Playing the antagonist is often considered to be far more difficult than playing the good guy. Lena Headey, who played the scheming Cersei Lannister on Game of Thrones, often spoke about how people would hate on her publicly for being such a malevolent character. She would laugh and say that is when she realised she was doing her job well. Despite the vicious and evil characters being portrayed in films, we all have a special place in our hearts for the bad guys, whom we hate and loathe yet are constantly attracted to. They demand our unwavering attention as we cannot fathom what possibly led them to be such horrifying characters.
Netflix has a wide variety of original series and films. They have gifted wonderful characters to us who often inspire awe and love in our hearts. At the same time, they have not shied away from creating vile and perverted sociopaths, stalkers and inanimate objects that send us into a state of anger and frenzy.
While the classic scary villains would be Freddie Kreuger and Michael Myers, Netflix has a few scary characters whose wickedness and sadism is right up there with these classic horror villains. We assure you, you would never want to meet these characters even in your wildest nightmares.
Here are the 10 scariest Netflix Original villains whose despicable presence on-screen makes them hateful and intriguing at the same time.
10 scariest Netflix original characters:
10. The Demogorgon – Stranger Things
Stranger Things is the Duffer Brothers’ romantic ode to the ’80s grunge aesthetic featuring kids on bicycles defeating a dangerous demon and saving the day. While the show is a concoction of every childhood dream sequence of fantasy and heroism, the show features a vicious predator shaped like a humanoid known as the Demogorgon who has been terrifying the town of Hawkins. Besides preying on fear and flesh, the creature has the ability to travel across dimensions.
With enormous strength and an affinity for blood, the Demogorgon is nearly invincible. It is only Eleven’s telekinetic powers that are able to kill him. It does not possess much intelligence and locates its victims based on instinct and unthinkable strength. With numerous teeth lining its petals, its appearance is terrifying and might make the viewers have frequent nightmares.
The bloodcurdling shriek along with its slimy appearance is what our night terrors are made of.
9. The House – The Haunting of Hill House
Mike Flanagan’s 2018 Netflix series The Haunting of Hill House, based on Shirley Jackson’s novel of the same name, is spectacular in every sense. Time transcends linearity; the past seeps into the present which in turn blends with the future. The magnificent Hill House and the spirits trapped in it exists as an abject; jump scares and ghostly apparitions add to the psychological terror that manifests as a result of the supernatural disturbances, occult experiences and omnipresent tension the characters are exposed to inside the House.
The House tears families asunder, the Crain family not being the only one. It kills and traps the souls in a continuum where the lines between the past and the present are blurred.
The House is the seat of psychological trauma and suffering. Bearing the hefty burden of the traumatising events and the ghosts of their past, the children of the Crain family grow up in trepidation – as adults, they are dysfunctional and constantly at unease. Although they finally come together to defeat the overwhelming and overpowering scars left by the house, Hill House stands as a testament to the ghosts of their past, the ones they can never escape from.
“No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream.”
8. Ed Kemper – Mindhunter
While the show itself is a riveting watch while it traces the development of the FBI’s behavioural unit over a course of two seasons peppered with cold, gruesome murders, the star of the show is definitely the cold and calculative murderer Edmund Kemper. His on-screen presence is sinister which is accentuated by his calm demeanour. Cameron Britton as Edmund is perhaps the most interesting – cold-blooded and dignified, his words unsettle the agents – their tension and anxiety send the audience into panic and frenzy.
It is a shame that we did not get a lot of Ed Kemper over the seasons. The character is interesting and unsettling at the same time and Britton does an incredible job of making the character more frightening with a dollop of self-awareness and notoriety.
“You see, Bill, I knew a week before she died I was gonna kill her.”
7. Bryce Walker-13 Reasons Why
Bryce Walker is a loathsome and vile character whose pathetic redemption arc did not manage to make the character any less hateful. A typical stock blonde jock, Bryce does not understand the meaning of consent. He is a sexual predator who assaulted Hannah baker in his hot tub as well as a drunk Jessica while she was passed out. He was the 12th reason for Hannah’s suicide and his actions had crushed her soul.
Bryce is manipulative, violent, cruel, arrogant and condescending. He treats women like his personal toys and abuses his girlfriend. He not only humiliates Hannah and several others but lies relentlessly to save his image. Although the show pathetically tried to track his chance in the third season and tried to garner audience sympathy by showing his brutal murder, Bryce deserves a special place in hell for the kind of acts he has engaged in. pray we never encounter a Bryce Walker in our lives.
“What’s mine is yours, right?”
6. The Angel – Midnight Mass
If there is one thing guaranteed to give you the chills it is a blood-sucking monster shrouded in the protective cloak of religion. When the evil Angel comes to town on Crockett Island in Mike Flanagan’s Midnight Mass, nobody can predict the shrieking horror that would follow it.
While the title of the most despicable character in the series can flit between both Father Paul and the horrific Beverly Keane (who kills a beautiful dog for no real reason at all), nobody can deny the sheer horrendous frightening capabilities of a meaning angel from on-high.
Be afraid, be very afraid.
“People have been seeing him wander around at night.”
