The 30 cruelest horror movie villains. They will find you...

Movie villains range from the iconic to the psychotic. Some are billionaire evil genius', others are night-stalking killers in search of a victim to murderize in the most gruesome way possible. The following list of characters very much falls into the latter category. What follows is a list of not necessarily the most famous or most evil villains, but the cruelest - the ones who leave mental scars as well as physical ones.

Jason Voorhees - Friday The 13th Part 2 (1981)

The Cruel Villain: Now that mommie dearest is dead, Jason Voorhees has free reign to bludgeon, bash and bloody the counsellors at a training centre near Crystal Lake. And he does so while wearing a creepy sack over his head. Note: this is before he nabbed the iconic hockey mask.

Nastiest Moment: Jason proves nobody’s safe when he kills wheelchair-bound teen Mark by burying a machete in his face – and then sending him tumbling down a huge flight of steps. In the rain. Really, does it get any worse?

Killer Quote: “Ki-ki-ki ha-ha-ha…”

Creature - It Follows (2014)

The Cruel Villain: A shapeless, faceless entity of merciless, relentless death, the monster in It Follows can look like anyone, at any time. Spread like a virus (it's effectively the worst STD ever), the only thing that's certain is that it will slowly but unfailingly pursue its current target without rest, until it catches up with them (could take days, could take long, emotionally tortured months) and delivers a horrifically violent death. It also has a habit of deliberately looking like people its victims care about, just to screw them up.

Nastiest Moment: The film is full of them. Every appearance of the thing is horrendously unsettling. But the stark opening sequence, featuring a worn-out pursuee trying to hole up on a beach, is a staggering example of the monster's ferocity. 

Killer Quote: None, really. It's more the 'actions speak louder than words' type. But that mystique just makes it all the more terrifying.  

Billy - Black Christmas (1974)

The Cruel Villain: This guy’s particularly creepy, mostly because we never actually discover his real identity. All we know about ‘Billy’ is that he’s living in the attic of a Canadian sorority house – and one by one, he’s picking off the sisters. You want cruel? Just listen in on his rambling, insane phone calls…

Nastiest Moment: Billy’s first victim is Claire Harrison (Lynne Griffin), whom he suffocates using a plastic bag. Then he pops her in a rocking chair in the attic, where she’s basically in full view of the street and spends the rest of the film taunting the sisters as they try to track her down.

Killer Quote: [ singing down the phone ] “Little baby bunting/Daddy's went a-hunting/Gonna fetch a rabbit skin to wrap his baby Agnes in.”

Norman Bates - Psycho (1960)

The Cruel Villain: The proprietor of the Bates Motel, Norman (Anthony Perkins) loves stuffed animals – and spying on his female guests. Not only that, in his fractured psyche, Norman is also his dead mother, dressing up in her clothes and murdering the women her naughty son oggles. And Mama Bates is awfully mean to her poor boy.

Nastiest Moment: Clearly, cornering Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) in the shower and then stabbing her repeatedly with a butcher’s knife.

Killer Quote: “We all go a little mad sometimes.”

The Miner - My Bloody Valentine (2009)

The Cruel Villain: A slasher killer who targets people on Valentine’s Day (now that is cruel), the Miner goes around in, yup, a miner’s outfit, wielding a massive pickaxe as his (or her) weapon. Could it be the vengeful spirit of a dead miner?

Nastiest Moment: The Miner kills a prostitute – and the owner of the motel where she’s been entertaining a customer. It’s one of the craziest scenes we’ve ever seen in a horror movie (and we’ve seen a lot of horror movies).

Killer Quote: “Be Mine 4 Ever…”

Cropsy - The Burning (1981)

The Cruel Villain: Originally the caretaker at Camp Blackfoot, Cropsy falls prey to a prank gone wrong and is left severely burned. Five years later, he heads back to camp to get revenge on the campers while wielding a massive pair of garden shears.

Nastiest Moment: Having just been released from hospital, Cropsy takes out his rage on a prostitute, strangling her and then stabbing her with a pair of scissors.

Killer Quote: [ Counselor on Cropsy ] “They never found his body, but they say his spirit lives in the forest. This forest. A maniac, a thing no longer human. They say he lives on whatever he can catch…”

Michael Myers - Halloween (1978)

The Cruel Villain: Otherwise known as The Shape, Michael Myers butchered his sister when he was a kid. Now it’s Halloween again, and he’s got his beady black eyes on a trio of babysitters in Haddonfield, among them Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis).

Nastiest Moment: Myers got nastier as the franchise went on, but his meanest moment in John Carpenter’s haunting original is strangling poor old Annie (Nancy Kyes) in the car. She came so close to escaping…

Killer Quote: [in lieu of speaking, Myers likes to stab, stab, stab]

Reno - The Driller Killer (1979)

The Cruel Villain: A psychopath who suffers from hallucinations, Reno also has an obsession with drills, which he uses to take down anybody who pisses him off. That includes any guy who puts a wedge between himself and lover Carol. The thing about drilling somebody to death? It takes a while…

Nastiest Moment: Reno discovers a homeless person sleeping in an abandoned diner and kills him by putting a drill to his chest.

Killer Quote: “I'll tell you when it's going to be done...”

Ann - Happy Birthday To Me (1981)

The Cruel Villain: A psychopath with a giant grudge, Ann’s jealousy of her step-sister Ginny prompts her to kill all of Ginny’s friends in slash-happy ways. Even worse, she attempts to pin the crimes on Ginny…

Nastiest Moment: Assembling the most horrific birthday party you could ever imagine, seating all 10 of her victims around a table in anticipation of the arrival of birthday girl Ginny.

Killer Quote: “Happy birthday to me. Happy birthday to me. Happy birthday dear Ginny. Happy birthday to me.”

Cannibals - The Hills Have Eyes (1977)

The Cruel Villains: A deformed family of flesh-munchers living in the Nevada desert, these murderous loons prey on travellers who come through the desert. Among them are Papa Jupiter (James Whitworth) and his kids Mars (Lance Gordon), Pluto (Michael Berryman) and Mercury (Arthur King).

Nastiest Moment: Jupiter kidnaps Bob and ties him to a stake before setting him on fire…

Killer Quote: “Baby's fat. You fat... fat and juicy.”

Josh Winning has worn a lot of hats over the years. Contributing Editor at Total Film, writer for SFX, and senior film writer at the Radio Times. Josh has also penned a novel about mysteries and monsters, is the co-host of a movie podcast, and has a library of pretty phenomenal stories from visiting some of the biggest TV and film sets in the world. He would also like you to know that he "lives for cat videos..." Don't we all, Josh. Don't we all.