Brian De Palma's adaptation of Stephen King's debut novel cemented both men as forces to be reckoned within the department of scary stories, but it's the lead performance by Sissy Spacek -- and the monumental one from Piper Laurie as Carrie's mother! If you've seen one horror film in which an awkward outcast takes revenge against their tormentors in brutal and horrific fashion, then you've seen the powerful influence that Carrie left on the horror genre.
It's sort of a cheat to include double features in lists like this one, but sometimes while trying to find a spot for a particular chiller, you nail a perfect pairing. The Innocents is about a haunted house that just might not be haunted at all, whereas The Others is about a haunted house that's haunted by, well, I'm not going to spoil it.
Both films milk the creaky, old haunted house motif wonderfully well; both are laden with strong performances; and both manage to hit a wonderfully satisfying, bittersweet tone that's the hallmark of great Gothic fiction. You know how sometimes you have to build yourself up to try something scary like a roller coaster or a ridiculously spicy food?
You'd start with a smaller carnival ride or mildly spicy sauce in order to prepare yourself for the really rough stuff. That's how one should approach this ferocious, thoroughly unpredictable, and borderline brilliant deconstruction of horror, torture, and violence: with caution. On its surface it's sort of a "home invasion" thriller, but the deeper you dig into this rabbit hole the freakier and more horrific the discoveries become.
Don't say you haven't been warned. When it comes to Clive Barker movies, most people generally talk about Hellraiser. Or Nightbreed. Oooh, or Midnight Meat Train. Where was I? Oh yes.
- The Fifth Descendant.
- Best Horror Movies of All Time, Ranked: Scariest Movies Ever Made - Thrillist.
- VELVET EMBRACE!
If you want a "fun" horror film, look elsewhere. This one deals with racism, slavery, and oppression in a way that's bold and unique. James Whale's tragic adaptation of the celebrated Mary Shelley novel was the gold standard for decades -- even if it did generate a sequel that turned out superior in nearly every regard -- and it's not hard to see why. The production design alone is the stuff of a mad nightmare, Boris Karloff provides an unlikely soul to the creature stitched together with spare parts, and the film is laden with iconic moments that still manage to pack a wallop nearly 90 years later.
Sam Neill and Isabelle Adjani star as a married couple whose relationship is clearly falling apart. Sounds pretty simple, right? This visceral gut-punch of a horror film pulled itself from obscurity to become an unlikely cult classic to horror fans over the world. It's worth seeing for the stunning lead performances alone, but it's also a horrific and fascinating metaphor for the ugly dissolution of a previously loving relationship.
Yeah, it's pretty heavy. You won't find all that many British horror films from this particular era, but there's no denying that this Ealing Studios classic is one of the most beloved not to mention influential anthology horror films ever made. Although probably best known for its truly creepy story involving a freaky doll much like 's Trilogy of Terror! If you've seen at least one horror flick in which a bunch of broad archetypes discover a secret horror while visiting an isolated cabin, you will almost certainly have a ball while this maniacal carnival ride of a movie unspools.
Also like Scream , this movie makes one point crystal clear: If you're going to poke fun at something, make sure it's something you actually like. This dry British indie starts out like a melodrama -- Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie are trying to heal following the accidental death of their child -- but gradually transforms into a paranoia thriller that delves into the occult, the church, mental instability, and of course the ever-lingering specter of guilt.
It's most assuredly an "arthouse horror" film, but it's one that's masterfully crafted and darkly memorable. Some will argue that this is not a horror film. I would argue that it most certainly is, at least in part, and that part is straight-up terrifying. This flick swept the top five Oscars! That's almost unprecedented! My affection for this freaky, little mindfuck of a horror movie is well-documented check out the DVD commentary! This flick seems to be a "love it or hate it" sort of movie, which I appreciate.
- Ghost Station Beta!
- How To Find God;
- Personal Data Collected!
- Check out other streaming services!.
- My Life as a Cartoonist (My Life, #3) by Janet Tashjian.
Please place me firmly in the "love it" aisle. Oh, and that score!
142 Movie Sequels Currently in the Works
I may play this one on Halloween night. Horror anthologies may not be a huge box office draw historically speaking, but the really good ones manage to maintain a strong shelf life, and that's certainly the case with this colorful collaboration between horror juggernauts Stephen King and George Romero. Every horror fan has their favorite segment -- I love "The Crate!!
