Saturday, 15 October 2011

CRAIG'S 100 MOVIE VILLAINS - THE TOP 10!

Not long until my official film lists are finished but I am now relieved to finally finish my Top 10 Villains list. Boo hiss! Like with the Heroes, we've seen 90 contenders come and go but now we finally come to the dreaded Top 10 which contains some real badass men (and women!). Enjoy....


#10. MALEFICENT (ELEANOR AUDLEY)
SLEEPING BEAUTY (1959)
 
"You poor, simple fools. Thinking you could defeat me. *Me*, The Mistress of All Evil! Well, here's your precious princess!"

It's been many years since I watched the Disney classic Sleeping Beauty but the fact that I'm still able to include the greatest animated villainess in film history on this Top 10 shows just how memorable a villain Maleficent was. Dark, sinister and manipulative, this horny bitch (saying that because of her horns not something else....) proves dastardly when trying to stop Princess Aurora from becoming Queen of the kingdom. Throughout the film she threatens panic, lives in a dark castle with hundreds of minions and a pet companion and even has the ability to transform into a fire-breathing dragon! Vocal actress Eleanor Audley earlier in the decade voiced a more pleasant and popular character, the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella, though playing Maleficent was certainly an opposite role for her and provided the viewing public with a woman scorned by a younger beauty and determined to go to extreme lengths in order to get her own way. Since Sleeping Beauty, only Ursula from The Little Mermaid can come anywhere near as sinister a villainess when it comes to bad Disney bitches!



#9. NORMAN BATES (ANTHONY PERKINS)
PSYCHO (1960)

Uh-uh, Mother-m-mother, uh, what is the phrase? She isn't quite herself today


Alfred Hitchcock was always a genius when it came to sinister films and without doubt Psycho was his masterpiece. But it wasn't just that which made it his best film but it also gave us one of the great villains in Anthony Perkins's subdued but creepy Norman Bates, who has many surprises up his sleeves. When we first see him, he comes across as shy and reclusive but as the film progresses, his psychotic attitude comes into play especially when covering up his 'mothers' murder of leading woman Marion Crane. Once he gets found out in the final act, the twist (still legendary to this day) leaves us stunned yet fascinated about how messed up he really is, and certainly I won't spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen Psycho....though then again most of you HAVE to watch it. Perkin's film career never really took off after Psycho (though his performance is considered one of the great Oscar snubs in film history), instead he reprised the role in a couple of sequels but never quite hit the heights of his creepy study of a deranged monster. No one who saw Psycho never went near a shower for a good while either....


#8. LORD VOLDEMORT (RALPH FIENNES)
HARRY POTTER SERIES (2005-2011)

"I'm going to kill you, Harry Potter. I'm going to destroy you. After tonight, no one will ever again question my power. After tonight if they speak of you, they'll only speak of how you begged for death. And how I being a merciful Lord... obliged."

It was very close about which Ralph Fiennes villain I admired more. Yes Amon Goeth was a real guy with no compassion for the Jews, but in the end (and rather controversially) I chose Fiennes's more familiar and still hateful villain, Lord Voldemort, the wizard who seeks to kill Harry Potter throughout the popular fantasy franchise. His thirst for evil is confirmed by murdering Harry's parents and stirring up the conflict the young boy wizard must face during his hectic journey. Before Goblet of Fire, Voldemort had appeared as the back of Professor Qurrell's head and as a younger version who tackles Harry, but the involvement of Fiennes in the series proved a real coup for the producers in getting one of Britain's finest actors to play the role for the rest of the series. And it was a success as the darker the films got, the more spellbinding the series became with the recent conclusion Deathly Hallows Part Two allowing us to cheer on Harry one last time as he and his arch-nemesis lock horns in a fierce showdown. Magic!



#7. ANNIE WILKES (KATHY BATES)
MISERY (1990)


"I thought you were good Paul... but you're not good. You're just another lying ol' dirty birdy

Ahhhh my favourite film bitch. Kathy Bates in Oscar-winning form terrified audiences back in 1990 with her non-sweary but actually crazy book-fan who after rescuing writer Paul Sheldon from a car-crash ends up keeping him bedridden in her house. From then on, Paul's fate is left in an awkward and eventually terrifying position as Annie's obsession with his novels spirals out of control when she discovers his plan to kill off the leading character Misery. She forces him to rewrite the story and ends up drugging him, holding him hostage and when he gets found out regarding a secret bit of investigating, she decides to injure him in quite graphic fashion with a certain sledgehammer....Actress Bates may have looked frumpy when Misery made her a star but it allowed her to become more consistent with various other roles and help her become one of Hollywood's underrated stars. But as for her character Annie Wilkes, she thankfully gets her comeuppance in a quality fight scene that again lets us cheer Paul on, and yes there are times when it is wrong to hit a woman, but considering it's her, we'll make an exception!


