Our yearly greatest series is at its end. All current writers of AwardsCircuit.com have made their cases for their favorite villains and I end it with my own personal list. There have been different interpretations of the assignment. Some will say that the character solely is what makes him/her/it so despicable. Others will argue the validity of someone being classified as a villain. I’m still unsure where I stand on people like Anthony Perkins in “Psycho” or Anthony Hopkins in “The Silence of the Lambs.” All have their evil ways, but I don’t see them as a straight, up and down, “bad guy.” My interpretation is a bit more simple. How good does the actor or actress make it look to be bad? Some of these men and women are downright horrible, many of which I can remember just sitting in disgust by their behavior. For me, that’s what its all about. The undisputable actions of the character and what they bring to their respective pictures. Anyone can do a bad thing but are they evil at the core of their soul? That’s the question I ask for every single person on the ten and the answer is yes for them.
- Ralph Fiennes as “Amon Goeth” in “Schindler’s List” – Not just a villain to the Jews, but to his own inner demons.
- Anjelica Huston as “The Grand High Witch” in “Witches” – She wants all the children in the world turned into a mouse.
- Christopher Lloyd as “Judge Doom” in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” – He killed Eddie Valiant’s brother, framed Roger Rabbit, and shoved a poor toy shoe in a barrel of dip.
- Daniel Day-Lewis as “Bill the Butcher” in “Gangs of New York” – Even when DiCaprio kills him, we still kind of wish he wasn’t dead.
- Tony Moran as “Michael Myers” in “Halloween” – Since 1978, the world has continued to fear a man who barely walks after his victims with a white mask.
- Hugo Weaving as “Agent Smith” in “The Matrix” – His sinister and venomous way he says “Mr. Anderson” is a staple of film history.
- Ned Beatty as “Lotso” in “Toy Story 3” – He almost allows all his fellow toys burn to death in an incinerator before he’s tacked onto the front of a truck.
- Kiefer Sutherland as “David” in “The Lost Boys” – He leads human Michael to a cliff that nearly has him fall off. He also just sheds a single tear when his hand is caught in the sunlight.
- Macaulay Culkin as “Henry” in “The Good Son” – He kills his little brother in a bathtub, throws his sister onto a thin sheet of ice, flings a makeshift dummy onto a speeding highway, and shoots a dog with steel bolts. Oh yeah, and attempts to push his mother off a cliff.
- Sarah Michelle Gellar as “Kathryn Merteuil” in “Cruel Intentions” – She keeps cocaine in a crucifix. That’s gangster.
- Adam Baldwin as “The King” in “Radio Flyer” – You never see his face and you don’t need to. He leads a young boy to hurdle down a hill, in a wagon, and escape his clutches in an ending that has different interpretations, all of which are tragic in their own right.
He’s watched by L.B. “Jeff” Jefferies in the dark of night, hiding the truth about what he did to his wife. When he discovers that someone might know his truth, through a flash bulbs used in a way that only Alfred Hitchcock can think of, a small glare on his glasses and a manic, furious stature attempts to take a wheelchair-ridden man and hang him from his own window. He’s not scary in the things we see him do, but in the things we imagine him doing.
WHAT DRIVES HIM: Killing wives and neighbors dogs digging in the dirt.
With gold guns, a swagger that only mobsters can dream, and his ability to still have some type of demented love for his younger brother Pollux (played by Alessandro Nivola), Castor Troy is one of the coolest, underappreciated villains in film history. After he accidentally murders Sean Archer’s young son, he delivers a nonchalant apology saying “I was trying to kill you but you had to take it so personal.” When the two arch enemies switch lives, the diabolical Castor Troy gets to sleep with Sean’s wife, murder his mentor, and attempt to slice his own face off in the event of defeat. The guy is just bad ass.
WHAT DRIVES HIM: Saying to flight attendants, “If I let you lick my tongue, would you be grateful?”
8) Louise Fletcher as “Nurse Ratchet” in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975)
She’s often looked upon as someone who is just doing her job, very much in the beginning of Milos Forman’s Oscar-winning masterpiece, but all takes a stirring turn. As Mac’s (played by Jack Nicholson) time in the mental institution goes on, there’s a sick sense of pleasure and pride that oozes from Academy Award winner Louise Fletcher’s skin. She works the system and takes her time in ruining the lives of so many patients, including our beloved Billy Bibbit (played by Academy Award nominee Brad Dourif), who meets his end because of her actions. She’s probably one of cinema’s most unconventional villains because the audience clearly doesn’t like her and she is the opposition to Mac’s plans. In regards to my aforementioned question in the opening paragraph, I’m not sure Nurse Ratchet was TRULY evil until she met Mac just as I think that Mac wasn’t TRULY good until he met her.
WHAT DRIVES HER: Eyes that only the Grimm Reaper himself would have and being choked out by angry patients.
