Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger, Leatherface, Chucky, Pinhead, The Tall Man: These are just a few of the most iconic horror villains of the late 20th Century. But who are the future icons of 21st Century horror? While a few new fiends have already achieved iconic status, there’s a scrappy class of up-and-comers clamoring to take their place in the pantheon of great baddies! Below, in no particular order, are the 21+ most promising horror villains of the 21st Century, so far. Watch out!
Leslie Vernon from Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)
Played by: Nathan Baesel
Leslie Vernon is the king of meta-horror, existing in a world where the genre’s most infamous slashers are real. Played to perfection by Nathan Baesel, fans have been begging for a sequel for a decade. A stinger in the closing credits left us believing Leslie’s legacy was only just beginning.
Victor Crowley from the Hatchet Trilogy (2006/2010/2013)
Played by: Kane Hodder
One of the most promising horror icons of the 21st Century is played by a bona-fide legend from past eras: Kane Hodder, the stuntman turned actor, is synonymous with Jason Voorhees, and now, he’s immortalized Victor Crowley from the Hatchet franchise. He’s a conglomeration of nightmare men from the 20th Century, yet still feels wholly original.
John Cramer/Jigsaw from the Saw Franchise (2004/2005/2006/2007/2008/2009/20010/TBA)
Played by: Tobin Bell
The last thing you want to hear this guy say is: “I’d like to play a game.” Jigsaw transcends your stereotypical slasher for both the moral compass that guides him, and the fact that he gives his victims a chance to survive—at a painful cost. The 8th chapter in the franchise, Legacy, will hit theaters before Halloween 2017. Not bad for a villain who’s been dead since Part 3.
William Bludworth/The Coroner from Final Destination Franchise (2000/2003/2011)
Played by: Tony Todd
William Bludworth aka The Coroner from the Final Destination franchise is Death’s suave right-hand-man, serving as both a harbinger and a collector of souls. He’s neither good nor evil, rather a neutral enforcer. The fact that he’s played by Tony Todd of Candyman fame certainly helps intensify The Coroner’s impact.
The Creeper from the Jeepers Creepers Trilogy (2001/2003/2017)
Played by: Jonathan Breck
Every 23 years, it gets to eat! The Creeper from Jeepers Creepers is one of the most original villains of the 21st or any century. Part of the fiend’s appeal is that we have no idea exactly what it is: A demon, a cryptid, the servant of a more nefarious master? Perhaps we’ll find out in 2017 when the 3rd (and most likely final) chapter is released.
Kayako and Toshio from the Ju-On Franchise (2000/2001/2003/2009/2014/2015/2016)
Played by: Takako Fuji and Yuya Ozeki (+Various)
The creepiest mother-son duo since Norman and Norma Bates is Kayako and Toshi from the Ju-On franchise in Japan; the same actors play the same characters in the American remakes that ran as The Grudge franchise. While the mother’s fury is chilling, nothing gets under my skill like Toshio’s meowing!
Viktor from the Underworld Franchise (2003/2006/2009/2012)
Played by: Bill Nighy
Bill Nighy’s Viktor is the most chilling character in the Underworld franchise; he’s an extremely powerful elder vampire who can transform into a giant bat. Viktor also demonstrates incredible style! Nighy’s portrayal is almost Shakespearean.
Three Fingers from the Wrong Turn Franchise (2003/2007/2009/2011/2012/2014)
Played by: Julian Richings, Jeff Scrutton, Borislav Iliev, Sean Skene, Blane Cypurda, Borislav Iliev, Radoslav Parvanov.
The inbred archer Three Fingers has been in all 6 chapters of the Wrong Turn franchise, although he’s never been played by the same actor twice. He’s known for his long white hair, his wicked cackle, and his toothy grim.
Mary Shaw from Dead Silence (2007)
Played by: Judith Roberts
Many of us who adored James Wan’s Dead Silence feel like we’re waiting for the rest of the world to realize what an awesome flick it really is. The stylized, dark fairy tale features the restless spirit of Mary Shaw (a female ventriloquist) and her possessed collection of dolls.
Josef from Creep
Played by: Mark Duplass
What makes Josef from Creep one of the most chilling horror villains of the 21st Century is that he looks completely normal; he’s a perfect example of the banality of evil. Characteristics that can be written off as eccentric prove to hide darker inclinations. Mark Duplass, who plays Josef and co-wrote and co-directed Creep, recently announced Part 2 of a proposed sequel is currently in production.