The horror genre has plenty sub-divisions, and as far as old-school comic book-style "fun" horror goes, Creepshow is a masterpiece. Plus, it's so much fun to play the "omg it's I'll start you off with Ed Harris! We've all seen monster movies before, but when one comes along that messes with the formula and finds a way to make even the simplest of premises seem fresh, that's a horror film worthy of note. Director Neil Marshall drops five female friends into an uncharted cave and forces them to contend with not only feral humanoid monsters, but also horrific injuries, rampant claustrophobia, and the bitter sting of betrayal.
The result is one of the most intense creature features of the s. This low-budget black-and-white indie didn't make much noise when it was released onto the drive-in circuit in the early s, but it's gone on to become one of the most celebrated horror films of the decade. It's a hallucinatory tale of a young woman who believes she's being stalked by a mysterious man -- or maybe she's simply losing her mind. Stick with it through the dry spots because act three is straight-up terrifying, provided you've been paying attention and have all the lights off.
There's a tendency to let great horror movies percolate for a few years before putting them on any sort of "all-time greatest" lists, but, oh well, Get Out is just that good. After all, how many horror films can you name that won Best Original Screenplay? Astute horror fans will notice all sorts of DNA floating through this tale of abduction and alienation most notably The Stepford Wives , but first-time feature director Jordan Peele brings more than enough originality to the party -- partially because he's not afraid to bring up difficult questions related to racial inequality, but he's also damn insistent on delivering a smart, strange, unpredictable thriller that doesn't skimp on what horror fans want.
Don Coscarelli's cult classic starts out like a relatively normal horror story about a kid who suspects that strange things are afoot at the local mortuary -- and it promptly evolves into a super-bizarre compendium of "nightmare logic" horror sequences that just keep getting weirder. And yes, scarier. None of the sequels were able to replicate the wonderfully unique vibe of the original film, and it's a willfully weird horror classic that works especially well upon repeat viewings.
Especially if you have friends and a mind-altering substance of some kind nearby. True, the s were sometimes infamous for producing some really lame horror flicks, but there's lots of fantastic buried treasure to be found in this decade, and Clive Barker's directorial debut is most assuredly one piece of that treasure. Arguably one of the most gruesome stories ever told about lust and adultery, Hellraiser is also infamous for being the big-screen debut of "Pinhead," an ominous torture demon who turned out to be one of the most unlikely horror icons you could imagine.
Bolstered by a freaky tone, numerous nasty dispatches, and a whole bunch of freaky mayhem, Hellraiser is far and away the class of the entire endless franchise It's safe to say that the horror genre needed a real shot in the arm by the time the mid-'90s rolled around.
How many horror sequels can you go see, after all? Don't answer that. Veteran scare lord Wes Craven had already reinvented the slasher film years earlier with the brilliant A Nightmare on Elm Street , and now he'd all but destroy the sub-genre with a knowing, winking, and consistently clever horror comedy smash entitled Scream. Not only is the film legitimately scary, but it's also unexpectedly funny, and of course it's a massive treat for anyone who has seen enough slasher flicks to know the "unwritten rules" by heart. Forgive me for cheating again, but they both deserve inclusion, plus they actually make for a fantastic double feature of the two finest Dracula movies ever made.
Based on the immortal novel by Bram Stoker, the adaptation features Bela Lugosi as the titular bloodsucker, and while Dracula is a bit starchy to modern eyes -- as any film made in the early '30s would be -- it still holds up as a monumentally creepy piece of classic Universal horror. It was probably the finest rendition of Dracula until , because that's when the brilliant British horror nuts at Hammer cast the amazing Christopher Lee in the title role.
Known as Horror of Dracula here in the U. The audacious and twisted flick combines horror, Westerns, and action into some sort of willfully bizarre and bizarrely enjoyable genre concoction. You've never seen a movie quite like it.
Guy Pearce plays a disgraced soldier who has been remanded to an isolated outpost, only to discover that there's some amount of cannibalism afoot at Fort Spencer -- and that's not even the worst of it. Suffice to say that this movie isn't exactly for all tastes. As a little kid I was obsessed with the original version of The Blob. As a teenager I was highly amused by the decidedly nastier remake. And now as a crabby adult I'm wondering when the next rendition will ooze into view. There's not a whole lot to the tale of a giant glob of goo that lands in a small town and begins devouring everyone, but there's something so damn fascinating about the monster itself that it kinda begs for yet another remake.
