Top 20 Villains of All Time
20. JACK TORRANCE
WHY HIM: Driven mad by the isolation of a haunted hotel, Jack Nicholson’s disturbed novelist in The Shining is an argument for the benefit of crowds.
MOST EVIL QUOTE: ”I’m not gonna hurt you. I’m just gonna bash your brains in. I’m gonna bash them right the f— in!”
LEAST BADASS MOVE: Enjoys typing.
BIGGEST WEAKNESS: Poor at mazes.
19. ALEX FORREST
WHY HER: You can’t ignore her — Glenn Close’s woman scorned from Fatal Attractionis every straying man’s loco nightmare.
MOST EVIL MOVE: Boiling the bunny.
BIGGEST WEAKNESS: Wives who stand by their man.
COPYCAT DESCENDANTS: Rebecca De Mornay in The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, Drew Barrymore in Poison Ivy.
18. GORDON GEKKO
WHY HIM: All the oily dudes responsible for today’s economic meltdown and your decimated 401(k)? Meet their Wall Street role model (Michael Douglas). No bonus for you, Gekko!
MOST EVIL QUOTE: ”Greed…is good.”
LEAST BADASS MOVE: Getting outsmarted by Charlie Sheen. Charlie Sheen!
BEST ACCESSORIES: Trouser braces, hair gel by the pound, and shoebox-size cell phones.
BIGGEST WEAKNESS: Wiretaps.
17. MICHAEL MYERS
WHY HIM: When he terrorized his first teens in 1978’s Halloween, he left a trail of blood that unstoppable movie psychopaths are still following.
BEST ACCESSORIES: A big freakin’ knife and customized Captain Kirk mask.
COPYCAT DESCENDANTS: Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger.
16. HANS GRUBER
WHY HIM: Just because you’re evil doesn’t mean you can’t be civilized about it. Alan Rickman’s upper-class Die Hard baddie remains the tip-top of slick ’80s-action-flick Eurovillains.
MOST EVIL QUOTE: ”Mr. Takagi…won’t be joining us for the rest of his life.”
BEST ACCESSORIES: His two suits from John Phillips, London. ”Rumor has it Arafat buys his there.”
BIGGEST WEAKNESS: He could talk about men’s fashion all day!
15. SNOW WHITE’S QUEEN
WHY HER: In Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, she set the standard for all Disney villains to come with her homicidal need to be the fairest in the land.
MOST EVIL MOVE: Demanding a hunter cut out Snow White’s heart and deliver it to her in a special box.
COPYCAT DESCENDANTS: Sleeping Beauty‘s Maleficent, The Little Mermaid‘s Ursula,101 Dalmatians‘ Cruella De Vil…
14. ANNIE WILKES
WHY HER: As Misery‘s cheery psychopath who imprisons and tortures her favorite novelist, Paul Sheldon, for killing off her favorite character, Kathy Bates is an unsettling mix of Squeaky Fromme and June Cleaver.
MOST EVIL MOVE: Breaking both of Paul’s ankles with a sledgehammer, then calmly saying, ”God, I love you.” (In Stephen King’s original book, she chops off his foot with an ax.)
LEAST BADASS MOVE: Use of the words ”cock-a-doodie,” ”dirty bird,” and ”oogie.”
13. FRANK BOOTH
WHY HIM: Blue Velvet‘s Booth (Dennis Hopper) is a monstrous, gas-sucking unleashed id who dares you to identify with him.
BEST ACCESSORY: Creepy oxygen mask.
MOST EVIL MOVE: His nitrous-fueled, mommy-issued assault on Isabella Rossellini. Please don’t make us describe it in more detail.
12. NORMAN BATES
WHY HIM: In Psycho, you get two homicidal maniacs in one mama’s boy (Tony Perkins), with a split personality and enough emotional baggage to fill a freight train.
MOST EVIL MOVE: Shower-cide.
LEAST BADASS MOVE: Being not just a transvestite, but a dowdy transvestite.
11. J.R. EWING
WHY HIM: Larry Hagman’s Texas oil magnate from Dallas isn’t just a class-A scoundrel, he relishes being a class-A scoundrel.