Babyface from The Hills Run Red (2009)
Played by: Danko Jordanov
Babyface is one of the most awesome and underrated horror villains of the 21st Century. I’ll never understand why the producers decided to release The Hills Run Red straight to DVD, as I think it would have been a hit with the Scream generation had it been seen in theaters. Babyface’s twisted sister Alexa is also a major force of evil and I’d love to see them both in either a sequel or a reboot.
Captain Spaulding from House of 1000 Corpses (2003) and The Devil’s Rejects (2005)
Played by: Sig Haig
Rob Zombie’s Capitan Spaulding is one of horror’s greatest evil clowns, a character who’s got a wicked sense of gallows’ humor and a murderous streak. Iconic horror actor Sid Haig has everything to do with the success of this character, bringing his unique personality and acting style to the role.
Mick Taylor from the Wolf Creek Franchise/TV Series (2005/2013/2016)
Played by: John Jarratt
Based in part on an actual outback murderer, Mick Taylor is unrivalled when it comes to iconic horror villains from Australia. Mick’s wicked humor is only surpassed by his capacity for evil; he’s a sexual sadistic of the most terrifying variety. In the Outback, there’s nowhere safe for you to run!
The Mountain Man from Cold Prey and Cold Prey 2 (2006/2008)
Played by: Rune Melby
The Cold Prey franchise out of Sweden is, hands down, the best slasher franchise of the 21st Century (so far). The hulking Mountain Man could be Michael Myers reincarnated: A mute brute with the mind of a child and an obsessive need to slaughter.
Esther from Orphan (2009)
Played by: Isabelle Fuhrman
Come on admit it, you loved Esther: The diminutive woman looking for love by pretending to be a pre-pubescent orphan. It doesn’t matter that the plot doesn’t make any sense; it’s just wicked fun watching Esther destroy an otherwise happy family. That accent made her sound like Dracula’s niece. She “died” of a broken neck at the end of Orphan, but isn’t that exactly the type of injury horror villains are especially quick to heal from?
The Pale Man from Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
Played by: Doug Jones
While Doug Jone’s Pale Man is only in one scene of Pan’s Labyrinth, it’s incredibly impactful; perhaps the most memorable moment of the entire film. The folds of fat and long black fingernails are just two of his most terrifying features.
Sam from Trick ‘r Treat (2007)
Played by: Quinn Lord
Sam is the very embodiment of the spirit of Halloween. His oversized globe of a head and orange pj’s represent the innocent side of the holiday, but don’t be fooled: There’s a powerful, mischievous demon beneath that mask!
Sack-Face, Dollface, and Pin-Up Girl in The Strangers (2008)
Played by: Kip Weeks, Gemma Ward, and Laura Margolis
The long awaited sequel to The Strangers will finally arrive in US theaters this December, and fans are anxious to know if the murderous trio from 2008’s original will be back for another slash-fest. Casting and production news has been tightly controlled, so it’s anybody’s guess. Actor Kip Week (who plays Sack-Face), however, recently posted pics on Facebook that may or may not be from that set. http://horrorfreaknews.com/first-pics-set-strangers-2/6039
Pyramid Head aka Red Pyramid from Silent Hill and Silent Hill: Revelation 3D (2006/2012)
Played by: Roberto Campanella
There’s something thoroughly fascinating about Pyramid Head from the Silent Hill movies. His very construction seems to defy the laws of physics; he appears almost like an ancient Roman deity. He’s designed to represent characters’ guilt and agony, while also serving as an enforcer of cosmic justice.
The Babadook from The Babadook (2014)
Played by: Tim Purcell
This manifestation of grief has an ageless aesthetic with his tall black “Jack the Ripper” style hat to match his dread black attire; he’s so dark he looks like he’s constructed out of shadow itself. The Babadook’s pale white face with its insane smile and yellow eyes is punishing!
Bughuul aka Mr. Boogie from Sinister and Sinister 2 (2012/2013)
Played by: Nicholas King
The pre-Christian menace Bughuul (the one the kids all call “Mr. Boogie”) has the look of a modern rock star with his jet-black hair and smart suits. In fact, he’d fit in perfectly with the boys from Slipknot. Instantly chilling, he’s the kind of original, compelling bad guy horror fans love. I’m excited to see where the Sinister franchise goes next.
Who are your favorite 21st Century horror villains? Did your favorites make the list? Are there any entries that you disagree with? Sound off in the Comments section!