Wednesday, May 18, 2011

100 Greatest Movie Villains - Part 5: The Top 20!


20 - General Zod

PORTRAYED BY:
Terrence Stamp

AS SEEN IN:
Superman: The Movie (1978)
Superman II (1980)

Join us. You have been known to disagree with the Council before. Yours could become an important voice in the new order, second only to my own! I offer you a chance for greatness, Jor-El! Take it! Join us!... You *will* bow down before me, Jor-El. I swear it! No matter that it takes an eternity, you *will* bow down before me! Both you, and then one day, your heirs! 

Krypton's most notorious criminal, Zod, was banished and sent to the mysterious Phantom Zone by Jor-El, Superman's birth father. As he was imprisoned he screamed that he would get his revenge on Jor-El and one day his heirs. Well, Jor-El blew up with the rest of Krypton, so when Zod finally escaped the Phantom Zone he had to settle for the Man of Steel himself. He and his thugs, Ursa and Non, came to earth and having the same Kryptonian DNA as Superman, were also gifted with the exact same super powers. Unfortunately, soon after they arrived on Earth, Superman had his powers removed so that he could live a normal life with Lois Lane. Unopposed, Zod quickly took control of the United States and even made The President kneel before him. Eventually Superman got his powers back and fought the three Kryptonian supercriminals in the first ever big screen super powered smackdown.


19 - Anton Chigurh

PORTRAYED BY:
Javier Bardem

AS SEEN IN:
No Country for Old Men (2007)

This is what I'll offer - you bring me the money and I'll let her go. Otherwise she's accountable, same as you. That's the best deal you're gonna get. I won't tell you you can save yourself, because you can't. 

Anton Chigurh is a hitman that is hired to recover some stolen drug money from a deal gone awry. That is just scratching the surface when it comes to Anton Chigurh. Chigurh is a cold, merciless, cunning, killing machine. When he is set to kill someone or accomplish a task... he will get it done. And God help you if you doubt him. Chigurh is a living and breathing personification of death itself. Everything you've done in life, eventually leads you to him. You will die, unless he decides otherwise. And the choice he leaves up to fate... by the flip of a coin.


18 - The Ring/Sauron

PORTRAYED BY:
Sala Baker (Sauron) 
Alan Howard (The Ring's "voice")

AS SEEN IN:
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-2003)

"One Ring to Rule Them All
One Ring To Find Them
One Ring To Bring Them All
And In The Darkness Bind Them."

Sauron created a set of rings which were given to the race of men, elves and dwarves, but also created one "master" ring to rule them all. He and his dark forces were eventually defeated by an alliance of men and elves, and Sauron's physical body was destroyed. However his dark spirit lived on in the lands of Mordor. The Ring of Power survived the death of Sauron and was at first intended to be destroyed, but the ring was so evil that it corrupted any living being that chose to wear it. It passed from owner to owner (including Villain list entry, Gollum), until it eventually landed in the hands of Frodo Baggins, at around the same time that Sauron's spirit was getting stronger. The spirit of Sauron and the evil of the Ring formed such a dark bond that a fellowship was created to take the ring to Mount Doom and have it destroyed. Sauron dispatched his evil forces to invade the lands of men and elves while at the same time trying to recover his Ring. While both Sauron and The Ring were eventually destroyed for good, there is no doubt that they belong on the lsit of the Greatest Villains Ever.


17 - Mrs. Elanor Shaw Iselin

PORTRAYED BY:
Angela Lansbury

AS SEEN IN:
The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

Why don't you pass the time by playing a little solitaire? 

Elanor Iselin, wife of prominent anti-Communist US Senator John Iselin, is a power-hungry puppet master who uses her loved ones as pawns in her political chess game. Manipulating events so that her husband is literally a heartbeat away from a Presidential nomination, she also makes a deal with a shadowy Communist sect to brainwash her son, Korean war hero Raymond Shaw, into becoming a political assassin. Mrs. Iselin triggers her son’s murderous hypnotic state by suggesting a game of solitaire. When Raymond’s former commanding officer (played by Frank Sinatra) starts questioning the events that led to Shaw’s Medal of Honor, Iselin’s plans comes crashing down.


