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Gleeful Evil: Seven of the Cruelest Cinematic Monsters

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

Movie monsters come in all shapes and sizes. While they’re a crucial part of the horror genre, the very thing that reels us in at a young age, most of them are actually fairly sympathetic. We relate to the Universal classic monsters for the most part. We feel their pain. They’re misunderstood outsiders and that’s something a lot of horror fans can identify with.

But every now and then, we like to find a monster that’s just an absolute bastard. It’s easier in realistic slashers & serial killer movies. Usually, that’s the kind of place where a monster who revels in evil gets their chance to shine. Supernatural creatures don’t always have the pure evil bent you’d expect.

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Of course, there are exceptions. And those are what we’re going to be looking at in this list. These are villains based firmly in the realm of science fiction or the supernatural, but they take absolute delight in what they do. They go about their work with sheer menace and glee. You can try your best to put them down, but you’re not going to break through to their human side


Now, Chucky shows a wide range of emotion and even might care about one or two people in his life. So that almost kept him off the list. But, at the end of the day, he still has absolutely no regard for human life. He’s self-serving. He loves what he does. He might care about Tiffany and Glen/Glenda, but I don’t think he’s ever felt bad for taking a life. Including Tiffany’s.

Also See: Five Reasons Child’s Play 2 is Better Than The Original

Chucky, Andy, and Kyle in the Good Guys factory in Child's Play 2 Pumpkinhead

You wouldn’t think Pumpkinhead would necessarily make the list, but I think there’s an absolute relish in what he does in the original film. When you think about it, Pumpkinhead is every bit of rage and hatred toward someone you’ve ever felt has wronged you. He’s all of that, personified. There are no other human qualities to him. And in the movie, there’s a glee to what he’s doing. He’s not just hurting these people, he wants it to last, he delights in tormenting them. That’s an impressive distinction for an animatronic monster to convey.

Pumpkinhead IIDracula (Christopher Lee)

Other incarnations of Dracula have taken a more romantic bent. But Christopher Lee’s portrayal of the character in the Hammer films is a more primal, evil approach. He’s still regal, he still commands a room with his presence, but there’s something feral and animalistic about him at the same time. It’s easy to believe that this man was a warlord in a former life. Instead of sensitive and romantic, this Count is cold and domineering.

The House of Dracula also known as Dracula directed by Terence Fisher.Pennywise

Pennywise, or really It in general, just wants to eat children and maybe take over the universe. It feeds on fear, It exploits and manipulates everything you’ve ever been afraid of. Takes your most private thoughts and spits them right back out at you in a twisted, often perverse way. It’s about as evil as evil gets. Taking the form of a clown simply to terrify children with a familiar image is a perfect example of that.

IT Clown PennywiseThe Invisible Man

All of the other Universal Monsters are sympathetic. Even Dracula has that tragic sense of longing to be truly dead. But then there’s the Invisible Man. Sure, he didn’t choose to be like this, but he’s an absolute bastard. He’s a crazy terrorist who wants to do whatever the hell he can now that he knows he can get away with it. I love that the movie is basically about breaking down social conventions by asking “what would you do if you knew you wouldn’t get caught?”

Leigh Whannell updated the character, modernized the proceedings for a new generation, and imbued his narrative with astute commentary on relationship trauma. Both incarnations are noteworthy and feature cruel variations of the titular character.

Freddy Krueger

Freddy is one of the most gleefully evil monsters in modern horror. He gets off on torturing, manipulating and killing others, especially the young and innocent. He was a child murderer before he was ever a demented dream demon. Freddy’s one of the best examples of what would happen if amazing abilities were given to the worst possible person.

Renny Harlins A Nightmare on Elm Street 4.The Tall Man

The Tall Man is death itself. He couldn’t care less about anything or anyone, even his one target—Mike—is clearly for some specific purpose that only he could possibly know. He wants to turn the world into a wasteland and there’s no real way to stop him. All you can do is delay him for awhile. What might be the scariest thing about him, though, is even if our band of heroes ever did find a way to stop him for good, I don’t think he’d care.

Phantasm II 1988 - Angus Scrimm

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Written by Nat Brehmer
In addition to contributing to Wicked Horror, Nathaniel Brehmer has also written for Horror Bid, HorrorDomain, Dread Central, Bloody Disgusting, We Got This Covered, and more. He has also had fiction published in Sanitarium Magazine, Hello Horror, Bloodbond and more. He currently lives in Florida with his wife and his black cat, Poe.
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