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A countdown of five of the most unsettling movie characters of all time

Updated on April 24, 2015

As well as a love of writing and website design, I’m a BIG fan of horror movies (this is despite my still not being able to sleep in the dark despite being 29!). So I wanted to put together a rundown of some of the most memorable horror characters of all time.

Hannibal (Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, Red Dragon, Hannibal Rising)

The legend that is Sir Anthony Hopkins shows actors how murderous, cannibalistic characters should be portrayed; for me, I think a contributing factor to the stellar performance that Hopkins puts in is that in this particular installment of the groundbreaking movie franchise is the fact that the most horrific scenes are based upon the entirely possible, such as the drug that would allow for a dinner of your own brains, or Hannibal’s all too graphic history lessons for the ill-fated Parisian policeman, Pazzi.

Famous quote: “I ate his liver with some Fava beans and a nice chianti, Psh Psh Psh” (this is at least meant to be the phonetic representation of Hannibal’s infamous all too freaky like smacking).


2. Chucky (the Child’s Play Series)

OK, so for most I’m suspecting that this may not make for one of the scariest movies of all time, at least not in today’s world of CGI, however for me who unwisely watched this as a child come my Birthday what should have been a pretty awesome present of a life size doll was nothing short of terrifying (and to this day I’ll swear it turned it’s head one night, hence the not sleeping in the dark and a case in point demonstration of why Film certifications should be strictly adhered to!)

Famous quote: “We're friends 'til the end, remember?”


3. Jack Nicholson - Jack Torrence (The Shining)

There’s not much to say about Jack Nicholson's’ performance in the Shining that isn’t adequately demonstrated by his own, now world renowned, performance that gave way to one of the most well know film quotes of all time.

Famous quote: “Here’s Johnny!”


4. Leatherface - Gunnar Hansen (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre I)

For the actor conquering a horrific character in every evil detail diction and delivery is everything, however for the character equipped with only a chainsaw for communication the challenges are somewhat switched up.

Famous quote: None, and the fact that Leatherface doesn't utter so much as a word through the entire series of six films demonstrates just how carefully crafted a terrifying character this guy was.


Maybe my choices are the things of mostly my nightmares.

Do the characters here creeep you out?

See results

5. Pennywise the Clown - Tim Curry (IT)

In another Stephen King addition to my list, and the last in the line of five, here there is the world’s scariest clown: Pennywise. Despite this clown technically hailing from a two-part TV series, rather than a film, this guy is undoubtedly to blame for the sufferings of Clownphobics the world over.

Famous quote: “Ohhhhh come on Bucko… don’t you want a balloon?”


Each of the above entrants feature in cinematic masterpieces of their horror genre, however, ultimately each of these characters are testament to the outstanding performances of their respective actors. I’d love to hear what you think about some of the appearances in this list, and who would make your very own list of the most unsettling film characters of all time.

Creating creepy horror creatures


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