In honour Sam’s latest role, we’ve battled significant PTSD to collate the eight scariest kids movie villains of all time.
The Skeksis (The Dark Crystal, 1982)
Equal parts giant bird, skeleton, Hannibal Lecter and a whole dollop of unholy WTF, Jim Henson’s magnificent fantasy-adventure boasts the Skeksis as villains - creatures that combine incredible production design and a truly distressing modus operandi to brain-searing effect.
They seek immortality by draining the life essence of the adorable, little, elfish Gelflings. Cue an epic war between light and dark, and one in which not all the Gelflings will make it out alive.
Gmork (The NeverEnding Story, 1984)
The NeverEnding Story isn’t one of the most PG films around as it is (seriously, who thought it was a good idea to drown a horse in a kids’ movie?), but the Gmork utterly screwed up an entire generation of kids - and for good reason.
After a movie spent lurking in the background, stalking hero Atreyu as he ventures out on his quest to save Fantasia, Atreyu finally confronts Gmork.
Amazing animatronics (for the time) brought the terrifying wolf to life, but it was his weirdly existential, cosmos-threatening speech that sent a shiver up your spine.
The Sisters (Kubo & The Two Strings, 2016)
Laika’s latest is a surprisingly mature adventure, with hero Kubo orphaned at the outset. Key amongst the tragedy is the arrival of his mystical Aunts, two creepy, blank-mask-faced, floaty murderesses on a mission to steal his remaining eye.
It’s exactly as unsettling as it sounds, and while their kung-fu kicking badassery is a constant cause for concern throughout the movie, it’s their introduction that sends shivers up the backs of adults and children alike.
Dementors/Voldemort (Harry Potter, 2001 - 2011
It was a tough toss-up between Potter’s mega-bad-guy Voldemort and his soul-sucking lackies, the Dementors. So we’ve opted for both - a tag-team of demonic terror that manages to pose horrors both emotional and physical.
He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named’s obsession with blood purity (read: ‘killing all us pesky muggles'), and mission of vengeance against The Boy Who Lived powers the whole saga, and while he doesn’t make his official fugly, in-person debut until The Goblet of Fire, he’s a constant threat.
The Dementors on the other hand are the embodiment of all your darkest childhood fears - floating, murderous death wraiths that pray on your inner most insecurities and suck the soul right out of your mouth.
If this doesn’t scare the living bejeesus out of you, then you’re braver souls than us.
The Complete Harry Potter Collection is available now on Virgin Movies. To watch, press Home on your Virgin TV remote, then On Demand > Movies.
The Grand High Witch (The Witches, 1990)
Ronald Dahl knows how to build a baddie. From child-throwing headmistresses to animal-torturing twins and beyond, he’s got a knack for the nasties. So it means a lot when we say The Grand High Witch is his scariest; on a mission to rid the world of children, she’s not averse to turning them into mice (using poisoned chocolate), trapping them in paintings, or just straight up murdering them to get her way. But the masterstroke comes in the moment we see her true visage - peeling back her ‘human’ face to reveal the horror beneath. *shudders*
Judge Doom (Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, 1998)
Who Framed Roger Rabbit? needed an outlandish nemesis to counter the OTT brilliance of its zany hero, and they don’t come more megalomaniacal than Christopher Lloyd’s power-hungry Toontown overlord.
The reveal that his cold, psychotic front hides a toon beneath was a shock.
But it’s his death that lingers long, long in the mind after the credits have rolled. Pure, unadulterated horror.
The Child Catcher (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, 1968)
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’s sedate, picture-perfect world is all fun and games until the Child Catcher arrives. Lanky haired, hook-nosed and terrifyingly alluring (HE HAS SWEETS - AND ICE CREAM! *hyperventilates*), he’s an electrified, child-abducting shot to the arm that scares kids where it scars most - ruining the connection between confectionary and happiness.
Adults will see a whole *other* side to the creepiness (*cough*), but for kids, he’s still timelessly terrifying.
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