By DrPockets000 48 Comments
Every movie needs its villain. A good villain chills the bones and wreaks havoc for the hero. He stands for all that is evil, and is usually very difficult to defeat. Personally, I like to watch the villains more than the heroes. The list of top villains has been done to death, but I felt, after years of going over it, it was finally time to put in my favorite villains. Enjoy.
10. T-1000 (Terminator 2: Judgement Day)-Robert Patrick
Terminator 2: Judgement Day was the epitome of a perfect sequel: it delivered bigger & better action, a much better story with raised stakes and greater scope, and, perhaps most importantly, a better villain. Arnold was fine from the first flick, and is certainly iconic, but there is something much more menacing about the newest version of Skynet's war machine. Maybe it's the fact that you can blast a hole in his head, impale him, nearly chop him in half, blow him up, and freeze & shatter him, and yet he will simply recover and keep coming back by just restructuring himself. Or perhaps it's his ability to impersonate anyone (with more than just the voice) in order to trap others. Or maybe it was because he wasn't stop-motion animated. Whatever it was, the T-1000 was ruthless and even gave the original Terminator a good fight--and that's saying something.
9. John Doe (Seven)-Kevin Spacey
John Doe is one of the best kinds of villains. He spends his time behind the scenes, pulling all of the strings while Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt pull their hair out. In all, Kevin Spacey had something like less than fifteen minutes of screen time in the entire movie. But the time he does have is well spent and executed masterfully by Spacey, walking into the police station with bloodied hands and later leering up at his captors. Moreover, John Doe has a religious agenda, and he executes his fanatical retribution in horribly grotesque ways--remember Sloth? By the end of the film, audiences realize that John Doe was also the winner in this conflict, which makes it even more unsettling.
8. Daniel Plainview (There Will Be Blood)-Daniel Day-Lewis
There are three things that movie villains don't usually do: the first is admit that they are evil. That usually goes without saying. The second is star as the main protagonist in the movie. And the third is to metaphorically drink someone else's milkshake (sorry, I had to throw that in there). But Daniel Day-Lewis pulls if off with such stunning aplomb that it is downright frightening. In one of the greatest performances in the history of cinema, Day-Lewis lets Plainview's evil and menace unfold through callous apathy over his son's disability, shooting the man who claims to be his brother, and beating a young man to death with a bowling pin. And of course, he also admits that he is a bad man. But perhaps the scariest thing about Plainview is that he isn't a typical Hollywood villain--he is the archetype of (barely) exaggerated American entrepreneurship and greed.
7. Col. Hans Landa (Inglourious Basterds)-Christoph Waltz
The opening scene of Quentin Tarantino's WWII revenge fantasy is arguably the best in one of the greatest films of 2009. In said scene, Landa cheerfully drinks milk, smokes a pipe, and then without missing a beat, executes the Jews hiding underneath the floorboards of the man's house he had be conducting his interrogation in. Landa is fluent in five languages, and uses his mastery of each to manipulate and outsmart his prey, all the while grinning from ear to ear and proudly wearing his title of "The Jew Hunter". He enjoys hunting down and toying with his victims, and he has no hunter or superior; he is the hunter, and has only his own agenda. The result is a charismatic, ruthless, and sinfully entertaining villain to watch.
6. Bill "The Butcher" Cutting (Gangs of New York)-Daniel Day-Lewis
With a name like "Bill the Butcher", people are going to realize that you're going to fuck their shit up. Also sporting a wicked fashion sense (plaid pants and a stovepipe hat) and an epic mustache, a comical-looking character managed to be ruthless and mean as hell. Bill the Butcher did exactly that to a lot of people, and yet still had enough fatherly disposition to take young Amsterdam under his wing. He hates the immigrants and wants to slaughter every last one of them. It is truly a shame that Daniel Day-Lewis did not get the Academy Award for his incredible performance that year (it went to the vastly inferior Adrian Brody). Fun fact: Day-Lewis made many of his fellow actors nervous by staying in character between takes, even sharpening his knives during lunch.
