Who comes to mind when I think of my favourite villains? Whoever asks me to come up with a definite top ten that’s who! These things are my ultimate nemesis as, come tomorrow, I will remember someone who absolutely should have made the list! I can almost hear Hans Gruber shouting ‘what about meeeeeee?’ as he tumbles from a skyscraper or Gozer the Gozarian preparing to trample on every church in my neighbourhood. But sitting here writing this, on the week leading up to Halloween, these are my choices. Only a villain would judge me, right?
Of course the Napoleon of Crime needs to be included. He’s the blueprint for so many of my favourite bad guys and gals. Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Doctor Who’s Master. Even in some ways the Joker. A mind equal, if not greater, to that of his nemesis who has set himself at the centre of an international web of intrigue and all with the simplest of motivations: money and power, controlling the world from the shadows.
Is Jareth a villain? That’s a question I’ve been asking since I first became obsessed by Labyrinth as a kid. Or is he more of a trickster God wanting to show Sarah the error of her ways? Either way, he can belt out a tune and looks great in tights.
Oh, I wanted to include Maul on this list, truly I did, but how could I leave the Dark Lord of the Sith out of the mix? One part Frankenstein monster, one part angst-ridden Dracula scarred by his lost love, more machine than man. Plus, let’s face it, a nightmare boss if Empire Strikes Back has anything to do with it.
So many Stephen King villains to choose from, so little space. I whittled them down to Annie or Pennywise, but terrifying though the Dancy Clown is, Annie is actually so much scarier, especially these days where certain elements of fandoms can be… demanding. Can you imagine Annie on Twitter? Shudder.
Does a villain have to be a person? Oh no, no, no. Shirley Jackson taught us all that a place can have the darkest heart of all.
Why is the Babadook here? Because the Babadook is the ultimate villain for so many of us and one that its monstrously hard to overcome, a villain that is all-consuming and oh-so-destructive. The Babadook is grief.
Oh the slashers I could have included. Michael so nearly made the list, Pinhead too for that matter, but Candyman is head and shoulders above the rest. His sole purpose is to spread terror so his name is remembered, a legacy written in blood, becoming the monster that others said he was, turning his curse back on those who cursed him.
To be honest, I could have easily come up with a list of my favourite villains played by Christopher Lee, but out of all of his many, many roles, Lord Summerisle stands tall. He knows the religion his father invented in bunkum, absolutely knows it, but carries on regardless and why…? To secure the harvest? No, oh Jesus Christ no. It’s all to save his aristocratic skin, the bounder.
I once experience the joy of watching Psycho with someone who had absolutely no idea about Norman’s secret life. The ultimate reveal about his mother shook their world and displayed Hitchcock’s absolute genius. Is Norman himself a victim? Absolutely. Is he a villain? Same answer.
The ultimate villain. Why? Well, the man feeds babies to his wives. Babies. Not good enough for you? Okay then, he’s not only the ultimate villain, he’s the ultimate leech. Yeah, yeah, depending on what version you’re reading / watching, he says he wants to rekindle his old love, but at the end of the day, Drac just wants to survive at any cost and it doesn’t matter who dies to keep in unholy heart beating. Also, the baby thing is still pretty hard to forgive.
Like Cavan’s list? Then check out his latest release from Vault Comics, Shadow Service.