The art of the creepy villain is a difficult one to master. Of course, many have have failed to make us jump out of our skins or give us the dreaded “ick” but for every failure, there is one success story that will haunt our dreams forever.
If Freddie Kreuger, Michael Myers and Pazuzu top our charts in being the creepiest characters in the history of films and shows, it is safe to assume that Netflix, with its wide variety of content, has a varied set of creepy characters who will make us spend many sleepless nights.
It is often more difficult to play the bad guy. Lena Headey, known for her role as the scheming and brutal Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones, revealed that people would often hate on her for her malevolence on-screen and that made her realise that she was doing the job well.
You asked for it and here we have compiled a list of the 10 creepiest characters in the films and shows that are streaming on Netflix:
10 creepiest characters on shows and films streaming on Netflix
10. Charlie (Hereditary)
Milly Shapiro plays Charlie from Ari Aster’s shocking horror flick Hereditary and manages to make the already-disturbing film even more horrifying with her simple, laconic expressions. From interacting with her dead grandmother, who was involved in cult-like practices, to dying a headless death, despite her early demise in the film, Charlie’s pervading presence engulfs the screen and makes the film appear even more harrowing.
From cutting off pigeon heads and sewing them into her school projects to being incredibly blank that is perceived as stunted mental growth by the world, Charlie is used as a vessel by the demonic Paimon until her death. She has a haunting aura and quiet menace to her appearance, making Charlie one of Aster’s creepiest characters.
“Who’s gonna take care of me … when you die?”
9. Black Phillip the Goat (The Witch)
A Puritan family in 1630s New England is banished off the lands due to heresy, and they settle near a forest. The ancient lore of a sinister witch soon has ominous effects on the family, tearing it apart. Black Phillip is a black billy goat who is the animal reincarnation of Satan himself. His hoarse voice and seductive nature is a part of his rambunctious persona.
He is the main antagonist of the film and tries to seduce Thomasin into selling her soul instead of a life of luxury. Black Phillip is the most sinister talking goat and is introduced in the film keeping in mind the ancient beliefs associating the Devil with the goat. Either way, a talking goat would probably send me running for my life!
“Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?”
8. Bee (The Babysitter)
Imagine having the hots for your neighbour-cum-babysitter before finding out she is a bloodthirsty demon-worshipping cult leader. Imagine Cole’s predicament when he finds himself becoming the victim in this. Bee, Cole’s attractive neighbour and babysitter, is part of a cult. She fends Cole against class bullies in the day and slits throats while hunting for virgin blood at night. Scary, you say?
It gets even worse when Bee reveals that she has been town-hopping for quite some tie to prey on unsuspecting boys like Cole and even offers to spare his life if he joins the cult. This horror-comedy is grisly with buckets of blood and Satanistic rituals, paving the way for this shorts-clad devil-worshipping babysitter to thrive as a creepy and sinister villain.
“Things get messy when you make a deal with the devil.”
7. Wilfred Hames (1922)
Based on Stephen King’s eponymous work, the film focuses on a man named Wilfred Hames, who goes to extreme lengths to protect his Nebraska farm from being sold, which leads him to murder his wife in cold blood, seeking help from his teenage son. Wilfred is haunted by Arlette following the same incident constantly, but he is sinister enough to cover up his crimes and stay off the hook.
Although Wilfred gradually begins to lose his mind and be haunted by the vision of rats invading him, it is perturbing to see how easily he managed to turn a session of love-making into one where he smothers his wife to death. All because of a paltry farm that did not reap profits!
“I discovered something that night that most people never have to learn. Murder is sin. Murder is damnation. But murder is also work.”
6. Hannibal Lecter (Hannibal)
Hannibal Lecter is a terrifying character. Whether it is the iconic Anthony Hopkins or the rugged Mads Mikkelsen playing this brilliant forensic psychiatrist, the character goes down in history as one of the creepiest anti-heroes to have ever been created. With his secret love for human flesh, in the series, he is the Chesapeake Ripper who falls in love with the serial killer hunter Will Graham as the series progresses.
Contrary to Hopkin’s portrayal, Mikkelsen adds a certain tantalizing aura to his character. Hannibal is unpredictable and quiet, confident and well-versed in everything. He has a knack for cooking up gourmet dishes. Just replace lamb skewers with human meat. You never know when he is planning to pounce on you and feed you your own brain while waiting for you to succumb to the intense blood loss. The cooking scenes with a dollop of orchestral music in the background are an added bonus as Hannibal’s skills put Gordon Ramsey to shame.
