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The 666 Greatest Horror Characters
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Show all 666 characters  |  Random character View A-Z by:  characters  |  films  |  actors

The Leprechaun
Played by: Warwick Davis
Film(s): Leprechaun (1993), Leprechaun 2 (1994), Leprechaun 3 (1995), Leprechaun 4: In Space (1996), Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood (2003), Leprechaun: In the Hood (2000)

We know, we know... but if you can't appreciate Warwick Davis shuffling around, mangling both victims and the Irish accent beyond all recognition, then you may be beyond hope.

665 665 The Old Man In The Further
Played by: Jack Walsh
Film(s): Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013)

A babbling loon who's only in one scene of James Wan and Leigh Whannell's sequel, but by Jove does he make an impact. He stands right in front of Patrick Wilson's Josh, who can't see him, and repeats "He's got your baby" over and over and over and over again. The most Lynchian character we've ever seen outside of a David Lynch movie, Jack Walsh's terrifying vision is the answer to the question, what would happen if the Eraserhead baby ever grew up?

664 664 Mr. Ulman
Played by: Tom Noonan
Film(s): House of the Devil (2009)

Ways to spot that the seemingly innocent Mr. Ulman is actually a Satan-worshipping cultist nutjob in Ti West's brilliant 80s throwback. 1. He's played by Tom Noonan. 2. He's played by Tom Noonan. The cane-wielding villain of Ti West's brilliant 80s throwback starts out as a gentle soul, persuading a girl to babysit his child - no, his mother - for one night, but ends it as something else altogether. Oh, and let's never forget clue number 3: He's played by Tom Noonan.

663 663 Fantomas
Played by: Rene Navarre
Film(s): Fantomas (1913)

Cinema's first serial-killer hero, played memorably by Rene Navarre. Master of disguise, exceptional thief, and thoroughly inventive murderer.

662 662 Fido
Played by: Billy Connolly
Film(s): Fido (2006)

Casting Billy Connolly in a role that requires him not to talk is a stroke of dark genius, but the Scottish motormouth is affecting and funny as a domesticated zombie in Andrew Currie's black comedy.

Don Harris
Played by: Robert Carlyle
Film(s): 28 Weeks Later (2007)

When he's Infected after a kiss from his wife (Catherine McCormack), Robert Carlyle's formerly loving family man turns into a souped-up Begbie, going on the tear around London.

660 660 Stuart
Played by: Roger Bart
Film(s): Hostel II (2007)

It's hard to stand out in a cast of characters that features our own Chris Hewitt as the iconic Drunk British Slob, but Roger Bart manages it in Hostel Part II, bringing subtlety to his turn as Stuart, a henpecked, impotent businessman who's initially reluctant to take part in the torture and mayhem of an Elite Hunting holiday, but who soon finds himself drilling and killing for sport.

659 659 The Sergeant
Played by: Arthur Kennedy
Film(s): The Living Dead At Manchester Morgue - aka Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (1974) (1974)

The true villain of Jorge Grau's evocatively-titled, geographically-wonky 70s classic isn't the zombie hordes that bearded hero George (Ray Lovelock) must battle, but Arthur Kennedy's sneering, overly officious police sergeant, who doesn't listen to reason, thinks the supernatural mayhem is the work of hippies, and sets in motion the film's downbeat ending through the simple expedient of being a massive dickhead.

Ellison Oswalt
Played by: Ethan Hawke
Film(s): Sinister (2012)

In the hands of the sort of actors most modern horrors tend to attract, Sinister's self-absorbed writer, the kind of guy who continues to stick his nose into affairs that are liable to rip his entire face off, would be insufferable. Ethan Hawke gives him shade and depth.

657 657 The Man
Played by: Hugh Armstrong
Film(s): Death Line - aka Raw Meat (1973)

The most terrifying thing you'll find on the London Underground, beyond even the raucous stag parties and tap-dancing buskers, Hugh Armstrong's devolved cannibal is a gibbering psychopath who gets around without an Oyster card and is capable of saying only, "Mind the doors! Mind the doors!" Still, useful advice.

656 656 Space Girl
Played by: Mathilda May
Film(s): Lifeforce (1985)

Ask anyone what they remember about Tobe Hooper's bonkers sci-fi horror, and chances are they'll say, 'Not a lot - hey, wasn't Mathilda May's space-vampire-zombie-whatever chick, like, totally naked throughout?' Yes, she was.

