Top 10 Evil Dads in Horror Movies (I Dare You Not to Scream!)

an evil dad in a horror movie

Quick Summary: Who are the best evil dads in horror movies?

As a horror filmmaker, I appreciate a well-written and terrifying father figure character! My top 5 evil dads include: Victor Frankenstein in Frankenstein, Jack Torrance in The Shining, George Lutz in Amityville Horror, Wilfred James in 1922, and Jerry in The Stepfather.

Read on to learn more about why each has earned their spot on my list, and find out my other favorites!

Father’s Day is just around the corner, and what better way to celebrate than by watching some of the most evil dads in horror movies?

It’s easy to see why horror movies are so popular. Horror stories offer a way to vicariously experience adrenaline-pumping thrills, while also providing a temporary release from the anxieties and stresses of daily life.

As a creative, I love watching, writing, and making horror movies because they offer the chance to explore every emotion imaginable through a unique and exciting lens. I know many other writers who agree.

Many dads in horror films try to protect their families from whatever evil force is out to get them, but when they’re one of the villains, they can be among the worst of the worst. Instead of being dear ol’ dad, these bad dads will make you scream with terror!

They are cold-hearted, ruthless, and completely devoid of any empathy or compassion. For most of them, Father’s Day is a party of one.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy this list of the 10 worst horror dads that will send shivers down your spine!

the most evil dads in horror movies

Who Are the Most Evil Dads in Horror Movies?

Let’s take a look at the worst fathers in horror!

Victor Frankenstein in Frankenstein (1931)

Hubris, unchecked ego, and a god complex don’t make for a loving father, especially one who cobbles his offspring out of random body parts and brings it to life in an electrical storm – only to abandon it when it doesn’t meet his high standards.

When it comes to genre film and horror history, Victor is the OG deadbeat dad.

Jack Torrance in The Shining (1980)

There is no list of worst fathers in horror that doesn’t include Jack Torrance, played by Jack Nicholson, who is anything but a dull boy. Nobody can forget Jack’s terrifying performance as the caretaker of the Overlook Hotel in Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation of the Stephen King novel.

Was he always a murderous psychopath or does the Overlook Hotel turn him into one? In the end, it’s a moot point as Jack loses all connection to either reality or his own family as he chases them down with an ax at the Hotel’s bequest.

George Lutz in Amityville Horror (2013)

Though he’s motivated by a desire to protect his family, George’s descent into rage-fuelled madness is inevitable as long as he chooses to stay in the demonic house.

What starts as a good father’s desire for a new life in a new house, ends in tragic horror for the whole family when the house demands an ultimate sacrifice. If there’s one lesson this film teaches, it’s that the last house on the market is usually that way for a reason.

Wilfred James in 1922 (2017)

Driven by a fierce desire to keep his farm, rather than sell it according to his wife’s wishes, Wilfred does the unthinkable in this modern retelling of the Stephen King novella.

To make matters worse, he turns his own young son into an accomplice that sets them on the road to hell itself.

Jerry in The Stepfather (1987)

A serial killer who preys on single mothers by inserting himself into their vulnerable families as a father figure is bad enough, but when Jerry goes on homicidal rampages against each new wife and kids whenever his antiquated expectations of a perfect family aren’t upheld, it only proves that this abusive father is as evil as they come.

Grandpa Sawyer in Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

Seemingly frail and withered, Grandpa doesn’t seem as much of a threat at first glance as his offspring, Leatherface, and his siblings.

Though Drayton is portrayed as Leatherface’s father in subsequent films, the original classic by Tobe Hooper indicates that Grandpa is actually his dad. Either way, he’s the patriarch and spiritual force behind the brutal murders and all the evil in the Sawyer household.

Daddy in The People Under the Stairs (1991)

As half of a psychotic duo of exploitative landlords in this Wes Craven classic, Daddy is as bad as his sister/lover, especially when it comes to imprisoning innocent people under the stairs and hunting children through his home, complete with a gimp suit and a shotgun. Torture, murder, and incest only make this monster that much worse.

