Giants, Witches and cruel Headmistresses - as we near Halloween, we countdown Roald Dahl's scariest characters
With just a few days left to go until Halloween, we've been considering which of Roald Dahl's many vile villains is the most terrifying.
In reverse order, here's our top five.
Mr and Mrs Twit are truly horrible. They're cruel to animals, cruel to children, cruel to everyone - including eachother, which is about their only saving grace. Luckily, they're not as clever as they are nasty, so when the Roly Poly Bird and the Mugglewump monkeys band together to outwit this horrid pair, well, let's just say The Twits have met their match.
The BFG really is "the only nice and jumbly Giant in Giant Country" because the rest of them are absolutely foul. From the vile Bloodbottler to the lumpen Fleshlumpeater, every night they run off to gobble-up unsuspecting human beans the world over. Sophie is lucky it was the dream-catching BFG who "kidsnatched" her and not the Child Chewer or any of his equally horrible Giant brothers.
Matilda Wormwood's headmistress rules Crunchem School with a rod of iron. And an Olympic-winning hammer throw technique. And a nail-studded cupboard of punishment known as The Chokey. As cruel as The Twits and as vile as the Giants, she thinks children are repulsive and does her best to crush the spirit out of all those unlucky enough to attend her school. That is, until Matilda comes along...
Released in 1968, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - now an iconic family film - was the second of Ian Fleming's novels that Roald Dahl had a hand in adapting for the big screen. He co-wrote the screenplay, and the character of the Child Catcher (played by Robert Helpmann) is recognised as his creation, as well as one of the most sinister and frightening characters ever to appear in a children's film.
Often voted the scariest of all Roald Dahl's characters, nobody can say The Grand High Witch is undeserving of her reputation. Hideously ugly and monstrously mean, she is intent on wiping out all the children of England and then the world. She has no sympathy for any of her fellow Witches, either, frying one of them to a crisp for daring to question her plan. We remind you to watch out for blue spit, ill-fitting shoes and itchy wigs this Halloween...
Other vile characters include The Enormous Crocodile and Crocky-wock from Dirty Beasts, both of whom enjoy eating children. Then there's mean old Aunts Spiker and Sponge, George Kranky's horrid Grandma, farmers Boggis, Bunce and Bean, and those sinister creatures that stalk Charlie Bucket through space: The Vermicious Knids.
So, there you go. Happy Halloween reading!