The origins of the "slasher flick" can be traced back to Italy, but it was this Canadian import that helped the sub-genre find its footing in North America. Four years before Michael Myers began his Halloween night rampage, this holiday-themed tale of a stalker roaming a sorority house struck a solid chord with the midnight movie crowd -- and it still holds up surprisingly well today.
One cannot say the same for the remake. No list of horror classics would be complete without something from Vincent Price, and this twisted chiller about a psycho who hides his murderous habits inside of life-sized human figures is one of his most enjoyably creepy. Not only did this one give me countless nightmares as a kid but it features an enjoyably freaky finale. Plus the remake isn't half bad. A young blind woman Audrey Hepburn is terrorized by three rather distinctly nefarious criminals who believe she knows where a valuable drug stash is hidden.
Sounds like a pretty simple premise, but this late-'60s thriller nailed the "home invasion" premise decades before it became so popular, thanks in large part to director From Russia With Love director Terence Young, Ms. Hepburn's excellent performance, and villains like Richard Crenna and a young, freaky Alan Arkin. The movie world lost a true great when Bill Paxton suddenly passed away in early , and while he'll be remembered as a legend among character actors, he also directed and stars in this this dark, fascinating, and wonderfully twisted occult thriller. The surface plot is about two young boys, one murderous father, and a countless number of "demons" who look just like humans.
Beyond the twists and scares, however, Frailty also boasts a remarkable screenplay that works on a variety of Twilight Zone -y levels. Don't show it to your super-religious relatives. Hammer, the year-old genre-driven production company, gets most of the love when it comes to British horror cinema of years past, though Amicus Productions deserves a fair parcel of praise for its own creepy, gothic tales. Amicus produced no fewer than seven separate anthology horror films between and , and while Tales from the Crypt and Vault of Horror might be the most popular of these "grab bag" productions, my personal favorite is 's Asylum , which not only features four freaky terror tales, but also a twisted wrap-around story that you simply have to see.
It's pretty insane, but then the movie is about an asylum. This one wasn't exactly well-received when it first hit theaters go check out Roger Ebert's scathing review , but has proven to be quite the fan favorite in the intervening decades. Take out the nihilism and mercilessly brutal violence and you'd have a thriller that Hitchcock could have appreciated: It's little more than a cat Rutger Hauer and mouse C. Thomas Howell thriller that takes place on countless desert highways in the middle of nowhere, but it's that nasty edge that keeps the viewer on their toes.
The first and probably the best horror film from master Mario Bava works as both an homage to the Universal monster classics and an early harbinger of the graphic violence that would eventually become a large part of Italian horror cinema. Black Sunday follows a resurrected witch as she wreaks all sorts of havoc on the heirs of the people who killer her.
Thanks in large part to some lovely black-and-white cinematography, it's probably the best killer witch flick of all time. Don't feel bad for not supporting this one in theaters. Lionsgate pretty much dumped and buried this off-kilter little masterpiece and has more or less ignored its existence ever since. That's too bad because Lucky McKee's modernized, gender-switched take on the Frankenstein template is nothing short of brilliant.
From Angela Bettis's fractured, fascinating lead performance to the shocking violence and the weirdly, gruesomely bittersweet finale, this is the sort of horror films that young horror buffs will "discover" 15 years from now. I hope. Most of Guillermo del Toro's films could be described as "horror stories" in one way or another -- the man is a genius at creating monsters who are lonely, misunderstood, and sometimes terrifying -- but for the man's most effective chills, you must seek out this brilliant film about an isolated boys school that's forced to contend with the horrors of war.
It's not as well-known as del Toro's "bigger" films like Pan's Labyrinth , Hellboy , Pacific Rim , and Crimson Peak but it may be his most personal, insightful, and for my money consistently creepy.
TV Shows You Should Binge-Watch Right Now, From ‘OITNB’ to ‘Better Call Saul’ (Photos)
Lots of horror films have used the abandoned asylum as a setting for their creepy shenanigans, but none have nailed the malevolent nature of these locations like Brad Anderson The Machinist did in Session 9. It's a simple story about a crew of asbestos removal technicians who find temporary work in a very horrific, haunted, crumbling edifice -- and gradually come to realize that they're not alone. Only it's not just a standard ghost story. Long before she delivered Oscar-level movies like The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty , Kathryn Bigelow directed what turned out to be one of the best vampire movies ever made.
