Harmless Movie Bad-Guy Habits​​​​​​​ That Make Villains So Much Scarier

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Vote up the seemingly innocent things movie villains do that very much creep you out.

What's worse than a villain who maims and sews discord simply for the fun of it? A villain who has a habit that seems harmless until they refuse to stop. These harmless habits can be anything from licking their lips uncontrollably to wearing super-tight pants to the worst thing of all: speaking in the third person.

Which of these villains are made more frightening by their seemingly harmless habits, and which of them are just being weirdos?


  • Cannibalistic, pedantic, and a lover of mind games, Hannibal Lecter is the worst kind of villain. He can outsmart his victims at every turn, and he takes extreme delight in holding his mental prowess over everyone he meets. As frustrating and outright freaky as all of that is, the fact that he never blinks is equally horrifying.

    Hannibal Lecter is like an animal waiting for its prey to turn its back so he can strike out and snap its neck with his jaws. From the moment he arrives on screen, it's clear that something is off about him: his unblinking, unflinching stare.

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  • It should go without saying that Michael Myers is a scary guy. After escaping from an Illinois mental institution, he inexplicably learns to drive and makes his way straight to his old hometown of Haddonfield, where he begins icing the local teens.

    None of that is as unsettling as the little head tilt he gives after he turns unfortunate high school student Bob into a wall decoration with a set of kitchen knives. Myers tilts his head as if he's examining a piece of art or trying to fully comprehend what he's done. 

    Myers doesn't do the head tilt every time he offs someone, but when he does, it's hard not to wonder what's going on inside his head. The possibility that he's only thinking "Wow" in this moment is almost more chilling than any of the pain he dishes out.

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  • No Country for Old Men is arguably the greatest thriller of the 2000s. A chilling slasher that directly parallels John Carpenter's Halloween, it centers on a hapless cowboy who stumbles into some blood money as he tries to escape the unstoppable monster that is Anton Chigurh.

    If Chigurh were wearing an old Captain Kirk mask, it would only make this film's horror all the more on the nose, but the Coen brothers' decision to make him a regular guy shows just how horrifying his actions are. That being said, it's Chigurh's fascination with leaving things up to fate that's really disturbing.

    Whether he's dealing with a middle-aged gas station attendant or the wife of his most recent victim, he brings out a coin and has them pick heads or tails. If they guess correctly, he'll let them live. If they don't, they're toast. This gesture is worse than if he just used his cattle gun to turn their brains to mush. It makes his victims sit in the knowledge that their time is up.

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    'The Silence of the Lambs' - Buffalo Bill Talks To Everyone As If They're Objects

    Jame Gumb, AKA Buffalo Bill, is no good. He's a serial killer who specifically goes after heavier women so he can use their skin to make a "woman suit," but he also has a laundry list of annoying affectations that make him all the more horrifying.

    Aside from the gaudy jewelry, his general haughty demeanor, and that hair that he refuses to shave even though he's going bald, one of his most horrifying habits is treating everyone around him like an object. He doesn't speak to people so much as he talks at them as if he's addressing a piece of furniture. That's because he actually sees other people as objects, not as people who are on his same level.

    Gumb's lack of respect for humanity is why he's such a "talented" serial killer. It's also why he's such a frightening presence haunting the edges of The Silence of the Lambs.

  • Max Cady is a creep - there are no ifs, ands, or buts about that. In fact, creepiness is practically the defining characteristic of this shredded redneck looking for revenge against the public defender who he believes is responsible for putting him behind bars.

    Watching Cady intimidate his enemies, dress in drag to sneak into their houses, and then kill anyone who gets in his way is bad enough, but it's the way he handles his arch rival's daughter that makes the audience's skin crawl. Cady tracks the teenage girl down to her school's theater before shoving his thumb in her mouth. It's not just a gross moment - it's truly and deeply disturbing.

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  • Out of all the gangsters in Reservoir Dogs, Mr. Blonde displays the most terrifying behavior. A career criminal who takes part in a diamond heist, he loses his cool and starts shooting people the moment it goes upside down. It's not his ability to indiscriminately kill that makes him such a scary character, though - it's the way he intimidates people.

    In the chaos of the robbery, Mr. Blonde kidnaps a cop and brings him back to the group's hideout. While the rest of the group is away, he ties up the officer and tortures him, but this isn't any old torture. He dances to "Stuck in the Middle with You" while pulling all kinds of smug faces. It's clear that he doesn't care at all about the person in front of him, and he just wants to show how cool he is before eventually killing this guy. The idea that someone like that could actually exist is terrifying.

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