655 655 Wilbur Grey
Played by: Peter Cushing
Film(s): The Uncanny (1977)

Peter Cushing is on fine paranoid form as a gibbering wreck of a writer who thinks he's stumbled upon a shocking truth: that cats are inherently evil and are secretly out to get us all. Cushing's really just the framing device for this anthology, but his character sticks in the mind. We won't tell you how it ends for him, but he might wish that he had eight more lives to play with.

654 654 Jimmy Quinn
Played by: Michael Moriarty
Film(s): Q The Winged Serpent (1982)

An unrepentant scumbag who learns the whereabouts of the titular terror and then turns it to his own advantage, Quinn represents the apotheosis of Michael Moriarty's hook-up with Larry Cohen. Note that he is not, we're reliably informed, any relation to the former Bournemouth and Northern Ireland striker.

653 653 Eva
Played by: Alice Krige
Film(s): Ghost Story (1981)

Years before she put the frighteners on Captain Picard in Star Trek: First Contact, Alice Krige showed she was a dab hand at scaring the bejeezus out a group of first-rate old-timers (Fred Astaire, Douglas Fairbanks) as the vengeful ghost of a girl, wrongly killed by their younger selves. Mixing ethereal beauty with the jolting face of a rotting corpse (top work from FX maestro, Dick Smith), Krige is excellent. Resistance is futile.

The Critters
Played by: n/a
Film(s): Critters (1986), Critters 2: The Main Course  (1988), Critters 3 (1991), Critters 4 (1992)

Yes, they're Gremlins rip-offs brought to life by barely passable special effects, but there's something lovable about the tiny alien buggers. Maybe it's because they gave Leonardo DiCaprio his big break in Critters 3. They always did have an eye for talent. And blood.

651 651 Dick Morrison
Played by: James Woods
Film(s): Cat's Eye (1985)

Need a guy to play a neurotic professional who wants to quit smoking but can't without the aid of a sinister company who'll torture the nicotine cravings out of him? Call James Woods on 555-NERVYFASTTALK. (That number doesn't actually work.)

The Woman
Played by: Polly McIntosh
Film(s): The Woman (2011)

As a feral woman held captive by a more 'civilised' (though no less animalistic) family, Polly McIntosh's no-holds-barred performance is truly shocking - especially when she slips her chains for the bloody climax.

649 649 Kirby Reed
Played by: Hayden Panettiere
Film(s): Scream 4 (2011)

Cute as a button and a genuine horror film nut loaded with useless minutiae, Hayden Panettiere's Kirby Reed (even her name is a Marvel mash-up) is every geek's dream girl. That's probably why we got so upset when, in Scream 4's nastiest rug-pull, she got offed by Rory Culkin's psycho for no damn good reason that we could see.

Mr. Machen 648
Mr. Machen
Played by: John Houseman
Film(s): The Fog (1980)

Seeking a suitably spooky start for his first out-and-out ghost story, John Carpenter recruited the great John Houseman, a producer by trade who'd only just started acting relatively late in life, to ram home its credentials by kicking off the film with a good old campfire tale. Houseman's Mr. Machen is essentially Basil Exposition - he's never seen again in the film, and referenced only once more - but as he takes his sweet time to tell the tale of doomed ship the Elizabeth Dane to a group of suitably shit-scared kids at five minutes to midnight, he sets the scene for what's to come.

647-629 Next

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Your Comments
1 Right choice for #1
Posted on Friday June 13, 2014, 19:50 by AnthonyF53
Ash is by far one of the top ten leading characters of all cinema, and definitely the shining hero of horror! Read More

2 For F***s sake!
Posted on Friday June 13, 2014, 19:33 by dumdumboy
No more pointless lists. Get off your sorry back sides (aching from so much sitting, concocting these totally pointless lists) and get back to being a relevant movie magazine. Your crown has slipped with every '14 week anniversary of XXX' issue', with every 'ooh 23 minutes sonce we discussed XXX issue' you secrete into the newsagents. You meant something once. Mean something again. Read More

