These big-screen creeps reimagine what it means to be a terrifying movie stalker. Stalkers are nearly always scary in movies.
Sexual violence is discussed in the following article, so please be aware of this.
One of the most common themes in film is how people try to avoid or battle the obsessive behavior of those around them. Most of thepredators follow a format that is easily recognized and even predictable, but several stand out more than others in film history. Some of the most terrifying movie stalkers have been ranked here.
Scoot Allan made the following update on April 1st, 2021:
The real-world anxiety that stalking can provoke from viewers has led to successful programs likeYou andThe Fall, which have explored the stalker’s psychology in greater detail. But there have been a number of films that have taken on similar themes and featured some of the most terrifying stalkers ever seen on the big screen. Regardless of gender, the horrific actions, inability to fathom the nature of the crimes, or disturbing methods used by each film stalker have all left a lasting impression.
1. Ryder In 1986’s The Hitcher
To go around the country, hitchhiking used to be a lot more prevalent method of transportation; however the 1986 horror filmThe Hitcher depicted the dangers of this kind of transportation beautifully.
Thomas Howell played a driver who narrowly escaped being killed by a hitchhiking serial killer named Ryder (Rutger Hauer). Unfortunately, Ryder was able to track down the driver and use him as a scapegoat for a string of progressively savage murders.
2. Max In 2011’s The Resident
Helena Devereau (Hilary Swank) moves into an apartment that is being managed by her friend Max (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). Max, on the surface, appears to be a pleasant man who enjoys spending time with his grandfather and restoring his family’s home.
It is only after Juliet is unconscious that Max assaults her repeatedly, and she does not know that he is doing it.
3. Darian Forrester In 1993’s The Crush
Cry Elwes portrays Nick Eliot, a reporter who lives in Darian Forrester’s parents’ guest house, and whom she falls in love with at a young age.
This leads her to misinterpret his friendship as a sign of deeper feelings. Nick makes a slew of mistakes early on, leading the viewer to wonder if Darian is completely off base.
The situation depicted in the film isn’t realistic, yet it might be upsetting to watch Nick’s attempts to discourage Darian fail. As a result of the absence of her parents, she has been proved to be a skilled manipulator.
4. David McCall In 1996’s Fear
Nicole (Reese Witherspoon) is fascinated by David (James Franco), the man she first met in the film Fear (directed by David Ayer) (Mark Wahlberg). When Nicole’s father, Steve Walker (William Petersen), has unsolved issues, she seems to be drawn more and more to David. No matter how much David tried to convince Nicole’s father that David was the right guy, he still had doubts.
In order to drive a deeper rift between Nicole and her father, David needs to become more hostile. Because of this, Nicole’s attempts to separate herself from David are met with David’s unrelenting, blunt anger. David is a psychopath, not just a nasty guy.
5. Greta in 2018’s Greta
With her best friend, Erica, Chloe Grace Moretz portrays Frances, a compassionate college graduate who relocates to New York City (Maika Monroe).
Finding her handbag on the metro, she chases down Greta, who is also a newcomer in the city. Greta and Frances connect over their shared experience of feeling alienated in their new surroundings. As Greta’s daughter is said to be living abroad, Frances has no mother influence in her life.
She becomes a malicious presence, tormenting and eventually going to extreme measures to retain Frances in her life when Frances distanced herself from her. To further demonstrate Greta’s brutality, the film shows her repeating her abusive family history by using Frances as a surrogate daughter.
6. Annie Wilkes In 1987’s Misery
In 1987, a film version of Stephen King’s Misery was released, starring Kathy Bates as Annie Wilkes, a former nurse who is accused of causing the deaths of numerous patients while working as a nurse.
After stalking her favorite author Paul Sheldon (James Caan) for some time, the film followed Wilkes as she drove her car into him and injured him. Annie then takes him captive under the guise of caring for him and forces him to bring her favorite literary character back to life under the danger of his own life.
7. Curt Duncan In 1979’s When A Stranger Calls
Calling from within the house, I believe. Because of the film When a Stranger Calls, this phrase has become an inseparable element of pop culture discourse. When a prank caller terrorizes a babysitter, she discovers that her attempts to keep Curt Duncan (Tony Beckley) out were in vain.
Curt’s mental torment is at the core of this film’s resemblance to Halloween. Somehow, he manages to do disturbing things for reasons he doesn’t seem to comprehend. Curt’s demeanor veers between innocent and savage at the drop of a hat.
