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Wiendish Fitch

Because I'm Eeeee-viiilllllll: The Villains Thread

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The trend of villain apologia and why we hate it popped up in the Unpopular Opinions thread, and it got me to thinking that we should have thread for our favorite (and least favorite) cinematic baddies! Who sends chills up your spine? Who has you rolling your eyes at their lameness? Who gives you impish delight in being engaged in their fiendish plans? And who makes you thrilled to see their defeat? Discuss motive, portrayals, and why we love to hate (or hate to love) the thorns in heroes' sides. And, yes, we can also discuss our feelings about villain apologia and, as always, respect each others' opinions.

Note: In case it wasn't obvious, the topic name is from a lyric from the Elvis Presley song "Trouble" (Because I'm evil/My middle name is misery...).

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7 minutes ago, Wiendish Fitch said:

Who sends chills up your spine? 

Jaws, the original. No matter how many times I watch it.

What? You asked!🤪🤪🤪

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4 minutes ago, GHScorpiosRule said:

Jaws, the original. No matter how many times I watch it.

What? You asked!🤪🤪🤪

Hey, he's a giant friggin' shark who only obeys the laws of nature and his own appetite, all else be damned, of course he's terrifying! We don't need to know why or how, because he's a wild creature and that's what they do!

I love how thoroughly evil Cleopatra in Freaks is. She's a stone cold bitch with an evil plan, and receives the most poetic comeuppance in horror film history.

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15 minutes ago, GHScorpiosRule said:

Jaws, the original.

His name is Bruce show some respect! I totally agree that he's one scary bastard.

One of my all time favorite villains in any medium is The Joker. Some stories are better than others but my love is real and strong. My favorite live action version is Heath's but the one who has genuinely terrified me is Mark Hamill's version which I know you'll agree with @GHScorpiosRule Return of the Joker is still on my rewatch rotation in major part because of Mark's brilliant voice work.

My favorite Disney villain will always be Maleficent. I haven't seen the Jolie versions because why bother when I already have the perfect one. She can turn herself into a dragon and has an epic cackle so what else do I need?

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6 minutes ago, scarynikki12 said:

I haven't seen the Jolie versions because why bother when I already have the perfect one.

Don't! Ever! Maleficent is my all time favorite villain ever. That movie did her such a disservice it isn't worth the film it's printed on (or you know whatever digital thing movies are on now. I'm old. I remember learning to splice film in film class.) 

Darth Vader is my second favorite of all time. (which is why the second trilogy doesn't exist for me. I don't want to know what he was like as a kid. He was PERFECTION in the first three movies). I will admit, I had a huge crush on him until he finally took his helmet off. What a let down. lol 

I think the key to a good villain is part mystery. Some of the scariest characters are the ones where you don't know what they are going to do or when they are going to strike next. The lamest are almost always the ones with a personal vendetta. 

As far as acting performances go, Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates gives me chills. Freddie Highmore as Norman Bates blew my mind and gave me chills. I'm pretty sure FH did some kind of mystic voodoo to channel a young Tony Perkins because holy hell was he spot on. 

I usually love the villains. When they are just deliciously, apologetically evil they are so much fun to watch. So long as they are being shown as villains and not some twisted form of "hero of their own story". 

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6 minutes ago, scarynikki12 said:

His name is Bruce show some respect! I totally agree that he's one scary bastard.

One of my all time favorite villains in any medium is The Joker. Some stories are better than others but my love is real and strong. My favorite live action version is Heath's but the one who has genuinely terrified me is Mark Hamill's version which I know you'll agree with @GHScorpiosRule Return of the Joker is still on my rewatch rotation in major part because of Mark's brilliant voice work.

My favorite Disney villain will always be Maleficent. I haven't seen the Jolie versions because why bother when I already have the perfect one. She can turn herself into a dragon and has an epic cackle so what else do I need?

I have nothing but respect for Bruce! 

And yes to Mark Hamill’s Joker and his turn in Batman  Beyond: Return of the Joker was the BEST scary work he’s done. Just like Conroy, he broke the mold and I will never accept anyone else in that role. And yes to Heath’s work as well in The Dark Knight

And add me to the love for Maleficient. Other honorable mentions of Disney villains who were unapologetic about being villains are Ursula and Cruella da Ville

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Debbie from Adams Family Values is my favorite villain.  She’s evil but so much fun to watch.  The scene where she explains her “tragic” background to justify her behavior is comedy gold.  I also love how the family starts acting sympathetic to her ridiculous justifications.  The part where she says “Don’t I deserve love and jewelry” and Morticia nods sincerely in agreement always cracks me up.

