K-dramas have some superb villains, have some over-the-top, practically twirling a mustache villains, and some "I really wish they were good because day-um are they good looking villains". They have villains you love to hate, hate to love, and some "OMO are they REALLY pulling into the 'reform the villain' plotline" villains. A few, though, take it to a whole new level and are just beyond creepy. They make the hair on the back of your neck stand up, your lizard brain begin screaming out a warming, and make you take a tighter grip on your weapon of choice (this is what giant metal popcorn bowls are FOR) while we watch. 

Spoiler alert. I discuss outcomes and endings. I had a really hard time ranking this list by creepiness, so in no particular order:

6) Yeon Woo Jin in Arang and the Magistrate.

He's one of those villains that got a redemption arc, but that is a LOT of bad karma to work through.  Killing hundreds of women — in a Murder House deep in the woods — and interring their bodies in a magically warded charnal pit is just all kinds of bad. I was jumping around in my seat yelling for Lee Joon Ki to tear it down, burn the rubble, and salt the earth.  He may be dressed beautifully, have trauma-induced amnesia, and be manipulated by a venal father figure, but he set his own feet on the path of evil. Speaking of putting your own feet on the path to evil....


5) Im Ju Hwan in Oh My Ghostess.

 

El Possesso. We literally see the demon possessing him after an unnerving and unexpected stabbing during a car chase. His character was driven to attempt coldblooded murder at a very young age, and ultimately, while he chooses suicide over demonic possession, his unexpected redemption arc was the one unsatisfying note in a very lovely little drama.  When Jo Jung Suk discovers his luggage bag of serial killer trophies, I cheered as quietly as I could because I was so scared that anything loud would tip off the bad guy through the TV. Speaking of serial killers...


4) Ji Young Hoon in Crime Squad.

This killer taught me an invaluable phrase in Korean and simultaneously made me afraid to use it. "Jal-hae-sseo-yo" or "good job" is the signature phrase of this psychopath, and for a few weeks after I watched this drama it brought a shiver to my spine.  The elementary school stamp of approval is not the mark that you want after watching this drama. Speaking of marks you don't want...


3) Namgoong Min in Sensory Couple.

 

Serial killers dehumanize their victims, and the barcodes he carved into the arms of his was the ultimate in reducing them to nothing more than a cipher. Inhabiting the most unsettling library on film (including the one in Ghostbusters, I'm not gonna lie), with a little dog that I wish had found another home and a friend/patsy with his own ethical issues, Namgoong Min's portrayal of a morally void chef cranks the creep factor high. Speaking of that ethically challenged patsy...


2) Song Jong Ho in Suspicious Housekeeper

Really, it was his turn in this show which made him so believable as a murder buddy in Sensory Couple. I have never seen such a combination of fanatcism, posessiveness, and emptiness conveyed with such an impact as he did Suspicious Housekeeper. I totally believed he would burn alive to have Choi Ji Woo. I totally believed his actions drove her to the point of madness. Every time he was on screen whispering his sweet, crazy nothings, I just sat shaking my head with a litany of, "No, no, nope. Nuh-uh" pouring from my mouth. He only entered halfway through the show, but his presence was felt from the very beginning.  Of course it didn't help that Choi Ji Woo's character was visibly unhinged and Kim Hae Sook, while good, deployed a gooseflesh raising laugh and never quite convinced me she was completely human.  Speaking of a woman I'm not quite convinced is human...


1) Lee Yong Nyeo in The Master's Sun

 Playing the Intimidating Mrs. Goh, matchmaker to the dead, her villainy is not on par with the killers on this list. She is an antagonist sure, but she is not doing anything illegal or unethical. After all, she IS providing the service her clients want, and even the dead family members seem fairly happy with the results. Her predatory smile and the rapacious glitter in her eyes set all of your senses on high alert. She's not a shark — she's a crocodile who will drag you down into her spiritually murky depths until you drown in death. 

So who did I miss drama fans? Did I miss an even creepier character? What scary drama is your favorite? Let me know in the comments!


Watch Namgoong Min in Sensory Couple: