Posts Tagged ‘villains’

Today I wanted to talk about something that is becoming much more common in fiction these days, and that’s the twist villain. If you’re unfamiliar, a twist villain is when one character in a story seems to be the villain, but later on it’s revealed that another character, usually a character we thought was a good guy, is actually the villain. This twist villain is supposed to be a surprise, something you didn’t see coming while reading the story. Hence the name “twist villain.” The problem is, the twist villain is becoming such a common trope these days. In the past couple years, we’ve seen it in Disney films like Zootopia and Frozen; popular novels like Gone Girl and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban; a couple of recent superhero films; and more than I can possibly name in this blog post. And when so many works of fiction are using the twist villain, we become used to not only seeing the trope but also the signs that a twist villain is going to be used (and trust me, there are signs), and then when we see the twist villain, we’re not very surprised. Heck, sometimes we even predict who the villain is well before it’s revealed.

Why is this trope becoming so popular? Simple: people want a good story. Good stories produce good memories and good profits. As standard stories of good vs. evil have been done to death, creators need to think of new stories and story elements to keep consumers interested in their work. One way to do that is a third-act twist, which when done right can really enhance a story. And a twist villain can be a very good third-act twist, if you’re careful with it.

Sadly, I find that a lot of creators aren’t careful with their twist villains, making the twist ineffective when it happens. Which is sad, because I love the idea of a twist villain. Heck, it’s one I might use in the future, if I haven’t used it already. A good twist villain can make your mind reel, make you look back trough a story to see if there were any clues and make you marvel at the genius of the creators for setting up that twist so well.

A bad twist villain, on the other hand, just leaves you feeling neutral at best (my reaction during Zootopia) and disappointed at worst (my reaction looking back on Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed). Which is why I’ve come up with a few tips for writing an effective twist villain. With any luck, these tips will help other authors (and myself) avoid making a bad twist villain.

1. Does your story really need a twist villain? Any time you want to include something in a story, ask yourself if it’s really needed. I swear, so many stories just add in elements that aren’t needed (*cough* lots of stuff from BvS *cough*). Ask yourself if your story can stand on its own without any of the extra elements. If it doesn’t, DON’T FORCE IT IN! Especially with twist villains.

2. If you’re going to leave clues behind, don’t make them obvious. You can have a twist villain without leaving a trail (Hans from Frozen, for example), but with twist villains, creators often like to leave little hints of who the real villain is. I think this is narcissism on our part; we like to show how clever we are. But that leads to us leaving some rather obvious clues, which our readers/viewers will pick up on and deduce the twist long before the twist occurs. Take Scooby-Doo 2: it was so obvious that the reporter was the villain! Why else would they include a reporter with poor ethical practices unless she was at least in league with the villains?

3. Have a good herring villain. A herring villain is just that: a herring to keep us off the real villain. In Frozen, the herring villain was the Duke of Weselton. He had obvious malicious goals, is willing to kill Elsa, and he was over-the-top, which felt right for a villain in this movie. Imagine our surprise when we find out he’s not the true villain, but Hans, who had no trail leading to him and was such a nice guy up till that reveal! A good herring villain will often lead to a great twist villain reveal.

Compare that to Zootopia or Wonder Woman: the former doesn’t give us a herring villain, which causes us to consider each character and eventually land on Ms. Bellwether, who has said some interesting things and has actually benefited from these events. The latter gives us a herring villain, but it’s a comic book movie, and the General doesn’t do a thing to make us think he’s a famous DC villain we’re very sure will make an appearance.

In short, have a herring villain, and make sure they’re set up in a way where people will actually consider them as the main villain, so the twist will actually be effective. To do that, be aware of what sort of story you’re writing. Often the story will have certain requirements for villains (motive, opportunity, etc), so make it seem like the herring villain has those. You’ll find your herring villain much more effective.

