Which Horror Villain Has The Highest Kill Count?

On paper, The Strangers are everything you want from horror villains.

Arriving unannounced at your front door, with seemingly no motivation behind their murder spree beyond an insatiable lust for blood, the masked troupe exist purely to make the last moments of your life a living nightmare. It’s part of the reason the original 2008 cult hit – starring Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman as the couple who would become the group’s first screen victims – has lingered in the cultural consciousness for so long.

The Strangers’ kill count will drastically increase over the next year, as a brand new trilogy of films – starting with the cinema release of The Strangers: Chapter 1 this Friday (17th May) –  will show them hacking their way into the pantheon of the deadliest horror villains of all time. But they have a lot of catching up to do; in the first movie, they’re only responsible for two deaths (one of which isn’t confirmed until the 2018 sequel, Prey At Night), and in the follow-up, this increases to just eight.

Most of their kills have taken place offscreen, meaning that whilst they’re a threat, the group have a long way to go to claim the most kills of any antagonist in horror movie history. But who actually holds that title?

Well, the answer isn’t as simple as it sounds, because of how many recent horror sequels have retconned what is and isn’t canon, splitting single characters into separate timelines, meaning not every kill counts to one big overall total.

For example, the recent Halloween trilogy ignores every movie after John Carpenter’s original, meaning that any Michael Myers kills that took place in the films released in-between can’t count towards the overall total, as the original sequels represent a different iteration of the same character. The events of Halloween H20 didn’t happen, as per the timeline of 2018’s Halloween, so those have to be counted separately to the “new” timeline – and if you think this sounds pedantic, well, we’re just bracing ourselves for anybody who wants to fact check the list in our Facebook comments.

The official numbers for these remains up for debate, as many of the “kill counts” we’ve rigorously fact checked include off-screen deaths only confirmed via dialogue or later franchise instalments – but with that crucial disclaimer in mind, here are the 10 deadliest horror villains of all time.

10) Matthew Cordell, Maniac Cop – 56 Kills

Arrow Video

A maniac by (nick)name and certainly a maniac by nature, Matthew Cordell’s rampage across New York City powered a bloody slasher trilogy, one that wasn’t even deterred by a gruesome death in the sequel – he was resurrected by a priest to resume his killing spree in threequel Badge Of Silence.

An antagonist hell bent on seeking justice against his former co-workers in the NYPD he believed wronged him, he’s responsible for 56 deaths throughout his three-movie revenge mission.

9) Michael Myers, Halloween and Halloween II (2007 – 2009) – 57 Kills


This is where things start to get complicated. As mentioned at the top of this article, it’s impossible to consider all of Michael Myers’ kills across the franchise as a whole, when several reboots and sequels retcon them entirely – and how are you supposed to count a kill that, via the very logic of the series itself, never happened?

So, in the style of Taylor Swift, we’ve split the slasher icon’s reign of terror into four separate eras, each with their own distinct totals – and three of those have still managed to make the cut all on their own. Impressively, the two Rob Zombie directed remakes offer the most bang for the buck; just two films, but a staggering 57 kills in total!

Shop our Halloween merch.

8) Victor Crowley, Hatchet – 61 Kills

Anchor Bay Entertainment

When it was released in 2006, the promotional poster for Hatchet boasted the cheeky tagline: “It’s not a sequel, it’s not a remake, and it’s not based on a Japanese one.” But to set itself apart from modern horror and keep it in-line with the classics, writer/director Adam Green needed an instantly iconic villain of his own, which he conjured up in swamp-dwelling antagonist Victor Crowley.

A vengeful spirit who kills anybody who dares enter his secluded Louisiana home, Crowley’s bloody antics have inspired three further films, with the character clocking up 61 kills across them all. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre was undoubtedly one of the biggest influences on the series, and we imagine Green is pretty happy to have out-killed Leatherface himself (yes, you read that correctly: Leatherface hasn’t killed enough to make the cut!).

7) Chucky, Child’s Play – 67 Kills


The next character needs no introduction, even if he did settle down from his earlier merciless serial killing ways to become more of a little stinker as the franchise began leaning further towards campy comedy. The reincarnation of murderer Charles Lee Ray as a doll didn’t calm his blood lust, and throughout the Child’s Play franchise, he was responsible for 67 deaths, the bulk of which took place in the earlier films.

It should be stated that this figure only accounts for the movie series and not the recent TV spin-off, nor the 2019 reboot with Aubrey Plaza – we’d argue that one is an underrated fun time, but it isn’t, in any way, shape or form, a Chucky movie.