#6. SCAR (JEREMY IRONS)
THE LION KING (1994)

I was first in line, until the little hair ball was born” 

Another all-time favourite villain (this time from the animated category) comes from the cunning and devious lion Scar in Disney's masterpiece The Lion King. Voiced splendidly by Jeremy Irons, Scar is one twisted beast as his jealousy over his nephew Simba being lined up as the king of Pride Rock sees him go to extreme lengths to take the role from him. He evilly tries to have Simba killed on a couple of occasions but eventually does the cruel deed of having his brother, the king of Pride Rock Mufasa, killed and blame the young cub for his death. All this to stand on top of a rock and look like being in authority. Irons like Alan Rickman and Ralph Fiennes has always been associated with playing good villains but it's his animated creature which gets the most boo-hiss jibes from audiences young and old. Echoes of Hamlet are obvious when you compare the characters and the story but thankfully little Simba grows big and gets his chance to avenge Mufasa's death with a fully-charged showdown against his uncle. And yes his own death scene is one to cheer again and again. Long live the king to you Scar....



#5. DARTH VADER (DAVID PROWSE)
STAR WARS SERIES (1977-1983)

“If you only knew the power of the Dark Side. Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father”

*Breathing heavily* The reason that the most iconic film villain in history isn't ranked number 1 is that unlike the other 9 on this list, his character actually does good in the climatic part of George Lucas's money-spinning franchise Star Wars in the final film; Return of the Jedi. But prior to that Darth Vader was complete evil as showcased by his entrance in A New Hope, straight away interrogating a Rebel and strangling him to death. And that voice from James Earl Jones....legendary. How Vader came to be is only mentioned in brief spells during the original trilogy, that is until Mr Lucas decided to focus on the rise to power of Vader through his human counterpart Anakin Skywalker in the prequel trilogy. It is the original films though where his evil dominates as he assists with the Empire's plans to destroy the Rebel Alliance and help rule the galaxy. A New Hope introduced us to him back in 1977 but for me, it's Empire Strikes Back where his nastiness is most clear. He helps the rejuvenated Empire 'strike back' by taking over Hoth, then pursuing the Millennium Falcon across the galaxy before blackmailing Lando Calrissian to betray Han Solo in the final 1/3. All this before his explosive showdown with Luke Skywalker which produces one of THE greatest twists ever....enough said.


#4. HANS GRUBER (ALAN RICKMAN)
DIE HARD (1988)

"I wanted this to be professional, efficient, adult, cooperative. Not a lot to ask. Alas, your Mr. Takagi did not see it that way... so he won't be joining us for the rest of his life"

With the Jeremy Irons and the Ralph Fiennes making themselves established British bad guys, it was a tough call over which of these actors could finished higher, but instead Alan Rickman nipped in and just misses out on the Top 3 for his devious turn as German terrorist Hans Gruber. Like co-star Bruce Willis, Rickman whilst older, was a virtual unknown when he landed the role of the big baddie in Die Hard, a summer release set at Christmas which became one of the most popular films of all time. Gruber is simply a thief but a damn good one who is prepared to stop at nothing to get his way. He leads his henchmen to hold civilians hostage, maliciously kills the owner of the Nakotoma Building and goes toe-to-toe with John McClaine while at the same time showing calmness and patience towards events happening outside. Only Rickman could display such a charming if venomous attitude which translated well into his later villainous roles including the Sheriff of Nottingham and Professor Snape. And yes even his death scene is quality enough though like several villains, it involves him falling off something....


