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Our 10 Favorite Cinematic Bad Guys - 12 Days of TMA

We continue our 12 Days of The Movie Advocate with our 10 favorite cinematic bad guys. Enjoy!

Luke's List

10. The Horned King - The Black Cauldron

The Disney Execs have made their fair share of baffling decisions, but the choice to adapt the second book in a series drawing influence from some of the darker corners of Welsh Mythology has to be one of the stranger choices. But I like a company that takes risks. Especially when that risk is to make a children's movie whose main antagonist is essentially the Devil. Nice Disney ... real nice.

9. Chief Inspector Charles LaRousse Dreyfus - A Shot in the Dark

Not a traditional "bad guy," per se, but still essentially the antagonist in A Shot in the Dark, and one who, to this Pink Panther fan, is just as recognizable and lovable as Inspector Clouseau

8. Rainbow Randolph - Death to Smoochy

Another nontraditional "bad guy," but it's one of Robin Williams' best and most memorable roles as far as I'm concerned. He does some incredibly morally reprehensible things in this movie, without ever really making us hate him. To still, even a little, be rooting for Randolph by the end of the movie is a feat not unworthy of mention.

7. The Plague aka Eugene Belford - Hackers

Fisher Stevens plays an unforgettable old guy who knows a little bit too much about youth culture. Not quite to the point of being a creeper, his riding around on a skateboard and unstoppable desire to get those darn kids for encroaching on his turf and discovering that he's using his kid powers for evil. I think he's more iconic to me than a great deal of other, more traditional baddies purely because of how laughably out of touch he seems ... even if he really does know the Hacking game pretty dang well.

6. The Old God - The Gate

A second "devil" style bad guy, this unnamed Old God is the greasiest, most terrifying image I have from my childhood. I was an impressionable child to say the least, and how this movie slipped past the guard tower I'll never know, but, even looking at it today, it still gives me shivers. Just look at it.

Editor's note - I couldn't find a picture of the Old God, but you should seriously just watch The Gate, it's awesome.

5. The Creature - DeepStar Six

This thing is gross, and absolutely terrifying. The team behind this includes some Huge names in creature creation, namely Mark Shostrom who has almost literally seen and done it all. You can tell his touch with a glance at his work. When you see this thing for the first time, you'll flip out. This movie is poorly rated because it came out the same year as like 7 other deep ocean horror movies. Revisit it, I'm tellin ya.

4. Biff - Back to the Future

I'm trying to keep my mentioning of the BttF series to a minimum, because I've seen over like 2000 movies, and I don't want to keep talking about the same ones. But Biff is just one of the most classic antagonists ever. This guy is there in every era, it would seem purely so that there is someone to take down the McFly's.

3. Gideon Gordon Graves - Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

I'll always be a fan of anything Jason Schwartzman does. That said, I think that even if I didn't like him, this role would have made me fall in love with him. Again, not a traditional "baddie," but, frankly, I've never held a huge amount of adoration towards the "classic" baddies like Freddy and Jason. I am certainly a product of my generation, in that I'm sick of those guys. Gimme something I can sink my teeth into. Gimme my partner's more attractive, more successful, cooler ex-partner. That's a baddie I can hate.

2. The Joker - Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker

Okay, so the Joker is well known to be one of the most idolized bad guys out there. But that's Burton's Joker, and Nolan's Joker. Not the Paul Dini Joker. This Joker is messed up. I won't ruin anything about the movie if you haven't seen it, but there are a myriad of good reasons this "kids" movie was edited down after Columbine. I still recommend only seeing the "unedited" version though, if only to see how twisted this story is.

1. The Thing - The Thing (1982)

An ever changing, ever adapting, unknowable killing machine? From Rob Bottin's capable hands came a creature that is undefinable, unknowable, and, essentially, invisible ... even though it's probably right next to you. He took shadows and made them a visceral thing. He turned the dark into The Thing. Pure Terror.Ryan's List:
10. The Sanderson Sisters - Hocus Pocus

Because those kids are fucking annoying.

9. SMARTSHARKS!!! - Deep Blue Sea

SMARTSHARKS!!!!!!! They’re so awesome! SMAAAAARTSHAAAARKS

8. The Bat/Pig Flu - Contagion

Runner-up, Gwyneth Paltrow. What a bitch.

7. Elsa the Hot Nazi - Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade

Because she looks hot in a pencil skirt, is greedy for religious iconography, and gets stuck a rat coffin at one point. Her delivery of the line “You zaid go beetvveeen them!” is magical.
6. Michael Myers - Halloween

The only consistently scary slasher movie killer (and yes, I’m counting Leatherface). Even in the lesser Halloween sequels, he still manages to be unnerving – the Shatner mask helps a lot, as does his non-reliance on a signature weapon – he just uses what’s handy.

5.The Heathers - Heathers

“Fuck me gently with a chainsaw.” Long live Martha Dumptruck.

4. The Man With the Keys - E.T.

Although he ultimately turns into a benign force near the end of the movie, Peter Coyote’s unnamed government agent’s appearances in the beginning are so sinister he injects the entire movie with an undercurrent of dread. He is literally a spectre of adulthood haunts Elliot and co. They flee from him; but ultimately can’t help turning into him. “He came to me, too, Elliot.” Get it…?

