The Most Iconic Slasher Movie Villains Ranked

in Movies & TV

Michael Myers in Halloween Kills

Credit: Universal Studios

It might not seem like the right time of year to take a look back at the slasher genre’s most iconic villains, Leatherface, Freddy Krueger, Ghostface, Chucky, Jason Voorhees, and Michael Myers, but in our defense, these guys are terrifying all year round!

Sure, Michael Myers might hang up the mask and coveralls once October 31 is out of the way, not unlike Father Christmas does after December 25, but the others, whether dream-demons, killer dolls or chainsaw-wielding cannibals, are pretty busy no matter what time of year it is.

So here are the six most iconic slasher movie villains ranked in terms of awesomeness.

Related: Where to Next For the ‘Halloween’ Franchise After ‘Ends’?

6. Leatherface — The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Leatherface in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
Credit: Platinum Dunes / New Line Cinema

Leatherface first appeared in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), a visceral, almost-documentary-style horror film that sent shockwaves through movie theaters, and consequently ended up being banned in a number of countries for several years.

Throughout the franchise, which has seen a number of reboots and prequels, the character of Leatherface is portrayed as a chainsaw-wielding madman, the son of a foul, wicked family who live out in the middle of nowhere in Texas.

Character ensemble in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
Credit: Platinum Dunes / New Line Cinema

Leatherface is as terrifying as they come, and is a little bit like Michael Myers in the sense that it doesn’t matter if you’re running and he’s trudging along behind, somehow he’ll always catch up. And then there’s that buzzing chainsaw — we’d rather take our chances with the bogeyman!

But Leatherface is a pretty inconsistent slasher movie villain. There’s a definitive “idea” of Leatherface, but where the films are concerned, they’re a bit all over the place, and the only version of the character that makes any sort of sense is the one in the superior 2003 remake.

What’s new? The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Video Game (2023) hits shelves in 2023.

Related: ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ Reboot From the Creators of ‘Stranger Things’? Yes, Please!

5. Jason Voorhees — Friday the 13th

Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th (2009)
Credit: Warner Bros. / New Line Cinema

Jason Voorhees is yet another inconsistent slasher movie villain in terms of origin, abilities, and style. There’s simply no “definitive” version of him like there is Freddy Krueger or Michael Myers, and the way in which the Friday the 13th series handles the character overall is incredibly sloppy.

Jason doesn’t turn up until Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981), however, he looks very different in each film thereafter, and it isn’t until the 2009 reboot that they finally nail his design. In the reboot, he’s ingeniously portrayed as a territorial woodsman, and not some weird, grungy super-mutant.

Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th sequel Jason X
Credit: Warner Bros. / New Line Cinema

The hockey mask-wearing, machete-wielding killer has gone through many looks since he emerged from Camp Crystal Lake. He’s been a a slimy swamp-thing, an entity that possesses different bodies, and even a half-cyborg as seen in the ridiculous space-slasher Jason X (2001).

Jason is at his best (and hulk-iest) in Freddy vs. Jason (2003) and Friday the 13th (2009). But his origin story makes zero sense. Jason drowned in Camp Crystal Lake as a young boy, so why is he an adult in all the films? And why does he hunt in the water when it’s his ultimate fear?!

What’s new? A brand-new Friday the 13th prequel series is currently in development for Peacock.

Related: ‘Friday the 13th’ TV Series Showrunner Says the Show Could Go Into Space

4. Chucky — Child’s Play/Chucky

Chucky the doll in the Chucky TV Series
Credit: Universal Studios

Pint-sized, potty-mouthed, and pure evil? It must be Chucky (Brad Dourif). Or Charles Lee Ray as he was known before he transferred his soul into a “Good Guy” doll. If we were ranking these villains based on how evil they are, Chucky would be fighting it out with Freddy Krueger.

Chucky has certainly endured over the decades, and has been rebooted twice. Since Child’s Play (1988), there have been six sequels and a reboot of the same name in 2019, in which Mark Hamill voices Chucky. However, the fourth film, Bride of Chucky (1998), is a reboot in its own right.

Chucky the doll in Curse of Chucky
Credit: Universal Studios

And we aren’t talking about Chucky’s awesome “stitched” makeover — the film is a tonal overhaul of the three Child’s Play films, which, despite having plenty of tongue-in-cheek humor, take themselves somewhat seriously. Everything beyond those films, though, is a bit of a joke.

