When it comes to horror movies, and specifically slasher films, the biggest thrill comes with the kill. People don't watch Friday the 13th movies to see kids all surviving their night at Camp Crystal Lake. People watch that franchise, and others like it, to see what kind of gruesome and sick kills that Jason Voorhees pulls off in that movie. The crazier the kill, the better.
In classic horror cinema, the fear of the kill ruled the day with tension and terror taking the front stage, but by the time Norman Bates and Leatherface started killing innocent victims, things changed, and a new era of horror icon arrived. Here is a look at the 10 iconic horror villains with the highest kill counts, ranked.
10 NORMAN BATES – 20
While not considered a slasher movie, many horror film historians consider Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho to be the precursor to the slasher movie and the one that set the template for what was to come. Norman Bates was not a faceless slasher monster, but he was a monster nonetheless, killing many people who stopped off at Bates Motel.
The murders on the movie screen were small -- but the numbers started to build when Norman's childhood was explored on Bates Motel, as he killed his father to begin his life as a psycho killer and he ended up with a total of 20 kills between the movies and TV series.
9 LEATHERFACE – 31
This list includes just people that the iconic horror villains killed themselves. That means that the other murders by the members of the Sawyer Family do not count here nor do bodies found without the killer proven. This death count is just the total amount of people Leatherface himself killed.
In the eight moves in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre film series, there were over 85 deaths. However, of those deaths, Leatherface was only responsible for 31 of them. Even more impressive is that the first movie, considered one of the bloodiest of all-time, only saw Leatherface kill four people.
8 PINHEAD – 35
Jason, Michael Myers and Freddy movies oversaturated the market in the '80s, and the slasher movie genre was getting old, fast. Then, in 1987, Clive Barker's Hellraiser came along and changed everything. It was fresh, very adult oriented and extremely graphic and disturbing.
Much like Leatherface, the iconic villain in this horror franchise was one of many killers, but Pinhead was the leader of the Cenobites and the one that lasted throughout the series. While his chief delight was sadomasochistic torture, he also killed 35 people throughout the franchise, and that number could rise as a reboot is on the way.
7 CHUCKY – 38
He is small and doesn't look that dangerous, but Chucky from the Child's Play franchise has a nice large kill count -- probably because no one fears him until it is too late. The original movie saw a serial killer gunned down by the police, but he was able to use a voodoo spell to send his spirit into a doll named Chucky.
Through seven movies in the series, with each more absurd than the last, Chucky has killed 38 total people. That number will grow when the Child's Play reboot hits this year, and shockingly, Chucky will pass Freddy for most kills by an iconic horror villain.
6 FREDDY KRUEGER – 39
While Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers were the OG slasher villains, it was Freddy Krueger who stretched the limits of what a true horror icon could be. Forget the lumbering monsters. Freddy was a jerk, someone who waited to kill someone until he could insult them and humiliate them before finally ending their life.
The fact that he lived in a person's dreams also made him very scary and kept many kids up all night long in the '80s when he was at the height of his popularity. Through his eight movies and the reboot, Freddy surprisingly has a relatively low kill count of just 39 victims.
5 JIGSAW – 60
The most recent iconic horror villain on this series is Jigsaw from the Saw franchise. While often miscategorized as "torture porn," Saw was instead a series that played into the same genre as the slasher movies from the '80s, with Jigsaw's victims being part of a morality tale, where the sinners were the ones usually put down -- in very graphic ways.
What made Saw different was that the victims ended up causing their deaths by Jigsaw's dialobical designs. However, since it was his traps set up to punish the guilty, he was still responsible for the deaths of 60 people before all was said and done. This count does not include the copycat killers that arrived throughout the series.
4 HANNIBAL LECTER – 98
In Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal Lecter was in prison for murder and cannibalism, but his crimes all took place in the past. He was instead a person that the FBI came to for help in stopping a new serial killer, so for much of that movie, he was not the main villain at all. However, when he started killing to escape prison, it showed his savagery and that was just the start.
There were more kills for him in Hannibal, but neither Manhunter nor Red Dragon (which told the same story) saw the doctor kill anyone. Then, the NBC series hit and Hannibal saw him kill so many people in three seasons that his kill count reached an impressive 98 victims.
3 THE INVISIBLE MAN - 123
The one iconic horror villain that might shock some by appearing so high on the kill list is the classic Universal Horror monster The Invisible Man. Arriving in the same era as Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster, The Wolf-Man, and The Mummy, Dr. Jack Griffin killed more than all four of those monsters combined.
See, not only was the Invisible Man a "monster" but he was a cold-blooded serial killer. When he achieved invisibility, he went insane and started killing anyone who got in his way. He even murdered a train full of people along the way, and his kill count racked up a total of 123 deaths.
2 MICHAEL MYERS – 133
Thanks to the 2018 Halloween reboot/sequel, Michael Myers finally pulled ahead of The Invisible Man in the kill count. Michael is considered the first real slasher killer, a deranged man who escaped from a mental asylum and returning home to kill on Halloween. Outside of the third movie in the series, every other effort added more to Michael's kill list.
One of the most iconic horror villains in history, Michael killed in seven movies in the original franchise, two that ramped up the kills in Rob Zombie's remake of the series and then even more in the 2018 film that was a direct sequel to the first Halloween. All total, Michael Myers killed 133 people.
1 JASON VOORHEES – 151
While Michael Myers was the first famous slasher movie villain, Jason Voorhees became the king in short order. This rise to the top happened even though he wasn't even in the first movie until a jump scare at the end. After his mom killed a bunch of teens in the first movie, Jason showed up in Friday the 13th, Part 2, and eventually put on the hockey mask and killed teenagers consistently, almost becoming a zombie by the end.
Jason killed in eight of the nine movies in the original Friday the 13th franchise. He then showed up in outer space in 2002, fought Freddy in 2003 and later appeared in a reboot in 2009. By the end, Jason Voorhees sat on top of the iconic horror villain throne with 151 kills.