She had a great screenplay by Eric Red The Hitcher ; a trio of actors who worked on Aliens together; and a good deal of sense, style, and attitude. The result is a darkly amusing, completely engaging, and undeniably creepy tale of a vampire clan that finally comes up against a victim who fights back. For my money it still holds up as one of the very best horror films of the s.
This controversial British shocker helped end the career of the brilliant Michael Powell co-director of Black Narcissus and The Red Shoes and was more or less pilloried upon its release. But champions like Martin Scorsese turned the film into an undisputed cult classic, as well as a progenitor of voyeuristic horror films like Man Bites Dog , Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer , and some of the more compelling "found footage" horror flicks of the past few years.
In many ways Peeping Tom feels like an early version of the "unhinged misfit strikes back" premise, yet it also works as a weirdly prescient indictment of mass media culture. The movie tells the simple story of a seaside town that finds itself under siege by birds of all sorts. There's no rhyme or reason behind the attack; just a random, shocking, organized assault from a species generally known for minding its own business. Bonus: The special effects still hold up!
We've all heard the phrase "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned," but few horror films encapsulate that occasionally true adage like Takashi Miike's effortlessly disturbing tale about a fake producer, a young woman, and the horrible secrets they keep from one another. This is a textbook example of a "slow burn" horror film, but the tension remains so palpable -- and the payoff so intense -- that Audition still stands as one of this wildly prolific director's very best films.
You could spend one awesomely disconcerting weekend picking through David Cronenberg's early horror films such as Shivers , Rabid , The Brood , and Scanners but this disturbingly prescient sci-fi mind-bender from the early '80s is one of the man's true classics. James Woods, typecast, plays a sleazebag who stumbles across a horrific TV channel that not only desensitizes its viewers to shocking violence; it actually makes you part of the broadcast. How do you follow up one of the most powerful, influential, and socially relevant horror films of all time?
By creating something equally as impressive. Zombie master George A. Romero could have taken the easy way out and staged another siege just like the one in Night of the Living Dead , but it's safe to say that he expanded his horizons in a huge way; it's still a siege movie, but this time the tiny cabin is a giant shopping mall. Oh, and the kills are a whole lot gorier this time around. Horror films about the occult were all the rage in the mid- to lates. And while Richard Donner's The Omen wasn't the first one to hit theaters, it was one of the most entertaining.
David Seltzer's crafty screenplay doles out dark mysteries and sudden shocks at a generous clip, but it's the cast, the score, and that ass-kick of an ending that elevates the story of creepy young Damien beyond most of its devil-related ilk. The timing was perfect for this grimly brilliant Swedish import: vampires were getting more than a little anemic sorry and long in the tooth sorry again , but this fascinating adaptation of John Lindqvist's celebrated novel popped up and reminded us that vampire movies could still draw blood very, very sorry.
It's a simple story of a bullied young boy and an old vampire trapped in a teenager's body -- but it manages to branch off in a variety of unexpected directions. And hey, the American remake Let Me In is pretty solid in its own right. When you combine the masterfully light touch of Steven Spielberg and horror auteur Tobe Hooper's confidence, the result can be something very cool indeed. This early-'80s haunted-house classic still manages to scare the pants off of people today. Chalk it up to a great cast, a subtly intelligent screenplay, and the inclusion of actual heart, humor, and humanity.
Not to mention at least a half-dozen well-crafted set pieces that still pack a lot of enjoyable jolts. Many filmmakers have tried to translate H. Lovecraft's unique brand of literary horror for the big screen. Very few have succeeded. Until Stuart Gordon showed up, that is.
Gordon is best known and rightfully so for his masterful rendition of "Herbert West: Reanimator. But death doesn't enjoy being cheated. The movie is half Grand Guignol , half blood-splattered comedy, and completely cool. Remember the Japanese horror craze of the s? Hideo Nakata's Ringu remains fresh and cleverly terrifying. This is the one about the cursed VHS tape that kills anyone who plays it, and while this international horror hit inspired a surprisingly solid American remake, it still stands as one of Japan's most deviously entertaining cinematic exports.
Inside beats out High Tension and Martyrs in a photo finish. Part of what makes this ferocious home-invasion thriller so powerful is that our protagonist is a very sensitive and very pregnant woman A shockingly intense cat-and-mouse game keeps the audience squirming.
