If horror movies have taught audiences anything, it’s that a horror villain can be any height, but the most iconic of them tend to stretch the parameters of imagination. By making them hulking monstrosities like Michael Myers, or tiny terrors like Chucky, they defy predictability and even reality.
Actors that often have difficulty finding work for their height, whether they fall to one extreme or the other, can find a home in horror movies. Their fascinating movements both delight and disturb audiences, who project onto them all of their deepest fears and anxieties. And where actors can’t fully embody a role, world class artisans create animatronics and puppets to satisfy fans’ need for frights. Lets celebrate all things big and small in horror by recognizing these iconic villains and their incredulous height differences.
10 Tallest: Pennywise (6’4″)
The reboot of Stephen King’s famous novel IT didn’t just promise more terrifying Pennywise, it also offered more of Pennywise to be terrifying. Actor Bill Skarsgård, who took on the role of Pennywise, made the evil clown a towering figure when compared to Tim Curry, who originated the role in the early ’90s and stood 5 ft 9 inches tall.
At 6’4″, Skarsgård’s Pennywise became a truly imposing figure, and much taller than the children he preyed upon. With his impressive height and long limbs, he could contort himself into all sorts of disturbing forms.
9 Shortest: Blade (1’9″)
While there were many puppets at play in Puppet Master, the most deadly of the Puppet Master’s creations was Blade, with a face like a skull based off of the Gestapo chief who ended up shooting Toulon’s wife. His life essence was based off Doctor Hess, the German scientist who was murdered by Nazis.
Blade led the group of puppets wearing a black trench coat, a fedora, and wielding a small knife. At 1 ft 9 inches tall, he wasn’t the largest puppet around, but he was the most bloodthirsty, especially when it came to revenge.
8 Tallest: Leatherface (6’4″)
One of the first and most influential slasher films ever made, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre introduced horror audiences to a new sort of killer; Leatherface. Frantically chasing after a group of teenagers, he picked them off one by one with a chainsaw, resulting in some of the most brutal killings ever seen on screen.
Standing at 6’4″, Gunnar Hansen utilized his height well to intimidate the frightened teenagers, and also moved at a faster pace than expected for someone of his stature. One of the first modern horror films to feature a large, looming antagonist, similar to Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees a few years later.
7 Shortest: Stripe (2″)
At just 2 feet tall, Mogwai might not seem very threatening in Gremlins, but if oblivious teenagers get them wet or feed them after midnight, they turn into creatures like Stripe, the leader of the First Batch and nothing like the cute and adorable Gizmo.
Stripe had reptilian scales, sharp claws, glowing red eyes, and a fierce mowhawk, making him both terrifying and inadvertently comical. He thrived on creating chaos and anarchy with his pals, because with enough gremlins together, he was almost unstoppable.
6 Tallest: Candyman (6’5″)
With his smooth velvet voice and hypnotic presence, the Candyman was a horror villain that wasn’t altogether unpleasant; that is, until he skewered his victim with his hand hook. Tony Todd brought the urban legend to life, his height making him an instant horror icon.
At 6’5″, Candyman was an imposing menace, especially since he caught many of his victims in narrow spaces such as bathrooms and corridors. His height made it easy to believe he could overpower anyone he encountered, and also that he might be difficult to kill if his victim’s couldn’t compete with his brawn.
5 Shortest: Chucky (2’4″)
Dolls have always been used as creepy components in horror films, but one toy reigns supreme; Chucky from Child’s Play. Brought home by a doting mother as a present for her young boy, Chucky quickly gains a mind of his own and begins to terrorize the child.
Standing at 2’4″, Chucky may not have seemed like a particularly frightening antagonist, but his small stature allowed him to conceal himself and stalk his prey. Being considered “cute” also ensured that he would be underestimated.
4 Tallest: Michael Myers (6’9″)
The original Michael Myers, played by Tony Moran in the 1978 classic Halloween stood 6’0″ tall, and became an iconic horror villain thanks to his imposing physical presence. When Rob Zombie set out to remake Halloween, he chose not only to change Michael’s origins, but cast an even more gigantic actor to portray the serial killer; Tyler Mane.
Standing at 6’9″, Mane became nearly the tallest horror menace ever seen on screen, and imbued Myers with all the indomitable athleticism of his early wrestling career. A character actor at heart, Mane also found subtle ways to alter his performance enough from Moran’s to leave his mark on the role.
3 Shortest: Leprechaun (3’6″)
One of the most well-known of the smaller villains in a horror franchise, the Leprechaun from the titular series of films was known for inspiring both fear and laughter in his victims. Played by the talented Warwick Davis (of Willow fame), he wasn’t an animatronic puppet, but a character with real emotions and motivations.
Standing 3’6″, Leprechaun used his diminutive height and his legacy as a fairytale creature associated with the St. Patrick’s Day holiday to enact revenge on anyone who pilfers his famous gold.
2 Tallest: Predator (7’3″)
While Predator is often hailed as a sci-fi action film, it easily falls into the category of horror with its villain, the titular alien hunter that decided to stalk a group of elite mercenaries for sport. Thanks to Kevin Peter Hall, the man inside the Predator costume, the Yautja warrior has since become as iconic a horror villain as the xenomorph from Alien.
Thanks to a background in basketball and ballet, Hall was able to give the creature graceful movements, coordination, and deadly accuracy even at a shocking 7’3″ inches tall. Tragically Hall passed away at 36 from contracting HIV through a blood transfusion or he might have continued to portray the predator after two films.
1 Shortest: Sam (5’0″)
While Trick ‘r’ Treat is known for being a horror anthology film, it has one main antagonist that connects all of its stories; Sam (short for Samhain). At 5’0″, Sam appears as a small boy in footie pajamas, wearing a makeshift pumpkin mask on his head, and representing the spirit of Halloween.
If anyone crosses Sam and doesn’t properly adhere to and respect the traditions of the holiday, he appears to steal candy and perform mischievous tricks on his victims, before killing them in some gruesome fashion.
NEXT: 10 Most Iconic Horror Villains Of The 21st Century (So Far)
Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire: All Deleted Scenes, Ranked In Chronological Order
About The Author