Sunday, 28 July 2013

Top Ten Movie Villains



A while ago, I wrote a post called Rooting For The Bad Guy where I admired the evil that appears in TV and movie fiction.
As a follow up to that post I would like to offer to you my top ten movie bad guys. As a rule, I love movie villains, possibly more than the heroes themselves and many have made me cheer out loud, there evil and nasty ways triumphantly upsetting the status quo and spitting in the face of lawful and decent behaviour.
Without further ado, here are my top ten movie villains:

10. Lord Voldemort
Before you start laughing, yes I did enjoy the Harry Potter novels and movies. I realise that J.K.Rowling wrote them for kids but I found myself drawn into them on a day when I was off work sick. Mrs PM had left Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone next to the bed and I had nothing to read – so I went for it. And I loved it. The books, and films, steadily became darker and darker as they progressed – and in my eyes better and better. 
Lord Voldemort is like a dark shadow luring throughout the story and as the tales progress becomes more sinister and more evil culminating in fantastic confrontation in the final book/film. He is evil personified and his appearance is quite disturbing given the nature of these so-called children’s films. 



9. Emperor Commodus
I loved the Roman epics of old, movies like The Robe, Demetrius and the Gladiators, Ben Hur etc. and when Gladiator appeared, I was delighted that this genre had been modernised. The film remains one of my favourites. I particularly like Emperor Commodus, a twisted power hungry individual who murdered the family of the hero Maximum Decimus Meridius, murdered his own father and became the most powerful man in the world – the Emperor of Rome.



8. Darth Vader
As a kid, Darth Vader was the ultimate villain to me. Every box was ticked in the villain checklist. He was a fabulously powerful villain, dressed entirely in black with a deep booming voice  and had the Dark Side of the Force at his fingertips. Had I had anything to do with the Star Wars franchise, I would have preserved his malevolence and not allowed him to succumb to the power of virtuosity as he did in Return of the Jedi. Darth Vader should have remained evil.



7. General Zod
Superman is the ultimate superhero and in order to conquer him, you need an equally powerful supervillain. Enter General Zod who appeared in Superman II and the new offering Man of Steel. General Zod is a power hungry psychopath whose only desire is to rule everything, a kind of superpowered dictator. The greatest thing about him is that he has all the powers that Superman possesses and can stand up against him on equal terms, unlike other more feeble nemeses such Lex Luthor.



6. The Terminator
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s original Terminator is a superb villain. Devoid of emotion, extremely resourceful and incredibly powerful he has one purpose and one purpose alone; to kill Sarah Connor. He feels no remorse and anybody or anything that stands in his way are crushed with maximum prejudice. I realise there have been a few other Terminators but the original one suited Arnie’s limited acting ability perfectly. Arnie at the time was built like a leviathan and his physique and general demeanour was perfect for the part of a relentless killing machine.



5. Hannibal Lecter
I read the book Red Dragon by Thomas Harris before The Silence of the Lambs hit the big screen and I regarded Hannibal Lecter as more of a monster than Francis Dolarhyde, the central villain in that book. Hannibal Lecter came into his own in the two sequels, The Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal and Anthony Hopkins’ portrayal of the psychopathic killer in the movie adaptations is phenomenal. What I particularly like about Hannibal Lecter is the fact that he is a brilliant psychiatrist as well as a psychotic murdering cannibal, and this gives him the edge and the ability to get into the minds of people. The way in which he kills Inspector Pazzi in the film Hannibal is extremely disturbing and is a truly magnificent piece of cinema.



4. Colonel Hans Landa
Inglourious Basterds is one of my all-time favourite films and the star of it for me is the multilingual, intelligent and extremely brutal Jew Hunter himself Colonel Hans Landa, played so brilliantly by Christoph Waltz. Landa is a ruthless Nazi whose job is to hunt Jews, a job he loves and does extremely well. The character is wonderful because as well as being completely detestable, there is a charm about him and a undercurrent of malevolent humour. While watching the film I always think “I should despise this guy – but actually I love him.” That’s what makes him so brilliant.



3. The Joker
When I refer to the Joker, I mean the character played by Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight. In the old batman series, the Joker was one of Batman’s most famous nemeses and in the first Batman movie, he was also played wonderfully by Jack Nicholson. Up to that point he was more of a humourous comedy character but in The Dark Knight, all of the humour was stripped away and the Joker became a totally evil, psychotic and very disturbing terrorist who was deviously clever and almost certainly totally deranged. The Dark Knight deserves all the plaudits it gets but without Heath Ledger’s Joker it wouldn’t have been such a great film.