Where it goes The first [REC] exploded onto the horror scene in and instantly found fans all over the globe -- and then we got a sequel that was, somehow, even better. All you need to know is that an apartment building gets quarantined after a horrific virus starts turning people into ravenous monsters. Tod Browning's controversial revenge thriller is a horror film that could never be made, remade, or even replicated these days without all sorts of people getting really angry.
But the movie earns a place in horror history for employing actual circus "freaks" as its ensemble cast. It's a brutal, bitter, and cold-hearted piece of genre cinema, and one that any new horror fan should experience at least once. Yes, we needed to include a second film by Guillermo del Toro -- he just gets the genre. On the surface, Pan's Labyrinth 's about a young girl who escapes to a dark fantasy world after the horrors of war invade her normal one.
Beneath, the film opens itself to a wide array of darkly compelling interpretations. Plus del Toro's imaginative creatures and lush photography make it so damn beautiful to look at. By this point, you either love or hate The Blair Witch Project. I'm still on team "love," and here's why: A group of clever young filmmakers rolled the dice on a style of filmmaking that very few people had dabbled in, crafted their own freaky mythology, delivered a powerful collection of scares, and became a viral sensation well before anyone used the phrase "viral sensation.
Se7en is a very dark detective story, and an underappreciated highlight of the horror genre. The tone, the attitude, and the visual palette of David Fincher's noir simply screams "horror story" to me. Before you argue, think about the crime scenes, the eternal rainstorms, and the mercilessly intense third act, and then tell me that Se7en isn't, in some large way, a horror film.
And a really amazing one, too. Don't let the endless array of slapsticky sequels fool you; the original Japanese version of Godzilla is a dead-sober metaphor for the horrors of warfare in the atomic age -- something that the American version and those aforementioned sequels seems to have overlooked. Godzilla , a skyscraper-tall monster who breathes atomic rays and stomps over measly humans, is actually scary in this film.
Go figure. There's a good reason that this Robert Wise thriller is frequently mentioned among the finest examples of haunted-house cinema: because it is one. Based on a short story by Shirley Jackson, it's about four poor souls who start digging into a terrible old house, and it may just be the template for every traditional haunted-house movie you've ever seen. Regarding the remake of The Haunting , let us say nothing at all. Long before Freddy Krueger became the slasher version of Gallagher, he was presented as one of the most ominous horror villains of all time.
I don't like a whole lot of the sequels OK, Dream Warriors is pretty good , but there's no denying that the original Nightmare on Elm Street still holds up as a remarkably scary movie. The late, great Wes Craven knew when a scary story should be light Elm Street is mostly the latter -- and that's part of why it works so damn well.
If you're a giallo newbie and you're looking for a starting point into the world of wildly violent Italian horror films, seek out Dario Argento's disconcertingly beautiful Suspiria. It's about a young lady who arrives at a fancy dance academy, only to realize that people are dropping dead all over the place.
OK, the plot sounds like a standard American slasher flick, but "standard American slasher flicks" stole most of their tricks from the Italians. And you simply haven't lived until you've savored the aural splendor of a Goblin score. A Fagin-like figure who used kids like Taystee as drug runners back in the day, she brutally assaulted Red and viciously manipulated Crazy Eyes before escaping. But her freedom was short-lived, thanks to a van-tastic demise that ranks as one of the great TV villain death scenes.
Always so rude, that one! She spent her tenure on the glitzy Eighties primetime soap making the lives of her ex-husband, oil magnate Blake Carrington, and his wife Krystle a living hell, all while looking and sounding like she just stepped off the Iron Throne. More than just a schemer, she was a physical threat as well: Her catfights, particularly the knock-down drag-out brawl with Krystle that saw them splashing and thrashing through a pond full of lilypads , were the stuff of legend.
The kingpin of crime in Marvel's first Netflix series brought a welcome complexity to comic-book black-and-white morality. Yes, he was a vicious ganglord, using an army of interconnected ethnic mobs to clear the way for his even more rapacious white-collar crimes of gentrification. But he was also a softie who genuinely cared about his mom, his girlfriend Vanessa, and, in his own perverse way, the city he tried to rule.
