Horror's Most Depraved Villains, According To Reddit
Warning: The following characters are creepy, unhinged, and completely immoral. They are horror's most nefarious antagonists, according to Redditors.
There are horror villains who generate sympathy, and then there are the ones who are so beyond repair in terms of moral corruption and wickedness that it's legitimately disturbing. Inspired by the infected, bloodthirsty antagonists of the recent Taiwanese horror film The Sadness (now streaming on Shudder), users of the subreddit r/horror, known as "Dreadit" by subscribers, have compiled a thread of the most demented malefactors of the genre.
Creepy, unhinged, and completely unprincipled, these Redditors brought their opinions together to pinpoint their favorite genre's most depraved antagonists.
Freddy Krueger - A Nightmare On Elm Street
Freddy Krueger has devolved into a darkly-comedic character since his terrifying inception in A Nightmare on Elm Street. Embracing the campiness of its surreal premise, as well as Robert Englund's wickedly charismatic performance, the franchise steered away from its bleaker elements to depict Freddy as a mainstream-friendly icon with a nine-track LP entitled Freddy's Greatest Hits.
Despite the odd trend of portraying cinematic serial killers as lighthearted, Redditor u/Uncoolx2 points out that Freddy's victims are "are being taunted by a psychopath who is drinking their fear and agony like a giddy child." If taking sadistic joy in child murder wasn't enough, Craven originally wrote Freddy as a pedophile, an exploitative decision that was excised and then, unfortunately, reinstated for the 2010 reboot.
Martin - The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence)
To be more disturbed than Dr. Josef Heiter, the antagonist of the original Human Centipede is a feat that is as commendable as it is condemnable. Director Tom Six antes up his "medically inaccurate" meta-sequel with Martin, the living embodiment of toxic fandom.
While Martin may initially generate sympathy as a victim of domestic abuse, his perversions, inspired by the events of the first film, are nothing short of abhorrent. Along with surgically connecting his victims, he performs explicit acts with sandpaper and barbwire that are too gnarly to explain in full detail. Played disquietly by Laurence R. Harvey, Martin is non-verbal except for the few occasions when he laughs or moans in pleasure. Ick!
Jang Kyung-Chul - I Saw The Devil
Kim Jee-Woon's I Saw the Devil is an extreme South Korean revenge-thriller that will test the audience's endurance with an utterly despicable antagonist. Redditor u/moloch1636 is hard-pressed "to think of a villain more horrifyingly evil than Jang Kyung-Chul."
A serial killer and a rapist, Jang Kyung-Chul sets off a sinister chain of events that leads the protagonist, Soo-Hyun, down a path of degradation. Kyung-Chul proves to be an incessantly violent force, and with each instance of counter-revenge, the body count rises. Like a virus, his sickness infects others, awakening their most suppressed and primal instincts.
Captain Vidal - Pan's Labyrinth
Of all the monsters that inhabit the world of Pan's Labyrinth, no creature is quite as detestable as Ofelia's stepfather, the Falangist Captain Vidal. Users agree that while the presence of the Pale Man is, undoubtedly, nightmarish, the true horrors are conjured from within the human realm.
A fascist and a terrorist, Vidal does not seem conflicted but rather finds sick enjoyment in the war crimes he commits, including genocide and torture. There is nothing fantastical about this oppressive tormentor, for director Guillermo del Toro believes that humans "drive the terrifying truths," according to NBC. Even actor Sergi Lopez refuses to share sympathy for his character, claiming that there are no excuses for Vidal's heinous actions.
The Collector - The Collector
"The Collector is pretty f---ed up," says Redditor u/explosionmemer. For audiences who have witnessed both The Collector and The Collection, that might even read as an understatement.
Since The Collector was originally conceived as a prequel to the Saw series, the eponymous Collector and the Jigsaw Killer share commonalities. However, unlike John Kramer, the Collector likes to dirty his hands. Being the sole survivor of a familicide, the bondage-masked killer continues his deranged father's work with a museum of taxidermied humans that are stitched together to appear segmented like bugs. As an entomologist, the Collector seems to only share compassion for insects and arachnids, as he would much rather exterminate an entire club of ravers.
The Firefly Family - The Devil's Rejects
Grindhouse classics like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes inspired rock musician Rob Zombie to recapture the strange, gritty aesthetic of the '70s. In pastiching exploitation films of that era, he managed to spawn one of the most twisted families in the pantheon of killer kins.
Of the Firefly Trilogy, many refer to the second installment, The Devil's Rejects, as Zombie's nastiest work, which includes the notorious hotel assault that has been scarring viewers since its release in the summer of 2005. Redditor u/Accomplished_Ad6547 felt "very uncomfortable" during the stomach-turning moment in which a country musician is forced to wear the skin of her bandmate.
Jigsaw - Saw
For some, the radical philosophy of terminal cancer patient John Kramer aka "The Jigsaw Killer" is agreeable, to an extent. However, for many Redditors, he is still an ethically corrupt psychopath.
User u/MangoSchnitzel asks, "...who gives him [Jigsaw] the right to correct other people's perceived wrong-doings?" It would be one thing if Jigsaw targeted objectively foul criminals, but his victim selection process is, admittedly, skewed. His self-righteous pursuit to teach others the value of life is an understandable goal for a tragic villain, but strapping a shotgun collar around a woman's neck for not properly mourning the death of her child is far from justifiable.
Mick Taylor - Wolf Creek
From director Greg McLean, the Australian horror film Wolf Creek came along during a wave of torture-based horror films due to the success of the Saw franchise. From a post-9/11 society predominated by fear and xenophobia, Wolf Creek features a villain that often feels too real, making the terror he inflicts all the harder to shake.
On the surface, Mick Taylor is off-kilter but appears resourceful and genial enough to trust which keeps him eerily above suspicion. "Really creeps me out how he's able to switch between amiable outback bumpkin and cackling sadist in the blink of an eye," claims Redditor u/Rare-Bid-6860. Since Mick doesn't view himself in the wrong, even when toying with the helpless, he represents a radicalized nationalist perspective that feels relevant today.
Mason Verger - Red Dragon
Even one of the best movie villains of all time has a nemesis. According to user u/DudebroggieHouser, Mason Verger is "so sick and disgusting he makes Hannibal Lecter into the hero."
Lecter may be responsible for Verger's deformed appearance (played by Gary Oldman in heavy prosthetic makeup), but the former's cannibalistic tendencies are almost palatable in comparison to Verger's dining habits. Abusive, incestuous, and predatorial, the callous heir to the Verger meatpacking dynasty feasts on the tears of his young victims and uses them to flavor his martinis. Liver, fava beans, and a nice Chianti begin to sound more appetizing.
Art The Clown - Terrifier
Coulrophopbes beware! Featured in the Terrifier franchise, Art the Clown, has received a cult following in recent years for his histrionic unpleasantness.
Similar to Freddy Krueger and Pennywise, Art the Clown takes fiendish merriment in butchering his sufferers in the most awful ways imaginable, including a bisection that, according to Redditor u/trans_pands, is "one of the most brutal things I’ve ever seen in a movie." Thanks in part to David Howard Thornton's committed performance as the vile pantomime, Art's motivations are unclear, yet, his blood-stained grin is indicative of the gratification he derives from the grisly mutilations. Even self-proclaimed "gorehounds" will find themselves