Top 10 Disney Film Villains
Ah, loyal readers and subjects and future victims, welcome back to another exciting countdown done by yours truly, the God of Hatred and Granite (and apparently inane lists where I categorize things into sets of 10 in descending order). Today, well be visiting, and potentially butchering, something that served as a facet of many a childhood. Thats right, todays countdown will involve Disney, the professed inventor of numerous animation techniques, creator of not one but two lands of childhood dreams, possible anti-semite and more-than-possible thief. Did I hit a little close to home, there? GOOD. Your tears fill me with joy in more ways than one.
Disregarding the man himself, Ill admit to partaking in many a Disney film as a wee bearn.
Okay, I still watch them as a grown man. On occasion. Im really not much for movies as I am other methods of entertainment, such as browsing the internet or playing computer games or occasionally suplexing a guy that looks like masochistic Bob Backlund.
So I might not always watch Disney films but, when I do, Im pretty much guaranteed to have a good time. Those movies give us tons of memorable moments. Some of these moments are humor or heroic deeds, but lets face it; perhaps the most thrilling aspect of a Disney film is its villain. Disney villains can be charming and funny as they are conniving and unfair. Sometimes they are simply brutal and cruel, showing us evil in a simply elegant fashion.
So, which if these villains made the largest impression on me? Which of them are most strongly tied to my childhood? Which of them scared me, thrilled me, angered me or simply happen to be my favorite? Take a ride through that salty-sweet flavor we call nostalgia, and discover the top 10 Disney villains!
10. The Coachman
Aaaaaand we get our list started right away with the most child-predatory-ish dude possible. There are an assortment of unpleasant figures in Pinocchio: Honest John and Gideon, Monstro, Stromboli the puppeteer, but theyre all pretty much put to shame by this chubby-cheeked whackjob.
So, the coachmans deal (for the poor souls who havent actually watched this movie) is that he ferries wayward boys who feel like misbehaving to a fun, lawless land called Pleasure Island. There, the boys smoke, play pool, gamble and generally make asses of themselves. Until they literally make asses out of themselves. They turn into donkeys. GEDDIT?
Then the Coachman goes from simply needing Chris Hansen called on him to being worthy of a villainous role in Taken when he takes the transformed boys and locks them in crates, shipping them off to places like the circus and the freaking SALT MINES. Oh, and what terrible fate befalls this guy?
Nothing. He gets away with it. So he could still be out there, waiting to abduct you and turn you into a slave wholl perform backbreaking work underground until you die a horrible dust-in-lungs death.
9. Lady Tremaine
If youre wondering, Lady Tremaine is the wicked stepmother from Cinderella. The mother of two beastly looking daughters (odd, considering her own decent attractiveness even into her advanced age), she helps butt-ugly progeny Drusilla and Anastasia shit all over Cinderellas day-to-day life like seagulls on a freshly washed car. Then, of course, Cinderella gets her happy ending anyway and Lady Tremaine is left to do god knows what. I mean, we never find out because Cinderella never had a proper sequel.
It never had a sequel. Shut your fucking mouth.
Still, before Cinderella gets her fairy tale ending, this wicked stepmother manages to be fairly terrifying in her calm, calculating manner. Oh, and those green eyes. Those piercing, practically glowing green eyes. Weve all met at least one woman like her in our daily lives: polite and refined, but talking out of turn will be met with a harsh HOLD YOUR TONGUE. Being locked into a room is optional.
Boom! Hey, Hades, lord of the dead, how ya doin and boy do I have a deal for you!
For being the embodiment of death and an all-powerful GOD who can pretty much do whatever he wants, Hades manages to be a pretty easy-going, silly, even downright likable villain to our lug-head hero Hercules. Its been outright stated that his personality was based on that of a fast-talking car salesman, thanks in no small part to James Woods unbelievable performance influencing the character.
As schmoozing as Hades is, we are never allowed to forget that he is in fact quite the evil dude. His conniption fits of screaming come off as pretty comical, a feat to perform when youre basically omnipotent and wreathed in massive amounts of fire when your temper flares up. Its when Hades calms down and gets serious that we see he can actually be quite dark and intimidating.
But Hades isnt on this list because hes scary. Hes not on it for the horrible deeds he performed (oh no, people later on down the line have done much, MUCH worse than he did). Hes on it for being one of the most personable and hilarious Disney villains while still managing to pose a threat every step of the way.