3 PDF?!?!?!
Posted on Sunday May 4, 2014, 16:02 by GoldTimer
Was the PDF version ever made??? Read More

Posted on Wednesday January 29, 2014, 02:48 by istudiodre
Read More

Posted on Wednesday January 29, 2014, 02:48 by istudiodre
Read More

Posted on Wednesday January 29, 2014, 02:48 by istudiodre
Read More

Posted on Friday December 27, 2013, 09:15 by rfreddricemer
Read More

Posted on Friday December 27, 2013, 09:15 by rfreddricemer
Read More

Posted on Friday December 27, 2013, 09:15 by rfreddricemer
Read More

10 Oh it was worth the wait!
Posted on Saturday November 16, 2013, 00:25 by robthebruce
Was scrolling through the final top 20 hoping he'd be acknowledged somewhere high and delighted to find Ash at the top of the list. What a classic Raimi and Cambell created! Worthy winner! Read More

11 Halloween
Posted on Wednesday November 13, 2013, 22:45 by ShimmeringWaters
The atmosphere of that film had me riveted to my seat. It is pure addiction. I'm glad Michael Myers is in the top ten. I didn't want him to take off his mask. Read More

12 RE: It isn't funny - just unnecessary
Posted on Monday November 11, 2013, 08:03 by Abips 2013
Apart from that....enjoyed the article! Read More

13 It isn't funny - just unnecessary
Posted on Monday November 11, 2013, 07:59 by Abips 2013
'Bela Lugosi made an impact that few actors have equalled before or since as the scheming, fiendish Transvylanian c(o)unt in Tod Browning's 1931 version' Was the manipulation of the word count really necessary? No, just vulgar. Read More

Posted on Sunday November 10, 2013, 05:53 by rfreddricemer
Read More

Posted on Sunday November 10, 2013, 05:53 by rfreddricemer
Read More

Posted on Sunday November 10, 2013, 05:53 by rfreddricemer
Read More

17 Freddy Krueger
Posted on Tuesday November 5, 2013, 14:44 by ShimmeringWaters
I knew it! How could a homicidal dream-stalker not sound terrifyingly original? Even I'm hooked. On a side note, really enjoying Patrick Bateman's addition to the list. Read More

18 Hail To The King Baby!!
Posted on Tuesday November 5, 2013, 13:07 by Stevenski Chan
He could have stayed & become king, but in his own way he is king! Read More

19 Huh???
Posted on Friday November 1, 2013, 12:15 by dee123
Why is Jigsaw so high? Completely overrated. Read More

20 Sweeney Todd??
Posted on Thursday October 31, 2013, 18:42 by rjl3810
Where is the singing, throat slitting barber from Tim Burton and Johnny Depp's finest Collaberation Read More

21 No John Doe (Se7en)?
Posted on Thursday October 31, 2013, 18:08 by Jim Bob
Fuck sake Empire, what the hell is wrong with you. Read More

22 thanks
Posted on Wednesday October 30, 2013, 05:26 by simonwalk104
Thanks empire - made my last 2 night shifts a little more bearable and will be revisiting some movies i had forgotton about! - Totally agree with the inclusion of the child catcher from chitty bang bang - terrified me as a child!! Read More

23 When I was younger...
Posted on Tuesday October 29, 2013, 22:24 by magnicmac
The boy vampire tapping at his brother's bedroom window in Salem's Lot was scary. Didn't like that at all. My favourite horror films are the ones with ghosts. I loved the recent "The Woman in Black", mostly because of the time it was set in. Like the good old days of Hammer. Read More

Posted on Tuesday October 29, 2013, 18:13 by nostrebornod
#661 - "a souped-up Begbie". LOL, I loved it! Read More

25 Mistake: The Creeper..........
Posted on Tuesday October 29, 2013, 07:06 by Beaulieu
......wakes every 23 Years and eats for 23 Days not 27................. Read More

26 Brilliant
Posted on Monday October 28, 2013, 19:59 by Battan9000
I said my number one would be Ash - and so is Empire's Read More

27 It's 665
Posted on Monday October 28, 2013, 14:37 by chris wootton
Donald Sutherland is there twice for Don't Look Now! Read More

