Spooky season is finally here, and there's no better time than now to binge watch our favourite horror films and hide beneath the covers as we come face to face with the ghouls, monsters and serial killers of our scariest nightmares.
According to a new study by Claims, however, there are a handful of horror movie antagonists that have more power than most to induce that heart-racing fear.
Ranking them by their "villain effectiveness score" (AKA their fear factor), the research reveals the top ten scariest characters ever, conducted by analysing each villain's death counts [via List of Deaths Wiki (opens in new tab)], as well as how many jump scares that took place within their films [via Where's the Jump (opens in new tab)].
The study was carried out through looking at a total of 162 horror films, but to feature in the research, each movie had to have a minimum of 10 jump scares, which reduced the list to 52 films, 32 of which were franchise offerings.
Each villain's spooky score was worked out by calculating an average between the average number of deaths per movie and the average number of jump scares per movie.
With the highest possible score being 10, the scariest villain in the list had a score of 8.71, which was...(drum roll please)...the masked serial killer Michael Myers, who stars in the Halloween franchise.
At the second and third spot, was The American Werewolf from 1981's An American Werewolf in London and 1997's An American Werewolf in Paris with a score of 7.74, and Kayako from The Grudge and Ju-on at 7.58.
Next in the list are the Death Angels from A Quiet Place (2018) and A Quiet Place II (2020) with a score of 7.1
Interestingly, there was no place for the likes of A Nightmare On Elm Street icon Freddy Krueger, Leatherface from The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Jason from Friday The 13th or the xenomorph from the Alien franchise. Hey, who are we to argue with data, right?
Check out the full ranking below:
10. Bo Sinclair
Film: House of Wax (2005)
Franchise: Child's Play
Franchise: Jeepers Creepers
6. The Blob
Franchise: The Blob
5. Mask Man
Film: The Den (2013)
4. Death Angels
Films: A Quiet Place (2018), A Quiet Place II (2020)
Franchise: The Grudge, Ju-on
2. The American Werewolf
Films: An American Werewolf in London (1981), An American Werewolf in Paris (1997)
1. Michael Myers