20 Truly Terrifying Marvel And DC Comics Characters To Freak You Out This Halloween

Happy Halloween! To mark the occasion, we're looking at 20 of the scariest heroes and villains to ever grace the pages of Marvel and DC Comics. Find out who made the cut in this seriously spooky feature!

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As the number of comic book movies released on a yearly basis rises, so too do the different sorts of genres that Marvel and DC attempt to tackle. This year alone has seen horror-tinged adventures from Marvel Studios like Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Moon Knight, and Werewolf by Night, though the less said about Morbius, the better. 

So, with Halloween here, we've taken a deep dive into the comic books to single out which characters from the Marvel and DC Universe are truly the most terrifying. We're not just talking about looks, either, as there's a lot that makes these heroes and villains scary enough to give you nightmares both on the page and on screen.

What you'll find here is our breakdown of the scariest characters in the Marvel and DC Universes. From monsters who slaughter their prey to even heroes that use fear as a weapon, this lot is sure to have freaked you out at some point. 

To take a look through this spooky Halloween feature, you just need to click on the "Next" button below!

20. Parallax


Parallax is quite literally fear itself, so calling it terrifying seems like an understatement. After possessing Hal Jordan and decimating the Green Lantern Corps, the monster stayed dormant for a time.

Later, though, it reemerged to power up the Sinestro Corps and ensure fear will always have a place in the universe. Parallax didn't look very frightening in the 2011 movie, but his comic book counterpart most definitely is. 

19. Red Goblin


When Norman Osborn bonded with the Carnage symbiote, he became one of Spider-Man's most terrifying villains, and a one-shot later revealed just how twisted his time as the Red Goblin was (he slaughtered countless innocents...and enjoyed it).

More unhinged than ever, he was truly the stuff of nightmares, and Flash Thompson was among this twisted Goblin's many victims. Interestingly, his grandson, Normie, will be next to take over the mantle.

18. Etrigan


One of the most notorious of Hell's demons, Etrigan's soul was merged with the body of a human man, Jason Blood, who calls upon the demon's terrifying power to fight the forces of darkness.

He's clashed with a number of DC Comics over the years, and we'd hoped he might get to take centre stage in J.J. Abrams' now-scrapped Justice League Dark project on HBO Max. Perhaps in a Black Adam sequel? 

17. Venom


Unfortunately, neither Venom movie was the R-Rated horror we were all hoping for. However, while this alien symbiote's origin may be rooted in the space, he's not to be trifled with and some iterations of the villain have even had a taste for human flesh.

In Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman's classic comic book run, the symbiote's horror roots were embraced in a big way, and that's something we'd like to see more of following the current sci-fi era. 

16. Demogoblin


The Marvel Universe features a lot of very scary Goblins, but perhaps the most frightening is this one. Jason Macendale was actually the second Hobgoblin before he became possessed by a demon after making a deal with N'astirh for power.

When Jason rid himself of the demon, the unhinged, monstrous Demogoblin was born and Spider-Man has been plagued by this underrated horror baddie ever since.

15. Mephisto


The Marvel Universe's devil, Mephisto is responsible for making the life of Ghost Rider a living hell (literally), but has often set his sights on other heroes too.

For example, it's his fault that Spider-Man and Mary Jane are no longer married, as he took that in return for saving Aunt May's life. He didn't appear in WandaVision as some fans hoped, but Sacha Baron Cohen is set to play him in Ironheart!

14. Solomon Grundy


Solomon Grundy is a reanimated corpse, hailing from a cursed place near Gotham City called Slaughter Swamp. His appearance and strength have varied greatly over the years, and he once rivalled Superman in terms of power.

However, one place he wasn't very scary was in FOX's now-cancelled Gotham. Stargirl somewhat made up for that, though, as did the animated Batman: The Long Halloween movies.

13. Man-Bat


Batman is a scary dude, but what if he was an actual Man-Bat? Well, that's the alter-ego of Kirk Langstrom, a scientist who developed a formula that made him more monster than man.

Gotham City is scary enough as it is, but seeing this guy in the sky would make you never want to leave the house. A literal beast, this monstrous baddie has pushed the Dark Knight to his limits again and again.

12. Werewolf By Night


Jack Russell was the victim of an ancient family curse who struggled for years with his bestial alter-ego. Over time, he has conquered his inner demons and become a hero; alas, that makes seeing him under a full moon no less scary.

That was evident from Marvel Studios' first Special Presentation, Werewolf by Night. Not quite under control in that, the monster made us excited - and scared - for the MCU's horror-filled future. 

