As a child, I was terrified of this villain (and the movie, and the book)

It started with the movie.

I must have been around five. We were then living in a tiny kommunalka apartment on the eastern edge of Moscow. Kommunalkas were apartments shared with other families. So my parents and I shared a room and we shared the rest of the apartment with a lady who occupied another room.

Even though in the evening, after I was put to bed, my parents installed some kind of a barrier to prevent me from seeing their part of the room, I could still get a glimpse of…