Monster / Stephen King

"I'll kill you all! Ha-ha! I'll drive you crazy and then I'll kill you all! I'm every nightmare you ever had! I am your worst dream come true! I'm everything you ever were afraid of!"
Pennywise (played by Tim Curry), IT (the 1990 film adaptation)

Stephen King has written some pretty nasty villains in his day, but these particularly stand out. With rare exception, the actual monsters of his Shared Universe tend to pale in comparison to the more human villains.

  • Randall Flagg is a demonic, quasi-immortal being who frequently appears throughout King's works as an embodiment of evil. Living through different lives in different worlds, the one constant about Flagg is that he is always working to sow the seeds of chaos and despair wherever he goes. Flagg was part of The Vietnam War, Ku Klux Klan lynchings, police murders, and race riots, and each time he was part of a violent experience it would ultimately serve to empower the evil within him.
    • In The Stand, Flagg appears as a Dark Messiah in a post-apocalyptic, plague-ravaged United States. Here he builds a new civilization in Las Vegas, calling to him those with penchants for destruction, power and fascism. Flagg has people publicly crucified for opposing or failing him, murders his pregnant girlfriend for enraging him, and plans on destroying the peaceful "Free Zone" settlement just so his civilization can be the dominant one.
    • In The Eyes of the Dragon, Flagg is an Evil Sorcerer in the medieval country of Delain. Here, Flagg has Queen Sasha murdered, poisons King Roland, frames Prince Peter for the crime, and then plunges Delain into a new Dark Age by manipulating the remaining heir, Thomas.
    • In The Dark Tower series, it is revealed that Flagg has lived for so long and accumulated so much power that he has become the emissary for the Crimson King. Flagg earns Roland Deschain's undying hatred for beating and sleeping with Roland’s mother, and for aiding the revolutionary John Farson in causing the destruction of the city of Gilead. Flagg also forces Roland to let his preteen companion Jake Chambers die, and drives a girl insane by telling her the trigger phrase which causes a formerly dead man to recount the afterlife to her. Corruptive, treacherous and sadistic, Flagg's ultimate goal was to betray his master and climb to the top of the Dark Tower in order to become God of all.
  • Apt Pupil (or, Summer of Corruption): Todd Bowden is a budding psychopath obsessed with the war crimes committed by the Nazis in World War II, and as such, is overjoyed when he learns his elderly neighbor, Arthur Denker, is in fact Kurt Dussander, a former Nazi commander in hiding. Blackmailing Dussander into regaling him with tales of his atrocities, Todd slowly becomes aroused at the very thought of the crimes Dussander committed, even fantasizing about raping Jewish women while they scream in terror. Beginning to show his sadistic tendencies by cruelly crushing a bird to death, Todd begins butchering homeless people for his own entertainment, claiming that they are just subhuman trash that no one will miss. Regularly lusting to murder his loving parents and girlfriend for minor annoyances, staying his hand only to keep out of trouble, Todd realizes he will be caught for his association with Dussander, and decides to go out with a bang, murdering his guidance counselor before heading to a highly-populated location and opening fire on any random citizens in the area for five hours straight before being stopped. Representing the evil that Dussander spent decades trying to move past, Todd Bowden was a teenager whose only pleasure in life was the suffering of others and his own well-being, and, despite being unremarkable in almost every way, stands out as one of Stephen King's youngest, but no less wicked, villains.
  • Black House: The Fisherman (Charles Burnside) is a cannibalistic Serial Killer who preys on children. He modeled the modus operandi of his crimes after the historical RealLife serial killer Albert Fish to outdo him in evil. He rapes, kills, and eats at least three children in the town of French Landing, Wisconsin. He is eventually revealed to be a human agent of the Crimson King. The Fisherman travels through dimensions to seek out psychic children called "Breakers," personally murdering them if they fail to live up to their abilities. Once he has enlisted them in the Crimson King's army, they will then be used to break the remaining beams of the Dark Tower and end all of existence.
  • Desperation: Tak, a monstrous, incorporeal entity released from the Desperation mining pits, runs amok in the titular town, gruesomely slaughtering almost everyone who lives there and taking one of the local police as a host. When other people near Desperation, Tak murders one young woman's husband and the Carver family's 7-year-old daughter, before steadily slaughtering the survivors for fun. Realizing that Kirsten's 12-year-old brother David has been sent by God to stop him, Tak stops at nothing to murder the boy after killing his entire family, intending on spreading his influence throughout the world by destroying whatever stands in his path.
  • The Gingerbread Girl: Jim Pickering is a wealthy man who owns a house on the Florida Keys. A psychotic Serial Killer, Pickering lures young woman to his home to rape and murder them. When Emily discovers the latest of many victims in his car, Pickering knocks her out and intends to do the same to her. When he believes the nearby drawbridge keeper knows she's nearby, Pickering heads to murder him while Emily tries to escape. Upon getting free, Pickering pursues Emily, using scissors to brutally murdering a random man who tried to protect her.
  • A Good Marriage: Robert "Bob" Anderson seems like a loving husband and father, but is actually a vicious Serial Killer named "Beadie" who has been killing for decades. Having planned a school shooting in his youth with a friend, Bob satisfied his urges by raping and killing women he deemed "snoots" after torturing them, often by biting them before killing them. In one instance, a victim's young son Robert stumbled upon Bob killing his mother, making him a victim as well. Despite Bob's lies that the boy didn't suffer, his wife Darcie later learns the boy was horribly tortured and mutilated before being killed. When Darcie discovers Bob's secret life, she realizes he won't stop killing and that every act of kindness or love he ever showed her was simply camouflage for the evil within.
