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The Most Utterly Terrifying Figures in Horror Films

Updated October 21, 2020 171.2k votes 11.7k voters 810.1k views70 items

List RulesVote up the scariest single characters in horror cinema - no groups of characters.

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 others you just love to peek through your fingers at while shrieking in glee - or maybe even dress up as for Halloween. 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 - or makes you immediately break out into a sprint. Which is the scariest? Which one is the one you would LEAST like to EVER meet? Vote for your favorite horror movie villains, killers, and otherwise freaky figures and add any you see missing. Be 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

  • Leatherface is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Utterly Terrifying Figures in Horror Films
    Photo: Texas Chainsaw Massacre via Bryanston Pictures

    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."
    Is s/he terrifying?
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  • Freddy Krueger is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Utterly Terrifying Figures in Horror Films
    Photo: Metaweb (FB) / Public domain

    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."
    Is s/he terrifying?

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  • Pennywise the Dancing Clown is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Utterly Terrifying Figures in Horror Films
    Photo: It

    Pennywise the Dancing Clown haunted the children in the town of Derry, Maine in the 1990 miniseries It and the two-part theatrical adaptation in 2017 and 2019, all of which are based on Stephen King's novel 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."

    Is s/he terrifying?

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  • Michael Myers is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Utterly Terrifying Figures in Horror Films
    Photo: Halloween

    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."
    Is s/he terrifying?
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