Editor's Note: We originally published a version of this list in 2009. Happy Halloween!
No. 10: Mitch Laurence and Allison Perkins—One Life to Live
It does't get much more frightening than Mitch Laurence (Roscoe Born), the twisted ex-boyfriend of Tina Lord (Andrea Evans) whose first reign of terror in Llanview started way back in 1985. Following a stint in prison for murder, Mitch transformed himself into a religious cult leader finding a devoted worshipper/willing accomplice in bat shit crazy Allison Perkins (Barbara Garrick).
Rape, murder, kidnapping, you name it, Mitch Laurence and Allison Perkins have done it all, mostly to Viki Lord (Erika Slezak) and her twin daughters Jessica (Bree Williamson) and Natalie (Melissa Archer). Horrifying Mention: Victor Lord.
No. 9: Barnabas Collins—Dark Shadows
We couldn't have a list detailing soap's most terrifying villains without mentioning Barnabas Collins, the 175-year-old vampire protagonist from ABC's short-lived, cult soap Dark Shadows. Though Barnabas was generally a nice blood sucker, Jonathan Frid's creepy portrayal of the fanged one couldn't help but scare soap watchers.
Dark Shadows not only inspired a brief NBC primetime update in the 90's, but was later adapted for the big screen for Johnny Depp. Talk about a soap villain with bite!
Horrifying Mention: Caleb Morley (Port Charles).
No. 8: Helena Cassadine—General Hospital
Film legend Elizabeth Taylor was such a fan of General Hospital uber couple Luke and Laura (Tony Geary and Genie Francis), she called up then-executive producer Gloria Monty and asked to be written into the show. Helena Cassadine was born!
While Taylor may have created the role of the lethal Greico-Russian villianess, who famously cursed daytime's favorite pairing on their wedding day, it has been the icilly-regal Constance Towers who took Helena's wrath to new heights, er lows.
Helena once gleefully recalled slitting the throat of her husband's mistress to her devastated stepdaughter Alexis (Nancy Lee Grahn), who as a child had watched the gruesome act. She also orchestrated the faked death and brainwashing of Port Charles' favorite son Lucky Spencer (Jonathan Jackson). Even in death Helena is terrorizing Port Charles. Bitch poisoned Luke's earring with polonium!
Horrifying Mention: Diego Alcazar.
No. 7: Carl Hutchins—Another World
While late-in-the-game Another World fans may only know Carl as Rachel's (Victoria Wyndham) poetry-loving bazillionth hubby, fans who watched the goings-on in Bay City during the 80's and early 90's recall a much different (read: unspeakable) Carl. The sworn enemy of Rachel's greatest love, publishing czar Mac Cory (Douglass Watson), Carl made a sport out of menacing the Corys, plotting to kill both Mac and Rachel on numerous occasions and even stalking their nubile daughter Amanda (Sandra Ferguson).
Carl Hutchins didn't believe in exclusives when it came to his vileness, however. He had plenty to go around! The British baddie also went after ex-loves Donna (Anna Stuart), Felicia (Linda Dano) and their respective daughters whenever the urge struck him. In the end Rachel's and son Ryan's (Paul Michael Valley) love may have redeemed him, and "all was well that ended well", but Carl's shocking villainy will live on forever, thanks to You Tube.
Horrifying Mentions: Janice and Jason Frame.
No. 6:James Stenbeck—As The World Turns
Barbara Ryan's (Colleen Zenk Pinter) dashing ex-love James Stenbeck (Anthony Herrera) proved to be much more than your every day rogue, allowing his obsession with the Stenbeck fortune and his son Paul (Roger Howarth) to cause him to go just a wee bit nutty.
James' list of crimes reads like a hop hop producer's rap sheet, from murder to stalking to more murder. He even caused one of Oakdale's beloved antiheroines to prematurely age — a lot!
Horrifying Mention: Douglas Cummings
No. 5: Ray Gardner—All My Children
Poor Opal Purdy (Dorothy Lyman, Jill Larson) never has been very lucky in love! Her last hubby Palmer (James Mitchell) cheated on her with that whack job Janet Dillon (at the time played by Robin Mattson), but that was nothing compared to the vile stunts her first husband Ray Gardner (Gil Rogers) pulled.
Opal's abusive ex abandoned their son Tad (Michael E. Knight) in a park, and later raped Tad's loving adoptive mother Ruth Martin (originally Mary Fickett)! Ray finally met his end after saving his daughter Jenny (Kim Delaney) from being killed by a bomb he set to take out the Martins. Too bad he didn't know anything about jet skis.