Spoiler

Debbie murdered her parents because they gave her a Malibu Barbie instead of Ballerina Barbie. 

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38 minutes ago, GHScorpiosRule said:

And add me to the love for Maleficient. Other honorable mentions of Disney villains who were unapologetic about being villains are Ursula and Cruella da Ville

Ursula's my gal. That bitch got shit done. And bonus points for having competent henchmen! 

As for Cruella, that new movie had better not give her some bullshit tragic backstory. Cruella is a raging psycho who must be stopped, and that's why we love to hate her.

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1 hour ago, Mabinogia said:

As far as acting performances go, Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates gives me chills. Freddie Highmore as Norman Bates blew my mind and gave me chills. I'm pretty sure FH did some kind of mystic voodoo to channel a young Tony Perkins because holy hell was he spot on. 

Was just about to mention ol' Norman myself. Perkins did such a fantastic job at knowing how to lure the audience into a false sense of security. Even if you thought he was a little odd at first, he still seemed so harmless.

And I will forever be in awe of Highmore's performance in "Bates Motel". Norman Bates is such a memorable role, it'd be tough to fill those shoes, but damn, did he make it work. And his version of the character was a good example of how you can manage to find some sympathy for a villain while still acknowledging what they're doing is bad and wanting them to be held accountable for their crimes. I'd be sitting here feeling for Norman with his mental struggles, and yet the moment anyone was alone with him in that house I was going, "Noooooooooo, get out of there!" 

As for another memorable villain that never fails to scare me: Michael Meyers, from the original Halloween. Doesn't say anything, just quietly lurks and stalks you until he goes in for the kill. And he committed his first murder when he was a child, no less. 

I'll also co-sign the mention of Maleficent and Ursula in particular. Ursula scared me as a kid. That moment when she gets all gigantic and is controlling that storm and the ocean? Frightening. 

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Anthony Hopkins’s performance in Silence of the Lambs haunted me for days. The sequels sucked, as did his portrayal of Hannibal Lector, but that first movie is a classic. 

Regina George in Mean Girls. Rachel McAdams was so good as an evil mean girl, but I couldn’t bring myself to hate Regina for some reason. 

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9 minutes ago, Annber03 said:

I'd be sitting here feeling for Norman with his mental struggles, and yet the moment anyone was alone with him in that house I was going, "Noooooooooo, get out of there!" 

Exactly. There was a vulnerability to him that was heartbreaking but you're also like, everyone step away from the crazy man. He will kill you. 

Both Perkins and Highmore were able to display this deep sadness while also making you want to run for the hills. Like, "I want to give you a hug but I know you're going to kill me." 

Never once did I want Norman Bates to get away with all he did, but all through Bates Motel I desperately wanted him to get the therapy he clearly needed. 

The most chilling part of the movie is the end

Spoiler

He got what was coming to him, he's going to be locked away for life, yay and all, but it is so chilling because he doesn't even care. It doesn't matter to him. That is a level of psycho that terrifies me. That scene of him sitting in the chair just staring, immobile is absolute brilliance cinematically. 

I still think Psycho is one of the greatest horror movies ever made. 

10 minutes ago, Annber03 said:

Michael Meyers, from the original Halloween. Doesn't say anything, just quietly lurks and stalks you until he goes in for the kill.

Yes! That shit is terrifying, that silence. 

Which reminds me of another thing that can ruin a villain. When they talk too much, over explain, give great big "evil" monologues. All while Mike Meyers is just standing around staring out from the shadows making me sleep with the lights on. 

I guess I like creepy villains more than evil masterminds. lol

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In honor of the recently deceased Rutger Hauer:

and

Roy is less a villain than an antagonist. He does have to be stopped, but his particular circumstance didn't give him a lot of choices.

John Rider is pure, delicious, chaotic evil.

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51 minutes ago, Mabinogia said:

I still think Psycho is one of the greatest horror movies ever made

Without question. Hitchcock cast Perkins because he wanted to play with audience expectations (as Perkins was known for goody two shoes roles) but he really was the perfect choice for the role. That final stare to close it out is still more terrifying than most of the horror movies that came after. 