The great Vincent D'Onofrio played Fisk like an overgrown toddler — vulnerable one minute and filled with tantrum-like rage the next. The performance risked alienating an audience for superhero media used to clear-cut crowd-pleasers, which is Fisk's boldest move of all. You know you've got a good villain on your hands when he manages to drive not just his victims but the entire viewing public insane.
Move over, Benedict Arnold: America has a new top traitor in town. Actor Sarah Clarke gave Nina a steely-eyed glare and an equally unyielding personality, separating her from the jittery, guilt-ridden double agent Nicholas Brody whom 24 staffers Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa would go on to create for Homeland. For every Draper, there is an equal and opposite anti-Draper. Not-quite-recovered alcoholic advertising executive Duck Phillips Mark Moses, in a challenging role was a recurring thorn in the side of Mad Men 's main man, a fact made all the more frustrating by the fact that Don hired him to begin with; he also stood as the single strongest example of Peggy Olsen's terrible taste in men.
Whether attempting to shit in Don's office, staging a drunken swing-and-miss brawl with him in the men's room, or most unforgivably ditching his family dog, Duck never had his ducks in a row. It didn't make him the office's resident alpha male, but it did make him the perfect foil for Draper's unbeatable combo of looks, lies, luck, and raw talent. Long before he terrified Peter Parker as J. Only instead of a broomstick and an army of flying monkeys, he had penchant for rape and terrorizing the penitentiary's inmates, with an army of white-supremacist gang members to back it up.
It was intended to refer to the likely longterm result of his tobacco habit, but this conspiratorial character's second sobriquet, "Cancer Man," is in many ways more apt. He and his shadowy Syndicate ate away the system from the inside, preparing the planet for alien invasion with a ruthless, decades-long cover-up — which, ironically, only Mulder and Scully managed to uncover. Played with weathered gravitas by William B. Davis, he is perhaps the prime example of the mastermind model of TV villainy.
Quick: Name a show about a high-powered, highly sexed advertising executive who emerged from an abusive past by seducing, fighting, lying, and occasionally actually earning their way to the top, even faking death to start a new life. Introduced late into the era-definining drama's first season and played by Heather Locklear, whose stint on Dynasty gave her an impeccable primetime-soap pedigree, Amanda's unpredictable secrets and voracious appetite for the male characters made her a sensation.
Like several villains on this list, she was an afterthought addition who wound up taking over the whole damn show. No character before or since has demonstrated The Walking Dead 's core contention that humans are a bigger threat to humanity than zombies ever could be than the tyrant formerly known as Brian Blake. Played from behind the black void of an eyepatch by an icy David Morrissey, the Governor ruled his survivor town of Woodbury with an iron fist.
He mercilessly slaughtered outsiders and dissidents alike, and even turned on his loyal followers when they fail him. And his war with Rick Grimes and company for control of the prison where the latter group tried to make their home raised the show's already brutal stakes to new levels of intensity. Mads Mikkelsen is such an extremely handsome guy that if he didn't have access to knives he could probably kill you with those cheekbones. But don't let the tumblr gifsets fool you: On the inside, Dr. Hannibal Lecter is as close to pure evil as television has come. Believing humanity to be little more than pigs fit for slaughter, Lecter spends the bulk of Bryan Fuller's beautiful, miraculously bloody series tormenting his opposite number, empathic FBI profiler Will Graham.
When not carving up human bodies, he slices into Will's brain — perhaps the only mind capable of comprehending his deranged ideas and emotions. But understanding can only get you so far, because in the end there's no explanation for what he is. When even the archvillains are interchangeable cogs in the machine, you know bad shit is afoot.
The colony is run by a series of operatives called Number Two, each of whom devises their own ways of trying to break our mysterious hero down. Few last long in the position, though by appearing in three separate episodes, including the soul-crushing highlight "The Chimes of Big Ben," Leo McKern deserves special mention. If you've ever had to answer to the contradictory whims of uncaring bosses in a soulless corporate work environment, you know Number Two by heart already.
Or Cylons: It's Complicated.
TV Shows You Must Binge-Watch Right Now, Ranked
Played with smoldering menace by Tricia Helfer, "Head Six" was so named because she was the Six-model Cylon the humanoid robots bent on exterminating humanity who seemed to exist only in the head of sleazy scientist Gaius Baltar. Maybe she was a hallucination, induced by trauma or guilt over accidentally enabling humanity's partial demise. Or maybe she was some kind of cybernetic transmission who seduced him into triggering the apocalypse. Regardless, Head Six was of the great sci-fi allegory's big ideas about morality, loyalty, deception, technology, and spirituality, all wrapped up in a little red dress.
