Happy Halloween! We celebrated last night. Our son dressed as Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes, and our daughter was a beautiful ballerina. Other than fighting over candy at 5:00 A.M. (our house this morning, apparently), Halloween is a time to reflect on our favorite bad guys from books, movies, and shows. Luckily, the fictional world is full of these dastardly bastards who propel our favorite plots forward into darker realms.
Be sure to leave your favorite villains in the comment section below!
Pennywise the Clown (It): I’ve been reading Stephen King’s It. I’ve got to say, after about 4 or 5 of his books, I’ve finally found one that’s actually scary, and easily the scariest book I’ve ever read. I love it. I guess anything involving kids being kidnapped or bullying each other with knives is freakishly scary to me.
(Funny story. We all remember when the miniseries aired on HBO in the late 80’s or early 90’s. My sister and I were being babysat by some high schoolers. We were supposed to be in bed, but we decided to sneak out and see what they were watching on TV. It was It. And it had just started. So we stood behind their couch, unbeknownst to them, and watched in glee as the little boy spoke to the funny clown hiding in the sewer with the floating balloons – they float! Well, you know how that memorable scene ends, and needless to say, those high school boys got the scare of their lives when we screamed bloody murder behind them just as the clown bared his sharp teeth and pulled the boy’s arm off. Surround sound at its best.)
Shane Walsh (The Walking Dead): One of the earlier bad guys from The Walking Dead. His blow-up moment brought about one of the most heart-wrenching and exciting moments in the series so far (I’m only on episode 4, so now spoilers, please). But remember that? He let all the walkers out of the Greene barn and forced everyone to shoot them in front of their family? Total, absolute freak.
Jack Welker (Breaking Bad): The a-hole who shot Hank point-blank in the face. Some would argue that Gus was a worse bad guy, but I kind of liked Gus. He was just trying to do his job and stay out of the limelight. But Jack made it a hobby to kill, kill, kill.
Gaston, (Beauty and the Beast, 1991): Sure, his songs are funny, and his oversized ego appeals to the vainest of the bunch, and really in the end, all he wants is the girl. But the key trait here in this guy that makes him so villainous is his determination. I mean, he’s willing to pull a Hatfield & McCoy over the town sweetheart, imagine if he got her in the end. What would he chase after next? Money? Power? Fame? I shudder to think of the lengths this guy would go to to achieve such ends. Best line: “I’d like to thank you all for coming to my wedding. But first I’d better go in there and propose to the girl.”
Howard Payne (Speed, 1994): Dennis Hopper may not have been the best choice to play this bomb-happy psychopath, but it’s sure fun to watch him hijack everything from elevators to buses to subways, even if his driving motive (pun intended) was just a briefcase full of money. Best line: “Pop quiz, hot shot.”
Mr. Fallon (Reign Over Me, 2007): I think B.J. Navak (of Office fame) may have a thing for playing the jerk on screen, no matter how small the role. In his three to four minutes of screen time in Adam Sandler’s most worthy movie, Mr. Fallon, the prosecuting attorney makes a show of shoving a family portrait in front of a grieving widower’s face. I don’t care who you are, that’s just low, and worthy of a few punches and a straight jacket. Best line: (After the judge repeatedly tells him to shut up and asks, “Do you hear me?”) “Yes… shut up.”
Jimmy Shaker (Ransom, 1996): This guy just never gives up! In possibly Ron Howard’s darkest movie, Gary Sinise plays Detective Jimmy Shaker, the mastermind who kidnaps a billionaire’s son and holds him for ransom. Even when he’s painted up against a wall, this bad guy continues to find ways to weasel out and keep robbing the rich. If every bad guy from here till the end of movies were played by Gary Sinise, I would have no problem with that. Best line: “Anything goes wrong, you’re gonna turn around and I’ll be gone, okay? And if that happens, from this day on, anytime your kid leaves this house to go to school, go play, to see a friend, to buy a … comic book, you’re gonna have to ask yourself: Is today … Jimmy Shaker day?”
Hades (Hercules, 1997): Scar was the runner-up for this slot. Both villains succeeded in killing the movie’s key protagonists (Scar/Mufasa; Hades/Hercules), and yes Mufasa stayed dead while Hercules came back because of a minor technicality, but Hades does have one thing over on Scar: he may not have a cool theme song, but he sure is funnier. Best line: “We dance, we kiss, we schmooze, we carry on, we go home happy. What do you say?”
President Snow (The Hunger Games, 2012): The guy sends kids into an arena every year to force them to kill each other for entertainment. That’s just sick. Plus, his breath smells of blood. Best line: “Welcome. And happy Hunger Games.”
Commodus (Gladiator, 2000): Technically, he’s based off of a real person, so he’s the least fictional of this bunch. But Commodus has to be President Snow’s distant ancestor or something. The only reason I think he’s a tad bit worse than President Snow is because he makes it so personal. That, and he’s totally got the hots for his own sister. That’s just nasty. Best line: “It vexes me. I’m terribly vexed.”
Joker (The Dark Knight, 2008): Of course no villain list would be complete without Heath Ledger’s infamous Joker. Nothing can be more terrifying than a villain who has no motive but to spread chaos and destruction. That means there’s nothing anyone can do to deter him. Money is no object, arresting him only stalls him for a day or two… the guy’s a genius and a sicko. Any villain would be hard-pressed to out-bad Joker, unless you’re… Best line: “How ’bout a magic trick?”
Lotso (Toy Story 3, 2010): That’s right. This pink strawberry-smelling teddy bear is the second worst bad guy in all the movies I’ve ever seen, more evil than even Joker. Joker was never shown grace, nor had his life saved, that we know of. But Lotso had a chance at redemption. And really, he’s just a bit sicker than Joker because he knew the toys whom he sent to their doom personally, and he really had no reason to not stop the stupid conveyer belt. Plus, any enemy of Woody is an enemy of mine. Best Line: “Where’s your kid now, Sherif?”
Col. William Tavington (The Patriot, 2000): Yes. The man I’ve loved to hate for the last thirteen years. I mean, he shoots a young kid in cold blood, he commands injured soldiers to be shot, he convinces General Cornwallis to overstep the rules of war, he burns down a church filled with innocent people… the only thing I regret is that he wasn’t hacked to death the way that one soldier was earlier on in the film. Best line: “You know, it’s an ugly business doing one’s duty … but just occassionally it’s a real pleasure.”