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Killmonger from Black Panther.

Great performance from Michael B. Jordan

Killmonger wasn't just some crazy evil person. He had a plan that he devoted his life to. Military career as an undercover assassin. Setting up Klaw to steal the vibranium, forcing Wakanda into action. Killing Klaw and presenting his body as a method of entering Wakanda. And, while I'm not in the "Killmonger was right!" camp, He did make some sense. (If you ignore the "Kill all white people." part.)

(And based on what little we know of Wakandan constitution, I think he probably had a legit claim to the throne after defeating T'Challa.)

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Fantastic idea for a thread! So many of my favorite villains have already been mentioned: Vader, Jaws, Maleficent, Joker (Ledger and Hamill), Debbie, Hans Landa...

But here's my addition: Lord fucking Voldemort. Pure evil, not giving a shit about anything except power, causing mass genocide and destroying countless lives, had zero qualms about killing babies. 

And then there's Umbridge, or as I call her, evil's PR person. An condescending, despicable bitch who makes kids cut themselves for detention. She truly was the worst in the Potterverse.

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5 hours ago, Luckylyn said:

Debbie from Adams Family Values is my favorite villain.  She’s evil but so much fun to watch.  The scene where she explains her “tragic” background to justify her behavior is comedy gold.  I also love how the family starts acting sympathetic to her ridiculous justifications.  The part where she says “Don’t I deserve love and jewelry” and Morticia nods sincerely in agreement always cracks me up.

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Debbie murdered her parents because they gave her a Malibu Barbie instead of Ballerina Barbie. 

"Don't I yearn and ache and shop."

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3 hours ago, Mabinogia said:

Never once did I want Norman Bates to get away with all he did, but all through Bates Motel I desperately wanted him to get the therapy he clearly needed. 

The most chilling part of the movie is the end

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He got what was coming to him, he's going to be locked away for life, yay and all, but it is so chilling because he doesn't even care. It doesn't matter to him. That is a level of psycho that terrifies me. That scene of him sitting in the chair just staring, immobile is absolute brilliance cinematically. 

I still think Psycho is one of the greatest horror movies ever made. 

Completely agreed on all of this. I love your description of the ending, too. The people who are just too far gone to where there's nothing else you can do to try and help them or make them see reason. That's very scary. You mention evil masterminds below-I don't mind an evil mastermind who fits that particular description, who's so mad that they're just going to do whatever they do and damn the consequences. 

Quote

Yes! That shit is terrifying, that silence. 

Which reminds me of another thing that can ruin a villain. When they talk too much, over explain, give great big "evil" monologues. All while Mike Meyers is just standing around staring out from the shadows making me sleep with the lights on. 

I guess I like creepy villains more than evil masterminds. lol

MIchael's also scary because he doesn't chase you down. He just comes at you calmly and with deliberate intent. And of course there's the mask, too, which they'd intentionally picked because it was so blank and ordinary that you could project any scary image you wanted onto it.

Somebody like Michael is also scary to me because he's the sort of threat that is real. A killer hunting people in your town is an actual thing that happens. And there's only so much you can do to stop that kind of terror. 

Regarding the monologues, a friend and I had a Nightmare on Elm Street marathon once, and boy, did Freddy Kreuger eventually fall into that trap. In the original he tossed off the occasional one-liners, but they were cruel and disturbing and legitimately threatening. Real life killers have been known to taunt their victims with nasty words as part of their sadistic thrill, so I can totally buy somebody like Freddy doing that, too (especially given he got into their heads, their dreams...in some ways, that's kinda similar to how children who grow up hearing awful words from adults wind up internalizing those comments and being haunted by them). But a few movies in, though, he became kind of a one-liner smartass jokester, and it took away a lot of the fear and intimidation. 

And the overexplaining, yeah, it's like, by the time they've divulged their evil plan to their captives/heroes , the captives have figured out a way to get out and save themselves and others. Kinda defeats the purpose. 

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This thread deserves some Alan Rickman love.

Hans Gruber from Die Hard:  All he wanted was the money and all he had was a plan.  He didn't need anything more than that to be utterly fascinating. 

Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves:  His motivation was just to be evil and Rickman went all in with his EVULness.  Any perceived slights were just obviously the Sheriff being whiny and he was a blast.  Hell, he was so much fun that I kind of rooted for him anyway.