16 - Norman Bates

PORTRAYED BY:
Anthony Perkins

AS SEEN IN:

It's not like my mother is a maniac or a raving thing. She just goes a little mad sometimes. We all go a little mad sometimes. Haven't you? 

While seemingly a shy, quiet manager of an out of the way inn... Norman Bates has a darker side.  Bates, consumed with severe mommy-issues that have driven to the point of insanity.  The result is a string of bodies and a penchant for cross-dressing... acting out his violent crimes while believing he is his own dead mother.


15 - Mr. Blonde

PORTRAYED BY:
Michael Madsen

AS SEEN IN:
Reservoir Dogs (1992)

 Listen kid, I'm not gonna bullshit you, all right? I don't give a good fuck what you know, or don't know, but I'm gonna torture you anyway, regardless. Not to get information. It's amusing, to me, to torture a cop. You can say anything you want cause I've heard it all before. All you can do is pray for a quick death, which you ain't gonna get. 

Mr. Blonde, real name: Vic Vega. Whatever you call him, he's one sadistic bastard. Blonde is a recently released ex-con who immediately falls into his old ways and joins up with his old crime boss. The plan is, along with some other, err, "colorful" gangsters (and one undercover cop), to rob a jewelery store of some priceless diamonds. Things go wrong as the cops were waiting for them and Blonde takes one of them hostage. Instead of letting the cop go once he makes his getaway, Blonde stuffs him in a trunk and takes him to the rendezvous. He tells his partners he took him so he could question him as to why the cops knew about the heist, but in all reality he kidnapped to torture him... just for the hell of it. In one of the most disturbing scenes ever filmed, Blonde does a little dance to some 70s pop music while taking breaks from slicing, dicing and mutilating his victim.


14 - Nurse Ratched

PORTRAYED BY:
Louise Fletcher

AS SEEN IN:
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

If Mr. McMurphy doesn't want to take his medication orally, I'm sure we can arrange that he can have it some other way. But I don't think that he would like it. 

 Intimidation, manipulation... electro shock therapy. Nurse Ratched will do just about anything to display her power over her psych ward.  While on the surface it may appear she is concerned about the patients' welfare, it is clear her motives are much more sinister.


13 - The Wicked Witch of the West

PORTRAYED BY:
Margaret Hamilton

AS SEEN IN:
The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Ring around the rosie, a pocket full of spears! Thought you were pretty foxy, didn't you? Well! The last to go will see the first three go before her! And your mangy little dog, too! 

Of all the classic children's/family films... who is more terrifying than the Wicked Witch of the West? OK... to be fair... Dorothy did drop a house on her sister, killing her instantly. I guess I'd be pretty pissed too. But let's face it, The Wizard is a phony and Glinda the Good Witch doesn't do squat until the very end of the movie. (Oh, you mean all I had to do was tap my freaking shoes three times? Why didn't you tell me that at the beginning of the movie and not endanger my life to meet a phony wizard. Thanks a lot, bitch.) I digress. Anyway, with these two losers in the picture the Wicked Witch is the most powerful being in Oz... and furthermore she's got an army of evil freaking flying monkeys ready to kill you. And your dog.


12 - Mr. Potter

PORTRAYED BY:
Lionel Barrymore

AS SEEN IN:

 Look at you. You used to be so cocky. You were going to go out and conquer the world. You once called me "a warped, frustrated, old man!" What are you but a warped, frustrated young man? A miserable little clerk crawling in here on your hands and knees and begging for help. No securities, no stocks, no bonds. Nothin' but a miserable little $500 equity in a life insurance policy.  You're worth more dead than alive! 

 It's a Wonderful Life's George Bailey is financially bankrupt but morally wealthy... so you contrast him with Mr. Potter, a warped, frustrated old man who is financially wealthy and morally bankrupt. Although his sins are usually greed-related, his most despicable act is driving George to consider suicide as way out of his family's considerable financial debt. All this... and he doesn't even get his in the end. Potter is the ultimate Christmas-time villain.



