Previous
Next

18 Of The Most Underrated Movie Villains –

MGM/UA

When it comes to making a list of the best villains in cinema, everyone’s gonna throw Darth Vader on there, The Emperor, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Heath Ledger’s Joker, Hannibal Lector, Hans Gruber, and even Nurse Ratched. All fantastic choices. They’re incredibly evil, charismatic, and full of showmanship and finesse. But they don’t really leave me unsettled.You see, I’m a quiet and subtle guy, and sometimes I find that, the quiet baddies are the ones that stick with me. They’re subtle, meticulous, freak out unexpectedly, and are fucking deranged.These guys are legit psycho villains that need their own hall of fame.

RM Films International

Harry Sledge – Super

vixensIf you know your 60/70’s sexploitation B-movie fare, then you know that anything directed by Russ Meyer isn’t gonna be the highest form of entertainment (though I still can’t resist Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!) Usually, the most memorable characters in the films are the sexy, buxom, yet empowered ladies.In this film, however, Meyer took a dark turn and introduced a grinning psychopath played by Charles Napier (Murdock in Rambo II). Full of misogyny and impotent rage, he’s a scary guy.A deranged cop with a vendetta against women, he’s one of the scariest monsters of that era.

Universal Pictures

The Truck – Duel

For all intents and purposes, the driver of the scary-ass truck in this film doesn’t matter. We don’t see him, but we do see his one-ton hulk of Peterbilt fury. This was Steven Spielberg’s first TV film/release, and he pulls a lot of personality out of that machine.The cat and mouse game between the truck and the protagonist is so tense and sadistic. It literally feels like the truck is alive, especially with the grill and headlights making it look like it’s got a sadistic grin. This truck is an otherworldly and mythical beast that deserves more respect than it gets.

Universal Pictures

The Aliens – They Live

What makes these guys so chilling and threatening, is their message. They brainwash the planet, integrate themselves into society and use our greed against us. They don’t want souls or energy or water, they just want their piece of the capitalist pie. Plus, they’re fucking ugly. Go watch The Pervert’s Guide To Ideology!

20th Century Fox

Co. Miles Quaritch – Avatar

While I’ve got mixed feelings about the film as a whole, I really enjoyed Stephen Lang’s performance. As a James Cameron villain, he’s definitely playing to type; a formidable force that will pull out all the stops achieve their objective. He’s right up there with The Terminator, The Alien Queen or even Michael Biehn’s deranged Navy Seal in The Abyss. He’s not understated, in fact, he’s so over-the-top he’s almost a caricature, but that’s why I love him.His role in this film isn’t complicated; he just wants genocide to ensure that humanity survives. That’s his job and he’ll do everything to make it happen. Even jump out of a burning transport ship in an Exosuit, like a bad-ass mother.

Warner Bros

Milo – The Last Boy Scout

There’s something to be said about being a calm and methodical villain, up against Bruce Willis. While Hans Gruber was the first, you can’t ignore the beauty of Taylor Negron’s performance of Milo in this film. He’s low key, not macho, not even a badass. But he’s a killing machine.It’s a huge testament to Shane Black’s screenplay, that this villain is the last thing you’d expect, but also, the last guy you’d want to cross. Seriously, find this film and watch it.

Warner Bros.

Mr. Joshua – Lethal Weapon

This guy doesn’t fit my subtle characteristics, but I can’t leave him off because I’ve never found him to be listed as one of the scariest villains before, and he should be.Before he lost his shit, Gary Busey was a legit terror, and a great actor. His Mr. Joshua is a dark mirror to Martin Riggs – both Vietnam vets with special forces backgrounds and a tortured psyche. Unlike Riggs, however, Joshua is certifiably insane, up for anything and out of control.What dude goes to massacre a family on Christmas Eve, starts a fistfight with a cop, in front of other cops, and tries to pull a gun? This insane motherfucker.

MGM/ UA

Necros – The Living Daylights

When it comes to Bond villains, every talks about Jaws, Oddjob and Goldfinger, but no one ever mentions the baddies from the 80’s. While Timothy Dalton’s Bond wasn’t the most popular or physical, he still was a badass, and required a badass to keep him in check. Frankly, there’s a case to be made that Necros was the last truly threatening henchman in the Bond franchise. He doesn’t need tech, or a gimmick. He’s just inanely talented, and heckin’ scary.The fact that he can travel around Europe and pick off MI6 agents with impunity, speaks for itself.

Paramount PIctures

Félix Cortez – Clear and Present Danger

In a film full of politics and Jack Ryan furrowing his brow and pointing his finger, Felix Cortez is a breath of fresh air. He’s a freelance intelligence operative, who’s making a pay to take over a Columbian Cartel. He’s also a debonair lady killer.Using politics and military strikes as his methods, he was the perfect 90’s villain.

