Most Iconic Horror Movie Villains of All Time

Norman Bates, the villain of “Psycho,” has since become shorthand for “sociopath.”

psycho norman bates


Paramount Pictures

“Psycho,” the classic 1960 horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, is so ingrained in our culture that it’s easy to take for granted just how groundbreaking (and terrifying) it truly is. The shower scene, with its iconic score, remains one of the most chilling murders in horror movie history, and made more than a few people reluctant to hop in the shower, unable to see if anyone else was joining them in the bathroom.

What makes Norman, played by Anthony Perkins, such a good villain is, of course, how subversive he is. He appears to be a meek motel owner who is constantly getting belittled by his mother, but of course, he’s actually a twisted killer.

“Psycho II,” released in 1983, picks up 22 years later after Norman is released from a psychiatric hospital. He once again stars in 1986’s “Psycho III.” Perkins played Norman one last time in 1990’s made-for-TV film “Psycho IV: The Beginning.”

However, Norman lived on in Gus Van Sant’s 1998’s shot-for-shot remake, this time played by Vince Vaughn. An A&E prequel series, “Bates Motel,” explores Bates’ childhood, and he’s played by Freddie Highmore. The critically acclaimed show lasted for five seasons from 2013 to 2017.

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