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Darth Vader, he's just so awesome. Shoot him? He'll just hold up his hand and then take your blaster. Rebels attacking? He'll go out in his own plane to take them out. Force choking especially admirals who disappoint him or stupid enough to insults his faith.

Lady Tremaine is high on the list because she's normal, she has no magical powers or witch or anything but she's still scary evil. 

Hades and Cruella their evil, bad and very happy about that. Their having fun with it.  

Yzma scary, evil, and very sarcastic. 

Hannibal Lector creepy psycho who eats people

Michael and Jason just straight up scary and yet awesome.  

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25 minutes ago, andromeda331 said:

Lady Tremaine is high on the list because she's normal, she has no magical powers or witch or anything but she's still scary evil. 

Lady Tremaine tends to get underrated because she's not flamboyant or magical, but I consider her one of the great villains because she's so real: there are abusers like her in real life. They are only happy when they're making some poor soul as miserable as possible. The scene where she serenely stands by as Anastasia (who unforgivably gets the woobie treatment in those crappy sequels) and Drizella tear Cinderella's dress to pieces right off her body is the stuff of nightmares.

Edited by Wiendish Fitch
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1 hour ago, Wiendish Fitch said:

Lady Tremaine tends to get underrated because she's not flamboyant or magical, but I consider her one of the great villains because she's so real: there are abusers like her in real life. They are only happy when they're making some poor soul as miserable as possible. The scene where she serenely stands by as Anastasia (who unforgivably gets the woobie treatment in those crappy sequels) and Drizella tear Cinderella's dress to pieces right off her body is the stuff of nightmares.

Yes, Lady Tremaine was more chilling than I took her for when I was a kid. Rewatching her first scene with Cinderella as an adult, I was able to see for the first time how afraid Cinderella was of her. She made her flinch without hardly having to raise her voice. Not to mention she was a masterpiece of passive aggressive bitchery. The way she sweetly says "Good night" after the stepsisters tore out her dress...*shiver*

Speaking of the stuff of nightmares, how about Pennywise the clown from It? I just saw the new movie and he's as horrifying as ever. He eats little kids, you can't top that in terms of evil.

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I don't think this list would be complete without the late Heath Ledger's magnificent swansong as The Joker in The Dark Knight (2008). His character was evil JUST to be evil- not to compensate for a rotten childhood, or to avenge anyone or to make money JUST to be evil. I liked how he gave two very different background stories and was quite sure he was lying through his teeth  about BOTH of them!  Also, I liked how this conventionally appealing performer was more than willing to become frightfully ugly to embrace what this character was all about! Not many performers can say they topped Jack Nicholson but in this, I definitely think the late  Mr. Ledger DID (and did indeed deserve his posthumous Oscar for it)! 

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17 hours ago, Luckylyn said:

Debbie from Adams Family Values is my favorite villain.  She’s evil but so much fun to watch.  The scene where she explains her “tragic” background to justify her behavior is comedy gold.  I also love how the family starts acting sympathetic to her ridiculous justifications.  The part where she says “Don’t I deserve love and jewelry” and Morticia nods sincerely in agreement always cracks me up.

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Debbie murdered her parents because they gave her a Malibu Barbie instead of Ballerina Barbie. 

I also enjoy Debbie and Joan Cusack's acting.  What intrigues me about her is the fact that her greatest crime in the eyes of the Addams' family is that she did not truly love Fester and pastels.  

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18 minutes ago, Ohiopirate02 said:

I also enjoy Debbie and Joan Cusack's acting.  What intrigues me about her is the fact that her greatest crime in the eyes of the Addams' family is that she did not truly love Fester and pastels.  

I feel like they could have gotten past her serial killer tendencies if she just had directed it to people outside of the family.  Otherwise Debbie fit into the family really well if only she hadn’t tried to separate Fester from them.

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22 minutes ago, Luckylyn said:

I feel like they could have gotten past her serial killer tendencies if she just had directed it to people outside of the family.  Otherwise Debbie fit into the family really well if only she hadn’t tried to separate Fester from them.

Yeah it's ironic that Debbie would have fit in just fine with the Addams had she not been trying to break them up and kill Fester.  Remember their family motto: "We'd gladly feast upon those who would subdue us."