Universal Pictures

The Jackal – Day of the Jackal

Played by Edward Fox, the titular assassin in this film was bland and unmemorable, hence, the perfect mask for the world’s deadliest marksman.Even after the plan falls to shit, the Jackal still remains a few steps ahead, with disguise and performances to defer suspicion and finish the mission.This is easily one of the most tense films that I’ve seen, and you totally suspect that the Jackal is gonna finish the mission and get away.

MGM/UA

Blofeld – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

It might be an unpopular opinion, but I put this Bond film in my top 5. I thought George Lazenby was a fantastic Bond, the story was awesome and Telly Savalas’ understated Blofeld was more menacing that Donald Pleasance, Charles Grey or Christoph Waltz.He had both brains and brawn, animal magnetism that brought the girls to his alpine chalet, and he actually wins by killing Tracy Bond.For that devastating ending alone, this version of Blofeld is the worst.

Paramount Pictures

Owen Davian – Mission: Impossible III

While most villains have quippy one liners, a deep motivation, and a desire for long monologues, Davian is just a businessman. He’s a sociopath, but he’s also efficient. He just wants to get his deals done and move on.His performance by Phillip Seymour Hoffman is chilling and will leave you unsettled. This is my favourite entry in the series, with Fallout a close second.

De Laurentiis Entertainment Group

Hannibal Lecktor – Manhunter

Years before we met Anthony Hopkins’ version, we had this one – and I really like him. Nothing against Anthony Hopkins, but Cox’s version of the cannibal is a cold and analytical psychopath. Playing against William Peterson’s Will Graham, this Michael Mann film is deeply unsettling.

20th Century Fox

Loco – The Great Silence

You can’t have a list of underrated baddies without Klaus Kinski. He was a staple of the Spaghetti Westerns, and in this one, he plays a psychopathic bounty hunter. But his look, the cadaverous face, monk’s hood under a black hat, made him a spectre of death.What makes it worse, is that unlike other Westerns where the villain falls and the hero rides off into the sunset, in this film, it’s the opposite. Loco kills everyone and rides off, scot free.

Universal Pictures

Bob Rusk – Frenzy

Out of all the depraved characters in Alfred Hitchcock’s films, Bob Rusk takes the cake. He’s a sexually perverse rapist, who chokes women to death this a necktie, and tosses them into a potato truck.During the heyday of his films, Hitch was limited by the Production Code, which controlled what things you could see in films (kissing, couples in the same bed, violence, etc.) In the 70’s, however, he could show crass and perverse things he used to allude to.If you want a disturbing Hitchcock film, ignore the early ones and go straight to this one. You’ll never look at tie pins the same way again, thanks to Rusk.

Turtle Releasing Organization

Street Thunder – Assault on Precinct 13

This is the dark house of John Carpenter’s films. There are no supernatural monsters, serial killers, or one-eyed badasses. Just a street gang that will murder anyone in their way, including shooting kids point-blank.The fact that Carpenter didn’t even try to humanize or add any character nuances to the gang members is telling; they’re a hive-mind of relentless zombies who just want to destroy everything. You can’t reason with them, and hence, they’re terrifying.

Warner Bros.

The Scorpio Killer – Dirty Harry

Not enough credit is given to Andy Robinson for his role as the killer in Dirty Harry. He’s deranged, but also a babyfaced guy with no motive or agenda, other than murder. Positioned as the manic Joker to Dirty Harry’s Batman, they’re the perfect pair.Sadly, he’s overlooked as one of the best villains of all time, and I’m not sure why. He earns every single bullet of Harry’s wrath.

Columbia Pictures

John Christie – 10 Rillington Place

This film didn’t really get enough acclaim on this side of the pond, but it’s fucking fantastic. Richard Attenborough (the delightful John Hammond in Jurassic Park) plays the real life serial killer John Christie, who murdered and desecrated his victims.The film outlines his killing spree and how a grieving husband took the blame and was executed for one of his murders. All along, Attenborough puts on a relentlessly unsympathetic and cold performance as a psychopath, but at the same time, as man repulsed by his desires.How he manages to be both a deranged killer and terrified victim of his desires, is a masterclass in writing and acting in this film. It’ll leave you unsettled.

Universal Pictures

Uncle Charlie – Shadow of a Doubt

On the surface, Uncle Charlie is a conventional 1940’s fella. He’s good looking, charming, successful and beloved by his family. He’s also on the run from the police.Charlie is one of the earliest psychopaths that Hitchcock introduced us to, and while we don’t see him killing anyone, his reputation precedes him. Meanwhile, he’s hanging out with his family and paying an obscene amount of attention to his niece.Charlie is the archetype that every other banal psychopath in Hitch’s films, as well as others in cinema, are modelled after.

 

Previous
Next
Please wait...