The 12 Best 80s Villains That Can Still Make Your Skin Crawl in a Jiffy
Here are the most terrifying villains of the Neon Decade.
It's no secret that everyone loves a good villain, but in recent years Hollywood has failed to create new and exciting antagonists, forcing fans to look back in time. And without a doubt, the 80s was the best time for evil characters of all kinds, as big action movies and slashers featured captivating villains on a weekly basis.
Here are the 12 best villains of the 1980s.
12. Alien Queen
The original Alien is probably much more terrifying than its improved version in James Cameron's Aliens, but the iconic monster was first introduced in the 1970s, which makes it unsuitable for this list. In any case, Cameron's creation was frightening in its own right, and the final showdown between the Queen and Ripley was truly thrilling to watch.
11. Hans Gruber
Alan Rickman's no-nonsense terrorist proved to be a big reason why people loved the first Die Hard movie, stealing attention from Bruce Willis with his thick accent and gentlemanly charisma. Gruber's one-liners have become iconic, and Rickman's immense confidence as an actor certainly helped this villain turn into a role model for dozens of other movie villains out there.
The obnoxious killer doll may seem like a ridiculous villain, but Chucky was certainly not the character you'd want to confront, as his kills in the original movie series were quite brutal, to say the least. The idea of a toy being a violent monster sounded like a recipe for the perfect slasher, and Chucky luckily had a compelling backstory to blossom into a respectable villain in Child's Play.
9. Ivan Drago
Dolph Lundgren's evil Russian boxer Ivan Drago looked like a ridiculous propaganda piece when Rocky IV hit theaters in 1985, but the talented Swedish star managed to elevate his character from his initial image, giving fans a chilling portrait of a true killing machine.
Of course, the Joker was created long before Tim Burton's 1989 version of Batman, but it was Jack Nicholson's performance as the iconic villain that really put the character on the map for mainstream audiences. His take on Batman's arch rival was both funny and unsettling, resulting in arguably the best comic book supervillain portrayal Hollywood has ever seen.
7. Jack Torrance
The conflicted hero of The Shining is yet another testament to how great Nicholson was at playing villains, as this Stephen King-created writer became a poster child for the actor's famous performance style. Jack Torrance's violent paranoia sent people storming out of theaters in 1980, which is the highest praise a villain can get.
6. Tony Montana
Al Pacino's character may not have had any supernatural qualities to make viewers fear him, but the actor's insane performance as the drug-addled maniac with a machine gun helped to make Scarface a true icon. The sheer number of one-liners made the Scarface poster a must-have for every college dorm room in the US.
The sadomasochistic demon with needles protruding from his bald, pale head was the stuff of nightmares for all those young kids who watched Clive Barker's Hellraiser when it came out in 1987. While Pinhead failed to excite in the recent reimagining of the cult classic, the original version still haunts fans today.
4. The Terminator
Although Arnold Schwarzenegger's robotic assassin became more of a hero after the second movie, he was truly terrifying in the first part of The Terminator saga. The hulking villain with immense strength and regenerative powers was something no one in the theater had ever seen before, giving the bodybuilder a golden opportunity to become the number one celebrity of the 80s.
3. Jason Voorhees
Considering the popularity of Friday the 13th, it's no wonder that the main villain of the franchise, a golf-masked psycho named Jason, was able to break into the Top 3 of the greatest villains of the 80s. With his iconic looks and backstory, Jason became the epitome of all slasher villains out there, proving time and time again that his legacy will likely live on forever.
2. Roy Batty
Even though Blade Runner's main villain looked like a normal human being, Rutger Hauer's haunting portrayal of the android doomed to be killed made a great impression on viewers in 1982. Unlike other villains on this list, Roy was actually not a bad guy at all, just trying to live in a world that was not created to support androids like him.
1. Freddy Krueger
And finally, our number one pick! You're probably not surprised that Freddy Krueger comes in first, as this terrifying villain in a plaid sweater and rotting fedora became the biggest bad guy of the entire decade, and the insane quality of most of the installments in his saga only helped to make him the number one villain of the Reagan era.