Top 10 Over the Top Evil Movie Villains
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Top 10 Over the Top Evil Movie Villains

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Michael Wynands
Cinema is full of baddies, but these antagonists are in a league of their own. For this list, we're looking at the evilest, most twisted villains to ever darken the silver screen - from psychopathic killers like Simon Phoenix in “Demolition Man” (1993), to murderous marauders like Wez in “Mad Max 2” (1981), and criminal masterminds like the Joker in “Batman” (1989). Who do YOU think is the most over-the-top evil movie villains? Let us know in the comments!

Check out the voting page for this list and add your picks: WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Most+Evil+Movie+Characters
Special thanks to our user Nicolas Meneses Casajus for suggesting this idea!
Transcript
Script written by Michael Wynands

Top 10 Over the Top Evil Movie Villains


Cinema is full of “bad guys” but these antagonists are operating in a league of their own. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Over-the-Top Evil Movie Villains.



For this list, we’ll be looking at the most absurdly evil movie characters to ever grace the silver screen. These characters don’t just have selfish intentions or questionable morality, they are malicious beings who seemingly exist solely to satisfy their twisted needs while inflicting pain and suffering on others. More specifically however, these villains go about their evil deeds with a real element of flair and theatricality, without ever straying into the realm of overt parody or satire of pre-existing villains. Sorry Dr. Evil...











#10: Simon Phoenix


“Demolition Man” (1993)



Whatever role he’s playing, be it a vampire-killing vampire or a temporally-displaced crime lord, Wesley Snipes does it with unflinching confidence and commitment to the part. For Simon Phoenix, a ruthless ‘90s career criminal, the peaceful and borderline naive world he wakes up to in 2032 is ripe to be taken advantage of. And boy oh boy does he ever take obvious pleasure in having his way with this utopian future. He is a man of self-interest through and through - showing a complete disregard for human life and an unquenchable thirst for power. He is the walking, talking definition of a violent psychopath and Snipes plays the role perfectly.





#9: Chong Li


“Bloodsport” (1988)



It’s important to enjoy what you do - be it cooking, driving, accounting, or competing in a brutal, underground martial arts competition. But one can take too much pleasure in an activity - and Chong Li is exhibit A. The main antagonist in this 1988 Jean-Claude Van Damme classic, Chong Li, played by Bolo Yeung, seems borderline aroused by the competition. The machismo, the bravado, the swagger, the occasional shit-eating grin and the way he plays it up to the crowd... despite this being a vicious competition that leaves contestants in critical condition, he parades around like he’s a WWE wrestler. Of course, this over-the-top performance is also part of what makes “Bloodsport” such a pleasure to watch!



#8: Wez


“Mad Max 2” (1981)



Honestly, the various villains and supporting villains of the “Mad Max” franchise easily could have made up half of this list. Xref Immortan Joe from “Fury Road,” the Humungus from this very same film - they’re both delightfully over-the-top villains who relish in their evil ways. And that makes them perfect for the dystopian world of Road Warrior. But if there’s one villain from the “Mad Max” franchise who truly wins the title of most over-the-top, it’s Wez. Even by Marauder standards, Wez has clearly put in extra hours perfecting his “bad guy” outfit. He might be a secondary antagonist, but with his menacing stare, raw intensity, apparent resistance to pain and blood-curdling screams, he’ll always be first in our hearts.



#7: General M. Bison


“Street Fighter” (1994)



This video game adaptation, like most others before and since, was generally seen as a disappointment. The one positive to come out of the film? The performance of Raúl Juliá as the villainous General M. Bison, who, despite finding himself in a critically panned film, used those lemons to make delicious lemonade. Strutting his stuff with the confidence and presence of a real-life dictator, Juliá could be accused of over-acting if he didn’t pull it off so convincingly. A consummate professional, he matches the tone of the film perfectly, bringing the nefarious M. Bison to life more successfully than many would have thought possible. For his efforts, Juliá was even nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the Saturn Awards.