4. Do the reveal earlier than the third act. A lot of twist villains reveal themselves in the third act. Nothing wrong with this, but it’d also work if the reveal was done earlier. For example, Hydra was revealed as the villain in Captain America: Winter Soldier in the second act, and that was a really interesting twist, as we hadn’t expected it. If they’d done it later in the story, we might have actually figured it out by then, or there wouldn’t be enough time for exposition mixed with a great climax. So consider doing the reveal elsewhere.

5. Try a variation on the trope. The twist villain, like most tropes, has a standard formula: something happens, one character seems like the villain, but another character is revealed at the third act to be the villain and why. Oh, and it’s usually not the protagonist.

Variations on common tropes have proven to be very effective in storytelling, so try something a little different with the twist villain, like these examples below:

  • It’s a villain, but which one? In Doctor Who series 8, we’re introduced to a character named Missy, who seems likely to be a villain, but we’re not sure what her deal is if she is. In the second-to-last episode, she explains that Missy is short for Mistress, making her a female regeneration of the Master, a well-known DW villain. A lot of minds were blown that day, believe me. The idea is you can introduce a seemingly new character into a long-running story, and then link them back to a previously-established character. Trust me, it works.
  • Everyone’s the villain! Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express ends with every suspect actually having some sort of hand in the murder. It made the novel a sensation back in the day, because it was a seemingly impossible idea, but it worked. So try something impossible and make it possible: everyone’s a villain, no ones’ the villain, or even two very good suspects with alibis both committed the murder. It could work.
  • The hero? American Horror Story: Hotel is my favorite season of the series, and this twist is one reason why. The protagonist, a police detective, is on the hunt for a serial killer, only to find out in the second half of the season that he’s the killer! Trust me, I did not see that coming until the reveal episode, and only by a few minutes! So making a hero or a character who nobody thinks of as a possible villain the villain can work very well.

And these are just some examples of variations that have worked in the past.

Twist villains are a trope that won’t go away anytime soon, but as long as we have them, we should write them as well as we write any other type of character or trope. Because if we’re not going to give people our best, then what are we actually giving them?

What are your thoughts on twist villains? What are some good tips for writing them well?

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There’s been a battle raging among horror fans and horror writers for years. A fierce battle with all the monsters, deaths, and mysterious disappearances that one can expect from such a group. This battle is played out in bookstores and on bestseller lists, in interviews with magazines and television hosts, and even on message boards (because this is the age of the Internet, so why not?). The debate is: which is better, horror stories where the supernatural is the cause, or where humans are the cause?

Surprise to say, this is an actual debate among fans of horror. What makes for a scarier story, one where the horror is caused by something supernatural, or when it is caused by a human like you or me?* Or perhaps some combination of the two? Each side has their own pros and cons, and depending on which you prefer, can have a huge influence on what you tend to read and, if you’re a creator, what you put out in the world. Authors themselves tend to deal in both kinds, but if you observe an author long enough, you start to notice their preferences. HP Lovecraft and Anne Rice seem to go more for horror, while Jack Ketchum likes human horror. His Royal Scariness Stephen King has a lot of supernatural forces in his work, but there’s definitely a partiality towards human-based horror. One needs only read Misery to see that. Even in his more supernatural stories, there are usually human characters who are only to happy to cause pain and death, whether of their own volition (Carrie’s mother and Chris Hargensen in Carrie) or under the influence of a much more powerful force (Henry Bowers and Tom Rogan in It).

A great example of supernatural horror.

So is there a better source for horror? Let’s take a look, starting with supernatural-based horror. Honestly, this one’s easy to explain the appeal: whether it’s been called Satan, Lilith, dark faeries, demons, yokai, or a hundred other names, humanity has been scared of some possible other out in the universe. Something greater than human beings, possibly very malevolent, and ultimately difficult to understand. The only way to survive is to run, placate the monster, or find some way to fight back, and the last one often comes at a high death toll. There’s also greater room for imagination with supernatural stories. You can take forces right out of mythology, use them as they’re typically portrayed, or change up their mythologies. Sometimes you even come up with original creatures, like Stephen King’s Langoliers or the entity formerly known as It. There’s a lot of freedom and potential in supernatural based horror.

