Over the years, TV horror has brought us some truly terrifying characters. From monsters of the week to longer term gruesome antagonists and even shows built around unstoppable killers, the intimate nature of the small screen sucks viewers in, leaving them more susceptible than ever to a shock or a scare.
Often, though, the scariest TV characters are found outside the confines of horror. Prestige dramas, crime capers, and even full-fledged comedies have all seen their share of frightful figures.
Whether these are violent gangsters, wild creations, or more down to earth terrors, there’s little so effective as a true horror monster placed in a disparate genre piece. These characters seem to break the rules, placing us on the edge of our seats when that’s not what we signed up for.
In some cases, the show’s heroes eventually triumph over these nightmarish characters; in others, their reign of terror may never end, or they may even see themselves as the hero of the piece. Any which way, they’ve stepped out of our nightmares and into the realm of decidedly non-horror TV.
10. Logan Roy (Succession)
In the world of Succession, being uber-rich gives you the licence to act like an idiot, behave dreadfully and still live a life of total luxury. The only caveat to that is that you will be living in fear of your overlord and, in some cases, father, Logan Roy.
As played by Brian Cox in the role of a lifetime, Waystar Royco CEO Logan Roy is intimidating no matter what he’s doing. If he’s screaming and hurling abuse, obviously he’s scary. If he’s delivering instructions in a calm tone, he’s still scary, because you know what’s going to happen if you get something wrong. If he’s sat perfectly still, he’s still, somehow, petrifying.
This goes double if you’re one of his kids, who equally attempt to impress and avoid their father at work and at home. Shiv, Kendall, and Roman (and to a lesser extent, flighty older brother Connor) are all dreadful people, but it’s not hard to see why. They’ve been groomed by dad for the family business, and when they disappoint him, does he ever let them know it.
Succession suggests every now and then that Logan, 80 and counting, is on the wane, but then he’ll hit you with another scheme, put down, verbal assault. Age is just a number when it comes to Logan Roy being scary.