These Are Some of the Most Evil and Horrible Characters in Movies

The silver screen is chock-full of shocking and viciously evil characters who are loathsome for audiences to watch but long remain on their minds. These notorious individuals are deplorable in their actions, wreaking havoc and mayhem everywhere they go; some of the nastiest are sadistic killers who have absolutely no redeeming qualities and simply wish to create destruction. While these wretched characters can frustrate, frighten and even break the hearts of moviegoers, their exceptional portrayals deserve nothing but a standing ovation. Many of cinema’s finest actors have delivered star-making performances in such pictures, putting their stamp on Hollywood history.

These aren’t just villains audiences can not help but secretly love; these are human monsters who we viscerally despise. From ruthless and power hungry villains like Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter franchise to the psychopathic, claw-wielding child serial killer Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street, the film industry is full of downright wicked villains. These abhorrent figures are truly and deeply malevolent, performing despicable deeds and doing so with delight. These are some of the most evil and horrible characters in movies.

8 Amon Göth (Schindler’s List)

Universal Pictures

Steven Spielberg‘s 1993 heart-wrenching historical drama Schindler’s List tells the story of Oskar Schindler, a German industrialist who helped save the lives of more than a thousand mostly Polish-Jewish refugees from the Holocaust by employing them in his factories during World War II. The immensely talented Ralph Fiennes portrays the viciously cruel Austrian SS functionary Amon Göth, who served as the commander of the Kraków-Płaszów concentration camp in Płaszów, Poland and personally ordered the imprisonment, torture and murder of countless innocent lives.

In the film, Göth takes sadistic pleasure in his powerful position and his heinously brutal treatment of Jews is difficult to watch; the barbarous commander shows no signs of humanity as randomly shoots at people from the balcony of his post and personally murdered prisoners on a daily basis. On portraying Göth, Fiennes said: “I got close to his pain. Inside him is a fractured, miserable human being. I feel split about him, sorry for him. He’s like some dirty, battered doll I was given and that I came to feel peculiarly attached to. ”

7 Percy Wetmore (The Green Mile)

Percy Wetmore wet from rain in The Green Mile
Warner Bros.

Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, 1999’s fantasy drama The Green Mile stars Tom Hanks as a death row prison guard during the Great Depression who witnesses supernatural events following the arrival of a mysterious convict at Cold Mountain Penitentiary. Doug Hutchison appears as the ruthless prison guard Percy Wetmore, who relishes in his power at the facility and constantly harasses and torments both his fellow guards and the prisoners. Wetmore is the governor’s nephew, and he frequently flaunts his family connections, knowing he will not be held accountable for his perverse behavior.

The wretched character frequently targets the inmate Del, breaking his fingers and killing his beloved pet mouse out of pure hatred; he shockingly sabotages the electric chair and subjects Del to an agonizing and horrific death. Justice is served for Wetmore in the end, but he remains one of cinema’s most despicable and innate evil characters.

6 Dolores Umbridge (Harry Potter)

Dolores Umbridge
Warner Bros. Pictures

Fans of the beloved JK Rowling fantasy film series Harry Potter are well-versed in the cruel and nasty antagonist that is Dolores Umbridge. Despite her pleasantly pink appearance, Umbridge is wicked to her core and constantly abuses her power during her tenure at Hogwarts, subjecting the students to abusive and callous punishments; as retribution for Harry’s constant challenges in her class, she makes the famous hero write with a blood quill that cuts the victims with the same words they are writing. The tyrant completely ravaged the integrity and reputation of Hogwarts during her reign of terror, and is as malicious as she is annoying.

Dolores Umbridge is widely regarded as one of the most despised fictional characters of all time, often overshadowing even Lord Voldemort himself. On the infamous character, acclaimed author Stephen King proclaimed, “The gently smiling Delores Umbridge, with her girlish voice, toad-like face, and clutching, stubby fingers, is the greatest make-believe villain to come along since Hanibal Lecter.”

5 Max Cady (Cape Fear)

Cape Fear 1
Tribeca Productions

Martin Scorsese’s 1991 psychological thriller Cape fear is a remake of the 1962 classic, and features Robert De Niro taking on the role of the revenge-seeking homicidal maniac Max Cady, portrayed by Robert Mitchum in the original. Cady is a vicious and violent man who is determined to destroy the Bowden family, targeting his former lawyer for purposely botching his defense in a statutory rape and battery case. When Cady is released from prison after 14 years, he makes it his life mission to terrorize the familygoing after everyone and everything that is near and dear to the public defender.

