Killers! Almost every horror movie has one but not all are as memorable as the method of their kills. From franchise favorites to indie maniacs, to make The Scariest Things’ list you need to have style, panache or a really high body count. Eric and Mike picked these notorious nasties as their favorites on Podcast episode number IX, and Liz threw in her top 3 to round out or top 10 list.
(1974, Tobe Hooper)
With someone’s face only a mother could love, Leatherface has been terrorizing teens in Texas for over 40 years. While he does the dirty work the rest of his family set the table, I mean stage, for torment and torture.
(1975, Dario Argento)
A score by Goblin, a psychedelic color palette and over the top gore are what make Deep Red, Profondo Rosso in italiano, a giallo masterpiece but it is the reveal of the black gloved killer that makes it memorable.
(1978, John Carpenter)
How could a list of favorite killers not include “the shape” himself, Michael Meyrs. With over 120 kills across 10 films (and counting) there’s a reason Halloween is the most terrifying holiday.
(1980, William Lustig)
Abused as a child by his prostitute mother, Frank Zito (Joe Spinell) turns New York City into his personal hunting ground where he murders and scalps his victims. This film oozes sleaze and provides an unforgettable killer.
(1984, Wes Craven)
The burned face, the razor glove, the hat and striped sweater make Freddy Kruger, the pedophile burned to death by the parents of Elm Street, a horror icon but it’s his over the top wisecracking kills that really set Freddy in a class of his own. Listen to Podcast Episode 9 for some of Eric’s favorite Freddy quotes!
(1991, Johnathan Demme)
“Hannibal the cannibal”, the brilliant psychiatrist created by Thomas Harris, loves the finer things in life- opera, tailored suits, gourmet food, fine wine…and murdering people then feasting on their flesh. The thing about Lecter is that while he’s the most memorable killer in the films and shows that contain his character he’s usually not the one causing all the mayhem! To date Lecter has been inhabited by four actors but is most famously portrayed by Anthony Hopkins in the Academy Award winning film The Silence of the Lambs.
(1995, David Fincher)
Whether you consider Se7en horror or not, we can all agree that Kevin Spacey’s John Doe was one awesome killer. Using the seven deadly sins as the template he terrorized detectives Somerset and Mills and had the world asking “what’s in the box”?!
(1996, Wes Craven)
In the mid 90’s a masked killer known as “Ghostface” terrorized Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), a high school “good girl” who’s mother was tragically murdered. A star studded love letter to slasher flicks and classic horror movie tropes, Scream launched another massive franchise for Craven.
9. Jigsaw- Saw
(2004, James Wan)
“I want to play a game”… In his directorial debut, now horror heavyweight James Wan introduced the word to the tiny tricycle riding puppet Jigsaw, a mouthpiece for the killer John Kramer who uses elaborate puzzles and traps to force his victims to reflect of their own flaws. While the quality of the Saw films has decreased the first film is incredibly original and creative with a twist even the savviest horror fan won’t see coming.
10. Pennywise- It
(2017, Andy Muschietti)
The evil alien entity most often seen in the form of Pennywise the Clown was created by master of horror Stephen King in his 1986 doorstop of a novel, It. Since then he has been ripping the arms off of children and haunting the dreams of adults from the sewers of Derry. Bill Skarsgard stepped into the giant clown shoes first worn by of legend Tim Curry in the made for TV adaptation of It and in a hot take by Eric amped up the creepy earning Skarsguard the place on our favorite killers list.
11. The Truck- Duel
(1971, Stephen Speilberg)
This was Mike’s number 4 choice in his Fearsome Foursome but after discussion it turns out the truck didn’t actually kill anyone so while it may not be eligible for the list of our favorite killers, it takes the crown as our number one threatener.