“Killing must feel good to God too, He does it all the time.”
5. Flora and Miles (The Haunting of Bly Manor)
Imagine being the Aupair to a duo of young children who can see and converse with ghosts. The young boy manifests the spirit of an evil man while the young girl stares beyond you into the abyss and mutters “perfectly splendid” at every opportunity. I would have personally dashed out of the house irrespective of the hundreds and thousands of dollars they would be willing to pay me!
Mike Flanagan’s The Haunting of Bly Manor is an incredibly well-told story of love, longing and loss. The characters are well-portrayed, especially that of Flora and Miles Wingrave. From Flora ominously whispering “you’re expected” to the children locking their Aupair, Dani Clayton, in the closet as she is haunted by visions — they are a menace. Creepy and unsettling, child actors Amelia Bea Smith and Benjamin Evan Ainsworth do a “perfectly splendid” job.
“I’m sorry I didn’t do worse.”
4. Ted Bundy (Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile)
Ted Bundy is exactly what the title of the film describes him to be. Eerily romanticised by many for his “handsomeness”, Bundy was said to be articulate and charismatic. Infamous for his notorious crimes of abducting, raping, killing and further engaging in sexual acts with corpses of over 30 girls and women, Bundy is one of the most hated and feared in the history of serial killers. Bubbling with depravity and hiding sick, twisted desires behind his facade is a blemish in the name of humanity.
Zac Efron though a teenage heartthrob, ended up portraying the villainous character of Bundy, who defended himself in court by talking about how he had been framed. It is honestly shocking to see people’s obsession with Bundy and other serial killers. It is problematic but, at the same time, extremely unsettling to think how such a disgusting excuse of a human could even be considered appealing.
“People don’t realise that there are killers among them. People they liked, loved, lived with, work with and admired could the next day turn out to be the most demonic people imaginable.”
3. Ed Kemper (Mindhunter)
Mindhunter is, in itself, a fascinating watch as the two seasons trace the development of the FBI’s behavioural unit with various cold-blooded, grisly murders taking place. However, the star of the show would definitely be the calm, poised, calculative murderer, Edmund Kemper. His on-screen demeanour is eerily disturbing. His speech unsettles his interrogators; his knowledge and dignified gait almost leave them awestruck.
We wish there would have been more episodes dealing with this particular character, he is interesting and unnerving at the same time, and Cameron Britton does an incredible job playing the character who is eloquent and articulate. With a frightening amount of notorious self-awareness about his “classic displacement activity”, the character casually discusses his obsession with mutilating inanimate objects and dogs and cats before manifesting his “hideous” desire of murdering his mother and humiliating her head.
“A mother should not scorn her own son. If a woman humiliates a little boy, he will become hostile, and violent and debased. Period.”
2. Esther (Orphan)
Based on a true incident of a 34-year-old woman impersonating a 13-year-old, the film Orphan is terrifying due to its sinister and titular protagonist, Esther. Adopted by a couple who are recuperating from the loss of their unborn child, which puts a strain on their marriage, Esther joins their family, and terrifying incidents ensue. The brother, Daniel, who is cold towards her, hurts himself, the parents grow distant towards one another, and their deaf little daughter Max is in danger.
Beneath the facade of being the perfect child with perfect behaviour, Esther is spine-chillingly scary. Her deadpan expressions and neat ponytails add to her menacing demeanour. Isabella Fuhrman does an exquisite job of playing this 9-year-old creepy character whose antics include attempting to seduce her adoptive father, kill her mother and siblings and wreak chaos upon their family. Violent and cruel, Esther is a downright villain that we hope we never come across.
“I don’t think Mommy likes me very much.”
1. Joe Goldberg (You)
Goldberg tops our list of creepy characters, one of Netflix’s coldest and scariest villains with an obsessive, perverted and sadistic frame of mind. His voyeuristic tendencies and intense desire to possess the “objects” of his affection make him unsettling. In the first season, he has an intense saviour complex for Beck and ends up getting outwitted by the equally psychopathic Love in the second season; their match is tailormade in heaven.
Penn Badgley manages to infuse a feeling of sinister charm into his character, making it even more petrifying, with his cold, unexpressive eyes and deadpan expression. As he stares into our soul by doing nothing, he gives off the “real Charles Manson” vibe. While it is incredibly disturbing to see the likes of Goldberg be romanticised on Twitter by viewers, he is indeed the most disturbing Netflix character.
“Sometimes, we do bad things for the people we love. It doesn’t mean it’s right, it means love is more important.”