On the other hand, there’s a chance that you can fall into a trap of relying too much on a mythical creature’s established mythology. And if you try to create something original, you find it’s extremely difficult to do so. Not only that, but with something non-human, there’s the risk that, unlike a human villain, the reader will have difficulty connecting with them. Some readers really enjoy connecting with villains, which in this instance makes Cthulhu a bad villain choice.

My own human-based horror.

Human-based horror, on the other hand, is a lot more personal, and very true to life. Despite our lofty ideals of goodness and perfection, one needs only look at the news to know that humanity is capable of dark thoughts and acts.  Human-based horror taps into that, delving deep into what humanity is capable of without a supernatural cause or encouragement, as well as how characters and we the audience react to it. It’s a powerful, visceral way to tell a story, and is often quite effective at scaring us with not only the acts of the characters, but at what we ourselves are capable of.

And that unfortunately is also the con of human-based horror. No one likes to be exposed to their darkness or flaws, and this form of horror gets deep into those. Which for some readers can be more disturbing than they would like. Hell, for some writers it’s more disturbing than they would like, sending them to parts of their imaginations they would rather leave alone. And exposure to this sort of horror can not only leave readers scared, but depressed. I’ve written before about how the escape into imaginary horrors can be therapeutic, and sometimes people prefer an escape that doesn’t remind them of the reality they’re escaping. Or as someone from one of my writer’s groups put it, “If I wanted human horror, I’d put on CNN.”

So which is better? Well, I say neither. Like I’ve just shown, both have their pros and cons, as well as their supporters and detractors. Personally, I (and most of the members of one of my writers’ groups) prefer supernatural horror, but we all agree that the occasional jaunt into human-based horror and vice versa are great. Hell, one of my novels, Snake, is human-based horror, and it’s one of my favorite stories.  So in the end, whichever you prefer to read or write, make sure to every now and then dip into the other so as to better appreciate both once you dip out again. And if you write, whatever you write, remember to keep practicing both types, so that someday you can write it well.

What’s your take on this debate? Which is your favorite?

*Still debatable if I count as human, though.

(The following post may contain spoilers for certain TV shows and movies. Be warned before going in)

It’s that time of year again. I’m counting down the Top 10 villains that have seriously impressed me over the past year. I’ve been doing this for the past three years, and now I’m on the fourth year, so I’m very excited. Anyway, this year I had a hard time choosing villains for this list. Not because there were so many great villains (though there are plenty of those), but mostly because the villains felt slightly lackluster this year. Only a few really stood out this year for me. Not sure why, but it is what it is. Maybe this coming year, we’ll see some much better villains (especially with some creepy horror games coming out this year and all that).

So without further ado, let’s jump into the first half of these villains. Remember, I’m not including any villains of my own creation (that’s cheating) or any real-life people (otherwise Donald Trump would head the list, the giant orange zit!). These are fictional villains, and they’re the cream of the crop.

Also make sure to check out the lists from 2015 (Parts 1 & 2), 2014 (1 & 2), and 2013 (1 & 2) and see which villains made the list those years.

Let’s begin.

10. Lex Luthor Jr. (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice)

A lot of people had some mixed feelings about this movie, and more than a few hated this rendition of Superman’s arch-nemesis, played by Jesse Eisenberg. However, I personally enjoyed this film, and I enjoyed watching Eisenberg play this version of Luthor. For me, he felt like a villain I would create: rich, intelligent, but psychotic and willing to go to great lengths to reach his goals, including creating great and terrifying monsters. Perhaps this villain being Lex Luthor might not have been Zack Snyder’s best choice, and perhaps his goals were a little convoluted, but he was still fun for me, and I feel he should be on this list.