11 - Lord Voldemort

PORTRAYED BY:
Ralph Fiennes

AS SEEN IN:
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)

The Boy-Who-Lived. How lies have fed your legend, Harry! Do you want to know what really happened thirteen years ago? Shall I divulge how I truly lost my powers? It was love. You see, when dear sweet Lily Potter gave her life for her only son, it provided him with the ultimate protection, I could not touch him. It was old magic, something I should have foreseen. But no matter, no matter, things have changed. I CAN TOUCH YOU... NOW! Voldemort: Astounding what a few drops of your blood will do, eh, Harry?

The dark wizard so evil that those in the secret magic world of the Harry Potter series do not dare speak his name. After not forseeing that baby Harry Potter was protected by old magic, his death curse backfired on him and (seemingly) killed Lord Voldemort. But he came back, time and again, in various forms throughout the movie (and book) series. Finally, using Harry Potter's own blood in a black magic spell, he regained human form in Goblet of Fire. Lord Voldemort killed countless people, wizard and non-wizard alike. Voldemort has killed students, kept a basilisk as a pet, possessed teachers, drank unicorn's blood... the list goes on. Harry's beef with him: Voldemort murdered Harry's parents in cold blood before trying to murder him all to fulfill a mysterious prophecy.


10 - HAL 9000

PORTRAYED BY:  
Douglas Rains (Voice)

AS SEEN IN:
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye. 

The HAL 9000 was the on-board sentient computer system that controlled everything on the Space Station Discovery, which was a ship designed to take 5 astronauts to Jupiter. HAL acted as an unofficial "sixth" member of the flight crew going so far as to having conversations with other crew members and playing chess with them as well. HAL's Artificial Intelligence was so well designed, in fact, that he started exhibiting human qualities like pride, fear and anger. When Dave Bowman and Frank Poole question whether or not HAL made some critical analytical mistakes, he kills Frank while on a spacewalk by cutting his lifeline, and tries doing the same to Dave by not letting him back in the ship. HAL also kills the remaining crew members (who are in cryogenic sleep) by cutting their life support system. Think about that next time you smack your computer for giving you a "PC LOAD LETTER" error.


9 - Col. Hans Landa

PORTRAYED BY:
Christoph Waltz

AS SEEN IN:

What a tremendously hostile world that a rat must endure. Yet not only does he survive, he thrives. Because our little foe has an instinct for survival and preservation second to none... And that Monsieur is what a Jew shares with a rat.

Let's face it. All Nazis are evil Nazis are the one remaining "group" of villains that no one will ever like. Ever. And that the audience will universally hate and want to see killed. Col. Hans Landa is no exception as the cunning "Jew Hunter." The difference being that while you, indeed, hate the character... there's a small part of you that admires him as well. Or at least, you admire how extraordinarily good he is at his job. He is a twisted, evil version of Sherlock Holmes. He knows who he needs to find, how to find them, where to find them and what to do with them once found. On top of all this, Hans Landa is also a traitor to his country. Yes, betraying Nazi Germany can't be a bad thing, right? Well... if you do it for altruistic reasons, it's noble. But Landa did it for money, pure and simple. Still, in the fictional alternate World War II reality of Basterds, you DO NOT want Hans Landa looking for you.


8 - The T-1000

PORTRAYED BY:
Robert Patrick

AS SEEN IN:
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

Have you seen this boy?

Upgrade. Upgrade. Upgrade. Remember how unstoppable the Terminator was in the first film? Multiply that times 1000. Having failed to kill John Connor's mother before he was born, SkyNet sends a new Terminator assassin back in time to kill John Connor as a child. The rebellion knows of this plan and sends back a re-programmed T-800 to help protect John. Here's the problem. The T-1000 is better than the T-800 in every way. Faster. Stronger. Even more unstoppable. The T-1000 has the ability to turn into liquid metal and re-solidify in any form he wants. This allows him to create bad ass weapons as well as let solid objects (like fists, or bullets) pass right through him without doing any damage. He can also disguise himself better than the T-800 as he can take the form of anything he comes in contact with, including people. At one point the heroes actually BLOW HIM UP and he still is able re-assemble himself.


