Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Killing Time: My 11 Favorite Villains Ever
I was bored this morning, so I happened upon a Top Ten List of the Greatest Villains ever. And as usual, I disagreed with each and every selection. So, in order to kill some time today, let me present you with 10 villains who I would put in a list. I'm not going to bother to rank them either. Because my name is not David Letterman:
Emperor Palpatine, "Star Wars"- Why would ANYONE pick Darth Vader over the Emperor? Not only is Palpatine Vader's boss, but he is the one who turns Anakin to the Dark Side to begin with. The Emperor is a total badass, from his utterly amoral attitude to way he commands an intergalactic empire of evil people and crazy technology like the Death Star and his armada of Star Destroyers. He has the power of the Dark Side, he's handy with a light saber (he fights Yoda to a draw) and he fries people with lightening that comes out of his hands. And he talks the way I think Satan would talk. How do you top this guy?
The Daleks, "Doctor Who"- Forgetting the fact that the Daleks are still a menace 45 years after their creation, they've arguably killed more sentient life than even the Emperor. They are responsible for the destruction of the Time Lords and even after the Doctor has defeated them about 8,000,000,000,000 times, they keep coming back. They're nearly invincible (and they can go up stairs!) in the new series of "Doctor Who" and given the fact that they are heavily armed mutants with every emotion removed except hate, that's not a good thing.
Angelus, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"- You know what sucks? When you take the romantic lead of a TV series, remove his soul and allow him to go on a rampage of death, torture, violence and vampire making. It sucked for Buffy (and Willow's pet fish): not so much for the rest of us. I just love how evil this guy was - when he wasn't torturing Buffy and her friends, he was cheating with Spike's girlfriend. You know you're evil when you screw with the other villains for fun.
Michael Corleone, the Godfather Trilogy- Cripes, what a jerk. In the beginning you think Michael is a far better leader of "the family" than his hot headed brother Sonny and Fredo, the village idiot. Then he arranges to kill the leaders of the other Five Families during his godson's baptism, kills his brother in-law, lies to his wife and takes out his own brother. The fact that he's a good guy just makes him look worse.
General Zod, "Superman 2"- Is there any villain who was more fun to imitate? "Kneel before Zod! Zod!" Imagine someone with Superman's powers but no sense of responsibility. If I was ranking him, he'd be dropped down a few spots for being flung down a crevasse. But how can you not love someone who responds to praise about being lord of all he surveys by saying: "So I was yesterday. And the day before."
Pazuzu, "the Exorcist"- I could just write down the fact that we're dealing with Satan here and that would be enough. But keeping in mind that the demon in question spends the entire movie torturing a young girl just makes it MUCH worse.
Sauron, "Lord of the Rings"- And this is where I'm going to get in trouble with the Tolkien crowd. Technically, Sauron is the flunky of Morgoth who is the Middle Earth version of Satan. But I never read any book involving Morgoth so forget about it. Sauron rules over an evil land and has a dizzying horde of monsters at his disposal. You have to admit though, putting all of your power into a bloody ring and letting so disheveled lunatic hang onto it for several centuries isn't a very good plan. But he's still a nasty costumer and he's invincible up until the point Gollum falls in that volcano.
Lord Voldemort, "Harry Potter"- You'd think Tom Riddle would have learned from Sauron's boneheaded move, but no - he splintered his soul into all those horacruxes anyways. Voldemort is pretty much the wizard version of Hitler with his pureblood/mudblood eugenics and his policy of exterminating everyone who opposes him. Still, the horacrux idea was dumb in retrospect and his archenemy is a kid with a scar on his forehead.
Khan, "Star Trek: the Wrath of Khan"- "KKHHHHAAANNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!!" He quotes Melville, controls people by sticking worms in their ears and steals a universal armageddon device. Oh yes, there's also "KKKKKKKKKKKHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNN!!!!"
Ernst Blofeld, many James Bond movies- I'm not sure what SPECTRE was trying to do (I think they were trying to bait the USSR and NATO into nuclear war or something) but Blofeld was definitely cool. Not only did he keep coming back, but he had a great array of flunkies at his disposal and a rather effective way of disciplining them. His arch nemesis was Sean Connery as 007. How can he not be on this list? Girls dig the scar.
Iago, "Othello"- It was three way tie between Iago, Chillingsworth from "The Scarlet Letter" and the walking mess that is Ahab from "Moby Dick". The reason why Iago is here is because he succeeds. At the end of the play, Othello and Desdemona are dead and chaos has basically been achieved. Even if he gets carted off to possible torture and death, the bastard WINS.