9. The Pale Man/Edgar Mullens (Haunter)

This movie came out in 2013, but I only saw it this past month, and IT SCARED ME! And the villain, the Pale Man/Edgar Mullens, played by Stephen McHattie of Pontypool fame, was a big part of it. A serial killer who died in old age and continues to kill in the afterlife, he enjoys keeping the souls of his victims trapped and repeating their final days on this Earth until he kills him. His soft, silky confident voice and that chilling but pleasant smile, that casual manner he shows at nearly every moment, make him so terrifying to be watch. And when you find out the full extent of his crimes, it’ even worse.

Haunter‘s definitely worth a viewing, and this guy’s definitely worth hiding behind the couch from.

8. Jim Jacobs (The Veil)

Based on Jim Jones of Jonestown infamy, Jim Jacobs and his ghostly followers are the antagonists of Netflix’s horrifying creation The Veil. A preacher who believed it was possible to free oneself from the cycle of life and death, he had a very radical interpretation of theology that actually turned out to be true, but before he and his followers could free themselves, the local authorities interfered, leading to the deaths of everyone involved. Now their ghosts wait, and watch, and hope for the day when they can finish their work.

What’s even freakier about this guy is not only is he able to deliver on his promises (that’s a first), but that you actually like him! Yeah, even as he scares you, you find yourself liking him. Not hard to imagine why though: he looks like John Lennon, has a pleasant voice with a Southern accent, and he makes it sound like everything will be alright, even if everything you’re watching is horrifying!

But what really clinches the deal is how he closes out the movie. I won’t give it away here, but he has this really triumphant moment, talking about how his people will now usher in a new era in humanity’s history, and then in the same tone of voice, remarks on the day’s weather! And it closes out the film so well.

If you’re at home and you want a good scare, join Jim Jacobs for a service. You will become a believer!

7. The Nightcomers (Penny Dreadful)

When is the third season hitting Netflix? Anyway, second season’s villains, the Nightcomers, are freaky to behold. Witches who are in league with the devil, they are a family coven who are out to do harm to the show’s protagonist, Vanessa Ives. They are led by Evelyn Poole, a woman who sold her soul simply to be beautiful (you know, that old chestnut), and her daughter Hecate, who has her own agenda in this Apocalypse-bringing cult.

What’s scariest about them though is not just their magic and their allegiance to the devil, but their true forms: hairless women with big, gaping holes in their bodies, like a monster slashed them wide open but didn’t kill them. I would not want to meet them in a back alley, no matter what era it was.

6. Piper Shaw (Scream TV Series)

I don’t know how many of you have watched the TV series reboot of the 1996 slasher cult classic, but Scream is a very solid TV series (loving Season 2, by the way), and has done better than anyone ever expected (even me, who thought the first episode was completely silly the first time I saw it). And the woman behind the mask in the first season, Piper Shaw, is a force to be reckoned with.

A reporter for a true-crime podcast, she arrives in town to cover the murders taking place, and befriends a few of the main characters, including protagonist Emma Duvall. However, it’s revealed in the last episode that she’s the killer, which I did not see coming, and that she has a very good reason for becoming a serial killer (not that there’s ever a good reason, but you get my point). What makes her a great villain though, is how she manages to insinuate into the characters’ lives, become someone they can count on as an ally, and then when she reveals herself in the last episode, it is such a shock.

I don’t know how the rest of the series will do, but Piper Shaw is part of why the first season was such a success, and I encourage you to check out the show if you haven’t already.

 

That’s all for now. I’ll post #5-1 when I get the chance. Until then, what do you think of the villains on the list this year so far? Any you would have included? Let’s discuss, Followers of Fear.

2014: 10-6, 5-1
2013: 10-6, 5-1

It’s that time of year again! When I list the top villains who have scared and/or impressed me over the past year. And this time around we’ve got some pretty interesting and unexpected entries on this list. So let’s dive into the first half of the list and see who was the baddest of bad guys this year! Remember, these villains must be fictional and they can’t be any of mine (otherwise it’d just be me plugging my books, and this isn’t where I want to do that).

