10 Iconic Stephen King Villains, Ranked By Sympathy | Pretty Reel

Hollywood can’t get enough of Stephen King’s novels and short stories: an adaptation of Mr. Harrigan’s Phone was recently released on Netflix, and an adaptation of The Boogeyman and a new version of Salem’s Lot are set to arrive next year. The “King of Horror” delivered some of the most iconic scary stories ever told, featuring some truly terrifying monsters.

But some of King’s villains, like Carrie White’s Carrie and Christine’s Arnie Cunningham, are more likeable and likeable than others, like The Shining’s Jack Torrance and It’s Pennywise the Dancing Clown.

10/10 Pennywise The Dancing Clown (It)

Pennywise the Dancing Clown is just one of many forms the eponymous paranormal entity takes on in It, but Pennywise is by far the creature’s favorite form to take. It feeds on people’s worst fears, and clowns are a fairly common fear.

While adopting a friendly facade to attract unsuspecting children like Georgie Denbrough, Pennywise reveals his true colors when he extends his many razor-sharp teeth and bites them.

9/10 “Wild Bill” Wharton (The Green Line)

Frank Darabont’s second adaptation of a King prison story, The Green Mile, focuses primarily on the relationship between a compassionate prison officer and a Christ figure on death row. But they both have to deal with a truly despicable villain a few cells away: William “Wild Bill” Wharton.

Played by a truly annoying Sam Rockwell, Wild Bill is extremely unpredictable. He is a bloodthirsty mass murderer who is determined to cause as much trouble as possible before his execution.

8/10 The Crypt Creeper (Gerald’s game)

It could be argued that the villain of Gerald’s Game grows old or is frustrated or traumatized during his childhood or the pair of handcuffs Gerald locks his wife in before dying of a heart attack and leaving her stranded in the middle of nowhere. But there’s also a monster, the Crypt Creeper, hanging around the house at night. Based on the crimes of real killer Ed Gein, the Crypt Creeper is a sinister grave robber.

At least the Crypt Creeper only rapes its victims after they’ve gone missing; many of Stephen King’s villains torment people who are still alive.

7/10 Captain Byron Hadley (The Shawshank Redemption)

The main antagonist of The Shawshank Redemption is Warden Norton, but Byron Hadley – the sadistic captain of his prison guards – is the one who does the warden’s dirty work and brutalizes the prisoners.

Captain Hadley is a classic example of an authority figure wielding power that goes straight to his head and turns him into a monster.

6/10 Jack Torrance (The Shining)

In King’s original novel, Jack Torrance is a good man who is corrupted by the ghosts of the Overlook Hotel and turned into a murderous monster. But in Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation of The Shining, Jack is full of rage and has hated his family from the very beginning.

There may not even be ghosts in the hotel; perhaps it is isolation alone that drives Jack to attempt the murder of his wife and son. This makes for a scarier story, but also a much less likable character.

5/10 John Rainbird (Firestarter)

When Charlie and Andy McGee’s father-daughter pyrokinetic team goes on the run in Firestarter, the government sends black-ops assassin John Rainbird after them. George C. Scott gives a stage turn in the role that was chosen by critics in their mostly negative reviews of the film.

Rainbird might be determined to find a child so he can bring them in for testing, but he’s just a killing machine following orders; the real bad guy is the government that sent him to do it.

4/10 Annie Wilkes (Misery)

Rob Reiner was the perfect director to bring Misery’s character-driven horror to the big screen. It translated author Paul Sheldon’s relationship with his creepy number one fan Annie Wilkes into film form with a taut and thrilling two-handed flick.

Annie may be a hammer-wielding psychopath, but her undying love for Paul’s writing and her use of swearing alternatives like “cockadoodie” make her oddly endearing.

3/10Arnie Cunningham (Christine)

Unlike Jack Torrance’s film version, Arnie Cunningham’s film version of Christine is truly a good person who is corrupted by supernatural forces. At the start of the film, Arnie is just an unlucky kid who wants to be more popular at school.

But after the demon possessing his cool new car sinks its teeth into him, he transforms into a monster that would easily take human lives in the name of revenge.

2/10 Gage Creed (Pet Sematary)

Gage Creed never asked to be a villain. He’s just a sweet, innocent kid who gets killed by a speeding truck while wandering down the road on a family picnic. But he becomes a monster when his grieving father Louis buries him in a supernatural cemetery.

The version of Gage who comes back from the dead in Pet Sematary is truly gruesome, but he’s by no means a villain; Louis is technically the villain for meddling in life and death.

1/10 Carrie White (Carrie)

A few years after King published his first novel Carrie, Brian De Palma made it one of the greatest horror films ever made. Sissy Spacek provided an iconic turn as the titular telekinetic teenager, who is pushed to her breaking point by her vicious high school bullies and overbearing religious fanatic mother.

Carrie White might go on a killing spree in the film’s final reel, but if her mother had just loved her and her bullies had left her alone, she would have been left alone.

10 Iconic Stephen King Villains, Ranked By Sympathy | Pretty Reel