Through his many reversals of both fortune and morality, his compelling presence was a consistent throughline no matter which side of the law he wound up on. From Don Draper to Darth Vader, bad dads dominate our collective conception of villainy — and Rowan Pope makes those guys look like candidates for father of the year.
Anything she can do, actor Joe Morton's cold-blooded black-ops expert can do meaner, and has most likely been doing since before she was born. To him, she's merely one of his many achievements — and as monologues like the rip-roarer above indicate, if he can't have her, no one will. What the fuck is life if it's not personal? Wish him good luck, tell him it's nothing personal, and he'll take these harmless conversational niceties as insults worth murdering you for. Actor Bobby Cannavale dug into this role like a starving mafioso with a plate of pasta, and the resulting feast won him an Emmy.
The sight of him walking through a shot-up whorehouse, blood-soaked and bare-assed naked with an autoerotic-asphyxiation belt still dangling from his neck, is one for the ages; the dude was an animal, and at that moment, it showed. A better question: Given the opportunity, who wouldn't have?
As played by Larry Hagman, Ewing was proof of Hamlet's lament "that one may smile, and smile, and be a villain"; no matter how dirty his deeds, he looked like he was having the time of his life. And given the subsequent ascendency of Ronald Reagan's big-business, greed-is-good conservatism, the Dallas villain ended up being as much a prophet as he was a profiteer. Cats have nine lives, but all it took for this particular kitty to attain pop-culture immortality was three. Actresses Julie Newmar, Eartha Kitt, and in the big-screen cash-in movie version Lee Meriwether each slipped into the black catsuit and slinked their way into the pantheon of Batman villains — no small feat, given that the Caped Crusader has the strongest rogues' gallery in the entire superhero genre.
Any connection between this femme fatale and feminism was likely unintentional on the part of the producers, but the way her feline wiles made total fools of the Dynamic Duo spoke, or purred, for itself. Resistance is futile. While great Star Trek villains from Khan to Q draw strength from their individual idiosyncrasies and performances, the power of this alien race stems from the dystopian sci-fi perfection of the concept, courtesy of writer Maurice Hurley.
The idea of a vast, cool, unsympathetic intelligence floating through the remote corners of the universe, absorbing entire civilizations unimpeded for centuries, is exactly the kind of heady stuff that characterized the franchise at its best. Of course, making them look like Hellraiser gone cyberpunk didn't hurt either — nor did briefly assimilating Captain Jean-Luc Picard as "Locutus of Borg," literally turning him into his own worst enemy. When our socialist great-grandchildren use collectively funded time machines to travel back to our era, all they'll need to understand capitalism is this man.
Homer Simpson's plutocrat boss voiced, along with his obsequious minion Smithers, by Harry Shearer is a man so wealthy that he's completely out of touch with the reality that the rabble experience — and so obsessed with becoming even more wealthy that it almost qualifies as both a mental and phyisical illness.
We think we speak for all of us when we say Boo -urns! Long live the Chicken Man! It's difficult to overstate how crucial this criminal genius was to the appeal of Breaking Bad 's central seasons, which first helped solidify the show's cult following before turning it into a massive mainstream phenomenon. A brutal druglord beneath a legitimate-businessman exterior, everything about this fast-food exec-cum-ruler of a meth empire was as carefully constructed as his impeccable wardrobe and soft, precise speaking voice. We can still hear actor Giancarlo Espositio croaking "I will kill your infant daughter.
He simply seemed impossible to outwit or defeat, which made the times Walter White pulled it off all the more impressive. Open the fuckin' canned peaches —it's time to celebrate the cocksucker who made David Milch's wondrous Western what it was. Ruling from the Gem Saloon like a spider at the center of a web, he wound up just as ferocious in defending the town as he had been in exploiting it, with his hatred of the rich — and pathological fear of the Pinkertons — exposing a human side to his oily insectoid malevolence.
Throughout the series, Ian McShane delivered every word of Milch's gutter-Shakespeare patois like a man savoring the best drink he's ever been poured, making Swearengen not just a great villain, but the prime exponent of a great show. Behold, the answer to the question: "Who killed Laura Palmer?