What 15 Classic Movie Villains Look Like in Real Life
The sheer creepiness of movie villains can keep even the biggest horror movie fan awake at night. In real life, however, the actors who play these nightmare-inducing characters look nothing like they do on the big screen. The next time you feel haunted by one of films' evildoers, remember that underneath all of that makeup, they're normal folks.
Freddy Krueger—A Nightmare on Elm Street
Prior to beginning his reign of terror as Freddy Krueger in the A Nighmare on Elm Street franchise, actor Robert Englund enjoyed more normal guy guest roles in ’80s TV series like Night Court and Hart to Hart. Now it’s nearly impossible to think of him as anyone other than the slash-happy villain who terrorized the folks of Elm Street and beyond. Check our picks for the scariest movies of all time.
Jason Voorhees—Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood
Many actors have played hockey mask-wearing Jason Voorhees in the Friday the 13th franchise, but actor and stuntman Kane Hodder holds the title for donning the costume the most. In fact, he has appeared in a bunch of horror flicks over the years, including Pumpkinhead, Hatchet, and Exit to Hell.
Gollum—Lord of the Rings
Gollum serves as quite the rapscallion in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, wreaking havoc wherever he goes. While the character was CGI-designed, he is voiced by actor Andy Serkis, who is quite familiar with playing baddies. He plays both Supreme Leader Snoke in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Ulysses Klaue in Black Panther.
Leatherface—The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
It’s impossible to hear the sound of a chainsaw without having flashbacks to Gunnar Hansen playing the tool-wielding monster in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It was actually the first major feature film role for the Icelandic actor who did go on to star in a steady stream of other horror flicks. Find out which scary movies are actually inspired by true events.
Before it hit the big screen, Stephen King’s It scared up folks in the very own homes when actor Tim Curry played the terrifying clown Pennywise in a made-for-TV two-part mini-series in 1991. Curry has enjoyed playing a wide range of roles over the years, including a role on the kid-friendly Paddington Bear TV series (a far cry from Pennywise). This is why people are so afraid of clowns.
If you saw the original Hellraiser in the ’80s, it’s likely you avoided acupuncture at all costs afterward. Pinhead was quite the creepy villain in this Clive Barker thriller, but the actor who portrayed him, Doug Bradley, is not at all frightening in real life. Bradley appears very committed to playing the lead cenobite in the franchise, returning to the role for all of the Hellraiser films.
The Creeper—Jeepers Creepers
If you spotted actor Jonathan Breck on the street, you’d never in a million years suspect he’s the same guy who appears in your nightmares after watching the scare show that is Jeepers Creepers. The Houston native has appeared in three Jeepers Creepers films, but has also snagged roles in friendlier fare, like Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World.
There’s a reason the Saw franchise continues to boom—it’s lead antagonist Jigsaw gets scarier and scarier with time. Played by actor Tobin Bell, who has appeared on TV series like The West Wing and 24, Jigsaw/John Kramer never shies away from a gruesome and torturous murder. The character even got its own origin story of sorts in the 2017 feature film Jigsaw. If you’re not a horror fan, find out the real reason you hate scary movies.
There’s nothing quite like giving a horror movie villain an innocent-sounding name. There’s no sugar from the Candyman in Clive Barker’s 1992 thriller. In the flick, Tony Todd plays a murderer who just so happens to have a hook for a hand who is brought back to the modern day when a graduate student questions the myth of the evil-doer. We could have told them you never question a serial killer.
Some dolls are as sweet as can be, and then others are just plain creepy. Child’s Play took every parent’s worst nightmare about their child’s favorite toy and turned it into a terrifying film. Actor Brad Dourif voiced Chucky, the murderous doll who is possessed by the soul of a serial killer. It spawned a movie franchise, which includes 2017’s Cult of Chucky.
Regan MacNeil—The Exorcist
If you think you’re having a bad day, try stepping into Regan MacNeil’s shoes. Linda Blair originated the role of the teen girl who is possessed by a mysterious soul with a penchant for inflicting a whole lot of crazy on those around her. In real life, of course, Blair’s head doesn’t spin around and we hear she’s actually very lovely. You won’t believe what she looked like as a teen while filming The Exorcist compared to her on-screen alter ego. This is what it’s really like to be an exorcist.
Judge Doom—Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
It’s true, the same actor who charmed us as Doc Brown in Back to the Future plays the sinister Judge Doom in the half-animated/half-live action hit Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. Christopher Lloyd tackled the role with the same aplomb he always approaches his films, and put a little bit of fear into audiences who fell in love with the comedic murder mystery. Here are our picks for the best Halloween movies for kids.
Scarecrow/Dr. Jonathan Crane—Batman Begins
For such a handsome guy in real life, Cillian Murphy really knows how to don a costume that makes him positively frightening. As Batman’s foe Scarecrow in 2005’s Batman Begins, Murphy morphed into the baddie with ease. He reprised the role for 2012’s Dark Knight Rises. Don’t miss these surprising movie trivia facts you won’t believe are true.
Davy Jones—Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
You’ll be relieved to know that on an average day, actor Bill Nighy does not sport a Medusa-style beard as he did in Pirates of the Caribbean when playing villain Davy Jones. The British thespian doesn’t always tackle roles that require so many special effects—he often dives into more dramatic parts and dabbles in voiceover work as well. In fact, he has voiced Davy Jones for a number of Disney video games.
Thanos—Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War
Thanos really puts the Avengers through their paces throughout Infinity War, and things look awfully bleak in the end. Actor Josh Brolin voices the powerful CGI villain in the film, taking down Marvel’s best and brightest in one fell swoop. Apparently, Brolin is developing a thing for superheroes as he’ll reportedly take on the role of Nathan Summers/Cable in the upcoming X-Force. Next, find out the iconic movies set in every state.
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