5. Nurse Ratched – Ratched
The classic villain of Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and of the subsequent eponymous adaptation in 1975, Nurse Mildred Ratched is notorious for her tyrannical methods as a nurse in a psychiatric treatment centre (Salem State Hospital). Her heartless and unique psychotherapy includes degrading and humiliating the patients into doing her bidding. Ratched, which debuted on September 18, 2020, is a prequel to the iconic film. Set in 1947, the series traces the evolution of the classic and notorious villain Mildred Ratched’s into the malicious and barbaric nurse.
Portrayed by the uber-talented Sarah Paulson, the series attempts to delve deeper into the nurse’s twisted psyche in an attempt to understand what led to her reign of tyranny in the film. Paulson, who initially hated the Nurse, however, became sympathetic after getting to know the struggles faced by the wicked nurse in her childhood; loneliness was a driving force in her life. Paulson has described the nurse’s journey as “a pursuit of survival and of finding some sense of home”, despite the “potentially selfish need” at the root of her questionable treatment methods.
“All I was guilty of, was showing these men mercy when no one else would.”
4. Kilgrave – Jessica Jones
Although Kilgrave appears in Jessica Jones as the scheming antagonist, one can only hope that Kilgrave gets his own series someday owing to the sheer depth and notoriety David Tennant brought to the character. Kevin Thompson or Kilgrave has had a traumatic childhood with his parents experimenting on him to treat a neurological disorder which gave him the ability to control people’s minds. He becomes cruel and evil and uses his ability to control minds by manipulating Jessica Jones to be his sex slave, leaving her traumatised.
He has a twisted obsession with Jones and manipulates her into staying with him. When Jones betrays him, he plans on enhancing his dangerous powers t kill Jones; however, he meets his fateful ending. He has no sense of morality or conscience and is a borderline sociopath. Kilgrave is plain evil, a deplorable human being who continues to haunt Jessica Jones long after his demise, scarring her forever.
“It’s true that I’ve never given a second thought to anyone that I’ve let die, but I take no pleasure in it… like a truly evil man would. I’m merely… removing nuisances. Public service, really. But you… I believe for the first time, I will rather enjoy watching you die.”
3. Claire Underwood – House of Cards
With her cropped blonde hair and icy stare, Claire Underwood is as evil and vile as her husband Frank. While she was the 51st Vice President and then the 46th First Lady, she assumed office as the 47th President of the United States after her husband resigned. She is chic and quiet and has a piercing stare. Determined and stealthy, she uses her position and pragmatism to manipulate the actions in her favour. Cold and calculative, she cares about guarding her self-interests and can betray her husband to keep herself in order.
Although Claire is shown to have a soft side at times, it is rare. She is the manifestation of Lady Macbeth with vaulting ambition and sinister motives. Portrayed by Robin Wright, the character is layered with unbelievable depth. One would not want to encounter a Claire Underwood; Wright’s brilliant performance earned her a Golden Globe and makes Claire Underwood complement Kevin Spacey’s Frank Underwood. As Wright rightly described her character, “She operates as a man would in certain aspects, and she operates the way a woman would simultaneously, within this environment of a very Shakespearean drama.”
“I’m willing to let your child wither and die inside you if that’s what’s required.”
2. Pablo Escobar – Narcos
Pablo Escobar, the renowned drug kingpin and narcoterrorist of the Medellin cartel, was portrayed by Brazilian actor Wagner Moura who rightfully won a Golden Globe nomination. Enigmatic and charming, Moura as Escobar demands constant attention and is the biggest reason behind Narcos being one of the best Original series on Netflix. Temperamental and emotional, Escobar is loyal and one of the most popular anti-herpes on-screen.
Escobar’s Medellin Cartel is one of the most powerful cartels which hailed Escobar as a hero in the eyes of many people. While he caused a lot of ruthless bloodshed and gruesome violence, Escobar’s infamy and influence are felt everywhere. His overwhelming power is palpable when the show portrays how he is able to extend his drug cartel from Colombia to the United States and Europe.
“Gentlemen… I’m going to tell you who I am. I am Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria. My eyes are everywhere. That means you guys can’t move a finger in all of Antioquia without me knowing about it. Do you understand? Not a finger.”
1. Joe Goldberg – You
Joe Goldberg is perhaps one of Netflix’s coldest villains. Sadistic and vile, his obsession with his targets incites in him the desire to own them. Joe’s stalker tendencies force him to resort to cold-blooded murders and perverted voyeuristic tendencies. Handsome and quiet, he is observant and has the urge to save Beck in season one before getting outwitted by Love in season two, who seems to be the perfect match for him.
Portrayed by Penn Badgley, the character of Joe is made even more petrifying by Badgley’s deadpan expression and piercing gaze. The premise is dark and unsettling and the audience will fear being constantly watched. On The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Badgley, when asked about his chilling on-screen presence, went on to explain how he came up with the trademark Goldberg expression. He said that he does “nothing” which results in a creepy face; the “real Charles Manson vibe” comes from the act of staring at the camera with a vacant expression.“I arrive on mark …. I do nothing but look up. And the entire crew behind the camera goes ‘Oh! Whoa, man. That is phenomenal. That is so creepy.’ And I did nothing.”
“Sometimes, we do bad things for the people we love. It doesn’t mean it’s right, it means love is more important.”