So what is it that constitutes a villain? The definition probably differs for everyone. To me, a villain is someone who is just a downright terrible creature who is either amoral or immoral. This person can even act as the anti-hero of a film as you will se in the list, but their actions still give them the description of villain. So this is a list of my 10 favorite villains.
10. Asami Yamakazi – Audition
Director Takashi Miike has a talent for making bad people even worse than we may be first led to believe. The best example of this is Asami, a beautiful, quiet, and seemingly innocent woman who hides an indescribable evil urge. If you didn’t know what you were getting into before watching Audition, I would imagine the viewer would think that Asami is the victim in the movie, although the nerve jangling, endurance testing, nausea inducing finale proves otherwise. This is a girl you do not want to mess with, especially if you value your ligaments.
9. Agent Smith – The Matrix
Hugo Weaving gives a fantastically deadpan performance as the infamous Agent Smith, a program in the Matrix that is implemented by the machines to keep order. His emotionless performance is perfect, but when he does get angry the whole mood of the film goes from being a science fiction action film to a small, short horror film. This is because Weaving can go from a drone to a manifestation of what a computer program could be if it had a strange emotional glitch. It’s a very unsettling performance and memorable on all accounts.
8. John Doe – Se7en
In my personal opinion, Kevin Spacey is one of the finest living actors. He is one of those actors that can put himself into any role wether it’s funny or terrifying, like his performance in David Fincher’s Se7en. John Doe is pretty much your by the book sociopath who has no value for any kinds of life, including his own. What makes it so memorable is how well Spacey pulls it off. He remains calm for his entire screen time even though it really isn’t that much. But the build up to his revelation is part of the intensity of his character. We see everything he is capable of throughout the film, but in the end he looks like just another average guy.
7. Frank Booth – Blue Velvet
Oh boy, we’re really getting into a weird category of villain with this one. What can possibly be said about Frank Booth other than he is probably the most unlikable person to ever grace the movies. Dennis Hopper gives both a great physical and personal performance that only he could do. The gas that Booth carries around with him and inhales at random times throughout the film really makes his character original. He’s a complete asshole to everyone he comes in contact with and incredibly dangerous if you get on his bad side.
6. Tony Montana – Scarface
When I was referring to anti-heros in my introduction, this was the guy I had in mind. Tony Montana may be the main protagonist and person we root for all through Scarface, but that doesn’t make him a good person at all. He is a big time drug dealer and murderer who has a knack for pissing people off. Unlike a lot of the villains on this list, Tony has morals and refuses to kill women and children, a personal rule that ends up getting him into big trouble.
5. Col. Hans Landa – Inglourious Basterds
You guys can disagree with me all you want, but I honestly believe that Inglourious Basterds is Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece. Part of the reason that this movie is so good is the character of Hans Lands, nicknamed the Jew Hunter. Christoph Waltz received a much deserved Academy Award for this performance that is both hysterical and evil. He hides a quiet insanity behind his polite and intellectual exterior.
4. Commodus – Gladiator
As much as I think Joaquin Phoenix is a villain in and of himself, his performance as Commodus is out of this world great. But of course, with a grand heroic hero like Maximus, a villain needs to be put in place that we can hate just as much as we love Maximus. Commodus is creepy, conniving, and dirty. Definitely one of the most hated characters in film.
3. Hans Gruber – Die Hard
Here’s another one of those villains whose personality is that of a drone, but behind the boring exterior is a ticking time bomb. Not only is Hans Gruber incredibly brilliant and sneaky, but also willing to do anything and kill anyone without so much as blinking. Unfortunately there are no good videos I can get of Hans Gruber without stupid music being thrown in.
2. Jack Torrance – The Shining
I’ve already made my love for Stanley Kubrick films known with my entire blog series about Kubrick and his films, so it’s inevitable that at least one of his villains would end up on my list. The most memorable for me is Jack Torrance. Jack Nicholson gives one of the best screen performances ever and really established himself as one of the best actors of all time. His facial expressions and voice acting make this character come alive in an absolutely frightening way.
1. Peter and Paul – Funny Games
Finally here we are at number 1 with Peter and Paul. Michael Pitt and Brad Corbet are so disturbingly polite and gentle, making sure the family they are torturing is as comfortable as possible, but is that all just an act to mess with their psyche further? They are, I think, the worst villains ever. Now, I have never seen the original Funny Games, but considering the American one directed by the same person as the Finnish one (Michael Haneke) is a shot for shot remake, Peter and Paul are my favorite international villains. On a side note, Peter and Paul are not their actual names. They even refer to each other as Tom and Jerry.
So there you have my favorite villains. Feel free to comment on this either on here or Facebook and tell me who your favorite villains are!