Honorable mention goes to Dandy Mott from American Horror Story: Freak Show. That guy was a psychotic man-child with a love for attention and a greater love of killing. I’m looking forward to what his actor will be up to next season.

10. The Mummy/The Boneless (Doctor Who)

Yes we have a tie for entry #10! And both from the same show, well done. Appearing in the episodes Mummy on the Orient Express and Flatline, these creatures are scary and mysterious and their spots are well deserved. First, let’s start with The Mummy: an ancient warrior from a long-ago war, the Mummy has since become a legend, a moving skeleton wrapped in bandages who can only be seen by those it targets. They then have 66 seconds to live, during which the Mummy will get them. And kill them. It is a very creepy creature, and the Doctor was only just able to stop it, making Mummy on the Orient Express my favorite episode of that season.

The Boneless, as the Doctor names the species, is a 2-D alien species from another dimension who invade our world with the intention of taking over and becoming three-dimensional as well. The moment they or their energies touches anything, it’s as good as two-dimensional and (if it’s living) it’s dead. Heck, the Doctor nearly dies facing them, which goes to show how much of a force they are to be reckoned with. These unfathomable monsters are simply amazing and terrifying to watch, which is why they go alongside the Mummy to earn the Number 10 spot.

9. Missy/The Mistress (Doctor Who)

Another DW villain, and definitely one of the most lovably bad! If you’re unfamiliar with the show, Missy is the female version of the Master, one of the Doctor’s oldest and greatest enemies (yeah, characters on this show can change their genders). Watching from the shadows, she only reveals herself at the end with a plan to convert the world’s dead into Cybermen and then give the Army to the Doctor. Why? Because she wants to see if she can make him as bad as her! I know, crazy right? But that’s Missy’s charm: she’s playfully mad and wants nothing more than to rope her best friend into some crazy fun scheme, and will do anything bad to get her way. Plus she has an awesome theme song, which makes her spot at Number 9 well deserved.

Okay, I said something nice Missy, please don’t kill me, okay?!

8. Kim Jung-Un (The Interview)

I know, I said fictional villains, but this is a fictional version of the character, so I think I can make an exception. Plus he’s just so funny! In this controversial and provocative movie, Kim Jung-un at firsts comes off as a shy and sweet guy who had a lot of responsibility thrust upon him at a young age and occasionally just wants to rock out to some Katy Perry in a Russian tank. However as you get to know him, you realize that he’s about as nice as sulfuric acid, and that he’s actually quite the sociopathic tyrant. Seeing him go from a crying wreck to having a tantrum to trying to murder the world and then get blown up is well worth watching, and secures his place at Number 8 on the list. So North Korea, please don’t hack me, okay? There are some things the world is not ready to learn about me!

7. The Babadook (The Babadook)

If it’s in a word it’s in a look, you can’t get rid of the Babadook. Thus starts the picture book out of Hell, as depicted in this creepy Australian indie. The Babadook is a terrifying reimagining of the boogeyman, a creature that wears a top hat and sticks to the shadow, stalking its victims until it drives them mad and kills them dead. When it sets its eyes on struggling single mom Amelia and her behaviorally-challenged son Samuel, you’ll experience ninety-four minutes of pure terror! And the freakiest part of it is, you can’t tell if the Babadook is a real monster or if it’s all in the heads of the characters! Even all this time later I still can’t tell! Yikes!

6. The Creature (It Follows)

The writer/director of this creepy gem said he based the story on nightmares he had as a child. Indeed, the Creature is nightmarish. Only seen by those affected by the curse and able to take any form, the Creature delivers a promise: that no matter how long it takes, no matter how far you go, it’ll follow you. It will find you. And it will kill you, one way or another. And this promise is delivered to everyone affected by the curse, going from the latest victim and heading down the line to the beginning of the curse. We don’t know why, but to say the least, the how of it is enough to make us all stay away from one night stands forever.

 

Like the list? Have any thoughts? Let me know in the comments! And join me for the Top 5 later on, when we’ll see who 2015’s Baddest of the Bad are! Until next time!