Dean Armitage in Get Out (2017)

Something seems off about Dean from the start, when he finds out his daughter’s boyfriend, Chris, is African American in this modern classic horror by Jordan Peele.

Though he seems nice enough at first, Dean’s seemingly winning father harbors a terrible secret that puts Chris’s entire existence in danger with his vile neurological experiments.

Jupiter in The Hills Have Eyes (1977)

It can’t be easy being the head of a desert hill-dwelling family of cannibals, but Jupiter takes it to the next level with his efforts to kidnap, rape, murder, and eat anyone unfortunate enough to cross his path.

Family dinner is at the top of the list for this bad dad, and he’ll stop at nothing to feed his entire family.

Dad Meiks in Frailty (2001)

A single father devoted to rooting out evil by murdering innocent strangers because visions told him so. One young son follows the same path due to misguided loyalty while another resists out of fear.

Played to perfection by Bill Paxton, Dad starts out as a good father gone wrong, drawing out the best and worst from his kids. Having the “God’s Hand Killer” for a father can’t be easy, but what’s worse is not knowing if he might be right after all?

evil dads in horror moview

Final Thoughts

These are the evil fathers in horror genre movies that stand out to me (in honor of Father’s Day!). Hope you found something fun to watch!

Now, what do you think? I’d love to hear if you agree with my choices, or if there are other creepy dads you think I should include in this list! Let me know in the comments below.

Common Questions (FAQs)

What are the bad guys in horror movies called?

Horror villains come in as many flavors as there are types of horror, and sub-genres tend to be based around the villains themselves. Slashers, Monsters, Creatures, Ghosts, Spirits, Undead, Crazies, Psychos, Mutants, Demons, or Mad Scientists… whatever the case, they are what keep us coming back to the horror genre!

Who are the godfathers of horror?

When it comes to books, few can match Stephen King in terms of quantity and variety of stories, though horror history wouldn’t be the same without Bram Stoker, Edgar Allan Poe, or H.P. Lovecraft, who paved the way for modern horror. As for film, we wouldn’t have nearly as much amazing horror without Alfred Hitchcock, George A. Romero, Wes Craven, or John Carpenter.

Who is the most evil horror movie character?

Often imitated and retold in countless ways, the original bad boy of horror can only be Bram Stoker’s Dracula. He set the standard for supernatural evil, and you can see elements of him in every villain since. Without this unmatched father, we wouldn’t have the children of the night he helped spawn.

What is the nastiest horror movie?

Some horror films are so disturbing, that few can stomach them more than once. Topping the list are A Serbian Film, Cannibal Holocaust, Antichrist, Audition, The Human Centipede, and Hostel, which go all-in on the gore, explicit content, and disturbing imagery.

Who has directed the most horror movies?

Though not as much a household name as Craven, Carpenter, or Fulci, British director Terrence Fisher is the most prolific, with a grand total of 20 horror films under his belt. Starting with The Curse of Frankenstein, Fisher had a knack for other classic monsters, such as Dracula and Dr. Jekyll, breaking boundaries in the gothic horror sub-genre with explicit films (for their time), and influencing generations of horror filmmakers that followed.

Who is the most successful modern horror movie director?

That title goes to none other than James Wan. Wan is the mastermind behind some of the most popular horror movies of the past decade, including The Conjuring, Insidious, and Saw. He has also had a hand in recreating some of the most iconic horror characters, such as Leatherface and Freddy Krueger. With a string of successful horror movies under his belt, there is no doubt in my mind that James Wan is the newest king of horror.

Love top 10 lists? Check out more of my favorite movies!

Best Evil Horror Movie Mothers [Top 10 Scariest Moms]

Knock ‘Em Dead: The Top 10 Best Horror Western Movies

The 25+ Best Dystopian Movies Ever Made [Ranked and Reviewed]

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