Tis the season to completely ignore stereotype. So, since it is the holidays, I figured I would do a nice holiday themed post. Then thought, to hell with that. So, during this time of gift giving and merriment, I am doing a post on some of the all time great movie villains. These are not going to be listed in any specific order because they are all different types of “baddies” but I picked a few that I thought stole the show and far surpassed the protagonist.
Darth Vader – James Earl Jones: (Star Wars Trilogy)
One of the most recognizable voices in American cinematic history lent his deep baritone to bring to life one of the most notorious villains on-screen – and he didn’t even have to physically play him to accomplish this feat. Jones was not the man in the suit, but he gave an eerily calm, yet menacing and dangerous, vocal quality to bring to life the man dressed in black. It is impressive that only ones voice can accomplish all these nefarious implications which is why Darth Vader makes the list.
Miss Agatha Trunchbull- Pam Ferris: (Matilda)
Where the previous entry on this list was fantastic because of its understated quality, this female baddie is exactly the opposite. Loud, brash, violent, obnoxious, dangerous and disgusting, Pam Ferris’ portrayal of “The Trunchbull” is hideously perfect. As a brawny, muscular middle-aged woman serving as the remorseless headmistress of an elementary school, infamous for her amazingly foul acts of abuse against pupils as punishment for the most insignificant of misdeeds- “The Trunchbull” takes all the exaggerated infractions ever told by a child to their parent in the history of the world and combines them into one hell of a frightening woman whom Ferris seems to embrace with panache. This is why she makes the the list as well.
The Joker- Heath Ledger: (The Dark Knight)
While Batman is supposed to be the obvious focus of this movie, it was Heath Ledger as “The Joker” that made this film worth watching. The brilliant portrayal of this psychotic character whose only objective is to create mayhem was perfectly achieved by Ledger whose scarily jovial Joker’s next action was anyone’s guess. Tragically this was Ledgers last completed film, but his terrifyingly fascinating character ensures his immortality.
Annie Wilkes- Kathy Bates: (Misery)
I am not going to lie to you boys and girls, I am admitting my extreme wimpy nature at this moment, but it took me three tries to completely finish this movie. I just could not handle the unbelievable amount of tension that this film creates. Kathy Bates plays a seemingly normal character who turns out to be- straight jacket crazy. Bates portrayed this to perfection, creating a woman who, on the outset, seems totally sane, goes on to do terrible things. Although, as she says in the film, she truly regrets having to cause bodily harm it is what she truly believes has to be done.
Hans Landa- Christoph Waltz: (Inglorious Basterds)
In this role, Christoph Waltz taught the world that a good villain is never in a hurry. In this film Waltz plays the ruthless and cunning German Nazi Col. Hans Landa in the Quinton Tarantino film “Inglorious Basterds.” Tarantino is known for his strong villains and Landa is no exception. Known as “The Jew Hunter,” Landa is responsible for the capture and execution of countless Jews and captivated audiences with his ability to match pure evil with charm and poise. A combination not often seen in such a movie role.
Miranda Priestly- Meryl Streep: (The Devil Wears Prada)
You might be thinking to yourself at this moment that this entry is a strange one amongst all of these other outright murderous villains. But this is my list, so I can do what I want. I admit, that it is a bit strange, but in the opinion of this humble blogger, this is one of the better female villains to be seen in a long while! Meryl Streep plays this fashonista in a way that I do not think anyone else could have done. She is meant to be the “dragon lady” boss, so naturally I thought she would be loud and bitchy. Streep takes this powerful woman and never speaks above a soft tone, but somehow, this makes her character absolutely terrifying. Her soft tone, withering looks and the slight inflection in her voice, somehow makes this immaculate woman a force that cannot be challenged and even made me feel uncomfortable watching it. However, the true mark of greatness of this performance is the fact that I could not remember for the life of me who the main character was in this movie. The one who has the story we are supposed to care about. I asked all my friends in the room and all of them remembered Meryl Streep as the scary boss, but drew a blank on “that annoying girl.” Therefore, I add Mrs. Streep to the list.
Loki-Tom Hiddleston: (Thor 1 & 2, Avengers)
The initial success of Thor was likely due, in part, to Tom Hiddleston’s portrayal of “Loki.” Hiddleston did an excellent job of bringing “Loki” to life, so much so that his character quickly became the fan favorite, even above the film’s actual super hero -Thor. His portrayal was so good that the rest of the actors were criticized by audiences for being lackluster. Hiddleston’s sarcastic, slippery, slightly crazy and surprisingly (at times) vulnerable portrayal of this villain in 3 movies is what pulls him up onto this list.
Hannibal Lecter- Anthony Hopkins: (The Silence of the Lambs)
Based on a real serial killer, (that’s right people, I said REAL) Hannibal Lecter was an entirely mesmerizing character. Hopkins’ portrayal of the murderous cannibal doctor is beyond unsettling. His soft spoken elegance, manners and charm while discussing and committing heinous acts make him sickeningly fascinating to watch. This performance is widely considered to be one of the best performances, villain or otherwise, of all time. Because of his fantastic performance I decided to use Hopkins to round out the list.