-dressed mini psychopath. There is just something about a toddler holding a scalpel and saying "I wanna play with youuu" that sends a terrifying chill down the spines of viewers.
9. Norman Bates
Movie: Psycho (1960)
Played By: Anthony Perkins
Why: Another "this could actually happen" scenario, #NormanBates suffered from a mental illness that is more common than most know. He would have blackouts and go into fits of rage. When his mother died, it was more than he could take. He kept his mother's corpse in the house and dressed in her clothes to murder unsuspecting guests of their motel.
8. Jack Torrance
Movie: The Shining (1980)
Played By: Jack Nicholson
Why: The Shining is a terrifying film as a whole, but Jack is what helps send it over the edge. He begins the film as a loving husband and father, but by the end of the film he is an ax-wielding maniac. Nicholson's performance is what helped lend the creep factor to this character — his facial expressions, body language and tone of voice all lead viewers to believe that he truly would love nothing more than to really murder someone.
Movie: Hellraiser (1987)
Played By: Nicholas Vince
Why: Chatterer is a lot like a demonic attack dog — he does Pinhead's bidding. His looks alone are enough to land him a spot on any creepy list, but the fact that the purpose of the character is nothing more than to kill on command makes him more than just the background character he was meant to be — it makes him one of the creepiest aspects of the entire film.
6. Damien Thorn
Movie: The Omen (1976)
Played By: Harvey Stephens
Why: Every parent's worst nightmare: Their child is the Antichrist. Everything from Damien's movements to his facial expressions and sly smirk make him one of the genre's creepiest characters. How could the Devil's son not be one of the scariest things to ever be encountered, even if it's just in a film?
Movie: Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986)
Played By: Julian Beck
Why: What isn't creepy about Kane? For starters, he's dead. Plus, his tall, thin and frail appearance coupled with that toothy grin, draped in the clothes of an undertaker make him almost terrifying. What solidifies him as the creepiest thing in Poltergeist II has to be his singing, his religious ramblings and the fact that he thinks it's alright to grab children, bang on your door and scream in your face.
Movie: Pet Sematary (1989)
Played By: Andrew Hubatsek
Why: Where to start with Zelda? Though having little screen time in the film, her emaciated appearance and creepy voice make her far more terrifying than a zombie cat or homicidal toddler, and she still continues to haunt the nightmares of viewers.
Movie: IT (1990)
Played By: Tim Curry
Why: Many people fear clowns, even the nice ones, but #Pennywise was much worse than any juggling, balloon animal-making clown. He can show up anywhere, he eats children, and he just looks like the personification of homicidal maniac. Since his on-screen debut in 1990, red balloons, showers and storm drains just haven't been the same.
2. Seth Brundle
Movie: The Fly (1986)
Played By: Jeff Goldblum
Why: The better question would be: Why not? Seth Brundle was a scientist with a serious knack for "thinking outside the box." His grand idea was to transform into an insect/human hybrid. As if that isn't creepy enough, he wanted to fuse himself to his wife and unborn child. That's normal, right?
1. Possessed Regan MacNeil
Movie: The Exorcist (1973)
Played By: Linda Blair
Why: Another case of innocence turned to pure evil. The idea of demonic possession is enough to terrify anyone, and when you ask any horror fan which possessed character they remember the most, they are probably going to say Regan. Her appearance, tone of voice, actions, profuse vomiting and simply the fact that she is demonically possessed makes her the creepiest character in the horror genre.
What horror character gives you the creeps?