Resident Evil has started to restore some of its past dignity of late, thanks to the well-received Resident Evil 7: Biohazard and Resident Evil 2 remake. This surge in quality has brought back old fans, and new fans are now interested in playing through the older games to see what the hype is about.
This franchise isn't for the faint-hearted, though. You should know what you're getting yourself into, and you should understand which villains in the Resident Evil series are the scariest. This information could make you want to play these games more, or pick the ones to avoid (if you don’t want to be confronted by these monsters). As the enemies are all looking to finish the player, we've thrown in some less-than-standard 'regular' monsters too.
If you’re one of the newer players, you might think that zombies are a little overplayed now. However, those of us who remember the earlier Resident Evil games can recall how frightening they were when first introduced.
The combat in classic Resident Evil games wasn't nearly as solid as it is in today’s games, so humble zombies could spell your doom whenever you came across them. The eerie, haunted halls the main characters were confined in contributed to the threat of the snarling zombies, who shuffled your way with sinister intent. Their strength has always been in numbers, so whenever there are a bunch of them nearby, you can’t help but feel uneasy.
9 Jack Baker
He was the first human character to scare the daylights out of us, as Jack Baker always chose the worst moments to mount his attacks. The house in Resident Evil 7: Biohazard was filled with scary traps and surprises, and Jack Baker’s figure would loom towards us when we least expected it.
His demeanor is that of a ruthless killing machine, and the manner in which he revels in causing pain makes him scarier than even most undead in the series. Jack's ability to use fear as a weapon is very potent.
If you're scared of bugs, these fiends will be your worst nightmare. Reapers are mutated cockroaches, who have become enormous in size and have only one thing in mind: to eat the player alive.
Not only are Reapers hard to kill, their mutated state is such that they are even harder to look at than normal roaches. They stand on their hind legs and open up their insides to consume the player. It’s disgusting to look at, and the gross squishy sounds they make... brrr. Additionally, their method of attack is completely erratic.
7 Iron Maiden
Resident Evil 4 enemies were, in general, scary to the core, and the Iron Maidens only made things worse the further you got into the game. You can see from the picture above that Leon’s having no picnic with one of these lumpen monsters.
These creatures were produced on the island Leon visits near the end of the game, the result of the research carried out on the Plaga virus using human hosts. Unfortunately for those infected, they would become something like humanoid porcupines. These beefed-up Regenerators are very hard to even look at.
6 William Birkin
Just one look at this absolute abomination of a person is enough to scar you for life. Resident Evil 2 needed a villain who was both involved directly in the zombie plot and could be a real threat in and of themselves. We certainly got more than what we bargained for with William Birkin, who became a monster of epic proportions.
William Birkin is just gross to look at, mainly because he still somewhat resembles a human. It makes you feel as if you could become the same creature. The sight of this monstrosity is just too unsettling, so we hope we don’t see more of Birkin in the series.
5 Ramon Salazar
Even before Ramon Salazar merged with the Plagas virus, he scared us quite a lot. His appearance, the way he presented himself... he looked like a child at first glance, but his attitude was something reminiscent of a creepy old man.
Salazar’s wild enthusiasm constantly taunted Leon throughout Resident Evil 4, and his ever-smiling face only made the island even more unsettling. When he eventually mutated into that... thing in his boss battle, he looked like a caterpillar who had burst out of his cocoon prematurely. Salazar’s sudden shift from amusement to vindictive intent made his monster form something we wanted to run far away from.
4 Lisa Trevor
Lisa Trevor was hideously deformed, to the point where you felt both pity and terror looking at her. She’s the kind of enemy who causes dread in you simply by the sound of her voice – a wailing that was beyond disturbing.
Her deformity seemingly knew no bounds, as she even had an eyeball-like tumor protruding from her back. Her stature is such that she resembles a hunchbacked animal; the shackles on her hands did nothing to stop is worrying about the very real possibility she was going to attack. Making matters worse, she recovered so quickly from the player’s attacks, making her a harrowing opponent to face.
3 Albert Wesker ('True' Form)
Throughout Resident Evil 5, Wesker was quite a neat villain. He could do remarkable things, inspiring begrudging respect in the player for his incredible abilities. However, once Chris Redfield had Wesker on the ropes, the true extent of Wesker's powers were revealed.
While he didn’t look as scary as some other villains, his pursuit of Chris felt all too real. You get the sense that Wesker’s chasing you personally, and those extending zombified limbs just seem too close for comfort. Seeing all the impossible feats Wesker had performed throughout the game (with this form as the cherry on top) made you think anything could happen – so who was to stay Wesker really couldn’t grab you through the screen?
The monsters in Resident Evil, as in Dark Souls and countless other franchises, can generally be avoided... if you can outrun them. Sadly for Jill Valentine, though, she didn’t catch a break in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, being constantly stalked and pursued by the Nemesis creature.
Nemesis is the result of a bio-weapon infection, enabling it to retain its mind and make its own decisions. This contributes towards Nemesis’ dangerous potential, as it isn’t the same mindless zombie we’re used to. It hunts, it plans, it even has tentacles emerging from inside its skin (as if we didn’t have enough reasons to run for our lives).
1 Dr. Salvador/Chainsaw Man
Every time you thought you’d scoped the enemies out in Resident Evil 4, you'd hear the bone-chilling sound of a chainsaw whirring, much too close for comfort. The Chainsaw Man was one of the several 'standard' enemies you’d encounter during your playthrough, but the sheer fear players felt when he bolted at them was something few other villains in the series could achieve.
There’s also the fact that his attack resulted in an instant game over (unsurprisingly, if you've seen the animation). The Chainsaw Man is a simple but incredibly effective enemy (and horror trope).