Shop our Chucky merch.

6) Michael Myers (Halloween 2018 timeline) – 69 Kills


The recent sequel trilogy, starting with 2018’s Halloween and continuing with Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends, only shares continuity with the original film, which had a relatively paltry body count of seven. These three movies significantly transformed that, with Kills in particular being the film most responsible for growing that number to 69, narrowly missing out on a spot in the top five to… well, Michael Myers.

5) Michael Myers (original timeline; 1,2, 4-6) – 72 Kills

Anchor Bay Entertainment

But that’s nothing compared to the first timeline, comprising films one to six – excluding the stand-alone Season Of The Witch, of course – when his kill count reached 72. Unfortunately, this era met a decisive end when Halloween: H20 came along and removed all but 16 of those from official canon, as it ignored anything that took place after film number two.

For those curious, the H20 timeline – which also includes 2002’s Halloween: Resurrection – had the lowest kill count with just 33. Although, that being said, that is still a far higher kill count than anybody in real life should have; please aim for a lifelong total of zero, guys.

4) Freddy Krueger, A Nightmare On Elm Street – 79 Kills

New Line Cinema

One, two, Freddy’s coming for you… and 78 others!

Bursting out of your dreams and straight into fourth place, the Springwood Slasher notched up quite the kill count over the series – although, we should state that this official death toll includes both his historical crimes referenced throughout the movies, and the events of the meta Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, which complicates the overall count a little. Whilst that movie plainly states that the films that came before are fictional, Freddy is very much a real threat in it, so we can’t exclude from his grand total.

The only kills not considered here are those from the 2009 reboot, but that would only raise his total to 85 – he’d remain in fourth place regardless.

Shop our Nightmare on Elm Street merch.

3) Dr. Jack Griffin, aka: The Invisible Man – 124 Kills


The Invisible Man is the only one of the classic Universal Monsters to make the cut in this list, and it’s largely thanks to two disasters he causes in director James Whale’s iconic 1933 horror. A train accident he provoked led to the deaths of 100 people, whilst his attempts to thwart a search party led to a further 22 fatalities.

The character was killed by the film’s grand finale, but in just 71 minutes, he managed to enter the horror pantheon as one of the most prolific movie serial killers of all time. By comparison, the intense 2020 remake was nearly an hour longer, and the tech-bro villain there – this time named Aidan Griffin – only managed seven. What an amateur!

Shop our Universal monsters merch.

2) Jason Voorhees, Friday the 13th – 150 kills


After Pamela Voorhees claimed nine victims in the original, she left some big shoes for her son to fill. He matched her total when he was first introduced in the sequel, and when he got his hockey mask in the movie following that, he became an unstoppable force.

The franchise got increasingly over the top, sending him to hell, to space, and head-to-head with Freddy Krueger, but nothing was formally removed from canon no matter how silly it all got. This results in a franchise total of 150 kills, not including the stand-alone reboot; there are 15 Jason kills in that one, if you’re curious, meaning he’d still be in second place if those could be counted.

Shop our Friday the 13th merch.

1) Pinhead, Hellraiser – 256+

Arrow Video

If you thought the Halloween timeline was complicated, that’s nothing compared to the Hellraiser franchise, which became so knotty with direct-to-DVD sequels that even the director of the 2022 reboot has little idea what does and doesn’t count. Creator Clive Barker exited after the sequel, and continuity got so loose that 2005’s Hellraiser: Hellworld reimagines the original movie as a cultural object the characters are fans of; unlike New Nightmare, it’s not quite as easy to justify including that as canon, despite a similar meta approach.

If you were to count the full franchise, excluding the reboot, then Pinhead has racked up 321 kills. However, we’re sticking with the first four movies (1992’s Hellraiser III: Hell On Earth and 1996’s Hellraiser: Bloodline) as the only entries in the saga with a clear throughline; Hell On Earth drastically altered Pinhead, but 1996 cleverly worked this altered characterisation back into continuity, so we’re counting it.

And it’s because we’re counting those movies that Pinhead has raced to the top, as the Cenobite’s massacre of 200 nightclub patrons in the threequel has almost single-handedly ensured his place on the list, let alone topping it. He’d be one of the most iconic horror villains of all without that scene – but it’s cemented his status as the all-time deadliest too.

Shop our Hellraiser merch.

Alistair Ryder

Alistair Ryder


Alistair is a culture journalist and lover of bad puns from Leeds. Subject yourself to his bad tweets by following him on Twitter @YesItsAlistair.