The deranged Max Cady was absolutely frightening, invading the lives of the Bowden family in every way imaginable: emotionally, mentally and physically with an unrelenting force. De Niro’s wicked performance was lauded by critics, with Newsweek writing that he “dominates the film with his lip-smacking, blackly comic and terrifying portrayal of psychopathic self-righteousness.”

4 Freddy Krueger (A Nightmare on Elm Street)

Robert Englund Talks Nightmare on Elm Street Sequel Idea

Wes Craven’s iconic 1984 supernatural slasher A Nightmare on Elm Street introduced the world to the nightmare-inducing, ghastly demon Freddy Krueger. The infamous villain is notorious for his burned and disfigured face and trademark metal claws, targeting his victims in their dreams and murder them, which causes their deaths in the real world as well.

In the first installment of the horror franchise, Krueger is introduced as a serial child killer who murdered 20 children in the fictitious town of Springwood, Ohio; when the demented and vile killer was set free on a technicality, he was burned alive in his home by the town’s vengeful parents. Seeking retribution, the chilling character stalks teenagers in their dreams, subjecting many to gruesome and gory deaths. On Freddy’s nature, Craven revealed that “In a sense, Freddy stands for the worst of parenthood and adulthood – the dirty old man, the nasty father and the adult who wants children to die rather than help them prosper. He’s the boogey man and worst fear of children. ”

Related: How Scream Changed The Face Of Horror

3 Nurse Ratched (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest)

Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest
United Artists

Undeniably one of the most heartless and cold characters ever to appear on the silver screen is the merciless tyrant Nurse Ratched from 1975’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The cruel and power hungry character and adaptation are based on the Ken Kesey classic novel, which follows criminal Randle McMurphy as he is admitted to a mental institution run by the oppressive and passive-aggressive head nurse. Ratched exercises near-absolute power over the facility and its patients, dictating their access to medications, basic necessities like food and toiletries and overall privileges.

She is calculating and vicious in the treatment of her wards, and becomes even more spiteful when challenged and threatened by the bold and formidable McMurphy. For her riveting and disturbing portrayal of Nurse Ratched, actress Louise Fletcher earned the Academy Award for Best Actress. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is considered by many to be one of the greatest films ever made, and Nurse Ratched one of the best villains.

2 Anton Chigurh (No Country for Old Men)

Miramax Films

Incredibly gifted filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen directed the 2007 neo-Western crime thriller No Country for Old Men, which centers on a hunter who stumbles upon a drug deal gone wrong and more than two million dollars in cash, money he effectively steals and goes on the run with. The electrifying Javier Bardem stars as hitman Anton Chigurh, the psychopathic and meticulous killer who is tasked with recovering the money by any means necessary. Chigurh is devoid of compassion, conscience and remorse, oftentimes flipping a coin to decide the fate of some of his victims. He kills with purpose and an eerie calm, leaving bloodshed and violence everywhere he goes.

The adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel emphasizes how devoid of human emotion the character is, which results in a chilling and fright-inducing performance by Bardem; he is almost like a walking manifestation of evil or the cruelty of fate. Empire lauded the character, writing, “With the kind of unholy restlessness usually reserved for horror icons, the hired killer has an almost supernatural ability to track his prey, and is rather short in the mercy department, preferring to leave the tough decisions to a coin toss. ”

Related: These Are Some Of The Coolest Movies With Hitmen And Assassins

1 Alex DeLarge (A Clockwork Orange)

Warner Bros.

Cinema visionary Stanley Kubrick’s iconic 1971 dystopian crime film A Clockwork Orange is set in the future and chronicles the horrific crime spree sadistic gang leader Alex DeLarge and his fellow thugs embark on, leading to his eventual capture and attempted rehabilitation. The graphic and often disturbing adaptation of the Anthony Burgess novel stars Malcolm McDowell as the sociopathic DeLarge, who rapes, robs, and assaults innocent people solely for his own nihilistic amusement. His desire for ultra-violence and determination to wreak havoc in a dystopian England makes DeLarge a savage and sinister character with an innate aversion to moral behavior.

Despite its initial polarizing reception, A Clockwork Orange has since gained a status as a cult classic, and remains an influential work in both cinema and pop culture. On his notorious portrayal of DeLarge, McDowell told IndieWire, “For the first 10 years after I made it, I resented it. I was sick of it […] I said: ‘Look, I’m an actor, I got to play a great part, I’m moving on.’ Then I came to the realization that it was a masterwork, and I was very, very much part of it. You may as well just accept it and enjoy it. ”


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