10 Terrifying Horror Movie Villains Hiding In Plain Sight

Look a little closer, if you dare...

Hereditary Monster

The best part of any horror movie has to be its villain. They're the integral piece that puts the horror in, after all, as what's a scary movie without something to be scared of?

Whether they're special effect creatures or invisible menaces, the one constant is that the level of threat is always telegraphed by characters in the scene reacting to whatever spooky device is bothering them. For the most part, the rest of the set is just background dressing. Or so you'd think.

Sometimes, filmmakers don't want to play by the rules, and just when you think you're watching a movie; it's actually watching you. Monsters are hidden in the background of shots in obvious, unashamed positions, watching and waiting for their time to strike completely unnoticed by anyone else around them.

It's only when your eyes adjust and the creature becomes clear that there's any indication of something being wrong - but by then, it's already too late. And really, it's a reminder that anything could be skulking around our own homes with us blissfully unaware.

Hey, this who exercise makes those Where's Wally books worthwhile, at the very least...

10. Sackman - The Strangers

Hereditary Monster
Rogue Pictures

As the whole premise of The Strangers relies on a bunch of creeps attempting to break into a vacation home, it makes sense that most of the tension lies in the threat of what's outside getting in - and that's exactly what the film hammers home early on in its anxiety-inducing narrative. A couple spend some quality time in a remote house for the night with clear issues between the pair, with boyfriend James leaving Kristen on her own as he heads out for cigarettes.

In the meantime, Kristen attempts to fix an errant fire alarm before chilling out with a cigarette and a glass of water (perhaps the combination that most puts the 'strange' in Strangers). And despite being left alone in the house, she's not the only one in there.

In the background of the shot as Kristen goes about her business, the masked man can be seen watching her, silently, with just his pale mask visible in the darkness of the rest of the house. It's a chilling moment and pure nightmare fuel for expertly putting that real, irrational fear of being watched in our safe spaces - executed terrifyingly well.

In this post: 
First Posted On: 

Horror film junkie, burrito connoisseur, and serial cat stroker. WhatCulture's least favourite ginger.