One of the most well-known movie monsters has one of the most well-known real-life inspirations, but Vlad the Impaler was a pretty terrifying guy in his own right, earning him a spot on the list.
Vlad Dracula – as he’s sometimes known – was the ruler of Wallachia (an historical region of Romania) on three occasions between 1448 and his death in 1477.
Vlad had a reputation for cruelty, committing brutal acts such as (but not limited to): nailing the turbans of Turkish messengers to their heads when they refused to remove them in his presence, impaling monks in order to assist them in reaching heaven, and boiling people alive in giant cauldrons until their eyes melted out of their skulls. Y’know, real evil stuff.
It’s probably no wonder that Bram Stoker decided to use Vlad as the basis for his fictional Count Dracula, spawning a staggering amount of vampire-based fiction and almost ironically ensuring that Vlad the Impaler will live on forever in stories as a true monster.