Sunday, February 01, 2009

The Ten Scariest Characters in Literature

This may sound like a post for October and Halloween, but I think getting the bejabbers scared out of you shouldn't be restricted to any one season. AbeBooks polled their readers, asking for their thoughts on the scariest characters in literature. Here is the list of the winners:
  1. Big Brother from 1984 by George Orwell
  2. Hannibal Lecter from the novels by Thomas Harris
  3. Pennywise the clown from It by Stephen King
  4. Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over a Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
  5. Count Dracula from Bram Stoker’s novel
  6. Annie Wilkes from Misery by Stephen King
  7. The demon from The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
  8. Patrick Bateman from American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
  9. Bill Sykes from Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
  10. Voldemort from the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling
I usually find myself disagreeing with lists like this, but this one's pretty darned good. My husband still has a problem with Kathy Bates because of her portrayal of Annie Wilkes, and I haven't liked clowns since King had a nightmare and named it Pennywise. What other characters have made me jump in the wee hours of the morning? Let's see...

How's about Jack Torrance in Stephen King's The Shining? And Hill House itself in Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House? Or the Ghost of Christmas Future in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol? There are others who pop into my mind, but I'd really like to hear about some of yours. What characters in books have made the hairs stand on the back of your neck and made you check to make sure all the doors are locked?


  1. I'm not crazy about scary books, so I've only read 3 of those books. I did see the movie American Psycho and agree that character was scary.

  2. I would have to say that dang clown from It. I read this not too long ago and I don't think I can ever look at a clown again with thinking if It.

  3. I haven't read too many of the books you mentioned but I would have to say Dracula from Bram Stoker. I am like your husband - Annie Wilkes was pretty darn scary!! An then there is The Heart-Shaped Box by Stephen King's son - Joe Hill.

  4. I agree with you on Jack in 'The Shining'. He should have been at the top of the list.

  5. Kara -- I didn't know that Joe Hill was SK's son!! I picked that book up in an airport and loved it. Very creepy.

    I've always hated clowns, and Pennywise just gave a name to my fear. I think that's my number one.

  6. I'm also not big on scary books, but Kim Harrison's vampire Piscary (hey, he even has "scary" in his name...) creeps me out big-time.


Thank you for taking the time to make a comment. I really appreciate it!