2. Agent Smith
The star of the Matrix trilogy, for me at least, is Agent Smith, a computer generated artificial intelligence who detests humanity, referring to them as a plague for which he is the cure. By the end of the trilogy he has become as powerful as the hero, Neo and the movie’s finale is the ultimate confrontation between the two. Agent Smith is played by Hugo Weaving, who delivers the dialogue in the way you would imagine a predator speaking to its prey just before devouring it.



1. Khan Noonian Singh
Khan is not only the greatest Star Trek villain; he is my favourite movie villain. He first appeared in an episode of the original series of Star Trek and then resurfaced in my favourite Start Trek movie, The Wrath of Khan. Khan is a genetically engineered superhuman who blames Kirk for marooning him on a planet that becomes a wasteland after a planetary explosion, leaving Khan and his followers to survive on their own in an extremely hostile environment. He plans revenge with dire consequences for Kirk and his crew.
“I’ve done far worse than kill you. I’ve hurt you – and I wish to go on hurting you!”


And finally...
Over to you, dear reader. 
Who are your favourite movie villains? 
Do you agree with any of mine?

10 comments:

Pandora Behr said...

Me, I rather love the Six Fingered Man in The Princess Bride - and strangely, Barney in Barney's Version. There is something so good in being bad - great post.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Pand,

I would love to play a bad guy in a great movie.

Shame I'll never get the chance.

:-)

Cheers

PM

Rum-Punch Drunk said...

No 9: Oh yes, Gladiator was a memorable film for me. I too love the Emperor and that's what you call good acting mate. Something you don't always see nowadays.

No 6: Arnie was good, and the accent set if off even better. The build, the voice, the tone, the strength. You just didn't mess with a man like that.

No 5: Oh no... Hannibal's Anthony Hopkins sure did give me some nights where I HAD to keep the light on. This man was a cool as a cucumber murderer with no regrets. He played folk big time and got to eat them if he wanted. SICK.

Some of your other choices I have not heard of or have never seen, but I'm sure they are great films though.

I saw a couple of brilliant film years ago called "Fatal Attraction" with Glen Close and Michael Douglas, about a woman who had an affair but just couldn't take no for an answer when he wanted to stop it. This must be where they get the term 'bunny boiler' from AND mark my words men of this world, 'hell hath no fury like a woman's scorn'.
The other film was called 'Misery', this woman - Kathy Bates, locked up the man - James Caan, in the house for ages and broke his legs whilst tied to the bed so he couldn't get away. What a film that was, it's another 'hell hath no fury like a woman's scorn' mate.

I could be here all night, because I too like to see the baddies in action on film.

PS: You must see a film called 'Whatever happened to Baby Jane' with Betty Davis and Joan Crawford. My oh my oh my, what a film that was. Look it up if you can, it's brilliant.
I told you I could go on and on, so bye.

Rum-Punch Drunk said...

Oh, I'm back again as I missed out a man called Sylar, in 'Heroes' played by I think Gabriel Gray. This man had it mate. He ended up a serial killer. You got to see it.
Now I'm really going.... have a nice evening mate.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi RPG,

Yes - I've seen Fatal Attraction and I still remember that scene in Misery where she broke his legs.

Not seen 'Whatever happened to Baby Jane' - but I will look out for it.

:0)

Cheers

PM

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi again RPD,

I may do another one with Top Ten TV Villains - and Sylar will definitely be up there.

I loved Heroes though it never quite lived up to its full potential.

:-)

Cheers

PM

Mind Of Mine said...

I have never been able to get into Harry Potter, I tried reading the books and even tried to watch the movies but they couldn't hold my interest, even though magic is a favourite genre of mine.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Ian,

I think you either love HP or hate it. I am quite surprised that I like it to be honest.

:-)

Cheers

PM

monkey_gamer said...

Could you please ELI5 why Khan is such a good villain? I watched Star Trek 2 just to see what all the fuss is about. I definitely like him, but I can't put my finger on what makes him good. I suppose he has a 'presence', but again, I can't out my finger on it. I do like the scene where he lifts the guy up by his collar and says "why?". Just the way he says it is so villainous.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi monkey_game,

Although I like Star Trek I am not a huge fan of William Shatner's Captain Kirk (I know - how DARE I say that!).

Khan's raison d'etre in The Wrath of Khan is to kill Kirk - and he doesn't care who stands in his way. I love the speech that he says in the clip I showed - but I also love the end speech just before Genesis device explodes

"From Hell's heart I stab at thee. For Hate's sake, I spit my last breath at thee."

Yes it comes from Moby Dick - but it sums up his hatred - and of course Spock dies as a result - something unheard of in movies such as this.

:-)

Cheers

PM