Ursula has quite the
unique design for a Disney villain. Its hard to find a sharp angle anywhere on her body, a trait meant to signify her as a more mysterious character and as a foil for her rival and Ariels father, King Triton. Of course, as unconventional a character as she is, everything we see about her from her very first appearance just screams VILLAIN. Skeletal-looking lair? Check. Dark color scheme? Check. Voice and general vibe that are the stuff of nightmares? Double check.
Ursula does a fairly good job of sitting in this uncomfortable zone of we know shes bad news, but HOW bad is she that is set with her musical number Poor Unfortunate Souls. We get she helps people, but at a terrible cost: If you cant pay the price of her sick little game, she transforms you into a muppet-looking piece of seaweed.
Shes basically what would happen if Oprah wasnt on her meds.
Of course, the plan that Ursula sets into motion goes horrifyingly well and its up to our heroine and some random schmuck with a boat to rough her up some, because King Tritons a bitch and handed over his artifact of extreme power to a fat octopus with shady medical practices. Ursula uses said artifact to transform herself into the most horrifying form she can think of: Herself, just twenty stories tall.
Im going to take a guess and say she was based off of some animators mother-in-law.
6. Madam Mim
Shes the MAD MAD MAD MAD MAD MAD MAD
Madam Mim! Yep, Madam Mim is totally off her rocker and she gives nary a shit who knows it. This sadly little-known antagonist from the Sword in the Stone crazies circles around useless protagonist Wart and neurotic owl Archimedes until they get tired of her bullshit and sic their pal Merlin on her.
As powerful as Merlin is in his ways of magic, its implied Madam Mim is every bit as powerful (or perhaps even more so) in the arcane arts as Merlin. She just happens to be bat-shit loopy in her applications of magic, transforming herself from a beautiful version of herself to a tiny one and everything between. When goaded with the assertion that Merlin is more powerful than her, she challenges the wizard to a magical duel where they take turns transforming into various creatures and attacking each other. Its kind of like an internet e-peen showing contest, but with fewer pimples and more purple dragons.
In the end, Merlin outsmarts Mim in an admittedly brilliant fashion and sadly rids this film of her presence, but were left with the impression she made on us and the horrible taste in our mouths given to us when subject to multiple viewings of her granny panties.
5. The Horned King
Some villains love to make opulent speeches, or charm their greatest foe as well as the audience. Some villains love to sing and dance their way to victory and into our hearts. The Horned King will have none of this nonsense; he wants to shove those songs down our throats and stick those stupid grandiose speeches up our asses. Hed much rather brood and croak commands in a foreboding baritone, commanding an invincible army of undead to ravage the countryside.
The Horned King is fucking hardcore is what Im trying to say.
This skeletal baddie from The Black Cauldron is quite possibly the least humorous and most threatening of all the Disney villains, and hes very well one of the most powerful ones as well. For all the wicked and vicious tales we hear about this guy, nothing could prepare us for when we actually SEE him: a cloaked figure with a largely obscured face, bony taloned hands that beckon with sinister purpose, a gaunt face with leathery skin pulled over a barely concealed skull, and red glowing pupils in otherwise empty eye sockets. This dude is so horrifying that he manages to make those seemingly ridiculous antlers on his head work into the rest of his persona.
Unfortunately, it seems that the Horned King and his army can be defeated by chucking yourself into some used kitchenware, and so the weaksauce circumstances of his defeat are the only tarnish on his stainless façade of pants-shitting terror. Come on, Disney! The Black Cauldon and Horned King for the next Kingdom Hearts!
Scar happens to be a nice instance in where its fairly difficult to say something about a subject that hasnt already been said again and again. He was representative of Claudius in the grand Hamlet knockoff that was the Lion King, he was a giant excuse for Jeremy Irons to chew the shit out of the scenery, and his shitty repugnant behavior being blamed for somehow magically bringing droughts and decay to the pride lands are eerily similar to a president being blamed for everything from hurricanes to shitty sport teams (thanks, Obama!).
Okay, sure, Scar was an awful king in all seriousness. Towards that end, it so happens that one could argue he was most like an actual lion, killing his brother to take over the pride and just lie around being a lazy ass while making all the lionesses work. I mean, thats what male lions do. In fact, pretty much the least realistic thing Scar ever did was not slaughter Nala as soon as he took over for not being his daughter.
Or maybe theres something we arent being told, here.