5. Patrick Bateman (American Psycho)-Christian Bale
The novel on which this movie is based is perverse, sickening, horrifying, and wrong in every sense of the word. But it was a brilliant work of art. The movie follows suit. It softpedals the really offensive content but still emulates much of what made the literature so great. Christian Bale knocked this one out of the park, giving us a cold, batshit crazy Bateman who can move quickly and unpredictably between charm and pure evil. Sometimes the two clash, such as when he almost kills his secretary, and sometimes a side takes over completely. The surreality of the film, with sometimes not knowing if something is real or just a product of Bateman's fractured mind, is part of the treat of watching and trying to figure out the film--in essence, it is a thinking man's slasher film with a yuppie villain that is as much fun to pick apart as it is to watch him dance to Huey Lewis & the News while chopping up a co-worker with an axe.
4. Harry Powell (Night of the Hunter)-Robert Mitchum
Sadly, many have not heard of this older film. It's a shame, because Harry Powell is nothing short of despicable and is truly one of the greatest villains of all time. It's largely in Mitchum's performance. Powell is a kind, fatherly man who has the entire town fooled in his sweet, good-natured personality, but the children see him as he really is--a ruthless murderer who only wants to get to the fortune that their father left with them. Powell pursues the children across the state, very methodically and casually. The children know it is time to run for their lives when they hear him singing an old church hymn: "Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms...Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms..." Powell frequently prays, which is even more unnerving since he considers his killings completely justified and chats nonchalantly with God about them.
3. Anton Chigurh (No Country For Old Men)-Javier Bardem
No Country For Old Men was a bit of a departure for the Coen Brothers. Known for movies that have at least some degree of comedy such as Fargo, Raising Arizona, and The Big Lebowski, their latest film, while it did have some quirky characters, was unapologetically grim. Anton Chigurh was like a storm of destruction. Wherever Llewelyn Moss fled with his stolen drug money, Chigurh would be there within a couple of days with his cattle gun and his silenced shotgun. His shortage of dialogue and the dead look in his eyes contributed to the terror, and his dependence on the flip of a coin to decide the fate of a victim made for one of the tense scenes in the entire movie. As for who he kills, he rarely cares: his employers, innocent bystanders, and old acquaintances are all fair game to him. Somehow, the ugly haircut made him even more menacing.
2. Hannibal Lecter (Silence of the Lambs/Hannibal/Red Dragon)-Anthony Hopkins
Hannibal Lecter eats a duder's brain while the guy is still alive and able to converse with him. Another guy he dangles over a balcony by his intestines. Those alone solidify his place on this list. What puts him at the coveted #2 spot however, is the man himself. Lecter displays a startling attention to etiquette and respect for Agent Clarice Starling. He sees everything as a game: in exchange for giving Clarice information on the serial killer Buffalo Bill, she must tell him about herself so that he can pick her apart psychologically. But, as I said, he also respects her: when Multiple Miggs throws semen onto Clarice's face, Lecter begins talking to her (we don't know what he says), and Miggs ends up swallowing his tongue. When they are handcuffed together, and the police are closing in, Lecter chops off his own hand instead of Clarice's in order to get away. Everything Lecter says and does happens with an intensely eerie charm. He watches everyone as though he can look right through them into their soul, and his smile makes one think he may be considering them for dinner. And he probably is.
1. Bill Lumbergh (Office Space)-Gary Cole
Surprised? You may be wondering why Bill Lumberg is at #1. It's because the only thing worse than being ruthlessly murdered by any of these psychopaths is being told you have to come into work on a Saturday. And Bill does just this. He also mercilessly tortures poor Milton by moving his desk multiple times and stealing his beloved red stapler. Peter Gibbons, try as he might, cannot escape Lumbergh's wrath. They work in the same place so a "Hey Peter. What's happening?" can happen any moment. Lumbergh is a cruel, evil boss, and that is why he is the greatest villain of all time.