Don’t Get Sick! The 8 Scariest Movie Doctors

The doctor-gone-mad plot is one of cinema’s most disturbing—after all, you’re never more than vulnerable than when sitting in the exam chair. Equipped with needles, scalpels and anesthesia, these demented physicians and scientists make for some of Hollywood’s most terrifying villains. Cue the full-body cringes.

1. Dr. Logan, Day of the Dead
Post zombie apocalypse, scientist Dr. Logan (Richard Liberty) becomes obsessed with training the undead, using deceased humans as behavioral bait. Known as “Frankenstein” due to his experiments, the mad doctor is also a threat to the living in this 1985 horror flick—he causes a dangerous rift between scientists and soldiers, which ultimately leads to his demise.

2. Drs. Elliot and Beverly Mantle, Dead Ringers
British powerhouse Jeremy Irons does double duty in this psychological drama, assuming the roles of both Mantle twins—also known as the shadiest gynecologists of all time. Their profession requires seeing women at their most vulnerable, but the brothers also do it for fun, passing themselves off as one other while sleeping with patients. When heartbreak leads to drug addiction leads to psychosis, the unhinged pair find their practice and personal lives in shambles.

3. Dr. Evan Rendell, Jr., Dr. Giggles
Known as “Dr. Giggles” (thanks to his evil laugh), the infamous Dr. Evan Rendell Jr. (Larry Drake) escapes from an insane asylum and returns to his hometown in this ‘90s slasher flick. Resuming his terror spree after a 35-year hiatus, Dr. Rendell, Jr. lives up to the haunting children’s rhyme created in his name —

This town has a doctor and his name is Rendell
Stay away from his house cause he’s the doctor from Hell.
He killed all his patients, every last one,
And cut out their hearts…purely for fun.

4. Dr. Heiter, The Human Centipede
Dr. Heiter (Dieter Laser) is possibly the most disturbing villain imaginable. Armed with a medical degree and a thoroughly twisted mind, he has both the means and will to perform the horrific experiment at the center of this Dutch horror film. After kidnapping three victims, the German surgeon sets about surgically conjoining them to create a “human centipede.” He explains that his professional days spent separating Siamese twins just weren’t cutting it. Shudder.

5. Dr. Orin Scrivello, Little Shop of Horrors
Below the surface of this musical-comedy lurks something sinister, perfectly manifested in the form of Dr. Orin Scrivello (Steve Martin)—the nitrous-huffing, girlfriend-beating dentist who puts a horrifying face on dental dread. Watching Martin play a sadistic DMD is fantastically creepy, but watching Dr. Scrivello become alien plant food is the icing on the cake. Don’t forget to floss, now!

6. Dr. Hannibal Lecter, The Silence of the Lambs
Hannibal Lecter is many things—a brilliant former psychiatrist, a dangerous cannibal, a charismatic prisoner—but most importantly, as terrifying behind bars as he is on the loose. Without even a prescription pad, Lecter uses his powers of persuasion to manipulate the ongoing hunt for an active serial killer and engineer his own escape. The frightening takeaway: a doctor’s mind can be as dangerous as his scalpel.

7. Dr. Otto Octavius, Spider-Man 2
With a catchy name and pipe dreams of sustained fusion power, Dr. Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina) is a nuclear scientist that’s large and in charge. In this 2004 entry to the Spider-Man franchise, Octavius’ research goes horribly awry, turning the doctor into a tentacle-armed monster that wreaks havoc on Manhattan. Dimly aware of his descent into madness but unable to control himself, Octavius is a somewhat sympathetic villain—though one that still requires Spidey’s intervention.

8. Drs. Nicoli and Kast, Splice
Clive (Adrien Brody) and Elsa (Sarah Polley) are a sexy couple of genetic engineers who play by their own rules in this Canadian sci-fi thriller. While creating and studying human-animal hybrids, the pair become a bit too involved with their specimens. A doctor having relations with a patient is sketchy enough, but in this case, the patient in question isn’t even a person.

Check out the on-air schedule for Dead Ringers on SundanceTV.