28 RE: 246
Posted on Monday October 28, 2013, 00:59 by balkaster
Vampyr is not a silent film. Read More

29 RE: 250
Posted on Monday October 28, 2013, 00:58 by balkaster
Levinson and Link could hardly have ripped off Kinderman for Columbo when Columbo predates Kinderman. Columbo first appeared in the early 1960s, first on TV and later in a play; the TV series with Peter Falk debuted in '68. The Exorcist wasn't published until 1971. Read More

30 RE: 575
Posted on Sunday October 27, 2013, 23:09 by balkaster
Thea was neither buried alive nor did she rise again to "kebab her tormentors". The character you're describing was Mrs. St. Aubans (played by Katherine Emery). The Mrs. suffers bouts of narcolepsy, one of which is mistaken for death by the plague. She goes mad when she revives in the tomb and runs about the island with the trident pricking all and sundry. Thea (Ellen Drew) was St. Auban's Gypsy nurse/assistant, who is unjustly persecuted by Gen'l. Pharides when he decides she is a vorvolaka. Read More

31 Otis: Portrait of a potential libel suit
Posted on Saturday October 26, 2013, 22:48 by BetsyChevron
Worth noting that entry 278 is based on Ottis Toole, the associate of Henry Lee Lucas. Otis Lee Crenshaw is a character created by Rich Hall, who, whilst troubled, doesn't have multiple murders or a history as a rent boy in his backstory... as far as I know. Read More

Posted on Saturday October 26, 2013, 14:17 by frankie
Who is Kevin Slate? (#565) Is he like the Flintstones version of Kevin Smith? Read More

Posted on Saturday October 26, 2013, 12:50 by Whistler
Quite surprised by how low Jason is. Perhaps he lacks the complexity and intrigue of other killers who torment and toy with their victims, but his stone-cold, slaughter everyone in sight MO bears its own brand of creepiness. He just gets the job done. Read More

34 Fantastic list!
Posted on Saturday October 26, 2013, 09:26 by matthewj.white1234
Can't say I agree with every placement (it would be quite hard too with 666 entries), but I agree wholeheartedly with no. 1, and I am slightly proud of myself that I guessed it beforehand. I have to commend all the people involved with this. It was a huge undertaking, and this reader, speaking as one of many, is very grateful for your efforts! Read More

35 Amazing list.
Posted on Saturday October 26, 2013, 06:08 by HulkySmashSmash
It's always bittersweet watching Poltergeist. Heather O'Rourke was truly amazing in those films. Read More

36 Glaring Omissions
Posted on Friday October 25, 2013, 22:51 by McNeelRM
As a stand-in for the filming of Pet Sematary, we appreciate your mention of Gage and Zelda, but omitting Fred Gwynne's Jud Crandall is a true head scratcher. Other ones you missed: José Mojica Marins' Coffin Joe in "At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul" and "This Night I'll Possess Your Corpse," Mildred Clinton's Mrs. Tredoni in "Alice Sweet Alice," Ray Sager's Montag the Magnificent in "Wizard of Gore," John Astin's The Judge in "The Frighteners," Nancy Parson's Ida Smith in "Motel Hell," Udo Kier's Dracula in "Blood for Dracula," and Murray Matheson (voice) and Norman Stuart (body) for "Arnold." Read More

Posted on Friday October 25, 2013, 14:28 by Chris Hewitt
Billy Zane, I feel your pain. The Collector wasn't happy about it either. If it makes you happy, imagine him 400 places higher. Luccewada, if we put this in the mag, it would BE the mag. This is the beauty of having an amazing website, that we can do things like this. We may release a PDF version soon, which should make it easier for those who don't like to read websites on a screen. Read More

38 Billy Zane
Posted on Friday October 25, 2013, 13:23 by spacemonkey187
You people are mental. How can the Collector from Demon Knight be so low in this list? Read More

39 PDF
Posted on Friday October 25, 2013, 13:05 by Chow Yun Slim
I seem to remember there talk of a PDF of this??? Anyone know how/where?? Read More

40 I simply don't have time to read this
Posted on Friday October 25, 2013, 12:43 by luccewada
Why don't you print this kind of thing in the mag so you can A: MAKE MONEY FROM IT and B: we can read it without having to stare at a screen? Read More

41 brilliant
Posted on Friday October 25, 2013, 12:24 by mkw83
This is brilliant. Thank you thank you for the 'orror recognition. Read More

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