7 - Hans Gruber

PORTRAYED BY:
Alan Rickman

AS SEEN IN:

When they touch down, we'll blow the roof, they'll spend a month sifting through rubble, and by the time they figure out what went wrong, we'll be sitting on a beach, earning twenty percent.

An international thief with a gang of highly trained professional killers, Hans Gruber takes an entire corporate building hostage on Christmas Eve. The plan? Distract the cops and the FBI with ridiculous terrorist negotiation demands, all the while his agenda is to steal the corporate bonds stored in the building's vault. And if he has to kill some people in cold blood and blow up some cops in the process? So be it. The fly in the ointment is Detective John McClaine who by pure circumstance just happened to be in the building. While he eventually meets his fate at the hands of McClaine... he doesn't go down without a fight. By the end of the film, McClaine is a bloody and battered mess. Yippee-Kai-Yay.



6 - Michael Corleone

PORTRAYED BY:
Al Pacino

AS SEEN IN:

 I don't feel I have to wipe everybody out, Tom. Just my enemies. 

I know what you're thinking. Michael Corleone? But he's the protagonist! I don't care. He may be the protagonist but he's a villain through and through. But like all great villains, he didn't start out bad. In fact, Michael was a World War II war hero. His father was gunned down and he wanted to help his family out of a sense of duty and familial obligation. He had noble intentions. But slowly but surely, after trying to initially distance himself from his family's business he became just as much of a gangster as his father. Worse, actually. His father was an immigrant to the United States in a time when Italian Americans weren't embraced and "fell into the wrong crowd" (so-to-speak) and eventually rose the ranks. He had no other opportunities. Michael did. Michael's fall from grace started in the first film by taking over the family business, having his brother-in-law killed and blatantly lying to his wife's face that he was not a gangster. In the second film, he is put in front of Congress and manages to worm his way out of jail, but he beats his wife and kills his own brother. That's cold. I don't care if he is the protagonist... there are few villains worse than Michael Corleone. (Well, there are 5 anyway.)


5 - Freddy Krueger

PORTRAYED BY:
Robert Englund


AS SEEN IN:
The Nightmare on Elm Street Series (1984-2003)

One, two, Freddy's coming for you...
Three, four, better lock your door...
Five, six, grab your crucifix...
Seven, eight, gonna stay up late...
Nine, ten, never sleep again.

Freddy Krueger was a child-murdering psychopath. And that was BEFORE he became a supernatural monster. Krueger was burned alive by the parents of all the victims he killed... but while his physical body died, his evil soul lived on. He became a demon that appears in your nightmares, and what's more frightening is that he can kill you in your sleep. Krueger sought revenge on the future generations of the people who killed him, and by inhabiting the Dream World he became complete and total master of that realm. He kills people in inventive and disgusting ways or he just stabs you to death with his sick (and iconic) knives-for-fingers glove... either way, if you die in your dreams you die in real life. And he'll do all this by delivering terrible puns that are almost as bad as the deaths themselves. Almost. Freddy Krueger is the second-best horror movie villain of all time (more on number 1 in just a moment), and he is one of the few movie villains to become an international pop-culture icon.




4 - Regan MacNeil/The Demon

PORTRAYED BY:
Linda Blair

AS SEEN IN:
The Exorcist (1973)

What an excellent day for an exorcism.

 It's the freaking devil. THE DEVIL. He (or it) possesses a little girl by the name of Regan MacNeil. And soon a cute, l'il 12-year old girl turns into a head spinning, wall-crawling, obscenity spewing, pea soup vomiting demon. I am not a religious man, but when the demon manipulates Regan to take a crucifix and ram into her privates, even I said "Wow... that's messed up." Two priests are called in to exorcise the demon from the girl's soul and they have a hell of a time of it (no pun intended). The demon tells Father Karras (the younger priest) that his recently deceased mother, ahem, "sucks cocks in hell." Which led this grown man, a priest mind you, to start beating the crap out of a little girl. Yeah. That's the devil.