The magnificent Joaquin Phoenix has delivered pulse-pounding performances in films like “The Master” and “Walk the Line,” but his work as the royally obsessed Commodus in Ridley Scott’s Best Picture winner is among his most impressive. He suffocates his father Marcus Aurelius (played by the late Richard Harris) after he reveals that Commodus will not take the throne. After which, he sends soldiers to murder the wife and child of Maximus (played by Russell Crowe). But Commodus’ wrath doesn’t stop there. He makes sexual advances to his sister Lucilla (played by Connie Nielsen), and makes her attempt to make her son every ounce of his own being. He’s so envious of Maximus, he challenges the trained Gladiator to a duel, but not before poisoning him to ensure victory. Things don’t go as planned.
WHAT DRIVES HIM: Constantly sniffling and being an all-around pansy.
Plain and simple, he ordered the code red, and he’s damn proud of it. At the expense of his soul, and the lives and careers of younger Marines, Colonel Nathan R. Jessup takes the stand, after forgering log books, ordering Kendrick (played by Kiefer Sutherland) to give Private Santiago a code red, which leads his untimely death, and knowing fully well that his right hand Lieutenant has killed himself over the guilt, and justifies his actions with a simple, “you can’t handle the truth!” But not before he answers the question about the code red with “you’re damn right I did.” The defense rests.
WHAT DRIVES HIM: Ripping the eyes out of Tom Cruise’s skull.
The Warden is a Holy man. He gives the Bible and discipline to all his inmates. That doesn’t stop him from using the innocent Andy (played by Tim Robbins) to do money laundering inside of Shawshank, shine his shoes, and kill the just newly GED bestowed Tommy Williams (played by Gil Bellows). The cowardly villain attempts to go out swinging but when the thought of being an inmate in prison is too heavy a thought, he alleviates that with a bullet through his chin.
WHAT DRIVES HIM: Money inside a pie box and passing the pie off to Andy saying “the woman can’t bake worth a shit.”
Tony Wendice comes up with the best plan I’ve seen from a fictional character trying to kill his wife. He finds an acquaintance from Cambridge with his own secrets to safeguard, C.A. Swann (played by Anthony Dawson), and manipulates him to carrying out his dirty work but not before he takes it in the back with a pair of scissors. With a beautiful wife (played by Grace Kelly), Wendice tries to cover up his tracks with latch keys and reasons for telephone calls. The audience is left in the dark of what people know and don’t know until it all comes to ahead with a memory of a key under a mat. And just to think, this all started with a wife’s misdeeds with a lover.
WHAT DRIVES HIM: Calling his wife and hearing her getting choked out by another man.
Johnny Friendly’s mob ties, and power over the waterfront are just the tip of iceberg. He has Terry Malloy’s (played by Marlon Brando) brother Charley (played by Rod Steiger) killed, and when Terry stands up to him one on one, and is winning, he punks out by calling his thugs. Even at the end when he announces that he will seek revenge, and his voice falls on deaf ears as the factory doors close, we’re left with a sense that Johnny Friendly will get his revenge. That’s scary.
WHAT DRIVES HIM: Big suits and the pursuit of revenge.
Tim Curry haunted my nightmares for the better part of my childhood because Pennywise. Though this made-for-TV mini-series is half masterpiece and half sickening adult melodrama, “It” exists in the world because of the terrifying performance that Tim Curry delivers. Though writer/director Tommy Lee Wallace was limited in what he could show (as the film debuted in November on ABC, right before Thanksgiving), he allows the actions of Pennywise to scare us with words. We know that Pennywise rips poor George’s arm off in a sewer as he plays with a boat, the adult Stan kills himself at the thought of Pennywise returning, and he makes balloon popping a national crime.
WHAT DRIVES HIM: Telling the kids how “they float, they all float.”
It’s one of the most overlooked performances in history as far as I’m concerned. She’s deadly, she’s hot, and she will fold your laundry as she thinks of her next way to ruin your life. Peyton, as we’re not even sure if that’s her real name by film’s end, is the wife of a doctor that is accused of sexually assaulting his patients. When he kills himself, the pregnant “Mrs. Mott” miscarriages, gets an emergency hysterectomy, and declares war on Claire (played by Annabella Sciorra), the woman who came first with the doctor’s indiscretions. Peyton infuses her way into Claire’s life by befriending her daughter Emma (played by Madeline Zima) by twisting her school bully’s arm and telling him she’s going to “rip your fucking head off.” She makes not-so-subtle sexual advances to her scientist husband Michael (played by Matt McCoy) through sexy nightgowns, wet clothes, and innuendos. She also manages to abuse the sweet Solomon (played by Ernie Hudson), the mentally disabled worker just trying to build a fence. She makes out to be a child molester when she’s done with him. But it’s the sassy Marlene Craven (played by Oscar-winner Julianne Moore) that gets the shitty end of the stick as she runs into a greenhouse to tell Claire about Peyton’s real past and takes in the back from falling glass and debris. But where Peyton really shines in her villainous ways is by breastfeeding Claire’s newborn baby Joey in the dark of night. You can shoot, kill, or torture a person, but taking the maternal place of a woman might be one of the lowest. It’s a work that not many people think of but all people should seek if you haven’t seen it.
WHAT DRIVES HER: See through nightgowns and the sexiest person to ever cut an apple and eat it while she watches someone die.
Time to include your own in the comments below.