Horror, and particularly the ‘slasher’ genre, really found its stride and hit its peak in the 1980s as more and more iconic and terrifying villains started making their debuts on the big screen, giving birth to some of the longest and most successful franchises ever produced. These villains carried just as much terror as any foe before, only these franchises and instalments all contained a far larger amount of gore and violence that shook, enthralled and hooked audiences everywhere, establishing all of them as not only icons in the horror or film worlds, but on society in general.
A child killer in his living days, Freddy Krueger's continued malevolence was so bad that he was granted the ability to cause suffering even in the realms of people's dreams. Complete with his infamous fedora, red and green jumper and clawed hand, Freddy Krueger blends all of the best traits in a horror villain into one foe; with the sadistic and chilling wit coupling with the sheer brutal violence he invokes on his foes combining beautifully across his entire franchise. Stalking his prey in their dreams, he has shown himself to be one of the most enthralling and equally terrifying antagonists the cinema world has ever dished out.
Once the victim of neglect and circumstance, Jason Voorhees has spearheaded the entire Friday the 13th series across multiple sequels, spin offs and crossovers, acting emotionlessly and coldly as one of the most famous antagonists ever seen. With his now iconic and trademark machete and hockey mask, Jason Voorhees is arguably more complicated than what immediately meets the eye. Whilst his brutality and non-existant remorse showcases him as an evil and fear-worthy enemy, he is ultimately shown to cut something of a pathetic individual, still living under the thumb of his deranged mother.
The ultimate hunter in the entire universe, the Predator should be feared as much as it should be respected for its unwavering ability to kill. Making its debut in the 'Predator' film in 1987 in a thrilling and adrenaline-pumping encounter against Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Predator shows off all of its ability and weaponry that marks it out as one of the most accomplished hunters ever seen. Hunting down humans in a ritualistic and sporting manner, the Predator can adapt to hostile and alien environments and with an army of sequels and crossovers at its back, it has gone down as one horror's best loved foes.
What Chucky might not have in size and stature, he more than makes up for in his quick wits and sadistic violence. The result of a serial murderer putting his soul into what looks like a seemingly innocent and loveable child's doll, Chucky has become one of the most iconic and best loved villains in the history of cinema. Spawning countless pieces of merchandise and cultural references, the malevolent doll has become established has one of the most recognised faces in the world.
The struggling writer and poor judge of hotel investments, Jack Torrance made his mark on the world through his appearance as the lead antagonist in Stephen King's 'The Shining'. After agreeing to be the caretaker of the Overlook Hotel in Colorado over the winter months, Jack is driven increasingly insane by his new found ability to communicate with the ghosts of the hotel who had all met gruesome ends. As he slips further and further into a frightening level of insanity, Jack goes on a mad rampage against his family, attempting to murder them all. His now trademark 'Here's Johnny!' scene and overall mannerisms showcased his sadistic and violent nature to become one of everyone's favourite bad guys.
The chief and easily most chilling individual in the entire franchise, whilst 'Pinhead' isn't necessarily the main antagonist of the films, he has established himself as the most recognisable enemy and the face for the Hellraiser series. Acting almost as a priest and prophet for the pain and suffering endured by those tortured in Hell, 'Pinhead's' terror comes from his booming voice and powers to match. Revelling in invoking the maximum amount of suffering possible to those he encounters, the remorseless nature of the character really removes any chance of viewers having any empathy for him.
The deranged and mentally unstable mother of Jason Voorhees, Pamela Voorhees is revealed to be the brutal killer of Camp Crystal Lake at the very end of the first 'Friday the 13th' film. When her son drowns due to the neglect of the camp councillors, Pamela slips into an insanity that leads her to those at the camp engaging in drinking or fornicating. Her insanity and the shocking revelation as being the vicious murderer throughout the film really marks her out as being one of the most frightening killers ever seen on the big screen.
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