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28 minutes ago, Luckylyn said:

I feel like they could have gotten past her serial killer tendencies if she just had directed it to people outside of the family.  Otherwise Debbie fit into the family really well if only she hadn’t tried to separate Fester from them.

I know, they even wished her luck when she was going to electrocute them. LOL!

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I miss gleefully uncomplicated villains like Ratigan from The Great Mouse Detective. There's no damage, no backstory, he's just a delightful megalomaniac who's evil and thrilled to be so!

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On the flip side, what do you make of movies about bad people now doing not bad (or less bad) things?  I'm thinking like Leon the Professional where we know about his past but he's also not the villain of the film.  I think the movie is nuanced enough where I don't think it ever tries to wipe his slate clean, or implies that it can be wiped clean, but rather acknowledges that he's done terrible things and is at least trying to do right by this one person.  I'm also wondering how Marvel is going to handle the Black Widow movie with all the red Natasha says she had in her ledger.  Like Leon, I feel like Natasha never really believed she deserved redemption and could only try to make as much right as possible for as long as possible.  

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Glad she brought up Hela.  Hela is awesome.  Underused, yes, but that's not her fault.

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6 hours ago, kiddo82 said:

On the flip side, what do you make of movies about bad people now doing not bad (or less bad) things?  I'm thinking like Leon the Professional where we know about his past but he's also not the villain of the film. 

That's because the actions of the real villain of the film, played by Gary Oldman, made him seem like a more moderate "bad guy".

Speaking of Oldman, I really miss miss the era when he played a string of batshit crazy villains with batshit crazy accents.

Coppola's Dracula

True Romance: "He must have thought it was white boy day. It ain't white boy day, is it?"

Fifth Element: "I hate warriors, too narrow-minded. I'll tell you what I do like though: a killer, a dyed-in-the-wool killer. Cold blooded, clean, methodical and thorough."

Air Force One: "Get off my plane!"

Edited by xaxat
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14 hours ago, andromeda331 said:

Lady Tremaine is high on the list because she's normal, she has no magical powers or witch or anything but she's still scary evil. 

I think Lady Tremaine is my second favorite Disney villain. She is just so cold and like you say, she's just some woman, not magical, not enchanted, she's real evil. She's the kind of evil that you see in real life. I'm probably never going to run into a giant Octo-woman (though Ursula is a great villain) but many an abused child will tell you that Lady Tremaine does exist and she's terrifying. 

20 hours ago, Annber03 said:

MIchael's also scary because he doesn't chase you down. He just comes at you calmly and with deliberate intent.

One of my worst recurring nightmares is that exact scenario. Being "chased" by a slow, methodical killer while I run and run and can't escape while he makes little to no effort and is always right there. 

So yeah, Michael Myers is literally the stuff of my nightmares. 

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8 minutes ago, Mabinogia said:

One of my worst recurring nightmares is that exact scenario. Being "chased" by a slow, methodical killer while I run and run and can't escape while he makes little to no effort and is always right there. 

So yeah, Michael Myers is literally the stuff of my nightmares. 

Same. I always get super antsy during the scenes in horror movies where somebody's trying to run and they're desperately trying to open a door to escape/going through some small space/etc. as the killer is right on their tail. 

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Oh!  Anton Chiguhr.  Persistent, unapologetic hit man just doing his job.  The opposite of Hans Landa in that while Landa enjoys what he does, Chigurh is all pragmatic and business.  Both are scary as hell.

I mentioned this in the UO thread but Ulysses Klaue is an underrated secondary villain in the MCU.  Arms dealer with no effs given even until the very end.

O'ren Ishii has a tragic backstory but it's more or less used objectively.  It's just to tell her story and how she got to where she was, not used to garner sympathy for her as she heads crime syndicates and murders people.  Having said that, she is a total badass her scenes are the reason I prefer Kill Bill Vol 1 to Volume 2.

Eleanor Shaw from the Manchurian Candidate.  Who doesn't love a good Lady Macbeth?

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Gremlins. They're malicious and cruel because they enjoy it. Actively, enthusiastically, uproariously enjoy it. They love breaking things, they love harassing and hurting people. They'll ape human behaviour to mock and scare people, then they'll attack them.

Yes, there's something charming about the sheer joy they take in everything they do, but it's horrific.

