10 Great Horror Villains With Almost No Screentime | Screen Rant

Horror is subjective; while a fear of clowns may have fans reeling at the recent adaptations of Stephen King's It, those terrified by the concept of demonic possession may still cringe at The Exorcist or Rosemary's Baby. That said, most horror fans agree that, in most cases, what goes unseen is often much scarier than what's placed in plain view.

While familiar, talkative antagonists such as Chucky or Freddy Kreuger have a certain appeal, most iconic horror villains seldom speak and are rarely even seen. Which beloved terrors have an astonishingly small amount of screen time in their movies?

Contrasting greatly with the almost hokey horror icons of the 1980s such as Freddy Kreuger and Jason Voorhees, Hannibal Lecter, the deuteragonist of the 1991 Academy Award-winning The Silence of the Lambs film, was subtle, sinister, and terrifyingly tangible. A flesh-and-bones being who arguably never wished any harm on the film's protagonist, Lecter nonetheless became an icon for a new era in horror.

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While he is in the movie for a not-insignificant amount of time, he ultimately doesn't play a huge role and he only appears in a handful of scenes. By contrast, Buffalo Bill, the true antagonist of The Silence of the Lambs, is at the center of the plot and drives the narrative forward. Lecter has his place, but, contrary to what those who haven't seen it may believe, the movie isn't really about him.

An indie critical darling directed by Australian filmmaker Jennifer Kent, 2014's The Babadook was a stylish examination of how mourning and grief can be contorted into a malignance capable of tearing families apart. When a young boy, Sam, encounters a pop-up storybook detailing an entity known as The Babadook, he and his mother are hounded by the beast until it is rendered powerless through an act of compassion.

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While The Babadook is likely a physical representation of trauma and loss, the monster itself is very seldom seen in the film. In fact, the clearest depiction of The Babadook is its storybook rendering.

Also known as The Red Face Demon, The Man With Fire In His Face is a demonic entity that rules over a purgatorial plane known as The Further. He serves as the main antagonist of all of the Insidious movies, though he's rarely seen.

In the first film, the entity stalked the Lambert family, seeking to retrieve Dalton's physical form while his consciousness was held in The Further. He's a quintessential example of the less-is-more philosophy in horror filmmaking, as just about everyone who saw the movie will remember his terrifying split-second reveal.

An early-2000s horror hit that was adapted from a 1998 Japanese film of the same name, The Ring terrified viewers with the prospect of a possessed VHS tape that cursed those who viewed it to die in a week's time.

As memorable as the film was, Samara's eventual reveal toward the end of the movie wasn't exactly a highlight. Looking more like Nathan Explosion from the Adult Swim series Metalocalypse than an actual horror villain, Samara herself isn't all that scary, though the mythos surrounding her absolutely is.

An adaptation of Joseph Conard's classic 1899 novel Heart of Darkness, Apocalypse Now sees a group of haggard SOGs travel by river to Cambodia to assassinate one Colonel Kurtz after he is believed to have gone rogue. En route, the group encounters all manner of wartime horrors, and the mythos surrounding Kurtz is built up to the point that he seems to be some kind of deific icon.

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Apocalypse Now may not fit the traditional horror movie criteria, but it certainly evokes the bleak terror pursued by many entries in the genre. Plus, when he's finally encountered toward the movie's finale, Kurtz steals the show thanks to an all-time great performance by Marlon Brando.

In the 1995 psychological thriller Se7en, Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman form an unlikely duo of detectives eager to take down the mysterious man behind a series of horrific killings thought to be based on the seven deadly sins of Christian teaching.

Their investigation leads them from one brutal crime scene to the next, but the killer continually eludes them. That is, however, until most of the way through the film when he allows himself to be caught. His sudden appearance and apparent eagerness to give himself up comes as a major surprise, and it sets up a grisly plot twist that still has fans reeling.

The demon Asmodeus, referred to as "Tobi" by those he manipulates, is the primary antagonist of every entry in the Paranormal Activity franchise, though his machinations remain mysterious until later installments. Able to control and possess multiple characters in the series, his ultimate goal is to gain a proper physical form, which he presumably plans to use to conquer the Earth.

Much of the horror in Paranormal Activity stems from strange things lurking just out of frame, demanding viewers to rewind and reinspect the footage. While Tobi's corporeal reveal in Paranormal Activity: The Final Chapter was underwhelming, the horrors he enacted as a formless demon were not.

While subsequent installments in Ridley Scott's Alien franchise placed a greater emphasis on action and further established the franchise's universe, the original Alien movie is relatively small in scope, focusing primarily on a group of doomed deep space crewmembers who must contend with an unknown invader.

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Today, just about every horror fan is acutely familiar with the H. R. Giger-designed Xenomorph monster, but, in 1979, that wasn't the case, and audiences had almost no idea what exactly the crew of the Nostromo were up against. The titular alien is also always concealed in heavy shadows, adding to the macabre mystery.

Jason, the iconic machete-wielding, hockey mask-wearing killer from beyond the grave, is among the most recognizable faces in horror. How, then, could he be counted as one of the genre's most obfuscated villains?

Avid horror hounds surely know this already, but the Jason Voorhees everyone associates with the franchise doesn't really come around until the third movie. In the second installment, he wears a sack over his head most of the time, and, in the first, it's his mother Pamela doing the killer, and he's only seen very briefly as a corpse-like being emerging from the lake.

When infamous debauchery enthusiast Frank Cotton pursues pleasure beyond human comprehension, he accidentally unleashed the Cenobites, a race of extradimensional beings who do not make a distinction between pleasure and pain.

After he's torn apart by the Cenobites, he's inadvertently revived by his brother, and the film then mostly concerns his brother's wife as she works to fully revive her old lover. Pinhead doesn't show up until near the end of the film, and he only has around ten minutes of screentime. For a horror villain often mentioned in the same breath as Michael Myers and Freddy Kreuger, that's not a whole lot of exposure. Of course, he's arguably seen too often in subsequent Hellrasier films.

NEXT: 10 Movies With The Scariest Paranormal Villains

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