Oh, right, countdown. Uh
Jeremy Irons, cruel and dickish behavior, chewing the scenery and being one of the hammiest motherfuckers this side of BRIAN BLESSED
yeah, I think we covered everything. Ohandheseatenbyhyenaswhichisasawesomeasitisgruesome. Kay, next entry!
Frollo, the troubled judge and priest of Hunchback of Notre Dame, is perhaps the most acclaimed villain in recent Disney history
and hes up there when it comes to the greatest villains of all time. What hes best known for is having an absolutely fantastic musical number in the form of Hellfire, but its really the issues within the man, including those revealed within the song, that place Frollo this high on the list.
To put it short, Frollo is a really, really complicated dude. Hes on a religion-fueled crusade to wipe the gypsies and other undesirable sorts out of Paris and anywhere else under his power, so we can add Genocide to his portfolio. We then get that currently monochrome morality mixed in with some internal conflict surrounding his lust for Esmeralda and the self-loathing for that sin. On top of it all, Frollo does not think he is a villain. He does not revel in his wickedness because he doesnt recognize himself as wicked, and its this insisted piousness (again, alluded to in the beginning of Hellfire) that sets him apart from others who truly get a kick about being evil.
Layering this inner conflict down on his large list of atrocities (torture, murder, genocide, sexual assault) results in a character with certain sympathetic qualities who, overall, is NOT sympathetic in any meaning of the word. He is a cold, vile man who very well could have (and probably DID in some form or another) exist in our world.
Im so much purer than the common, vulgar, weak, licentious crowd indeed.
I know the decision to put ANYTHING above Frollo, let alone two things, is one some will likely disagree with. Letting you live is something I frequently disagree with as well, but we dont always get what we want. Short of murdering those whose opinions differ from mine, Ill attempt to explain why Jafar, of Aladdin fame, is worthy of one of these spots.
Ill get the ugliest part out of the way so we dont have to talk about it anymore: Jafar is fairly racist in design. Pretty much any character were meant to sympathize with is given features to make them seem less foreign, and Jafar
isnt. Call it bigoted, call it a sign of the times, but for the purposes of this review Im calling it pretty damn good design because we know this guy is, much like Ursula, evil the moment we see him.
Jafars tall, bony and angular physique holds an interesting aesthetic that AGAIN, just like Ursula, is meant to run counterpoint to the features of the rest of the cast. That said, he manages to look both unattractive and unimaginably cool all at the same time. The dudes apparently ancient (so possibly in his 50s or 60s, which by standards of the time and area mean he should be pushing up daisies) and his age shows, but his bitchin robes, hat and staff make you unable to suppress the acknowledgement that, yes, Jafars got style.
Jafars personality is where things really take off, however. Hes pretty smarmy and antagonistic to just about anybody hes with, but in the first half of the film hes limited to mostly snarky responses and deadpan wit. In a sense, he wouldnt be out of place with other wisecracking servants such as Geoffery from Fresh Prince or Alice from Brady Bunch. Geoffery and Alice probably didnt go absolutely cuckoo when exposed to a little power and usurping their bosses though, so theres a point against Jafar. When Jafar gets going, he really gets going - his psychotic, gleeful cackles resonated with me as a kid and remain some of my favorite examples of evil laughter to this day.
So right now, youve seen nine of my picks for the Top 10 Disney villains. Before we move on to number one, I have a bit of a public service announcement, as well as our pick for honorable mention.
So, some of you may be wondering if, having not appeared in spots 10 through 2, Maleficent is number one on this list.
Spoilers: Shes not.
While she was in consideration for the list at first, her being snubbed from both the main 10 spots and the honorable mention spot were eventually decided upon. Despite her immense magical power (likely bordering on that of the Horned King and likely surpassing that of Madam Mim), Maleficent never really did a whole lot with it. She made grand appearances, looked for (and failed to find) a child for years, couldnt outwit three post-menopausal powerpuff girls and eventually kicked the bucket via thrown sword after conveniently transforming into a larger target. Impressive in appearance she may be, but petty and easily killed she
may also be.
Maleficent wasnt the only villain that failed to find a spot on this list, she just happened to be the most famous one. Other villains that received the boot were Captain Hook (Peter Pan), Mr. Peterson (Brave Little Toaster), Cruella DeVil (101 Dalmatians), Chernabog (Fantasia), Doc Falicier (Princess and the Frog), and the wicked queen (Snow White). If you were bummed out about the lack of Pixar villains, fret not; I intend for that to be its own list sooner or later. Before we press on to number 1, then, let us visit the villain that ALMOST made it, and why.