It goes without saying, I love villains. They’re often the most memorable part of a story or among the most memorable parts. Everyone recognizes the killer clown from Stephen King’s IT or Dr. Lecter tied up and wearing a mask in Silence of the Lambs. And in certain musicals, when they have a song about the villain, it can become the best part of the entire show. In fact, in some cases it’s the only good part of some musicals.

I guess I’m a little obsessed with villain songs, particularly “In the Dark of the Night” from the movie Anastasia (perhaps the only good part of an expensive Disney rip-off) and “Be Prepared” from The Lion King. I’ve even written my own villain song about me as a horror writer called “Eater of Fear” (boy, would I love to get that thing produced into an actual musical track) and I came up with an idea for a short story involving a villain song. And I’m not the only one. You’ll find plenty of people who like villain songs and even create lists for them (you can find examples of other people’s lists here, here, and here).

What’s with the love of villain songs? Well, I can think of several reasons. One is that everyone likes a catchy song. It’s part of the reason why we can’t get some of Taylor Swift or Carly Rae Jepsen’s songs out of our heads sometimes (I’ve been there more than once). Villain songs are among the catchiest because they are often used to explain the plans or motivations of the villains, so a lot of thought is put into making the lyrics and tune exciting while explaining these plans/motivations. It’s a lot more fun than you’re average monologue about the villain’s plans or beliefs, right? Nobody downloads those on their iPods!

Tell me you weren’t wiggling a little in your seat when Dr. Facilier started doing this fun little song and dance.

 

Another reason is that–and this is my own opinion, but I think it has merit–most people want to indulge in their dark side every now and then, they want to have a little fun being evil. How many times have we wished we could get revenge on our bosses or on that nasty kid on the playground? Probably a lot, but we don’t because most of us are good people who would never do something so horrid or we’re afraid of the consequences. A villain song is a sort of trip to the dark side. You get to indulge in being bad and have fun singing about it. And when the song is over, what’s the worst that comes back to haunt you? Maybe someone sees you singing and goes to warn somebody else, but that might be it. Usually, the song ends and we move onto the next part of the story.

In addition, villain songs are packed with dark visuals. Even non-fans of horror like the dark and the creepy every now and then, they just don’t like being assaulted with it in the books or movies or shows they read or watch. No, they prefer to dip their toes, and a villain song is a perfect way to do it. If you’ve ever watched “Hellfire” from The Hunchback of Notre Dame or “Be Prepared”, you know they’ve got some arresting visuals. The former has some freaky Gothic and hellish imagery, the latter has freaking Nazi hyenas marching in front of Fuhrer Scar. It’s kind of creepy, it stays with you, and it’s a lot of fun to watch.

Anyone who didn’t find this scene a little chilling is either lying or possibly has ties to dangerous organizations or groups.

 

These and a bunch of other reasons could be why villain songs resonate with us so much as an audience. Whether it’s because we love a villain, indulging safely in our dark side, or we just like a catchy tune, villain songs are just a ton of fun and as long as people are writing musicals, they’re bound to show up again and again in our shows and, if they’re good, in our consciousnesses.

Do you have a thing for villain songs? Which are your favorite? And why do you think they tend to stick in people’s minds so much?

Oh, just a reminder that my Big Birthday Sale is in 2 days. From June 10th to June 14th, all my titles–The Quiet Game, Reborn City, and Snake–will be marked down or, in the case of the e-books, free to download from Amazon and Smashwords. So if you’re looking for something new to read and want to get it at a good price, this might be the opportunity for you. Get excited, because it’s coming soon!

That’ll be all for now, Followers of Fear. I’ve got to go and sing some “Eater of Fear” in my head. Have a good one.

Only the worst of the worst get to hang out here.

Yesterday we took a look at my choices for #10-6 for my top villains list for 2014. Today we look at the Big Bads, the worst of the worst, the folks and creatures we should all fear in our sleep. These top 5 villains are the ones that have amazed, impressed, and/or terrified me the most.