3. Mad Madame Mim - The Sword in the Stone

I realize that I’m already at number 3 and so far none of my favorite villains are, you know, actual human beings – I’ll get to them. Madame Mim, like Malificent, has rather mysterious motivations. She apparently wants to kill a child (disguised as a bird), to prove to Merlin that she’s a better Wizard, or something? Also, if you can turn yourself into a pretty slip of a supermodel with just the snap of your fingers, why wouldn’t you just make that your default, instead of looking like a old hag all the time? That aside, I think she’d be fun to be friends with.

2. Gremlins - Gremlins

What are Gremlins anyway? Are they supernatural? Kind of – they have arbitrary rules to follow. Are they Chinese? I think so. Patient Zero (Gizmo) appears to be fluent in Mandarin and lives in an Asian junk shop in Chinatown. Why are they such assholes? Who knows! Mayhem is fun, and they are relatively easy to kill. (A note to Hollyweird: I’m positive you’re gonna remake this any second now and I implore you not to.)

1. Maleficent - Sleeping Beauty

Perhaps the only legitimately scary Disney villain and most definitely the hottest. Mostly I appreciate that her entire motivation as a character is that she’s pissed that she wasn’t invited to a BABY SHOWER, so she decides to MURDER A CHILD in the most complicated and time-consuming way possible (involving a fucking magic spinning wheel, and a 16-year conspiracy). Plus she can turn into a dragon at will.

Justin's List:
10. Coffin Joe - At Midnight I'll Take your Soul, This Night I'll Possess your Corpse, Awakening the Beast

Coffin Joe is full of empty threats, misogyny, and gross long fingernails. He's such a ridiculous character that even accounting for almost 50 years, and Joe being from a different country, he's still completely ridiculous. That said, I find him strangely compelling. In his first movie, At Midnight, I'll Take your Soul, we're introduced to Coffin Joe as he scandalously eats red meat on a Friday! Oh no, take that Pope! There's no one else like Coffin Joe in all of cinema though.
9. Street Toughs – Death Wish Series

Anyone who dates Charles Bronson is asking for it. The street toughs in each of the 5 Death Wish movies will probably rape and murder you if you have anything to do with Bronson. Aside from sporting generally awesome fashions and hair cuts, the gangs that have terrorized Paul Kersey have featured such luminaries as Ted from Bill and Ted, Laurence Fishburne, and Jeff Goldblum.
8. Vampires - The Lost Boys

The last time that vampires were cool. Who wouldn't want to join Keifer Sutherland and his band of boardwalk punks as they listened to Jim Morrison and harassed tourists? They didn't sparkle and they sure as hell didn't hang out at a high school.

7. Rhoda Penmark - The Bad Seed (1956)

The number one reason why I haven't had kids yet. OK, maybe not. Rhoda from The Bad Seed is an evil hell spawn with the smile of an angel. The Bad Seed is a seriously creepy and entertaining horror movie.

6. Michael Myers – Halloween Series

A lumbering juggernaut who can separate the virgins from the victims. I prefer Myers to Jason because nothing about him is supernatural per se.

5. Dr. Phibes - The Abominable Dr. Phibes/Dr. Phibes Rises Again

Philbes is probably my favorite Vincent Price villain. With the help of his lovely assistant, Vulnavia, Phibes comes up with the most ridiculous ways to dispatch his enemies. Take for example, the first murder in Dr. Phibes Rises again. In it, Phibes releases a bunch of fake, wind-up snakes to attack a bodyguard. The bodyguard becomes wise to the fake snakes just before a real one bites him! No big deal, the bodyguard cuts open the wound, sucks the venom out and goes to call poison control. However, when he tries to call, a spike shoots out of the receiver and into his brain! Evil!

4. The Turnbull AC’s/The Orphans/The Baseball Furies/The Lizzies/The Punks/The Rogues/The Riffs/The Hurricanes/The Boppers/The Hi-Hats/The Electric Eliminators/The Savage Huns/The Moonrunners/ The Saracens/Satan’s Mothers/The Jones Street Boys/The Van Cortlandt Raiders/The Boyle Avenue Runners/The Gladiators/The Panzers/etc. – The Warriors

The number and variety of rival gangs in The Warriors is staggering. One is based on baseball, one is super broke, one is for girls, and one looks like a bunch of gay guys who are out clubbing. It's a wonder The Warriors ever made it back to Coney Island.

3. Harry Powell – Night of the Hunter

Probably the scariest one on this list. I've met people with love and hate tattoos on their knuckles who didn't get it. The only thing scarier than a bad guy who knows that they're bad is one who can justify their badness.

2. Joker – The Dark Knight

Heath Ledger's Joker is iconic bad guy performance of the last decade. No one comes close, and time will tell its influence. I feel so sorry for Tom Hardy having to live up to comparisons for Bane in the sequel.

1. Freddy Kruger – A Nightmare on Elm Street series

Freddy captured my imagination more than any other filmic bad guy and was probably responsible for more bad dreams growing up than anything else. As my friends know from our 24 hour film fests, I'm incapable of staying up for more than about 22 hours. The thought of someone waiting there at hour 23 to get me is terrifying.

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Relevant to: Our 10 Favorite Cinematic Bad Guys - 12 Days of TMA + TIME


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