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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Best Villians Make Me Cry

Everyone knows the iconic villians, the anti-heroes everyone knows (listed randomly, in no order of preference):

Jack Nicholson’s Joker, Darth Vader, the Wicked Witch of the West, Lord Voldemort, Freddy Kruger, Hannibal Lecter, Jack Torrance from The Shining.

I’ve always been intrigued by the villians that were especially creepy and twisted because of a horrible backstory or other circumstance, where you can understand why they’ve become villians. The kind of characters where you almost root for them to win, or at the very least feel sad when they lose (or die). The ones that stick with you, and you can’t forget them even if you wanted to. That's what I'm truly excited for whenever I pick up a book or sit down to a movie. The right villain.

One of the best examples of this is Loki from Thor/Avengers, played by Tom Hiddleston.
 The character is extremely complex, conflicted, and above all: twisted. He has such a sad backstory, his mind has been jaded over time and he’s viciously gifted. Each time he has ‘died,’ it literally pulls on my heart to see him perish. I cry every time he suffers.

Another example is Mr. Silva from James Bond Skyfall, played by Javier Bardem.
Mr Silva
The man was so emotionally and physically tortured, I could understand why he’d become so evil. To be honest, I think anyone under his circumstances could have easily turned to ‘the dark side’ like him. He was so creepy, and elegant terrifying until he removed his facial implant. Then there was nothing elegant about him. At the very end, you could see the torture bubble to the surface and play out on his face and in his actions with M (Judy Dench). His performance has stuck with me ever since the first time I saw it.

A final example is King Commodus from Gladiator, played by Joaquin Phoenix.
All he wanted was his father’s approval, acceptance, and love. And boy, does he fail on so many levels. That failure morphs into a homicidal jealousy towards Maximus (Russell Crow), patricide, and a sickening attraction to his sister. Not to mention power-hungry, and a thirst for blood. By the end of the story, he’s made it so easy to hate this villain, and so easy for me to watch it over and over again. He’s just that evil.

There are so many other villians that fit this description. That have stayed with me over the years. But I want to hear from you. 

Who are some of your favorite villians, and why?


  1. I tend to watch mysteries or romantic comedies. I don't like villains or anything/one scary. I had to give up reading thrillers because I couldn't sleep at night and had night mares. I don't watch any of the "creepy/villainous" shows and usually close my eyes during the commercials for them. I have watched Skyfall and loved everyone but the bad guy. I can barely remember him because I probably closed my eyes during those scenes... I love the Sherlock Holmes movies with Robert Downey Jr. but there are several scenes in those movies, I haven't watched completely. I know, I'm a wuss! LOL The abominable snowman in Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer scared me as a kid. I'd sit on the stair every Christmas time and watch the show until the abominable snowman came on then I'd go to bed.
    This is a great post!!

  2. Interesting post. I've always heard that we should make our bad guys have one endearing characteristic -- maybe they love puppies or give part of their loot to an orphanage. It makes sense that a villain who has a reason for being evil would be more believable and interesting. I'm reminded of Scrooge from A Christmas Carol. His history led to his becoming a curmudgeon!

  3. I only like villains who are so evilly comical at some point that I laugh. I'm an odd person. I can write vilains, but can't handle reading about ones written by another author or watching them in movies. I did like the evil dude in Skyfall, but then it was a Bond movie and I'm a Bond fanatic from the mid-sixties. Great post.


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