Top 10 Cartoon Characters That Gave Us The Heebie Jeebies As Kids



Top 10 Cartoon Characters That Gave Us The Heebie Jeebies As Kids

VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Nick Miller
These animated creations still give us nightmares! Welcome to, and today, we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Cartoon Characters That Gave Us The Heebie-Jeebies as Kids.

For this list, we'll be looking at the weirdest, creepiest cartoon characters from the '80s, '90s and 2000s.
These animated creations still give us nightmares! Welcome to, and today, we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Cartoon Characters That Gave Us The Heebie-Jeebies as Kids.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the weirdest, creepiest cartoon characters from the ‘80s, ‘90s and 2000s.

#10: Wilbur Cobb “The Ren & Stimpy Show” (1991-95)

“Ren & Stimpy” was known for its adult humor and provocative nature, with creator John Kricfalusi even being fired from the Nickelodeon series in 1992. The show had a number of disturbing characters, such as the absurd and strange Old Man Hunger, but it’s former animated film producer Wilbur Cobb who takes the cake as the creepiest character on the show. Cobb’s body is literally falling apart, with the decrepit elderly man constantly forcing Ren and Stimpy to listen to his stories as pieces of himself fall off before his death towards the series’ end. Even that couldn’t stop old Wilbur, as he appeared once more as an angel in the series finale.

#9: Father “Codename: Kids Next Door” (2002-08)

From the perspective of a kid, adulthood is pretty scary. That idea is personified in the villain of Cartoon Network’s “Codename: Kids Next Door.” The show was centered on an organization of pre-teen crime fighters named the Kids Next Door. The group’s arch-enemy, known only as Father until his identity, Benedict "Ben" Uno, was revealed, is a shadowy adult figure that commands a group of terrifying kids known as the Delightful Children from Down the Lane. Father wishes to destroy all children so adults can reign supreme. With his distinctive look and voice, along with his nefarious goals, Father always stuck out in our childhood memories as one unsettling cartoon villain.

#8: Zs'Skayr / Ghostfreak “Ben 10” (2005-08)

Cartoon Network’s popular alien action series, “Ben 10,” was the story of a young boy named Ben who becomes a hero after an alien device called the Omnitrix attaches itself to his wrist, allowing him to transform into different alien creatures. One of these creatures was known as Ghostfreak. In the show’s second season, Ghostfreak would escape the Omnitrix, regaining his true identity as Zs’Skayr and serving from there forward as one of Ben’s greatest villains. Zs’Skayr is an evil, ghost-like alien with a gravelly voice, an eye on his head and an eye on his chest and an intense vendetta against Ben, easily landing him a spot on our list of these creepy cartoon characters.

#7: Hash-Slinging Slasher “SpongeBob SquarePants” (1999-)

When it comes to ghost stories, it’s often the build-up that’s the really scary part. This episode of “SpongeBob SquarePants” was no exception, with Squidward relaying the terrifying tale of the Hash-Slinging Slasher late one night when Mr. Krabs decides to keep the Krusty Krab open late. His story of the vengeful former fry cook with a spatula for a hand terrifies SpongeBob until Squidward reveals the whole story was fake. When the telltale signs of the Hash-Slinging Slasher begin to appear, Squidward second-guesses himself, and we found ourselves believing the story may have been real all along! Thankfully, it’s quickly revealed that it was all just a misunderstanding. Phew!

#6: Dr. Claw “Inspector Gadget” (1983-86)

Inspector Gadget’s greatest enemy has a voice that could haunt your dreams for the rest of your life. With his face constantly hidden in the shadows, his creepy cat, and his namesake metal hand, Dr. Claw serves as the primary villain of the classic ‘80s animated series, “Inspector Gadget” - providing nightmare fuel for children ever since. Mysterious plots of world domination? Check. Murderous tendencies, including towards children? Check. Haunted castle as an evil lair? Check. This guy has it all. Despite being a goofy and generally light-hearted show, we’ll never forget this terrifying enemy of Inspector Gadget.

#5: Slade “Teen Titans” (2003-06)

From 2003 to 2006, Ron Perlman memorably brought longtime DC villain Slade Wilson to anxiety-inducing life with his monotone voice performance and some very effective character design. Slade served as the Titans’ main antagonist during the series’ initial run, showing up time and time again to play mind games with the team, especially Robin. Perlman’s performance ranged from a calm but menacing soft vocal delivery to showcasing the character’s rage and hatred. Slade is the first that comes to mind of several spooky villains that plague the Teen Titans, even beating out Raven’s father, a literal demon.

#4: The Joker “Batman: The Animated Series” (1992-95)

Another distinctive DC villain voice, Mark Hamill’s Joker has become the definitive portrayal of the character for many fans. Known for his disturbing mix of humor and violence, Hamill’s Joker has served as the perfect foil to Batman since his introduction as the character in the animated series. In his many appearances, Hamill has both terrified us and made us laugh, but it’s the scary aspects we want to focus on here: his violent anger outbursts, his sadistic actions, and the way he just laughs it all off. The Joker was truly one of the most disturbing animated villains of the ‘90s.

#3: Koh “Avatar: The Last Airbender” (2005-08)

In “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” when Aang seeks out the spirits of the Ocean and the Moon for help, he first finds himself face to face with this grim spirit inside a tree. Koh the Face Stealer is a spirit that, you guessed it, can steal faces. Manifesting in the form of a giant centipede, Koh changes from stolen face to stolen face when confronting the Avatar, and threatens to take Aang’s face, noting that he hasn’t taken a child’s face in a while. Oh. Okay… It seems like this one was tailor-made to scare the hell out of children.

#2: HIM “The Powerpuff Girls” (1998-2005)

We’re starting to see a pattern of threatening violence against kids on this list. One of the biggest enemies of the Powerpuff Girls, HIM is an androgynous devil; red skin, pointed beard and all. We’re surprised this character was able to make it to air at all considering the different views on what was appropriate in children’s shows at the time, and that’s not taking into account just how scary the character was! HIM was a maniacal, shape-shifting devil with a voice that fluctuated between sing-songy and deep and aggressive, and he stays with us as a haunting remnant of our childhood cartoon habits.

Before we reveal our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

‘Big Boy’ Pickles

“Rugrats” (1991-2004)

Lawrence Limburger

“Biker Mice from Mars” (1993-96)


“Spider-Man” (1994-98)

#1: King Ramses “Courage the Cowardly Dog" (1999-2002)

“Courage the Cowardly Dog” has a laundry list of disturbing cartoon characters we could’ve included on this list, from the likes of Freaky Fred to… whatever this thing is. At the end of the day, though, there was only one character from the series that has stuck with us more than the others: King Ramses. After Courage finds a stolen Egyptian relic, it’s taken by Eustace, who becomes the target of the curse of King Ramses. The character is animated with CGI in a way that makes him stand out from the rest of the show’s baddies, and his repeated chant and series of plagues has kept him stationed securely in our nightmares ever since.