What Makes a Successful Horror Villain?

So you think being a big scary guy with a knife is easy? Think again...

Paul Tamburroby Paul Tamburro

With Halloween just around the corner, we here at CRAVE ONLINE thought we'd analyse the scariest horror demons, monsters and mass murderers in order to work out what makes them so bloody terrifying. Here are our findings…

 

F***ed-Up Backstory

Never do you hear of a horror villain who had a perfectly pleasant suburban upbringing. Typically, horror villains become murderous serial killers because of abuse suffered in their childhood or, as is the case with Freddy Krueger in The Nightmare on Elm Street remake, because they're a bit pissed off that they can't be a paedophile anymore. No one would ever be afraid of a killer who was the product of a loving mother and father in the higher tax bracket, so a good horror movie villain needs a fucked up backstory.

 

Physically Repulsive

Aside from Norman Bates, no good horror movie villain Has ever been anything less than a sight for sore eyes because, as we all know, attractive people aren't scary (unless they're one of those painfully thin sub-humans from America's Next Top Model). For a horror villain to be successful they must be so physically repugnant that even the notion of copulating with them provokes your gag reflex.

 

Element of Mystery

Paranormal Activity 3 movie screenshot Blu-ray

We don't want to know what size our horror villains' jeans are, nor do we want to know who they want to win the X Factor. In fact, the less we know about them the better. A little mystery goes a long way with horror movie villains, which is one of the reasons why the Paranormal Activity series remains so successful despite its slow descent into mediocrity, as the audience has yet to see a clear image of the demonic antagonist (it's only a matter of time), meaning that it's still up to them to decide what kind of monstrosity is doing all the haunting.

 

A Little Imagination

Horror movies tend to be a bit… samey. All that running, stabbing and screaming can get a bit boring, y'know? This is why the best horror movie villains break from the mould and deliver something new. Take the evil demon Pazuzu from The Exorcist, for example. There aren't many other horror villains who could pull off a "Yo Mama" insult and still sound threatening, yet Pazuzu does so with ease, making you more afraid of a 12-year-old girl than you have been since that time you were asked to babysit your niece.

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