  • The Green Mile: William "Wild Bill" Wharton is a Psychopathic Manchild awaiting execution at the Cold Mountain Penitentiary for murdering three people in an armed robbery, one of whom was a pregnant woman. When he first appears in the prison he manages to convince the guards he's in a drugged stupor, only to attempt to strangle Dean Stanton to death when his guard is down. Failing in that, Wild Bill contents himself with causing as much mischief as he can before his eventual execution. Eventually it comes to light that Wild Bill's worst known crime was the rape and murder of the two little girls that John Coffrey was accused of killing. In order to stop the girls from calling for help, he told them that if one of them screams, it's her sister that he'd kill.
  • Insomnia: Atropos is one of the entities responsible for cutting the life threads of the mortals whose time has come. But unlike the other entities like him, Atropos absolutely despises humans for being such short-lived creatures, and takes great pleasure in ending their lives. So in addition to doing his job, Atropos goes after people whose fate isn’t decided and causes them to die horribly, which he has done enough times to fill a cave with trophies of his victims. When his boss, the Crimson King, wants him to kill a young boy before he grows up to oppose his plans, Atropos uses this opportunity to harm as many people as possible. He proceeds to corrupt a nice family man called Ed Deepneau into becoming a wife-beating extremist. Under Atropos' manipulation, Deepneau gets together with like-minded maniacs and assaults a woman care center, where they murder dozens of people, as a distraction for his real plan: to have Deepneau crash with a plane full of explosives onto a pro-abortion rights rally that the kid will be attending with his mother, killing them along with the other two thousand people present. Along the way, Atropos has several of the protagonist’s friends killed just to piss him off, and taunts him about it. Finally, when his plans are foiled, Atropos tries to kill Deepneau’s six-year old daughter (who the hero befriended) just to get back at him for humiliating him in front of his boss.
  • IT: It, a.k.a. Pennywise the Dancing Clown, is without question one of the most horrifying characters ever written. A primordial being as old as time, It awakens from its hibernation every three decades and proceeds to murder and devour the children of the town of Derry, Maine, often using the avatar of a jovial clown named Pennywise to lure children into its clutches. It prides itself on using its shapeshifting and hallucinogenic powers to torment its victims, preying on their phobias and acquired fears and likening the cultivation of their terror to "salting the meat." From 1740 to 1743, It was responsible for the disappearance of three hundred Derry Township settlers. In 1957, It killed Bill's six-year-old brother, George, and devoured Patrick Hockstetter alive while in the form of his greatest fear, leeches. It also drove Henry Bowers to madness, then killed Bowers' friends after they succeeded in luring the Losers' Club into the sewers. After waking up in 1984, It kills a man named Adrian Mellon before resuming its violent killing spree of children. It proceeds to manipulate Henry Bowers into trying to kill the Losers; drives Bill's wife, Audra, catatonic by exposing her to its deadlights; and manages to kill Eddie before its final defeat.
  • Needful Things: Leland Gaunt is a very different kind of a monster villain, a genial and well-spoken owner of a little novelty shop that just happens to have your heart's greatest desire in stock, which he's willing to sell it to you for a paltry sum and a little favor, a harmless prank to play on your neighbor. What you don't know is that your "needful thing" is in fact a malevolent charm that will make you paranoid and obsessed over it and drive you into murderous insanity, and all the harmless little pranks are designed to thrive on old grudges and insecurities, exploit all the dirty secrets your neighbors (and you) have and stir up all the incipient feuds, turning people against each other until your whole town tears itself apart with weapons that Mr. Gaunt helpfully supplies. Even if you're spared by the slaughter and general madness, it is only so you could realize that you're partially responsible for it and kill yourself. Mr. Gaunt will just stand there at the window of his little shop, savouring chaos and death, like he'd done countless times before all across the world.
  • Rose Madder: Norman Daniels, Rose Daniels's husband, has been beating and sexually abusing her for fourteen years; his abuse has caused her to miscarry. After he finds out that she left him, he is determined to hunt her down and torture her to death. His methods for locating his ex-wife are tracking down, torturing, and murdering the people who helped her. His favorite method of killing is biting his victims to death. He is also a racist, sexist, homophobic creep who thinks all feminists are lesbians and despises one of his victims as soon as he finds out he's Jewish. His feelings about women are summed up in the fact that when he is in disguise and has to come up with the name of a woman who's protected him, he uses the first and last names of his two favorite porn actresses.
  • 'Salem's Lot
  • Under the Dome: At best, Selectman James P. "Big Jim" Rennie is a cold-blooded, amoral, greedy, psychopathic bastard. Soon after the start of the novel, we learn that the man is the ringmaster of a massive drug ring, apparently one of the biggest suppliers of meth in the whole country. Then it gets worse. Not only do we learn that he killed his own wife by smothering her with a pillow (a woman already dying of cancer, no less), but over the course of the novel, to ensure that he remains absolute master of the town, he covers up the various murders and rapes committed by his son, Junior, and the gang of thugs he's commissioned as a police force. He kills three or four people (including a pastor, smashing his head in with a gold-covered baseball) who threatened to reveal to his subjects what kind of a monster he is, purposefully causes a riot over supplies just so he can claim need for greater control, and frames the main protagonist, Dale Barbara, for everything that he and his gang has gotten away with. Then, because he had his gang steal huge amounts of propane (the only fuel source in town) just so he could make more meth, he sets the stage for the massive explosion that consumes almost everything in the town, turning the atmosphere into little more than an assortment of poisonous gases, and then gets away with it, hiding away in a fallout shelter. Even worse, he refuses to accept fault for anything that either he did or happened because of his decisions, even so far as to excuse his multiple murders as "sending them into the arms of Jesus," his faith allowing him to dismiss any of the multiple atrocities he does.