The T-800 and T-1000 from The Terminator and Terminator 2. Like Kyle Reese said: "It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop... ever, until you are dead!"

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22 hours ago, Wiendish Fitch said:

Lady Tremaine tends to get underrated because she's not flamboyant or magical, but I consider her one of the great villains because she's so real: there are abusers like her in real life. They are only happy when they're making some poor soul as miserable as possible. The scene where she serenely stands by as Anastasia (who unforgivably gets the woobie treatment in those crappy sequels) and Drizella tear Cinderella's dress to pieces right off her body is the stuff of nightmares.

21 hours ago, Spartan Girl said:

Yes, Lady Tremaine was more chilling than I took her for when I was a kid. Rewatching her first scene with Cinderella as an adult, I was able to see for the first time how afraid Cinderella was of her. She made her flinch without hardly having to raise her voice. Not to mention she was a masterpiece of passive aggressive bitchery. The way she sweetly says "Good night" after the stepsisters tore out her dress...*shiver*

Speaking of the stuff of nightmares, how about Pennywise the clown from It? I just saw the new movie and he's as horrifying as ever. He eats little kids, you can't top that in terms of evil.

8 hours ago, Mabinogia said:

I think Lady Tremaine is my second favorite Disney villain. She is just so cold and like you say, she's just some woman, not magical, not enchanted, she's real evil. She's the kind of evil that you see in real life. I'm probably never going to run into a giant Octo-woman (though Ursula is a great villain) but many an abused child will tell you that Lady Tremaine does exist and she's terrifying. 

She really is. Other villains are really great but she's normal. She has no magic powers, not a witch, sea creature, or anything else which is why she tends to get over looked. There are so many real life Lady Tremaines. She thinks nothing of turning her stepdaughter into the family's servant. The beginning of the Disney cartoon does mention she was abused. Which isn't really hard to imagine given what we see of Lady Tremaine. The way we meet her in the dark, dark bedroom. Not only does she stand there while her daughters rip the dress to shreds. She starts it by mentioning an item of the dress or I think the pearls which make her daughter realize that was hers and after Cinderella held up her part in their deal.  Then after her daughters shred the dress calmly stops it and the "Goodbye" to Cinderella.  

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4 hours ago, Danny Franks said:

The T-800 and T-1000 from The Terminator and Terminator 2. Like Kyle Reese said: "It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop... ever, until you are dead!"

"It's what it does...it's all it does!"

Machines make great uncomplicated villains. So HAL from 2001: Space Odyssey should be on here too.

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HAL didn't even need a back story or ...you know, emotions, to be complicated, understandable and some how pathetic while also being utterly terrifying.

Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer true....

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Here's what I think really puts Heath Ledger's Joker above and beyond as a villain.  He's fearless.

He laughs while Batman's beating his ass in the interrogation room.  He strolls through the road, randomly shooting at cars, daring Batman to hit him on the Batpod.  He literally helps Harvey Dent put a gun to his own head, waiting to see what the coin flip will do.  He just laughs when Batman throws him off the roof (right before Batman lassos him).  He isn't afraid of dying, he isn't afraid of getting caught.  Hell, he's only mildly annoyed when his social experiment with the two boats fails, he just rolls his eyes with, "Always gotta do everything yourself."  And he isn't even that upset when Batman thwarts him too, because he already had a backup plan with Harvey.  Even when his grand schemes fail, it was a job well done as long as he got to murder a bunch of people and mess with people's heads. 

When it came to Batman -- and I think this is what Christopher Nolan nailed about the Batman/Joker dynamic -- the chase was more thrilling than the kill.  And that says a lot when you think about how much he loves killing.

Compared to that, Aaron Eckhart's Harvey Dent/Two Face was the weaker part of The Dark Knight, complete with the "poor me" sympathetic backstory.  Yeah he had his face blown off and was half-mad with physical and emotional pain, but to become a serial killer because of Rachel?  Ugh.  Even if she wasn't a sanctimonious little twit-twat, I doubt she'd be impressed with Harvey trying to kill a child.

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47 minutes ago, Spartan Girl said:

What what I think really puts Heath Ledger's Joker above and beyond as a villain.  He's fearless.

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47 minutes ago, Spartan Girl said:

He literally helps Harvey Dent put a gun to his own head, waiting to see what the coin flip will do

And the way he goes "oh dear! oh dear!" when he sees that half of Harvey's face is gone, while dressed as a Nurse. That scene cracks me up.🤣

47 minutes ago, Spartan Girl said:

He just laughs when Batman throws him off the roof (right before Batman lassos him).

