The problem with ‘best of’ lists is that there are so god damn many of them. For this, my list of favorite movie villains, I’m going to do my best to avoid the usual choices, like Darth Vader, Hannibal Lector, Norman Bates or Dracula. I’m aiming for something a little more original, though I seriously doubt I’ll achieve it.

These are in no particular order, and are steaming with spoilers, by the way.

See Part One Here


Lee Woo-jin



As Played By: Yu Ji-tae

As Seen In: Oldboy (2003)

Back Story: Seriously, if you haven’t seen Oldboy yet skip this entry, it’s one movie I’d hate to spoil for anyone. Lee Woo-jin at first appears as some kind of Korean answer to Lex Luthor – a wealthy and eccentric man with a mysterious past and an axe to grind with our hero, Oh Dae-su. Early indicators seem to point to a certain joy in his game, sort of like the Joker or the Riddler, but his means and Freudian-laced mental damage puts his vengeance in a more Lex Luthorian mind set, at least in my eyes.

Most Villainous Acts: Woo-jin’s crimes are mostly clinical and detached, such as having a man kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years, or paying a man enough money to willingly give up his own hand, but sometimes his true savagery peeks through his clean cut façade. When his sister’s honor is challenged Woo-jin reacts with vicious violence, marking the one time in his adult life he loses his cool. His 15-year plan of calculated vengeance against Dae-Su is so intricately plotted one almost forgives his villainy, but his sheer destruction of Dae-Su’s character is hardly minor league stuff.

Most Villainous Dialogue: “I’m going to kill every woman you love until you die. You’re notorious for not protecting your women.”

Are Comeuppance Received?: No. In the end Woo-jin is the victor in his game with Dae-su, and with no vengeance left to live for he calmly kills himself on his terms.

Evilness Score (out of 5):



When considering Woo-jin’s evil, we should probably consider that his need for vengeance came out of love, really fucked up love, but love nonetheless.


Col. Ives / F.W. Colqhoun



As Played By: Robert Carlyle

As Seen In: Ravenous (1999) directed by Antonia Bird.

Back Story: The back story presented by wondering traveler F.W. Colqhoun is obviously laced with lies, but with-in the lies must be some truth. At some point while passing through the Sierra Nevada Mountains a group of travelers led by one Col. Ives were trapped, and had to resort to cannibalism to survive. When Ives realizes the eating of human flesh allows him to absorb the strength and essence of that person, he snaps and kills every member of his party. After eating the last of his party, Ives goes looking for more food, and to recruit more cannibals, which he’ll need to hold a position on the trade route to the Pacific Ocean.

(Note, it is never 100% clear if Ives is pretending to be Colqhoun, or if Colqhoun is pretending to be Ives, but most clues point to the former)

Most Villainous Acts: Well, besides killing and eating men, women and children, and putting into effect a plan to become a king of a cannibal nation, Ives is a pretty nice guy.

Most Villainous Dialogue: “Morality – the last bastion of a coward”

Are Comeuppance Received?: Yes. In the end our hero Capt. Boyd fights Ives, and though out-matched, manages to lead him into a giant bear trap. Boyd and Ives are both crushed to death, but Boyd manages to hold on just long enough to make sure Ives is dead.

Evilness Score (out of 5):



Col. Ives is a right bastard and a textbook psychopath. Even when he shows compassion it’s only out of self-interest. And I think eating women and children puts you into some special category of evil.


Dr. Carl Hill



As Played By: David Gale

As Seen In: The Re-Animator (1985) directed by Stuart Gordon and Bride of Re-Animator (1991) directed by Brian Yuzna.

Back Story: Carl Hill was once a respected doctor and teacher at Miskatonic University, who was known for his theories on brain death and re-animation. One day he meets a young Megan Halsey, daughter of Miskatonic Dean Alan Halsey, and is smitten. Much to Hill’s chagrin, Megan is already in love with an up and coming medical student named Dan Cain. Unable to compete with Cain’s youth and good looks Hill hatches a plan, using his knowledge of hypnotism to plant seeds of doubt in Dean Halsey’s mind.

Meanwhile, a young upstart named Herbert West appears at Miskatonic, and a mutual animosity between he and Hill is almost instantly sparked. West seduces Cain with his patented re-agent, which is proven to bring the dead back to life. Hill tries to take advantage of Cain and West’s misadventures, but when attempting to blackmail West Hill’s head ends up separated from his body, and later both parts re-animated.

