Top 8 Villains
Some people like pirates; others like zombies. Me? I love villains. I love that they vary from classy to over-dramatic to psychotic. Vanellope is adorable, but darn it, give me King Candy! Dorothy Gale? Please, give me the Wicked Witch of the West! Don't you just love a despicable name like 'Wicked Witch of the West'? So today, I'm counting down eight villains that I think society needs to recognize for how much they have impacted our view of villainy. Be warned: Many of these villains come from Disney.
8: The Grinch from Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas
The Grinch was a great introduction to villainy for us as children; not too scary for us to handle, but at the same time being disgustingly evil enough to be considered a villain. We don't know exactly who he is, where he came from, or what made him despise such a beloved holiday. All we know is that he hates Christmas with a passion, and he will go to great lengths to mutilate it. But what really sold me on the Grinch was the animated 1966 adaptation of Dr. Seuss's book, where the Grinch's song plays in the background as he “steals Christmas,” so to speak. I dare you to read the following lyrics and tell me they're ill suited for such a devilish villain:
“You have termites in your smile”
“Your brain is full of spiders, you have garlic in your soul”
“You're a monster, Mr. Grinch, your heart's an empty hole”
Need I say more?
7: The Wicked Witch of the West from L. Frank Baum's Wizard of Oz
For a lot of us, this was probably the first scary villain we encountered. Not only did she look like a lean, mean, green machine, but she acted every bit like one as well. She screamed, she threw fire balls, she popped up unexpectedly, she put you to sleep with poppies, and she made hourglasses look frightening. The first time I heard that 1939 cackle as a kid, I thought my spine wouldn't stop twitching. Would you believe that the actress for the witch in the original movie was an elementary school teacher? I mean, yeesh! Can you imagine her teaching the little children all about the alphabet? I thought she was really awesome in the Broadway musical Wicked too, as the plot centers around what made her evil in the first place. If you haven't seen the musical yet, it's definitely worth the money. But be cautious: She'll get you, my pretty, and your little dog too.
6: The Horned King from Disney's The Black Cauldron
If you haven't seen The Black Cauldron... don't. Please don't. The protagonist is forgettable, the side kick is annoying, and the animation isn't the best. But the one redeeming quality of this movie was definitely the villain of the flick. I mean, just look at his picture! He's a living, breathing skeleton with freaky eyes! If that's not frightening, I don't know what is... well, other than clowns. But I digress. This guy is every bit as murderous as he looks. His main goal is to become a god and completely wipe out the human race. Don't be fooled by the fact that he looks dead; his cruelty, cunning, and cauldron army are not forces to be reckoned with. He's so evil, so intimidating, and yet so low on the list.
5: King Candy from Disney Pixar's Wreck it Ralph
The reason I included King Candy on the list is because of his progress in villainy throughout the movie. Unlike some villains who are obvious about their despicable nature, it takes a while for this guy to sneak up on viewers. When the film first introduces him to us, he just seems like an eccentric but still jolly good fellow. And that scene where he brings up a genuine concern about Vanellope—one of the main characters—dying because of her glitch? Dang, I did not see that coming when I saw the movie. It really made him look like one of the good guys. But what he didn't reveal was the fact that he was responsible for her glitch in the first place. And I will not dare give away the twist ending concerning King Candy; let's just say it really made the movie worth the watch.
4: Scar from The Lion King and Zira from The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride
What makes these villains work for me is their juxtaposition and how they fit so well together. Scar is classy and cunning, but he'd prefer ruling the Pride Lands to getting into catfights. Zira is cunning too, but she not only prefers torturing enemies to ruling the land; she enjoys the pain she causes. You never see them together, and yet they match each other like Yin and Yang. Their songs (“Be Prepared” and “My Lullaby” respectively) are also phenomenal, at least in my opinion. Scar sings about how he can go from Loki to Hitler with just the right planning. Zira sings about how anguish, pain, and death lull her to sleep at night.
3: The Joker from Batman
I'm mostly going off of his appearance in The Dark Knight because I didn't read the old comic books or watch the old movies. But holy snot rocket, this guy scared the living daylights out of me when I saw the movie. While I don't blame The Joker for my fear of clowns (though the Joker's pretty freaky looking too), I blame him for my fear of joker cards. He'll kill anyone from men to women to children to his own henchmen, and he will enjoy every minute of it. He's the kind of villain who likes to play with you psychologically before eating you alive. But what really makes him frightening is his belief that chaos is the meaning of life and that nothing keeps him from creating chaos in any way possible.
2: Judge Claude Frollo from Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame
I'm told that he's very different in the novel, so I'm going off of Disney's version to illustrate this bad guy. When most people think of Disney's adaptation of Victor Hugo's Hunchback novel, this is what they remember. I love his conflicting character; he calls himself a Christian, but his actions are so despicable. Yet he stands by them as “what God wants him to do.” He also made the movie a lot more adult than a lot of Disney fans were used to at the time. I watched the movie as a little kid once, and I thought “Wow, he really hates Esmeralda.” I saw it again about ten years later, and I couldn't believe my eyes when he sniffed her hair in a kids' movie. Again, something that really helped this villain stand out was his song, “Hellfire,” where he openly declared his lust for Esmeralda and that if she wouldn't have him, she would burn alive.
1: Maleficent from Disney's Sleeping Beauty
Oh Maleficent, Maleficent, wherefore art thou awesome, Maleficent? This self-declared mistress of all evil has a quiet, classy elegance to her as well as the ability to crush your bones in a second. Her powers were virtually unlimited; she could fly, conjure spells, and turn into a dragon the size of a castle. She was listed as number one in UltimateDisney.com's Top 30 Disney Villains, and the Nostalgia Critic awarded her the number two spot in his Top 11 Disney Villains list. If the upcoming Disney movie based on this villain is anything like the Wicked Witch of the West's story Wicked, then I'm beyond excited to see it. This evil baddie has it all: power, elegance, madness, ruthlessness, and popularity among other Disney fans, which is why I can give her the number one spot on the list without a moment's hesitation.