I'd like to think that was an homage to B:TAS, where Conroy Bats would do that to Hamill's Joker and Joker would laugh maniacally. And if not for his untimely death, Ledger was supposed to come back in the final movie. And that would have been MORE EPIC, and so much better than the nonsense with Bane with Connery's accent nonsense. He should have had a Cuban accent!

Why no, I'm not bitter. At all. Whatever gave you that idea?

Edited by GHScorpiosRule
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4 hours ago, GHScorpiosRule said:

I'd like to think that was an homage to B:TAS, where Conroy Bats would do that to Hamill's Joker and Joker would laugh maniacally. And if not for his untimely death, Ledger was supposed to come back in the final movie. And that would have been MORE EPIC, and so much better than the nonsense with Bane with Connery's accent nonsense. He should have had a Cuban accent!

Why no, I'm not bitter. At all. Whatever gave you that idea?

Edited 3 hours ago by GHScorpiosRule

I know. That would have been amazing. But I respect Christopher Nolan for not recasting him because, come on, there's no way anyone could fill those shoes. Heath broke his ass to nail Joker right down to the creepy ventriloquist dummy voice. And unlike some actors he could method act without alienating costars or letting people think he'd gone crazy for real...

Anyway, Dark Knight Rises did give us Anne Hathaway's brilliantly crafty Selina Kyle. Too bad she never got her own spin-off.

But Michelle Pfeiffer's Selina/Catwoman deserves props as a great villain in her own right. And she's one of the cases of a sympathetic villain done right because while she at first goes dark to feel good about herself, once she wound up as an accomplice to Penguin killing the Ice Princess, she hates herself more than ever. And she rewinds up rejecting a "happily ever after" Bruce because as much as she loves him she knows she could never live with herself.

Edited by Spartan Girl
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Nolan did a masterful job crafting the character even before we bring in Heath's performance. Joker is enjoying the hell out of his altercations with Batman and it's just as much fun to watch. The little moment when the cop is arranging all the knives found on Joker and pulls out...a potato peeler is both funny and horrifying (I cringe imagining him using it on someone). A lot of people see the movie as being about Joker with Batman along for the ride but I disagree. It's about Batman facing his greatest foe and finding a way to win without sacrificing himself. That's why they included Harvey's fall from grace to coincide and why Gordon gives his "the hero we deserve" speech. This movie really works for me so I have to stop myself from just gushing about it so I'll end with these lines from Joker in his final scene:

Quote

JOKER
You just couldn't let me go, could you? This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. You truly are 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.

A perfect combination of homage to the comic history of the characters and the culmination of how the two movie versions have played opposite each other.

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Ooh, how about Man from Bambi?  You never see him on screen, but he killed Bambi's mom and scarred us all for life.

This one is a kind of personal one for me, as I live in Michigan, and I know more deer hunters than I care to.  And most of these assholes will try to justify Bambi's mom murder as "oh, she was just contributing to the overpopulation of deer."  Ughh....

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I hope this doesn't get disqualified due to the backstory bit. However; one of my fave Classic Screen Villains has to be the chilling, vengeful ever-knitting Madame De Farge (Blanche Yurka) in A Tale of Two Cities (1935) whose entire life-purpose was to bring down the aristocracy and, especially, the family of St. Evremonde- no matter how far removed or innocent individual members were removed from the crimes against Madame's family!  Yes, even when she reveals the horrific extent her own family had suffered at the the St. Evermonde family's hands, one can't help but think how her thirst for vengeance has turned her into someone and something her younger, innocent self would have   loathed. Oh, and while watching this film, be sure to keep an eye on her near-silent deranged cohort known only as The Vengeance ( who was NOT given a backstory) played to cackling perfection by Nashville native [!] Lucille La Verne who would give her own intriguing swansong just two years later voicing both the Evil Queen AND The Witch in Snow White (1937).

Edited by Blergh · Reason: no been
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For the record, I'm more than fine with a well-written sympathetic villain backstory as long as it doesn't backslide into the "poor me I'm the only victim here" trope. 

