So, it’s been three weeks since my last outing on here, and now having moved somewhere with good internet access, it’s time I gave y’all a treat to say thanks for keeping reading. Here are the rules in the list. The characters mentioned must not exist on a currently-running TV show, and I can only pick one movie villain from a franchise. Spoiler warning- I will be going into detail so if you haven’t seen the films I discuss, skip ahead or read the next article.
10- Mama (Judge Dredd)
Who said that women can’t be great, albeit terrifying, movie villains? Whoever did clearly hadn’t passed the memo on to the makers of Dredd, when they brought this drug-dealing sociopath onto our screens. As a 2000AD fan, watching Madeleine Madrigal (Mama) brought to life was a real treat, as they left nothing much out from the comics. For the non-comic-book-reader, Mama was pretty much brought to life straight from the comics, and Lena Headey (better known as Cersei Lannister for the Game Of Thrones fans) brought her to life complete with accent and facial scars. The reason Mama is terrifying isn’t that she kills people or that she sells drugs, it’s the manner of her murders that is truly scary. She gives you a drug that makes you feel like time is slowing down, before skinning you alive and dropping you off buildings. Move over Neil Gaiman, this stuff is truly the source of nightmares.
9. Ozymandias (Watchmen)
Another under-rated movie villain here, and if this blog post/list had been written three years from now, it wouldn’t have qualified. Adrian Veidt is reputedly the “smartest man on the planet” in both Alan Moore’s classic graphic novel, Watchmen, and Zack Snyder’s largely faithful adaptation to the big screen. Veidt is portrayed as a byronic hero, as a doomed figure who saves the world. The only flaw in his plan? Using Dr. Manhattan’s source of power to kill millions in order to, in his words “save billions”. Whilst many argue that Dr Manhattan, a somewhat omnipotent being, is the larger villain at play, I couldn’t involve both characters on this list, and using the excuse of “Dr. Manhattan could have prevented this” falls flat, as the big blue guy himself reveals he is not omniscient.
8. Keyser Soze (The Usual Suspects).
I have my own personal qualms with this movie, as someone suffering the same condition that Soze feigns to remove suspicion from himself during this film. That being said, I highly recommend this film. I’m not a particularly big fan of the director and writer, but it has to be said that Kevin Spacey’s character in this film has to be one of the best written movie villains of all time. The really interesting bit about this character (you’ve had your spoiler warning) is that it becomes increasingly difficult to work out the fact about the guy from the fiction, and also, it becomes apparent, only really at the end that the man with Cerebral Palsy is Soze at the end of the film.
7. Walter Finch (Insomnia)
This is probably the only Robin Williams film I have seen where Williams plays the bad guy, but it has to be said, he does it with aplomb. He’s ALWAYS one step ahead of the protagonists, thwarting them at nearly every turn. He’s definitely someone I wouldn’t want to play chess with, that’s for sure. He does what it takes to avoid jail time, after working as a photographer to remove suspicion from himself. Nod to Al Pacino here, working as an obsessive cop who tries (but ultimately fails) to take him down.
6. Clarence Boddicker (Robocop)
Clarence Boddicker has to be one of my all-time favourite movie villains, and it’s not merely because I am a fellow bespectacled gentleman either. He’s something akin to Jack Nicholson’s Joker to Val Kilmer’s Batman (they’re antics created the man that brings their downfall). A complete fucking narcissist who enjoys watching people beg for more days of their lives, he’s everything a supervillain should be. Moving on…
5. The Joker (The Dark Knight)
Anarchic, devious and somewhat contradictory in both speech and actions, Heath Ledger’s tour-de-force as The Joker has only one real goal- not to “watch the whole world burn” but to get Christian Bale’s growling and cerebral Batman to break his moral code on killing. Of all the Batman villains to be depicted on screen, Ledger’s Joker is probably the most memorable, giving contradictory and confusing accounts of his origins, it’s very difficult to place the man, let alone work out where he came from, but that’s the point. People fear what we don’t understand, and under this guise, Ledger’s clown prince of crime is terrifying.
4. Mrs. Tweedy (Chicken Run)
Nick Park’s Aardman Animations group are best known for Wallace And Gromit, in which the titular characters come into conflict with a range of villains veering from comical albeit political (Curse of The Were-Rabbit) to downright scary (the Wrong Trousers), but in a deviation from the trend, Chicken Run offers something absolutely terrifying: Mrs Tweedy. Malicious, capricious, malevolent, and erring on the side of abusing her husband, Mrs Tweedy is probably a good reminder to be nice to chickens, especially in the matters of her demise. There is one thing from this film that will stay with me for life though, and that is this genuis bit of dialogue between her and her husband: “Mrs Tweedy, the chickens are revolting!” to which she replies “I know”.
3. Darth Vader
The Imperial March from the Star Wars franchise is one of, if not the, best piece of classical music derived from a film ever. Dark, loud and instantly recognisable, whenever you hear it, you know who’s going to appear: the half-man, half-robot Darth Vader. Voiced brilliantly by James Earl Jones, and acted physically by Dave Prowse, this guy gives no shits as to who he slays so long as the ends justify the means. A haunting, menacing evil throughout the original trilogy, the only bad thing creatively about him are the horrible prequels made during my childhood (although Revenge Of The Sith was admittedly not so bad).
2. Khan (Star Trek series)
The needs of the many may outweigh the needs of the few in Spock’s logic, but nobody will ever be as emotionally cold and manipulative in the Star Trek series as Khan. Khan was genetically bred from a race of people as a super-soldier during a time of galactic war. Wayyyyy older than the protagonists in both The Original Series and the films, Khan has appeared in both sides of the canon, played by both Benedict Cumberbatch (above left) and Riccardo montalban (pictured right). He’s even had two films dedicated to him, the first of which is nigh-on universally agreed to be the best Trek film ever made.
1. Alex DeLarge (A Clockwork Orange).
Film purists would have gone insane at me for not mentioning a Kubrick villain, and I don’t think Hal 9000 counts as a villain, as after all, his faults were caused by bad programming as opposed to anything malevolent. So, with that said, I have to go with Alex from A Clockwork Orange. This is a character who thinks nothing of beating an elderly homeless man to death in a street, high on Milkva (read the book this film is based on, it’s superb), who endures large amounts of torture in methods that became infamously used by the KGB during the Cold War. This doesn’t however have the desired effect on Alex because even after all this and his becoming “the model citizen” at the end of the film, he pulls a Keyser Soze with a little thought monologue assuring viewers that he hasn’t changed from his raping, murdering ways we saw him display at the start of the film. He’s inspired generations of movie villains and troubled teenagers after the film was released including Bart Simpson, and Kevin in We Need To Talk About Kevin. If you don’t watch A Clockwork Orange for the characters or story, watch it for the cinematography. Seriously, this is one of, if not the, best film Stanley Kubrick ever made.