8. Julie Gianni In 2001’s Vanilla Sky
Cameron Diaz’s character, Julie Gianni, has an on-again, off-again fling with Tom Cruise’s David Aames (a wealthy playboy). Sofia (Penelope Cruz), David’s new girlfriend, causes Julie to dislike him because he doesn’t apply the same rules to her as he does to Sofia.
Despite Julie’s erratic behavior, Vanilla Sky isn’t centered around her. Their ultimate showdown occurs quite early in the game. A terrible scenario occurs when it becomes clear that Julie’s cool demeanor has been hiding a simmering fury stoked by David’s back and forth actions.
9. Travis Bickle In 1976’s Taxi Driver
As a New York City cab driver, Travis Bickle (Robert de Niro) has a series of infatuations and an out-of-control worldview in Martic Scorcese’s 1976 cult classicTaxi Driver.
As Bickle’s trust in the political system, which he believed was ruining the city around him, began to crumble, he began stalking a Senator and Presidential contender.
When Bickle seems to attempt to assassinate the Senator, albeit his aggressive and homicidal urges were subsequently focused elsewhere, Bickle’s stalking eventually became lethal.
10. Hedra Carlson In 1992’s Single White Female
A lot of the time, stalkers in films are only trying to fill a gap. Hedra Carlson (Jennifer Jason Leigh), a melancholy, soft-spoken downer, moves in with Allison Jones (Amy Adams), a confident, self-assured socialite in Single White Female (Bridget Fonda).
Hedra’s goal with Allison isn’t just to be friends; she also wants to possess her. As Hedra eliminates every apparent threat to her connection with Allison, her hold on reality begins to deteriorate. Even an adorable puppy won’t be able to withstand the ensuing chaos. To characterize the ultimate frenemy, “single white female” is still used.
11. Mark Lewis In 1960’s Peeping Tom
When Carl Boehm portrayed Mark Lewis in the controversial thrillerPeeping Tom in the 1960s, he played the serial murderer who was obsessed with capturing the look of dread on the face of his victims as they died at the hands of him.
Mark grew up in front of a camera as a subject in his father’s research on the psychology of fear. With the help of a mirror attached to a camera tripod, Lewis built a gruesome weapon for the women he pursued and filmed: a knife that he attached to a camera tripod.
12. Max Cady In 1991’s Cape Fear
Ex-convict Max Cady, played by Robert De Niro, is anything but controlled. Cady intends to avenge Sam Bowden (Nick Nolte), the public defender who was responsible for Cady’s imprisonment. Cady preys on Sam’s daughter, Juliette Lewis, while openly and unapologetically taunting and emasculating Sam.
There are a few holes in the family life of Sam, which Cady takes advantage of to achieve his goals. In spite of the fact that his appearance would suggest he is not particularly clever, Cady is a master manipulator who successfully lures Sam and his family into a terrible trap.
13. David Strine in 2018’s Unsane
Sawyer Valentini (Claire Foy), a victim of a stalker, finds herself confined to a mental facility against her will in Unsane, a film directed by Steven Soderbergh and shot on an iPhone 7 plus. David Strine (Joshua Leonard) is stalking Sawyer (who is still haunted by her past). Because the hospital questions Sawyer’s mental state for its own selfish purposes, it isn’t immediately evident if David is a projection of her imagination or really there..
It provides a claustrophobic atmosphere and might even make the spectator feel voyeuristic while watching the events unfold. We can almost feel her wrath at his inability to tell the difference between how he saw Sawyer and who she really is during one of the scenes where she confronts David.
14. Michael Myers In The Halloween Franchise
Michael Myers, one of cinema’s most infamous stalkers and a horror movie icon, made his screen debut in 1978’sHalloween, donning the white mask that would later become synonymous with him.
A young babysitter called Laurie Strode is stalked by serial killer Michael Myers in the first Halloween horror film, but he would continue to hunt and kill fresh victims over the course of the series, making him one of the most disturbing stalkers in film history.
15. Alex Forrest in 1987’s Fatal Attraction
With its six Academy Award nominations, Fatal Attraction transforms a melodrama that could have easily devolved into a cautionary tale. When Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas) commits adultery with Alex Forrest (Alexandra Forrest), the film doesn’t explore the reasons behind it (Glenn Close). It does not shed light on Alex’s psychiatric condition. As Alex’s behavior progresses from provocative to aggressive, the story revolves upon Dan’s desperate attempts to hide his affair from his wife.
When Alex kills Dan’s daughter’s rabbit, she gives rise to the term “bunny boiler,” a reference to her intrusion into Dan’s family life. Fatal Attraction reversed the script from the conventional image of men as predators and women as victims. Watching the character’s motivation shift from infatuation to obsession is frightening.