Although to be fair, what annoys me more is the villain apologist fanbases that try to justify the villain's actions: the "Syndrome/Kilmonger/Scar/Whoever Was Right" people.  It's infuriating.  Case in point: Kylo Ren/Ben Skywalker is a whiny, petulant, power-hungry, entitled little turd with no charming qualities even by villain standards, and yet somehow he's still got hoards of fangirls cooing and simpering over him.  "Oh poor Ben, poor Ben, he's sooooo tortured!  He should be with Rey."  Right, because she can't do any better -- oh, except for dashing Poe or sweet Finn (who adores her) or let her be single because she's awesome as is.  But I digress...

Say what you want about The Last Jedi but I loved how they subverted the "villain redemption" trope.  You thought Rey was getting through to him when he killed Snoke?  NOPE.  Turns out he's still a whiny, petulant, power-hungry, entitled little turd, he just was sick of being bossed around.  Luke's so-called betrayal just gave him an excuse to do what he wanted all along--and even if he wasn't already being tainted by Snoke, it still doesn't excuse kidnapping and murdering Luke's other Jedi pupils.

The Rise of Skywalker better give him the demise he so richly deserves.  If they still want to redeem him, whatever, as long as he dies while doing it. 

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Re: Kylo Ren

I normally love Jenny Nicholson's videos, but this one really irked me. I can't tell if she's being sarcastic or not (which is usually part of her appeal), and while she makes some, at best, okay points, for the most part I seriously disagree with her.

Darth Vader's redemption works because, while he was redeemed, he wasn't absolved. He'd lived too long on the Dark Side and committed too many atrocities to just be handed a clean slate. He died for his son, which was nice and all, but it was still too late, as it should be. 

Kylo Ren idolized Vader because he's an idiot, and went out of his way to be as much like him as possible, even if it meant committing patricide. No, I don't care if his body count pales in comparison to Vader, Sulky McShagcut doesn't get another chance. One willful, deliberate murder against an unsuspecting, undeserving victim is still one too many.

Edmund in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe committed a horrific sin by betraying his siblings to the White Witch, but Aslan forgave and absolved him, as did Edmund's siblings, and I'm 100% okay with that. Why?

1. Edmund is a child.

2. It's not made apparent in the movie, but in the book, CS Lewis informs us that the Turkish Delight Edmund eats is laced with mind control properties.

3. Edmund wasn't even wholly successful in his endeavor; he didn't actually take his siblings to the White Witch as he'd promised, he merely told her where they were (they were long gone by the time she found their location). To be clear, I think that maybe Edmund had some unconscious pangs of uncertainty/guilt over what he was doing, which is why he half-assed it. I don't think messing up an evil assignment automatically makes it all right, I'm just saying that might have been a contributing factor.

4. Unlike Kylo Ren, Edmund is genuinely remorseful for his actions, and goes the extra mile to redeem himself in battle instead of blandly coasting on others' good will (he even brings up his misdeed in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader).

Edited by Wiendish Fitch
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Kylo Ren is a willing and eager member of the First Order. He is leading troops into battle to wipe out villages and he is part of the organization that wipes out entire solar systems with one blast.

We saw that happen in The Force Awakens. He is a part of that organization. He wants to be the LEADER of that organization and it's not to make them a kinder, gentler group. You can see what he wants when he does flex his power over Lux and goes after the Resistance. He wants to rule.

I neither want nor need a redemption story for Kylo Ren. I hope Rey kicks his ass AGAIN. Then maybe Poe can shoot him or something. I don't even care.

As for Edmund... he's deeply unlikable throughout the first part of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and that's also the point. He's also a young boy who has been sent away to the countryside with his siblings and without his parents during the Blitz of WWII. He's chafing under the 'authority' of his older brother AND the 'mothering' of his elder sister and, as a result, turns to bullying his younger sister.

It's spelled out repeatedly in the book that his behavior is NOT OKAY AT ALL. But, at the same time, guilt plagues him throughout. He knows he's behaving badly. He knows he's wrong but he doesn't turn back on the course he choose because he's a kid. But he DOES learn. He comes to the realizations of his wrongness on his own.

He steps up and apologizes to his siblings when he's got the chance and Aslan is able to assure him and help him remain strong when the Witch comes for him. Edmund, ultimately, does right. He doesn't offer excuses or demand forgiveness. He apologizes and asks to be a part of the family again. It's redemption done right.

Edited by Dandesun
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