(Note: I toyed with the idea of marking Herbert West as one of my favorite movie villains, but realized that West’s more villainous actions really come out of a misguided drive for success, and a general lack of empathy. He’s a villain, but not the antagonist of the film)

Most Villainous Acts: Hill lobotomizes Dean Halsey and several other re-animated corpses and uses his mind control to make them his slaves. He then uses his slaves to attempt to kill Cain and West, and kidnap Megan Halsey, who he proceeds to sexually assault with his own severed head. Of course none of this compares to his attempts at stealing the patent to West’s re-agent.

Most Villainous Dialogue: “Mr. West, may I suggest you get yourself a pen?!”

Are Comeuppance Received?: You’d think that having your body explode and your severed head crushed to a bloody pulp would be enough to count a villain down and out, but apparently West’s re-agent works better then even he though, because Hill’s noggin was back for part two. His whereabouts post-1991 are unknown.

Evilness Score (out of 5):



Hill’s evil comes from his passion, and he really doesn’t do anything that bad until after his death. Still, plagiarism is a pretty evil deed…


Johnny Wong



As Played By: Anthony Wong Chau-Sang

As Seen In: Hard Boiled (1992) directed by John Woo.

Back Story: Anthony Wong has portrayed some ace assholes in his day (though lately he plays good guys, like in the beloved Infernal Affairs movies, the first of which is basically a remake of Hard Boiled), but Johnny Wong simply epitomizes everything we love in a good Triad baddy. Johnny is a slime bag of the highest order, who rises to the top of the Triad pyramid after recruiting undercover cop ‘Alan’ to kill his older, wiser, and more level headed competition. Johnny keeps a secret arsenal of weapons in the basement of a reputable hospital. When Alan and detective ‘Tequila’ discover the weapons cache, and threaten his operation, Johnny effectively takes the entire hospital hostage.

Most Villainous Acts: Most of Johnny’s dirty work is done by his number one henchman, Mad Dog, but the attack on the hospital, the gunning down of dozens of innocent bystanders, and the planting of bombs is all Johnny’s responsibility. Wong even kills Mad Dog when the principled villain objects to the slaughter of patients.

Most Villainous Dialogue: “Everything goes out of style, except war, of course.” (or something to that effect, considering possible translation errors)

Are Comeuppance Received?: Yep, after taking Alan hostage and forcing Tequila’s hand, Johnny takes a bullet right smack in the eyeball.

Evilness Score (out of 5):



Johnny Wong basically has zero redeeming qualities, and his willingness to open machine gun fire on a room of sick and injured men, women and children is pretty much the last straw. That, and he has one of the meanest sneers in film villain history.


Death



As Played By: Creepy Shadows

As Seen In: Final Destination (2000) directed by James Wong, Final Destination 2 (2003) directed by David R. Ellis, and Final Destination 3 (2006) directed by James Wong. There is a similar character in the 1983 film Sole Survivor diected by
Thom Eberhardt, but that version of Death uses zombies to do his/her bidding rather than coincidence.

Back Story: Death has a job to do, he/she kills people. He/she doesn’t take his/her job personally, he/she just does what is necessary. It’s only business. But when some wiseass kids start recognizing his/her design, death has some cleaning up to do, and every time he/she has to take the time to hunt down and kill another brat that got away, someone else goes unkilled, creating a quagmire of overtime work. That’s when death gets pissed.

Most Villainous Acts: Highlights of Death’s recent career in Rube Goldbergian murder include: strangling Tod Waggner with a shower chord, stabbing and exploding Valerie Lewton, decapitating Billy Hitchcock, dropping a neon sign on Carter Horton, impaling Even Lewis’ eye with a metal ladder, crushing Tim Carpenter with a plate glass window, slowly decapitating Nora Carpenter in an elevator, pushing Kat Jennings’ head through a pole, cutting Rory Peter’s body into chunks with a barbed wire fence, and blowing up Eugine Dix and Clear Rivers. Some other stuff happens in the third movie as well, but I’d say his/her biggest claim to fame was splattering Terry Chaney across her friend’s faces with a speeding bus.

Most Villainous Dialogue: “Indistinctly whispered threats and wind noises.”

Are Comeuppance Received?: Nope, you can’t kill Death, you can only slow him/her down with dogmatic red tape

Evilness Score (out of 5):



One tends to like many of these characters, but Death can’t really be blamed for doing his/her job, though I suppose his/her sense of humor is a little dastardly.