And remember to click here if you’d like to compare #10-6 and #5-1 from last year. Here we go! Mwa-ha-ha!

5. Jennifer Blake (from Teen Wolf)

Once again we have another villain from Teen Wolf, this one from the first half of season three. At first, you think the only thing that the main characters have to worry about is a pack of Alpha werewolves, but then Jennifer Blake comes into the picture. At first just an innocent English teacher who becomes Derek Hale’s love interest after a close encounter, she is actually the Darach, a Druid gone bad, and she has all sorts of dangerous magic on her hands, which she enhances through elaborate human sacrifices. All in the name of revenge against t;he Alpha werewolves who betrayed her several years ago. Her devious tactics, her theatrical flare, and the lengths she’s willing to go are enough to put her above the wily Nogitsune, who was only out for some twisted laughs.

4. The Murder House (from American Horror Story)

I’ve always maintained that a setting can be as much a character as your other characters, and that especially goes for haunted houses. In this house in particular, we feel it as a character, a force with a devious and wily personality for drawing in the innocent and guilty alike, twisting their minds and then trapping their souls forever. All for a very dark purpose that isn’t revealed until the very end of the first season of the groundbreaking FX show. Trust me, you do not want to spend the night in this place. EVER!

3. Dr. Oliver Thresden/Bloody Face (from American Horror Story: Asylum)

Movie and TV serial killers are hard to make unique. A few even come out looking like carbon copies of Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers. In AHS‘s second and much darker season, they not only give us a serial killer with character development, but with a soul. Dr. Thresden originally arrives at Briarcliff Manor to perform a psych evaluation on protagonist Kit, who is believed to be the infamous serial killer Bloody Face. Dr. Thresden ends up staying on to help update Briarcliff’s outdated methods to treating insanity. He takes a special interest in leading lady Lana Winters, a lesbian who, after some failed aversion therapy, he deems sane. After helping her to escape the asylum though, he reveals himself to be Bloody Face, and he is looking for a woman to be his mother, his real mother having abandoned him years ago. With an unhealthy preoccupation for human skin and for his mommy, Bloody Face may at first seem like a bad copy of Leatherface, but in reality he’s unique in so many ways. Played by actor Zachary Quinto, it’s no wonder this character was nominated for so may awards, and won a few as well.

2. Hannibal Lecter (from the books by Thomas Harris)

Our only returning villain from last year, Hannibal Lecter earns his spot for his incredible ability to continue to terrify and manipulate us on the NBC show Hannibal. Honestly, watching Mads Mikkelsen perform in the iconic role is a dark pleasure. In this previous season, he managed to keep the authorities dancing around him, even as some of them began to suspect that he was the Chesapeake Ripper. What’s most horrific is that he almost manages to get protagonist Will Graham to become just like him, a monster without a conscience who likes to see what happens on impulse. And the way he sets things in motion is like watching a Rube Goldberg machine in motion, only with people involved. Until the very last episode and the awesome twists and turns, you’ll be on the edge of your seat wondering what will happen next I’m looking forward to season 3 next year. I hope they can keep up the fun!

1. The Weeping Angels (from Doctor Who)

Our winner this year for Top Villain is another creature from Doctor Who, but this one is slightly stranger and more sinister than the Daleks. The Weeping Angel is a strange being. It can only move when it isn’t seen, thus it keeps its hands over its eyes in case its working with one of its own kind. When they take their hands off though, they reveal monsters that are anything but angelic. And you literally can’t even blink in front of them, because they can move even between the opening and closing of your lids to get you. Once they do, they’ll send you back in time so that you die maybe hundreds or thousands of years before you were born, while they feed on the displaced time energy that results from your timeline into the future being erased. Created by show runner Steven Moffat, these are probably one of the Doctor’s most terrifying enemies, enough to make my sister scream in fright when they feature in an episode. If you ever watch the episode in which they debuted, Blink, you’ll know why.

