CHILDCATCHER STEALS TITLE OF SCARIEST VILLAIN
Amazon.co.uk Survey Reveals Scariest Villains in Children's Literature
LONDON MAY 9 2005: The Childcatcher - the perennial baddie from Ian Fleming's Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - has been voted the scariest villain in children's literature nearly 45 years after the book was first published in 1961. The thin-faced thief came first in an Amazon.co.uk poll, taking almost a third of the vote.
The sinister snatcher was followed closely by dog-coated deviant Cruella De Ville from 101 Dalmations, while Oliver Twist bully Bill Sykes smashed his way into the chart at number 3.
Voldemort, Harry Potter's sworn enemy, despite only being in existence for the last eight years, materializes in the chart at an impressive No.4. Given that most of the villains in the Top Ten are over 20 years old, this shows how the Harry Potter books have really caught contemporary book-lover's fearful imaginations.
The poll also reveals how the scariest villain changes from generation to generation according to the books they read as a child. For example, the over 50s found Bill Sykes and Gollum very creepy, while the under 21s found characters such as the Grand High Witch from The Witches or Voldemort from Harry Potter particularly terrifying.
A split on the scariness-scale was notable between the sexes. While men found mythical literary characters such as Gollum from Lord of the Rings and The White Witch from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe scary, women found the physically threatening presence of bullies such as Bill Sykes twice as scary as the men.
"Genuinely scary villains stay with us from the first time we read a book as a child," comments Wendy Snowdon, Books Product Manager at Amazon.co.uk. "And it seems it is the villains who commit crimes against small children and cute puppies that are the most inexcusable to children - the very stuff of nightmares!"
"It will be interesting to see whether the re-appearance of Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince out on July 16, will further reinforce his villain credentials, perhaps scaring his way to the top of every book baddie chart!"HARRY POTTER FANS CAN PRE-ORDER HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF BLOOD PRINCE NOW FOR ONLY £9.99 (41% off) AND GET IT DELIVERED TO A UK ADDRESS ON THE DAY OF RELEASE
RESULTS OF SCARIEST VILLAIN IN CHILDREN'S LITERATURE
1 The Childcatcher - Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
2 Cruella De Ville - 101 Dalmatians
3 Bill Sykes - Oliver Twist
4 Voldemort - Harry Potter
5 Gollum - The Lord of the Rings
6 The Grand High Witch - The Witches
7 Wicked Stepmother - Snow White
8 Miss Trunchbull - Matilda
9 The White Witch - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
10 Captain Hook - Peter Pan
A total of 1,200 votes were collected via the 72point.com website.
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