#3. MOLA RAM (AMRISH PURI)
INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM (1984)


“You don't believe me, Dr. Jones? You will, Dr. Jones. You will become a true believer”

Into the Top 3, my earlier memories as a young boy, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was and still IS one of my most memorable films but one of the reasons for that was image and personality of cult villain Mola Ram. He stands out differently to most Jones villains with his bizarre hat with horns, his desire to kidnap children and make them slave away and his thirst for grabbing body parts. He is not a man to mess with. Most horrible of all was his black magic to convert Indy (briefly) into a bad guy and try and get him to almost kill his love interest Willy. All this just to get some sacred stones that may or may not be actually real (though his final moments prove that theory correctly)! Actor Amrish Puri never really became a household name with mainstream audiences apart from his Bollywood career and a small roles in the multi-Oscar winning Gandhi, but his contribution to one of the great franchises certainly made him memorable enough. Yes Balroq had the Nazi's and Donovan nearly killed Indy's dad and Irina Spalko was a mean bitch but Ram is simply scary, and basically a complete cult psycho! Luckily Indy did give him a decent death scene, meeting his god Kali....in hell!



#2. EMPEROR PALPATINE (IAN MCDIAMIRD)
STAR WARS: RETURN OF THE JEDI (1983)

"Good, I can feel your anger. I am defenceless. Take your weapon. Strike me down with all of your hatred and your journey towards the dark side will be complete!"

While everyone loves Darth Vader, they have to remember WHO was actually responsible for the lord becoming what he was. In Return of the Jedi, Emperor Palpatine was revealed to be the man who manipulated Vader to help wipe out the Jedi and lead the Empire during their quest to control the galaxy. He was then prepared to betray his apprentice to allow his son Luke Skywalker to take his place and turn to the dark side but Luke knew better unlike his father in the prequels. Hideous laughs and electric rays sum up the Emperor who really is the TRUE villain of the Star Wars saga, and that evil is only confirmed properly in the prequel trilogy where his rise to becoming Senator throughout, shows a man willing to control both sides of the Clone War for his own greed showing no sympathy for those who suffer. Like with some real-life politicians, Palpatine spins his web of lies fooling many people, as his hidden identity as the Sith Lord continues throughout the series. His cover is blown in Revenge of the Sith but he finally manages to gain power through brainwashing Anakin Skywalker with lies and soon the rise of the Empire becomes a reality. Like with other actors playing villains on this list, actor Ian McDiamird did a tolerable job playing the role in 5 of the 6 films despite never really hitting the heights as a big name, though still showed consistency as a supporting character actor. But even though his evil is unparalleled it isn't enough to make him number one....


#1. THE JOKER (HEATH LEDGER)
THE DARK KNIGHT (2008)

“I believe whatever doesn't kill you, simply makes you... Stranger!”

My number one villain is a character adapted from comic-books who made it onto the big screen and still remained as terrifying as ever whether he be on a page or a film. The Joker scared young readers and when Lou Romero played him on the small screen in the camp Batman series, he still made us shiver. And then the cool man that is Jack Nicholson looked to have gone the distance with making Joker a complete madman who grins the whole time as he lays out destruction and terror amongst Gotham City in Tim Burton's Batman (1988). Nobody thought he could get any better (or more evil for that fact). He did, and boy was it special. Christopher Nolan's gritty sequel The Dark Knight provided the reason why the Joker tops this list without a shadow of a doubt. When handsome Aussie Heath Ledger was cast as the psychotic criminal, many eyebrows (possibly even smiles) were raised over the casting but when the teaser appeared, a lot of minds were changed by how engaging and crazed Ledger made him. Tragically Ledger died a few months before the film was released thus ending a promising career that would have only got better after this performance. Joker is a master-class of pure evil. He does everything with the word 'kill'. Bumping off his henchmen in the opening bank robbery sequence, using a pen to kill someone, killing off Batman's love interest Rachel, brainwashing good guy Harvey Dent and basically killing anyone who he likes. There is no emotion, no guilt from this guy. He is a born psychopath who gets to Batman in many ways and ironically is one of only two villains on the Top 10 to actually survive by the end. While we're appalled by the Joker's actions, we also laud him as an awesome villain whose tricks and deeds do enough to actually cheer him on right to the very end. Mr Ledger's posthumous Oscar-win certainly put smiles on our faces!



Thanks everyone for taking time to read these lists, that's my Heroes/Villains list finished, hope there were some pleased customers. Indiana Jones and The Joker prove enough to win. Now the big one. It's going to be a while for me to comply my Top 100 films of all time but I've got this far and won't give up. Patience is required. Speak to y'all soon!

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