A compelling story is always important, but if a movie doesn’t have engaging hero and an effective villain, it can be quite difficult to have a lasting impact. A suspenseful confrontation between a protagonist and their nemesis is electric when done well, and often the stories are reduced to the final conflict between their opposing forces.
Movies need a hero they want to cheer on, but it’s not uncommon for the the villain leaves an even greater impact on audiences. Sometimes these villains even get their own movies because they overshadowed the hero’s popularity.
ten Freddy Krueger haunts dreams and arms the subconscious
the Nightmare on Elm Street The horror franchise remains one of the most prolific slasher series of all time. It’s fair to say that in most slasher series it’s the hulking monster that’s the most popular character, but Freddy Krueger’s Morbid Means of Execution and his sly sense of humor give him a bolder personality than Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers. the Elm Street movies have had recurring characters and ending girls, but Freddy is in a league of his own and is iconic of surreal slasher movies. He even had his own music videos and a hotline.
9 Hannibal Lecter is an evil genius with a twisted appetite
Anthony Hopkins makes a strong impression in Jonathan Demme Thesilenceofthelambs (1991) like Hannibal Lecter that it’s easy to forget he’s only in the two-hour movie for 24 minutes. Less is more with Lecter, as audiences learn, but this brilliant killer’s charm is hard to deny. Public fascination with Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter reached such a fever pitch that author Thomas Harris was driven to write Hannibal-centric novels that reveal the characters’ backstories, which were soon turned into feature films. The success of by Bryan Fuller Hannibal series only reignited the public’s passion for this iconic character.
8 Norman Bates is proof that we all get a little crazy sometimes
by Alfred Hitchcock psychology (1960) continually subverts expectations, and it takes the film a while to properly reveal who the main character is. Certainly, Norman Bates is Psychosis villainous, but in some ways he’s just as much a victim as the people he attacks at his motel.
Bates’ erratic mental state puts him in a constant state of war with himself and lost in permanent psychosis. Norman is a tragic and complex character study, which is exactly why Psychosis later sequels make him the main character who must live in fear of whether his dark urges will arise again.
7 Pennywise represents everyone’s greatest fears and gives all clowns a bad name
Stephen King is responsible for dozens of iconic villains, everyone and everything from Cujo to Annie Wilkes, but Pennywise the Dancing Clown is a haunting figure which is hard to beat. Every take on Pennywise has been disturbing, but Bill Skarsgård’s take on the nightmarish shapeshifter in Andy Muschietti’s two-part modern film THIS (2017 and 2019, respectively) cinema is on a whole other level. Skarsgård brings a certain innocence to Pennywise that makes his evil even more vile. Both THIS the movies have stacked casts, but Pennywise is what sticks with audiences long after the credits roll.
6 Darth Vader has an iconic design that amplifies his evil
Star Wars’ Darth Vader is one of the greatest movie characters of all time. The villain has been parodied countless times and even those with no knowledge of star wars are still familiar with the Sith Lord. Darth Vader Is At His Scariest In George Lucas’ Original star wars trilogy where it is largely left as a menacing mystery. The goal of Lucas’ Prequel Trilogy was to explain Vader’s backstory and building empathy for the conflicted Anakin Skywalker. It’s still rewarding storytelling that speaks to Vader’s popularity, but he’s strongest as a villain in his earliest appearances.
5 Jigsaw makes sure there’s always a method to his madness
There are nine films across the chart Seen horror franchise and they owe much of their success to Jigsaw’s twisted psychology that powers its trappings.
Jigsaw, also known as John Kramer, perished at the end of Saw III, but its teachings continue to lead to frequent imitators. John Kramer stands out the most among the many Jigsaw Killers because he actually wants to bring about an improvement in his victims and there are ways to win his matches, even if it’s not going to be pretty.
4 Anton Chigurh is a conduit of justice in an unbalanced world
The Coen brothers are responsible for dozens of classics pieces of cinema. There are consistent hits throughout each chapter of the Coens’ career, but There is no country for old people (2007) was a breakout picture that portrayed the directors at their darkest. Each element of There is no country for old people contributes to its dark themes, but the real centerpiece is Javier Bardem’s provocative performance as Anton Chigurh. It’s such an unconventional approach from an antagonist, but the methodical calm he brings to Chigurh makes him even more intimidating and unpredictable.
3 The Predator is a precision hunter who loves a good challenge
the Predator the franchise might not be viewed with the same respect as aliens, but there is a dedicated fanbase, and if nothing else, the design of the titular alien hunter is some of Stan Winston’s finest work. aliens Xenomorph is terrifying in its own way, but Predator Yautja Race has a lot more personality. The idea that these aliens are skilled hunters makes them even scarier. Extraterrestrial has the guideline of returning protagonist Ellen Ripley to keep them going, but Predator the heroes don’t have the same impact – even if Arnold Schwarzenegger is in the carnage.
2 Hans Landa is awfully charming as a ruthless killer
Quentin Tarantino is a filmmaker whose characters often occupy shades of gray (to say the least) and his most entertaining characters tend to be the most despicable. Inglourious Basterds kicks off the filmmaker’s close relationship with Christoph Waltz, who has become one of Tarantino’s Most Regular Performers. Waltz plays the film’s villain Hans Landa, a cold and calculating SS officer, but his charismatic work in the role won him an Oscar. The public is rooting for Inglourious Basterds heroes, but it’s much harder to remember the names of Shosanna Dreyfus and Aldo Raine, when Hans Landa immediately comes to mind.
1 The Joker is a dark figure who has inspired gripping performances
It’s become somewhat fashionable for comic book villains to get their own standalone movies analyzing their frayed mental states regardless of the superhero they’re frequently pitted against. DC’s Joker became the most successful version of that. Batman is a fantasy superhero, but he’s considerably more understated than the manic heights the Joker plays in. Jack Nicholson and Representations of Heath Ledger’s Joker are still talked about today and had a bigger impact than their corresponding Batmen.
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