11. Ghost Rider


If the Spirit of Vengeance comes calling, you're definitely in trouble! As horror comic book characters go, Ghost Rider is definitely up there with the best regardless of who it is beneath the flaming skull.

His penance stare ensures that evildoers feel each and every one of their nastiest deeds! Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. did an awesome job with Robbie Reyes, but we're waiting on Johnny Blaze's return in the MCU.

10. Scarecrow


Scarecrow may be just a guy wearing a sack over his head, but don't pretend seeing him down a dark alley wouldn't freak you out. And, you know, he uses a fear gas that will make all of your worst nightmares come true!

Dr. Jonathan Crane really is one of the most imposing figures in Batman's rogues' gallery, and you need to look no further than Batman: Arkham Knight to see just how much of a threat this guy can be.

9. Vermin


More rat than human, anyone who has a fear of rodents will want to keep clear of this nasty Spider-Man villain. Famous for his role in "Kraven's Last Hunt," Vermin's backstory may be somewhat tragic, but he's vicious and truly evil.

He also has no problem with tearing his victims to pieces when he gets hungry. The monster showing up in Aaron Taylor-Johnson's Kraven the Hunter movie is an absolute must, though we haven't seen any indication that will happen yet.

8. Carnage 


If you thought Venom was scary, he's got nothing on Carnage! The offspring of the Venom Symbiote bonded with serial killer Cletus Kasady, and the twisted duo has enjoyed murdering entire towns of innocents (literally) ever since.

He can even turn his suit into devastating weapons like knives and axes, and definitely impressed during his big screen debut in Venom: Let There Be Carnage (even if Woody Harrelson's take wasn't quite perfect).

7. Clayface


In terms of appearance, Clayface is a pretty damn scary-looking monster. However, throw in the fact that he's able to use his powers to transform into whoever he likes and you'll never know if your closest friend is actually this creature in disguise.

Oh, and they might just smother you with clay and steal your face! We're not sure why he's never made it into a movie, but rumour has it The Batman director Matt Reeves is developing something on HBO Max.

6. Green Goblin


One of Spider-Man's greatest foes, Norman Osborn has taken great delight in torturing Peter Parker for decades. He killed his girlfriend, and even came up with a plan that seemingly resulted in the death of Peter and MJ's firstborn child.

Throw in that terrifying mask and he's definitely a very scary customer. Willem Dafoe only emphasised that during his return as the villain in Spider-Man: No Way Home, frightening a whole new generation of Spidey fans. 

5. Morbius The Living Vampire


Sometimes a friend and sometimes a foe to Spider-Man, Morbius isn't your typical vampire, but will suck your blood just as quickly as Dracula himself! Currently an anti-hero of sorts, you never know where his alliances are going to lie.

After all, his thirst for blood can vary from day to day. It's a shame the Living Vampire's movie was such a disappointment, with Jared Leto failing to show what he could really do with this anti-hero thanks to that dismal screenplay. 

4. Marvel Zombies


Set in an alternate universe where a zombie outbreak has ravaged the heroes and villains of the Marvel Universe, these zombies are not to be messed with.

Everyone from Captain America to Iron Man were reduced to their baser instincts by the plague, and Spider-Man even ate his Aunt May! Marvel Studios toned that down a bit for What If...?, but we can't wait for the R-Rated Marvel Zombies spinoff.

3. Man-Thing


There may be a resemblance to Swamp-Thing, but Man-Thing is a very different monster. In fact, he's a large semi-intelligent creature that dwells in the Florida Everglades and is the sole guardian of the Nexus of All Realities located there.

So, he's scary, but does have an important job. With the introduction of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's version of the Multiverse and his Werewolf by Night role, we hope to see that explored very soon. 

2. The Brood


The Brood are a race of alien parasites that reproduce by implanting their eggs in others. They are a recurring enemy of the X-Men, Sh'iar, and Captain Marvel and have the ability to control those they inhabit.

That's led to some Alien-style goings-on in the comics which is always freaky to see play out. When the mutants make their MCU debut, taking them into space to fight the Brood would be very cool.

1. Jack O'Lantern


A few different men have held the mantle of Jack O'Lantern, and they've all looked downright horrifying. One was gunned down by The Punisher while attempting to kill Spider-Man, and the latest is a sadistic mercenary.

He was abducted as a kid by Crime-Master who took the mantle after murdering his predecessors. In the years that have followed Civil War, Jack O'Lantern has instead pursued Venom, and it's fitting for him to top this list with that pumpkin head!

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