Horrifying Mentions: Janet "From Another Planet" Dillon and Billy Clyde Tuggle.
No. 4: Roger Thorpe—Guiding Light
Stanley Norris had no idea what he was getting his daughter into when he asked his, unscrupulous, ambitious employee Roger Thorpe (Michael Zaslow) to date his then-teenage daughter Holly (Maureen Garrett). Over the years Roger would both torment and romance Holly over and over again, but it was Rita Bauer (Lenore Kasdorf) who was the victim of one of Roger's most menacing acts.
When Roger returned to Springfield with plans to abduct his daughter Christina (aka Blake) from the Cedars Hospital Winter Carnival, it was a then-very pregnant Rita who recognized her long ago rapist's voice (Roger was wearing a clown disguise.) Before Rita could alert the Bauers of Roger's return, he chased the preggars heroine into the carnival's Hall of Mirrors, scaring the bejeezus out of her and Guiding Light fans for decades to come.
Horrifying Mention: Annie Dutton and Brent/Marion.
No. 3: Sheila Carter—The Young and the Restless/The Bold and the Beautiful
It doesn't get much spookier than an obsessed woman who kidnaps not only her arch rival, but her own mother and sets a house on fire with both of them tied up inside! Y&R's Sheila Carter (Kimberlin Brown) started off as a simple-yet-obsessed nurse.
Sheila wanted department store heiress Lauren Fenmore's (Tracey Bregman) husband Dr. Scotty Grainger (Peter Barton) so badly she would do anything to get him — and we mean anything! She switched Scott and Lauren's baby with a sickly one she stole and tricked the dimwitted doc into believing baby Scott Jr. was their child. This sicko went even farther by having Lil's Scott's birthmark removed in order to keep suspicion down!
After her first reign of terror ended in Genoa City, Sheila transplanted her psychosis to the West Coast. There she targeted the glamorous Forrester fashion clan on The Bold and the Beautiful. Even battle axe Stephanie (Susan Flannery) had the good sense to be frightened of Sheila Carter, but then when a women is capable of siccing a Doberman pincher and/or killer bees on rivals, it paid to be cautious of Sheila Carter!
Horrifying Mention: Shawn Garrett.
No. 2: Cesar Faison—General Hospital
Cesar Faison's (Anders Hove) obsession with the ravishing Anna Devane (Finola Hughes) began in childhood, when his mother worked as a young Anna's nanny. Apparently Anna didn't share her crayons with the future terrorist, because he grew up to make the lives of Anna and her husband, fellow WSB spy Robert (Tristan Rogers), soap operatic hell as an operative for the rival agency DVX.
Over the decades Faison has viciously targeted the Scorpios, their friends (Tiffany, Sean, Felicia) and family (Mac, Robin) and was even quite nasty to Casey, the nice alien from Planet Lumina. Prior to 2013, his most despicable act to date was teaming up with Helena Cassadine (Constance Towers) to fake the death of Lucky Spencer (Jonathan Jackson), destroying the lives of the three remaining L's— Luke (Tony Geary), Laura (Genie Francis), and Liz (Rebecca Herbst).
This year, Faison's been up to his old tricks. He faked Robin's (Kimberly McCullough) death in order to prove his sick love to her mother. This guy just doesn't know how to take no for an answer!
Horrifying Mention: Mr. Craig/Jerry Jacks
No. 1: Dr. Marlena Evans—Days of Our Lives
Isn't it ironic that one of daytime's most beloved heroines is also the genre's most terrifying villainess? How's that for Women's Liberation?
Whether fans loved it, or hated it, the infamous 1994-95 storyline that saw Marlena (Deidre Hall) possessed by the Devil herself was some of the scariest stuff daytime has ever attempted. The late James E. Reilly borrowed heavily from the horror movie classic The Excrcist; as well as the pages of the Catholic bible and The Thorn Birds to spin this ghoulish, macabre tale.
Who will ever forget those freaky, lime green contacts, Marlena levitating in front of her friends and family or transforming herself into rival Kristen Blake (Eileen Davidson)? In the end, though the story was exactly what Reilly said it was — a love story. Marlena's soul mate, John Black (Drake Hogestyn) managed to be the one to save her soul from Satan, and DAYS from cancellation.
Horrifying Mention: Vincent/Victor (Passions) andDr. Marlena Evans yet again during the Salem Stalker saga!