Chucky (TV Series) is no exception, as the character has become as absurdly fourth-wall as Freddy Krueger did in the later Elm Street sequels. But worst of all, there are no limits as to what Chucky can do anymore — he’s now the Deadpool of the slasher movies, which is just lazy writing.

What’s new? Chucky (TV Series) Season 2 recently premiered on USA/Syfy.

Related: Every ‘Child’s Play’ Movie Ranked From Worst to Best

3. Ghostface — Scream

Ghostface Scream (2022)
Credit: Paramount Pictures

Ghostface is the most unusual killer on this list (yes, even next to a killer doll) because he’s more of a mantle, as opposed to one single person. So far, across five Scream movies, Ghostface has had nine different identities. But what serves as his strength in the films is his weakness on this list.

We’ll give credit where credit is due, though — there’s no other slasher movie series that can justify as many sequels as well as Scream can. The fact that Ghostface can be anyone, that a new successor can arise at any moment, obviously works in the franchise’s favor.

Ghostface in Scream (2022)
Credit: Paramount Pictures

However, summarising Ghostface with a single motive and origin story just isn’t possible. On the surface, however, Ghostface is very consistent — there’s the mask, the knife, the voice changer (with Roger Jackson voicing the character in every film), and the creepy telephone calls.

Despite being a homage to Michael Myers from Halloween, impressively, Ghostface has become equally iconic. Scream writer Kevin Williamson recently said that, given the fact that Ghostface can be anyone, the series could go on forever (and at this rate, we’re inclined to believe him).

What’s new? Scream 6 (2023) is heading for theaters on March 10, 2023.

Related: Every ‘Scream’ Movie Ranked From Worst to Best

2. Freddy Krueger — A Nightmare on Elm Street

Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare On Elm Street 1984
Credit: New Line Cinema

Freddy Krueger is one of two villains on this list based on a real-life person. The first is Leatherface, who’s inspired by the cannibal Ed Gein, while Freddy is inspired by a stranger who used to stand outside Wes Craven’s bedroom window when he was a boy (yikes).

He’s also inspired by witch-like figures from fairytale stories such as “Hansel and Gretel” (1812). But forget broomsticks and cauldrons — that filthy hat, burnt skin, red-and-green sweater, and razor-glove are the stuff real nightmares are made of.

Freddy Krueger in Wes Craven's New Nightmare
Credit: New Line Cinema

In his first three outings, Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) is absolutely terrifying, but the fourth film, A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988), sees both the series and its main villain take a massive nosedive in quality, which continues through to the next two movies.

Fortunately, Wes Craven brought the real Freddy back in Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994), breaking the fourth wall while doing so. Freddy vs. Jason had more fun with the character, while the 2010 reboot, in which Jackie Earle Haley plays him, was a huge disappointment.

What’s new? A fan-produced sequel to Wes Craven’s New Nightmare is in development.

Related: All the ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ Movies Ranked From Worst to Best

1. Michael Myers — Halloween

Michael Myers in Halloween 2018
Credit: Universal Studios

Our top spot goes to the bogeyman himself, Michael Myers. John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) is the film that gave birth to the slasher genre as we know it. Following the success of that film in the late ’70s, the two decades that followed were flooded with slasher movies.

Michael Myers is the embodiment of pure evil, and there are a number of qualities that make him truly terrifying. That expressionless mask that makes him appear human but without a shred of humanity, and the fact that he can somehow walk faster than his victims can run.

Michael Myers in Halloween Ends
Credit: Universal Studios

Michael Myers also has no motive, and while some of the sequels try to explain why he picked up a kitchen knife and never looked back, these are nothing more than lame retcons. Michael is simply a “killer shark”, as Busta Rhymes so eloquently puts it in Halloween: Resurrection (2002).

But like with any slasher villain on this list, Michael has had many different looks over the years. Overall, though, he’s still the most consistent one out of the lot, despite there being a number of different timelines throughout the Halloween series.

What’s new? Halloween Ends (2022) recently slashed its way through the box office, and will be available to purchase on Digital, DVD, and Blu-ray on December 27.

Related: Every Version of Michael Myers Ranked From Worst to Best

How would you rank these slasher movie villains? Let us know in the comments down below!

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