3 - Dr. Hannibal Lecter

PORTRAYED BY:
Anthony Hopkins

AS SEEN IN:
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti. 

Are you kidding me? I shouldn't even have to explain this one. Everyone knows who "Hannibal The Cannibal" is. Regardless, for starters: he's a cannibal. Secondly, he's a serial killer. Third, he agrees to help FBI Agent Clarice Starling catch the OTHER serial killer, Buffalo Bill, only because he wants to psychoanalyze her and essentially fuck with her head. He may look like an old coot but the authorities take absolutely no chances with him... wrapping him up in a strait jacket and a face mask and the strapping him to a gurney to prevent him from hurting anyone. He is incredibly dangerous as at one point in the film he escapes from his captors by brutally beating the holy hell out of them with a nightstick, then takes a moment to enjoy the opera music he was playing, looking serenely... as blood paints his face in one of the films most iconic images. A murderous, flesh-eating psychiatrist. Yeah, that's scary.


2 - Darth Vader

PORTRAYED BY:
David Prowse (suit)
James Earl Jones (voice)
Hayden Christiansen (suit, prequel)

AS SEEN IN:
Star Wars (1977)
The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Return of the Jedi (1983)
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005)

- There is no escape. Don't make me destroy you... If you only knew the power of the Dark Side. Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father.
- He told me enough! He told me YOU killed him!
- No. I am your father.

 Darth Vader is biggest, baddest motherf***er in the galaxy. This Half Man/Half Machine Dark Lord of the Sith is the Emperor's right hand man. A master of all the Jedi arts and has no equal. Darth Vader betrayed the Jedi Order to join the Dark Side, killed his master Obi-Wan Kenobi and works as an enforcer for an Empire so evil that it literally blows up planets. He is an unparalleled pilot and a master of the lightsabre. In a span of three films he: kidnaps Princess Leia, kills rebels, manages his employees by choking them if they fail him, chops his own son's hand off and then tries to recruit him, freezes Han Solo in carbonite and hands him over to Boba Fett, hands his son over to the Emperor and then watches as the Emperor, and threatens to turn his daughter to the Dark Side. That's quite the rap sheet. In the end he does redeem himself and defeats the Emperor, but he's still a complete bad ass to the end.15 years ago... he would have been #1 on this countdown. HOWEVER, those terrible Star Wars prequels work against him and the sheer awesomeness of the #1 pick bump him to #2.



1 - The Joker

PORTRAYED BY:
Heath Ledger 
Also, notably by Jack Nicholson, Mark Hammil (voice)

AS SEEN IN:
The Dark Knight (2008)
Other notable appearances:  Batman (1989), Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)

 Oh, you. You just couldn't let me go, could you? This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. You are truly incorruptible, aren't you? Huh? You won't kill me out of some misplaced sense of self-righteousness. And I won't kill you because you're just too much fun. I think you and I are destined to do this forever. [...] You see, madness, as you know, is like gravity. All it takes is a little push! 


 The greatest comic book movie ever produced gave birth to the greatest movie villain EVER. Yes, the Joker as portrayed by Jack Nicholson is iconic, and helps bump the character to Number 1. Nicholson's Joker is fantastic, yes. A slightly darker version of the old Caesar Romero Joker for the old "Batman" TV series. But Ledger's performance is ICONIC. There will never be a villainous performance to top this one. Not in comic book films, not anywhere. The Joker from Dark Knight almost trancends evil. He's not so much evil as he is a force of nature. He said it best... he's an agent of chaos, while Batman is an agent of order. Batman will always need the Joker as the Joker will always need Batman. Joker doesn't have plans... he just puts his mind to doing something... and just does it. He succeeded in ripping off the mob by robbing their banks. He succeeded in killing innocent people. He succeeded in destroying Harvey Dent. Dent may have fallen to his death, but he died long before that. Yes, The Joker is captured by the end of the film. But Batman doesn't "win." Commissioner Gordon doesn't "win." Harvey Dent certainly doesn't. The only one who "wins" is The Joker. He succeeded in what he set out to do. Because you can't stop chaos. You just can't.

Boo!