 

That’s all for this yer. Join me in 2015 for another Top 10 list. Maybe making the list will be thesis deadlines, because that will be one of the scarier things I’ll have to deal with in this coming school year.

Anyway, hope you had fun reading my Top 10 Villains list. Have a good day, my Followers of Fear. And let me know what you think of the list. Who do you think should have gotten on? And was there anyone here you agreed or disagreed with? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

I’ve been meaning to do this post for a while, but with Laura Horn still needing to be finished and everything…

Anyway, last year I did a countdown of my favorite villains from fiction (to read that contest, click here for #10-6 and here for #5-1). I’m doing it again this year to show case the awesome villains that have impressed and terrified me since that list last year. And a lot has happened over the last year: we’ve got only one person is returning to the list from last year, which just goes to show that Hollywood/New York/everyone else can come up with some really amazing villains sometimes. In fact, I’d like to announce our honorable mention now: Peter Pan from Once Upon a Time. The revisionist fairy tale show came up with a unique take on the classic character as a manipulative sociopath living in a magical Lord of the Flies kingdom who will go to any lengths to stay young, free, and powerful forever. Creepy!

Now let’s get this show started with the first half of the list!

10. The Daleks (from Doctor Who)

Despite their at-first rather ridiculous appearance, the Daleks are terrifying to behold. A genetically-engineered creature living inside a cyborg transport machine, the Daleks are a powerful metaphor for racism, particularly Nazi racism. That, their pure destructive force, their popularity with fans, and many other reasons is why they’ve continued to terrify children and adults since their debut in 1963, and are still part of DW lore and pop culture today. Honestly, even though I love Daleks, if one of them shouted “EXTERMINATE” near me, I might freak out myself.

9. Bughuul (from Sinister)

Sinister is probably one of the best horror films in the past ten years, and Bughuul, also known as Mr. Boogie, is one of the main reasons for that. Portrayed by Nick King, Bughuul is a reimagined boogeyman, a Babylonian god that causes children to murder their families and then feeds on their souls for centuries in his spirit world. Throughout the movie, Bughuul weaves a web of psychological terror around the main character and around the viewer, even up until the final moment of the film. It’s no wonder a sequel is in the works, and no wonder Bughuul deserves a place on this list.

8. The Headless Horseman (from the Sleepy Hollow TV series)

In this reimagining of the classic short story by Washington Irving, the Headless Horseman is one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, specifically Death, and he’s looking to find his head so he can continue with his mission to start the end of the world. Not only that, he is looking to gain his revenge on Ichabod Crane, whom he has a strange history with, and the revelation of that history just makes things that much more exciting in this awesome show. Also, it’s so cool to see the Headless Horseman riding down the street with an axe and automatic weapons. Total badassery right there.

7. William Lewis (from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit)

Portrayed by Pablo Schreiber, Lewis appeared in the finale of Season 14 and throughout Season 15 and is probably one of the worst villains ever to be on the show in its 16-year run. A monster who gets his kicks from terrorizing his victims and putting them in pain and agony, Lewis kidnapped Detective Benson and tortured her even as he was running from the cops who were looking for him. Even after he was caught, Lewis continued to find ways to harass Benson both in person and in her nightmares, and even escaped to cause more terror. Even after committing suicide, he nearly destroyed Benson and a few other people too. A man like that is the worst, and deserves his place on this list.

6. The Nogitsune (from Teen Wolf)

Season 3 of the hit MTV series was unique in several ways, particularly because it was literally two seasons in one, each half comprising of 12 episodes. The latter half of the season featured the Nogitsune, a fox spirit of chaos who causes murder and mayhem wherever he goes. And all for the sake of a few laughs. When he possesses one of the main characters, you know you have reason to be afraid. Especially when he starts out his day by telling his potential victims riddles.

 

That’s all for now. Tune in later this week when I list #5-1 of my top villain list. And let me know what you think of these villains. Like them? Hate them? Who do you think should have gone on the list? Let me know in the comments below.