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The Most Utterly Terrifying Figures in Film

List Criteria: Singular figures only, no groups!

This is a list of the most chillingly terrifying figures in film, as ranked and voted on by horror fans. There are a lot of scary movies out there, some that stick with you in your nightmares and other you just love to peek through your fingers at while shrieking in glee. But then there are the ones that have a particular figure in them, a monster or a man or a pale child... that really makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Which is the scariest? Which one is the one you would LEAST like to EVER meet? Vote for your favorites, add any you see missing... and make sure to rank your own version if you really want to impact this list!

Check out more lists like Terrifying Children in Horror Films, stupid things victims do in every horror films and horror films based on animals

The Most Utterly Terrifying Figures in Film Film Characters
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  1. 1
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    Michael Myers first appeared in John Carpenter's film Halloween in 1978.

    Why he's utterly terrifying: After murdering his sister on Halloween night when he was just six years old, Michael Myers returns to the town of Haddonfield, Illinois and starts a killing spree that will last decades.

    "Death has come to your little town, sheriff."
  2. 2
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    Chucky first appeared in the film Child's Play in 1988.

    Why he's utterly terrifying: Though he appears to be a cute toy, Chucky is actually a serial killer who used voodoo to transfer his soul into a doll.

    "Hi, I'm Chucky. Wanna play?"
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    Jason Voorhees first appeared in the film Friday the 13th in 1980.

    Why he's utterly terrifying: Seeking revenge for his mother's death, Jason returns to Camp Crystal Lake to slaughter the counselors one by one.
    "You're doomed! You're all doomed!"
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    Freddy Krueger first appeared in the Wes Craven's horror masterpiece A Nightmare on Elm Street in 1984.

    Why he's utterly terrifying: Krueger haunts the dreams of neighborhood teenagers, growing more powerful the more frightened they become.

    "Whatever you do... don't fall asleep."
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    Ghostface first appeared in the 1996 film Scream, but his iconic mask has been worn by many copy-cat killers in the film's sequels.

    Why he's utterly terrifying: Anyone who sees the blacks of Ghostface's eyes, typically ends up with a butcher knife in their guts.

    "Movies don't create psychos. Movies make psychos more creative!"
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    Pennywise the Dancing Clown haunted the children in the town of Derry, Maine in the 1990 film It, which is based on Stephen King's book of the same name.

    Why he's utterly terrifying: He baits children into the sewers with tricks and toys only to drive them into insanity, or worse, kill them.

    "They ALL float down here. When you're down here with us, you'll float too."
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    Jack Torrance appears in the 1980 film The Shining, based on Stephen King's book of the same name.

    Why he's utterly terrifying: Jack Torrance starts the film innocently enough, taking the job as caretaker at the Overlook hotel, but he soon becomes an axe-wielding maniac driven to murder by insanity.

    "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy."
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    Leatherface first appeared in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre in 1974.

    Why he's utterly terrifying: Inspired by the real-life killer Ed Gein, Leatherface hunts down his victims and wears their skin as a mask.

    "That's the last goddamn hitchhiker I ever pick up."
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    Hannibal Lecter appeared in the 1991 film The Silence of the Lambs, which was based on Thomas Harris' novel of the same name.

    Why he's utterly terrifying: Hannibal Lecter is a brilliant psychiatrist and serial killer who as been known to eat his victims.
    "A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti."
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    Regan MacNeil appeared in the 1973 film The Exorcist, which was based on William Peter Blatty's book of the same name.

    Why she's utterly terrifying: As if 12-year old girls weren't scary enough, this one is possessed by the devil.

    "What an excellent day for an exorcism."
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    Pinhead appears in the Hellraiser film series, which was based on Clive Barker's novella The Hellbound Heart.

    Why he's utterly terrifying: Pinhead has come to earth to harvest souls to bring back to his realm.

    "We'll tear your soul apart."
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    Bruce the shark appeared in the 1975 film Jaws directed by Steven Spielberg.

    Why its utterly terrifying: Lurking below the water, Bruce attacks unsuspecting swimmers by tearing them to pieces with his knife-like teeth.

    "Well, this is not a boat accident! And it wasn't any propeller; and it wasn't any coral reef; and it wasn't Jack the Ripper! It was a shark."
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    Samara Morgan appears in the 2002 film The Ring, which was based on the character Sadako Yamamura from Koji Suzuki's Ring Trilogy novels.

    Why she's utterly terrifying: In life, Samara possessed the power to infiltrate minds with insanity. In death, she kills people who have been cursed after watching a horrifying video.

    "I think before you die, you see the ring..."
  14. 14
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    Norman Bates appeared in Alfred Hitchcock's film Psycho in 1960.

    Why he's utterly terrifying: With a murderous appetite and an unsettling Oedipus complex, Norman Bates kills anyone that gets in the way of his not-so-happy homelife.

    "We all go a little mad sometimes. Haven't you?"
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    Xenomorph first appeared in the 1970 film Alien.

    Why it's utterly terrifying: Xenomorph is a predatory creature that implants larvae into living hosts, i.e. people.

    "It's got a wonderful defense mechanism. You don't dare kill it."
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    The Thing has appeared as the title character in several films, most notably John Carpenter's 1982 thriller.

    Why it's utterly terrifying: The thing has the ability to metamorphose into any living being, including people, to infiltrate earth.

    "I dunno what the hell's in there, but it's weird and pissed off, whatever it is."
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    The Joker has appeared in several comics, TV series and films, but he was the most terrifying in the 2008 film The Dark Knight.

    Why he's utterly terrifying: The Joker loves to create chaos through murder and mayhem and he will stop at nothing to reek havoc on the city of Gotham.

    "Let's put a smile on that face!"
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    The Creeper first appeared in the 2001 film Jeepers Creepers.

    Why he's utterly terrifying: The Creeper uses fear to hunt down his victims during the 23 day period when he feasts on human bodies.

    "What the hell did you bring into my house?"
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    The Jigsaw Killer first appeared in the film Saw in 2004.

    Why he's utterly terrifying: Using twisted tests and gruesome games, Jigsaw puts his victims through unique forms of torture that lead to death if a person fails to complete their challenge.

    "Congratulations. You are still alive. Most people are so ungrateful to be alive. But not you. Not anymore."
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    Sadako Yamamura

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    Sadako Yamamura appeared in the 1998 Japanese Film Ringu, which was based on the novel Ring by Kôji Suzuki.

    Why she's utterly terrifying: Sadako will do anything to get revenge on those who wronged her in life, including returning from the dead to haunt and horrify her tormentors.

    "It's not of this world. It's Sadako's fury. And she's put a curse on us."
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