#6: Max Cady


“Cape Fear” (1991)



With all due respect to the late, great Robert Mitchum, who played the role in the 1962 original, Robert De Niro’s version of Max Cady dials up both the crazy and the evil. For starters, let’s talk about those tattoos. They look like they were airbrushed on at the country fair and selected from a book labelled “cheesiest bad guy tattoos available.” And yet… the way De Niro plays the character, we totally believe that Cady would get those tattoos. Just look at the way he smokes that cigar and cackles! There’s also something about a gender-swapping disguise that really says “I’m taking great pleasure in going to extreme lengths to kill you.” This is a man who lives solely to satisfy his desires.





#5: Captain Bennett


“Commando” (1985)



There’s crazy… and then there’s Captain Bennett. In this 1985 action film, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s John Matrix kills an estimated 81 people during the film’s 90-minute runtime. Now consider this: Bennett got kicked off their team of Commandos for taking too much pleasure in killing. Coming from a kill-crazy Commando like John… that’s saying a lot! As Bennett, actor Vernon Wells is all cheesy one liners, crazy eyes and maniacal laughter. We get that this guy has got a hard on at the idea of getting even with John Matrix, but there’s such a thing as taking too much pleasure in your work. Seriously, he actually turned down the paycheck he was offered because getting his hands on Matrix was payment enough.



#4: The Joker


“Batman” (1989)



Heath Ledger’s Joker was certainly an agent of evil and chaos. And Jim Carrey undeniably went for “over-the-top” when he played the Riddler in 1995’s “Batman Forever.” But when it comes to characters who balance evil deeds with a spirit theatricality and excessive enthusiasm, well… Jack Nicholson’s take on the Joker is incredibly hard to beat - at least in terms of “Batman” characters. As the Joker, Nicholson delivers a performance that feels at once cartoonish but extremely human in terms of its menace. The laugh, the cocked eyebrows, that exaggerated smile, the perfectly purple outfit and shocking green hair - it’s the insanity of the Joker we love from the source material, brought to life with devilish effective and sinister style.



#3: Freddy Krueger


“A Nightmare on Elm Street” franchise (1984-)



Nothing says, “hey, I’m evil incarnate,” like hurting kids. Even before he became the immortal entity that targets people in their dreams, Fred Krueger was pure evil - a child killer. When he escaped justice due to a technicality, the townspeople of Springwood took matters into their own hands by burning him alive. They killed the man, sure, but in the process, they gave birth to something far worse. In death, he became a supernatural being of unbridled sadistic evil, who seems to exist solely to instill fear, torture, and kill. Rarely has a villain taken such obvious pleasure in killing; Freddy is like a murder artist, always looking to find new creative ways to take a life - the more ghoulish, the better.





#2: David Lo Pan


“Big Trouble in Little China” (1986)



Genre-bending action-comedies like “Big Trouble in Little China” are the perfect environment for over-the-top villains. In this safe space of thin logic and corny one-liners, a villain needn’t make sense, they just need to entertain. And boy does Lo Pan entertain. An ancient sorcerer with ambitions to rule not just the world, but the entire universe, he’ll stop at nothing to achieve his goals. The film may have flopped at the box office, but it’s pop culture legacy is worth more than any amount of money. And though Kurt Russell’s performance as Jack Burton is an unforgettable one, James Hong’s wildly unself-conscious, balls-to-the-wall performance as the hilariously-evil Lo Pang is truly the stuff of legends.



Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few dishonorable mentions



John Kreese

“The Karate Kid” (1984)





General Zod

“Superman II” (1980)





Benedict

“Last Action Hero” (1993)





Bellatrix Lestrange

“Harry Potter” franchise (2001-11)



Jaws

“The Spy Who Loved Me” (1977)





#1: Castor Troy


“Face/Off” (1997)



The history of cinema is full of twisted villains, but we can’t think of anyone who out-evils Castor Troy. Played to maniacal perfection by Nicolas Cage, who somehow dials his trademark crazy way past 11 for this role, Castor Troy is a terrorist-for-hire - a job that, right off the bat, puts you in the top percentile of evil characters. His résumé is a mile long and made up almost exclusively of atrocities, from political assassinations to bombings. After switching faces, Castor even inserts himself into the family of his arch-nemesis. Wild, unpredictable, and clearly having the time of his life being bad, Castor Troy is pure, psychopathic evil like only Nicolas Cage can play it.



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seriously replace Rebecca as the narrator, her voice is just cringe........have her stick with the msmojo channel