An Evil Love Affair: Our Favorite Villains
by Kevin Rigdon (@pralix1138)
Having taken a look at what makes a good villain in a previous post, I thought I’d share some of my favorite villains with you good nerds, and maybe see some of yours. Now, I want to make this very clear: these are my favorite villains. Believe me, I know that in this environment and this readership, one can’t simply say these are the best villains of all time without argument. After all, there really is no objective way of determining the best villains. There may be formulas for characteristics, success rate, dialogue, and so forth, but we could each determine that different villains fit those criteria differently. So, this is not a top five lists of villains of all time. These are my favorites along with a couple reasons why. Be sure to share yours in the comments section.
5. Doctor Horrible. Bad Horse. The Evil League of Evil. Vlogging. Evil laughing. An arch nemesis. A Tragedy. Here you have all the ingredients of a great villain right down to that certain ingredient that makes everything look all muddy and smell like feet with some out of control fungus. Well, except for the vlogging thing. I mean, really. Is that necessary? I’m familiar with the concept of bad guy monologuing, and all, but taking the time to answer comments? Or, maybe that’s the most maniacal thing he can do. That is, until he is ironically the catalyst for the death of his unrequited love. It was his plan after all-not to kill Penny, obviously. He just needed a murder to join the “thoroughbred of sin” in the E.L.E. And he did at least “hurt” Captain Hammer and cause him to run away whimpering. So, that’s sort of a victory. I guess. But still, you gotta love a singing bad guy who succeeds in spite of himself.
4. Dolores Umbridge. To me, the real villain of the Harry Potter series is a creepy, little woman by the name of Dolores Umbridge. I mean, all those kittens frolicking around on plates? As Ernie the driver of the Knight Bus might say: that gives me the collywobbles. She makes a really good villain, not only because she’s bat-crap crazy and sadistic, but she attempts all the niceties. She presents herself all in pink and frills with the little high-pitched voice and demure smiles. She’s like a sanguinary aunt offering cookies to her favorite niece or nephew as long as they’re willing to spy on the other kids, but the minute they displease her, she breaks out the car batteries, vice grips, and hot pokers. She means to get her way, to keep us safe, even if she has to cut us to do it. That’s pretty darn terrifying right there: torturing someone so that you can help them? Yep, she’s evil.
3. Alexei Volkoff. I don’t know if it’s how Volkoff is written, or the backstory that he’s really not the most evil man the world has ever known but a scientific mishap, or if it’s just that Timothy Dalton plays him so well, but Alexi Volkoff is fantastic villain. Any time a guy is ready to melt the woman he “loves” because he would rather her be dead than without him, or kill his best bodyguard because of the fact that he, Volkoff, can’t handle disappointment, you’re dealing with a messed up dude. One minute he’s gonna flay you alive and then the next he’s all huggy and wanting to play charades. He’s seriously unhinged and unpredictable. But what really makes him one of my favorites is that he didn’t choose to be Alexi Volkoff. He started out as Heartly Winterbottom, a good, wholesome, timid fellow who got glitched up by a faulty, early edition of the intersect, then WHAM! Mass-murdering psychopath. You could say he made the most of his opportunities and admire him for it. Then you’d probably have to get some counseling, because you have some issues.
2. Mother Gothel. While I can concede that a lot of people would do a lot of things to stay young and healthy (a host of infomercials come to mind), it takes a special kind of black and crusty heart to kidnap an infant girl, raise her as your own, keep her locked in a tower so that she can’t encounter anyone, and have her sing songs while brushing her hair. Add to that the passive-aggressive manipulation, aggressive manipulation, constant belittling of said girl giving her all sorts of wonderful complexes, and the attempted murder of the girl’s true love, and you’ve got a serious villain. But, holy smeg, can she sing! Of course, the whole “Mother Knows Best” oozes villainous sarcasm, but she does it so incredibly well.
1. Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz. Well, technically he’s a villain, but not really. He’s my absolute favorite villain. You know why? One word: backstory. Gone are the days of simple villain monologuing where he tells the hero his ultimate plans, which the hero then thwarts. Oh, Doofenschmirtz does that, to be sure. But there’s more. There’s always a backstory to explain why he’s doing the things that he does. And it’s much more entertaining than just, “Oh, I wasn’t hugged as a child,” and so on. No, Doof has had some seriously bizarre treatment. He had to act as a lawn gnome when the family’s got stolen. He had to wear dresses to school because his mom made clothes for the new baby that turned out to be a brother. He was partially raised by ocelots. He can’t play kickball, and his mother apparently puts a lot of emphasis on the ability to play kickball. He lost a girlfriend to a whale. The backstories just keep coming. Oh, his only friend is a balloon which he creatively named Balloony. Throughout all of it, he’s able to get up every morning and attempt to take over the tri-state area. That’s dedication, and it takes that sort of dedication to be a good villain. And OWCA (Organization Without a Cool Acronym) will help us if he ever succeeds.
So, there they are, my five favorite villains. In hindsight, none of them are terribly epic. But then, the list isn’t done yet. It requires your help. Tell me who makes your favorite villains list, and why, in the comments section.