MOST EVIL MOVE: Having wife Sue Ellen institutionalized.
BEST ACCESSORIES: A cowboy hat and a glass of bourbon and branch.
COPYCAT DESCENDANTS: Dynasty‘s Alexis Carrington, Donald Trump.
10. NURSE RATCHED
WHY HER: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest‘s sadistic head nurse is the embodiment of bureaucratic tyranny. Oscar winner Louise Fletcher’s placid demeanor makes her even scarier.
MOST EVIL MOVE: Shows no remorse after Billy Bibbit kills himself in fear of her telling his mom that he was discovered with a hooker.
WHY HIM: The most famous vampire this side of Edward Cullen, the 1897 invention of novelist Bram Stoker yielded a series of classic films starring (in America) Bela Lugosi and (in Britain) Christopher Lee that made bloodsucking scary, freaky, and sensual.
BEST ACCESSORY: The cape, perfect for menacing swishing noises.
BIGGEST WEAKNESS: Stakes? Not a fan.
WHY HIM: Cruel with no hope of redemption, Harry Potter’s nemesis (Ralph Fiennes in the films) is an old-school unrepentant, power-hungry, control-freak. But his loathing for anyone who doesn’t meet his definition of ”normal” is utterly of the moment.
MOST EVIL MOVE: Killing Harry’s parents.
BIGGEST WEAKNESS: Motherly love.
7. CATHERINE TRAMELL
WHY HER: In Basic Instinct, she’s the ultimate femme fatale, as beautiful as she is deadly — although, come to think of it, we’re still not sure she actually killed anyone.
BEST ACCESSORY: Ice pick.
MOST EVIL QUOTE: ”What are you going to do — charge me with smoking?”
6. MR. BURNS
WHY HIM: The Simpsons‘ 104-year-old billionaire, owner of the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, boasts an insatiable appetite for wealth, power, and other people’s unhappiness.
BEST ACCESSORY: Sycophantic sidekick Waylon Smithers.
MOST EVIL QUOTE: ”Release the hounds!”
BIGGEST WEAKNESS: Unhealthy obsession with Bobo, his childhood teddy bear.
5. ALEX DeLARGE
WHY HIM: With his penchant for ”ultraviolence,” Malcolm McDowell’s cold-blooded teenage sadist helped Stanley Kubrick’s dystopian sci-fi film A Clockwork Orange earn an X rating in the U.S. and heaps of controversy.
MOST EVIL MOVE: Beating and raping a woman while crooning ”Singin’ in the Rain.”
BIGGEST WEAKNESS: Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.
4. THE JOKER
WHY HIM: Batman’s greatest adversary is ruthlessly, functionally insane. As portrayed by Cesar Romero on TV, he’s a little-j joker; played by Jack Nicholson on film, he’s a violent hambone; in the hands of Heath Ledger, he’s hair-raisingly awesome.
MOST EVIL QUOTE: From The Dark Knight, ”See, I’m not a monster — I’m just ahead of the curve.”
3. HANNIBAL LECTER
WHY HIM: He packs a lot of screams into only 27 minutes on screen. But that was long enough for Anthony Hopkins to nab an Oscar for his chillingly erudite cannibal inThe Silence of the Lambs.
MOST EVIL QUOTE: ”A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.”
2. DARTH VADER
WHY HIM: Duh. Scourge of the galaxy. Han Solo freezer. Youngling exterminator.
MOST EVIL QUOTE: ”Give yourself to the Dark Side.”
LEAST BADASS MOVE: His initial act after first donning the classic black suit inRevenge of the Sith? Breaking down like a little girl upon learning about the death of his wife.
1. THE WICKED WITCH OF THE WEST
WHY HER: With her bone-rattling cackle, puke-green complexion, and relentless bullying of a young girl and her dog, Margaret Hamilton’s sadistic crone has been making small children flee the room for 70 years. And what other villain can boast her own hit spin-off Broadway musical?
MOST EVIL QUOTE: ”I’ll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too.”
LEAST BADASS MOVE: Cowering just because Glinda the Good Witch gave her the stink eye.