Batman has always had the most twisted villains in all of comics. So naturally it all goes hand in hand with Halloween (and Christmas as well, for some reason) and it got me thinking about putting a list together of some of Batman’s scariest villains. This is not a countdown and obviously the Joker would top the list if it was but I decided to leave the Clown Prince of Crime out of it. I wanted to concentrate on other villains that have given me the heebie-jeebies at one point or another either through their actions or their appearance.
I always thought the Matt Hagen version of Clayface was a pretty horrific and tragic character on Batman: The Animated Series. The original Clayface was a horror movie actor named Basil Karlo (as tribute to horror icons Basil Rathbone & Boris Karloff) but it was the third Clayface, Preston Payne (pictured above), who looked the weirdest and was psycho enough to have a relationship with a department store mannequin.
A serial killer, who kills only with a knife, and he makes cut marks on his body for every person he kills. Yeah, that’s pretty horrific.
His looks has changed over the years, but Doctor Phosphorous is basically a radioactive glowing skeleton. That’s awesome and makes him the perfect Bat-villain around Halloween-time. Visually, I think he’s one of Batman’s best villains.
I’ve never been a fan of the Alice in Wonderland theme but look at how disturbing this guy’s appearance is. He’s a lowly Batman villain but I’ve always found stories involving him to be pretty eerie. The Mad Hatter missions in Batman: Arkham Origins were especially creepy thanks to those darn bunnies.
Not a Batman but a Man-Bat. In addition to his horrific appearance, Man-Bat also has a Jekyl & Hyde thing on. Dr. Kirk Langstrom is a mild-mannered scientist by day and a giant bat creature that terrorizes the city at night.
One of the most terrifying Bat-villains of all. “Led” by a dummy named Scarface, the Ventriloquist is one of Batman’s most violent villains but, of course, it’s Scarface committing all of the violent acts while the Ventriloquist acts meek and as if he’s at Scarface’s mercy. In fact, I’m pretty sure Scarface has beaten up the Ventriloquist a few times. Complete sociopath.
Psychologist/psychiatrist Hugo Strange has had a resurgence in modern times thanks in part to Batman: Arkham video games. He is one of Batman’s earliest recurring villains and even predates the Joker and Catwoman. He’s not actually interested in the mental health of his patients but instead conducts all kinds of strange experiments on them.
He was pretty much used for laughs on the B:TAS, but Killer Croc is an edgier character in the comics. He’s a nearly unstoppable brutal killing machine and another truly frightening foe when used correctly.
Born on a Monday, blah blah blah… Grundy is basically a mash-up the Hulk and the Frankenstein Monster. And he lives in a swamp.
Professor Pyg is a Bat-villain that was introduced by terrible comic book writer Grant Morrison a few years back. I include him because this character seems to have been inspired by the torture porn horror subgenre, something I try to steer away from because it’s so disturbing. Professor Pyg is a madman who doesn’t experiment on his victim as much as he operates on them in order to get them to match his twisted vision of perfection.
It’s a super-powered zombie version of Batman. What’s not to be afraid of?
LOOK AT HIM. If that face won’t give you nightmares, I don’t know what will. Doctor Death was the very first super-villain Batman ever faced and he’s been given a gruesome makeover in the modern era.
Hey, I have no idea who this guy is but he’s dressed like a ghost in chains and calls himself the Spook, how could I not include him?! The Spook has no super-powers but is a master of hypnotism and escapology (that’s a real word) and he apparently battled Batman a number of times during the 1970s. He recently popped back up in the comics and may or may not have been killed by Damien Wayne.
While the Joker would’ve been the obvious top pick for this list, the Scarecrow would easily rank at #2. He is the master of fear after all. He’s had a few cool tweaks to his appearance over years but I prefer his basic standard appearance.