Honorable Mention: Man, from Bambi
You know whats scarier than a villain who bursts through the door, knife in hand? Scarier than a villain who has a deep, booming voice and powerfully declares his intent to kill the hero? Scarier than a villain who gloats and parades and flamboyantly poses?
A villain you never even see.
The unseen, voiceless and formless yet absolutely omnipotent and deadly force known only as Man was something that, watching Bambi for the first time, I never really cared about. Its only as I grew up and learned to draw conclusions from implications, to understand the unseen and metaphorical, that I learned Man was actually pretty fucking scary. Those cute lil woodland creatures are under threat of wanton murder from a bunch of hunters who apparently didnt heed Smokey the Bears warning, and set the whole forest ablaze
and they dont even stop shooting at shit while its burning!
While at first it seems that Man isnt really a force of evil or villainy and is just what we appear to animals, theres a bit of shady shit going on. Couple facts I never really thought about until doing some research: When does Bambis mother die? Late winter to early spring, right? Around March or April, which in Maine (where the story is supposed to take place) still has snow?
That is not deer season. Bambis mom was poached. Oh, and shooting a doe who has a fawn with her is seven different shades of illegal, you ignorant bastards. Then, of course, theres the campfire being unattended to in a strong wind which causes everything to go up like a damn tinderbox.
Perhaps the freakiest moment? When a random hunter shoots a quail, resulting in what may be the first case of a villain irreversibly killing a character and then having the corpse appear ON-SCREEN. Yikes.
moving on to number 1! Insert fanfare!
I fucking love The Great Mouse Detective. It was the first Disney film I actually owned, as it was given to me on my fifth or sixth birthday. I credit this film and the Brave Little Toaster for giving me my strong love for all things Disney, and I also credit it with introducing me to my favorite Disney villain of all time.
Professor Ratigan, quite clearly serving as the Moriarty to Basils Sherlock Holmes in this film, is a wonderful piece of work. He has two distinct sides that he rapidly flip-flops between: a classy, intelligent personification of villainous grandeur and schemery, and a cold, ruthless abductor and murderer. However, even when showing this side of himself, Ratigan (aided by a fantastic vocal performance from Mr. Vincent Price) just positively exudes sophistication
most of the time.
The charm and wit he shows even when discussing such matters as regicide or pettier yet equally heinous acts, like drowning mothers and children in the Thames, paint a picture not unlike the most over-the-top Bond villains you can think of. His almost loving banter with his rival, the taciturn Basil of Baker Street, depicts a one-sided love for their game of criminal and detective, of cops and robbers, and its a game that he eventually planned (regretfully so, even!) to end.
But when Ratigans plans started coming unraveled
When things werent going his way
When it seemed like, perhaps against all odds, Basil might actually beat him
All forms of class, civility and sanity leave Ratigan, his appearance becomes incredibly disheveled, and all of a sudden the grand mastermind has transformed into a psychotic bloodthirsty killer who proceeds to pound the everloving PISS out of Basil. It is a vicious beatdown unparalleled by any other in Disney history, and definitely one of the most shocking transformations of a Disney character, let alone just a villain. There was no magic or metamorphosis involved, but in just a few short moments, it was like Ratigan became an entirely different character.
His overwhelming physical presence and insanity, as well as his sophistication and hamminess, combine in a multi-faceted and superb villain that I will always remember, and you should too.
Well, I hope you enjoyed this list, and remember: Everybody loves a villain more! So go out there and kill somebody!
Editors note: Please dont kill anybody.
- [+] Spoiler
Jerry Fury - The man, the myth, the legend
Coleen Reagan - The girl who half-loved the world
- [+] Spoiler
Cody Patton : That bitch.
Sean Mulcahy : The world was kind to reprieve him of his fear...
Jessica Sanders: She hoped it would be quick...
- [+] Spoiler
20:17Sideliner:Toben and Ricky are like a sibling version of the Joker and Batman, only Batman is just as much of a mass murderer. He just hides it better.
19:58LaurelsHow does your dick smell like Fritos?
14:36 MimiI THOUGHT YOU GUYS WERE FRIENDS > 14:36MimiI THOUGHT YOU REALLY LICKED HER