Now there are 100s of these top 10 lists floating around the internet already we know. However, we’ve tried to be a little different in our selections. Most would agree that Alan Rickman’s Hans Gruber is pretty much as good as it gets in terms of a conventional ‘bad guy’ but what about William Atherton’s Richard Thornburg in the same film? He may not try to rob Nakatomi Plaza but he is no less a complete and utter bastard.
It’s these villains we’re concerned with in this list, the sleaze balls, the weasels the total S.O.B’s Picking 10 was almost impossible, the internal arguments were brutal but fair. There were some huge names that just missed out but here is the final list. This is just our opinion so please no hate mail. In descending order they are;
10. Jim Cunningham (Donnie Darko)
Patrick Swayze playing a paedophile self-help guru, surely not? Surely yes. A film we have loved for a long time and are still hugely frustrated that Richard Kelly seems to have been a one off, (Southland Tales, The Box, Domino….just stop).
We love that Swayze plays completely against type, the revelation that he is a monster is truly shocking and a real rug puller.
9. Cobra Kai Sensei (The Karate Kid)
Many would argue that Johnny is the villain but if Johnny had been trained by Myagi then who knows where he would have ended up.
A grown man who seems to delight in pain being inflicted on teenagers, and seems to have no problem in people knowing it. “Sweep the leg” is perfect proof of this, the look of joy on his face when Daniel San is getting beaten to a pulp by his protégé is just pure evil. He is the ‘win at any cost’ coach that has cropped up in cinema for years but very few others have done it as well.
8. Col Nathan Jessop (A Few Good Men)
“I’m gonna rip the eyes out of your head and piss in your dead skull, you fucked with the wrong Marine.”
As insults go, not a bad one. Jessup is a vile human being. He shows no remorse for the death of a kid who couldn’t protect himself and has the arrogance to still think it was the right decision even when it’s clear it wasn’t. Jack Nicholson knocks it out of the park in this film, over-acting up to 11. You can’t stand him from the moment you meet him and you are never in doubt who the bad guy is in the film.
7. The Printer (Office Space)
This film could have made the list for Bill Lumbergh but we went with the inanimate object that makes those around it swell with rage. It consistently manages to whip up frenzy in all those who come into contact with it. Like all villains in Hollywood it gets its comeuppance at the hands of our heroes, Peter, Samir and Michael Bolton, (no not the singer and no he doesn’t like his music). Evil all the way to its component parts.
6. The Wicked Witch Of The West (The Wizard of Oz)
You could argue that she had every right to want to put an end to Dorothy; she did drop a house on her sister’s head after all. But her persecution of the munchkins? That’s just mean.
We did always wonder though, was the green skin actually just a fungal infection because she can’t take a bath?
5. Nurse Ratched (One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s nest)
Queen bitch. Nuff said.
4. Richard Vernon (The Breakfast Club)
There were two teachers that we were considering for this list. The other was Ed Rooney from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. However, we still think he was just doing his job and that Ferris was a bit of a douche bag.
Richard Vernon however revels in his role as disciplinarian to a bunch of misfit kids. There’s a barely concealed rage to him, (“You mess with the bull…. You get the horns.”), and you feel that he wanted to be a drill sergeant but never made the grade so he decided to pick on kids instead.
He has no interest in educating these kids, he just wants to intimidate and bully, this is his raison d’etre. There is no question to him that the breakfast club are just bad kids, he cares not for the reason they end up with him or any extenuating circumstances he just wants to punish. Sod.
3. Walter Peck (Ghostbusters)
We mentioned William Atherton in the introduction and just had to include him on this list. Cursed with a face that only his Mother could love, he may not be a terror of ‘biblical proportions’ but he’s a constant thorn in Venkman and Co’s side. Lest we forget it’s his fault all hell breaks loose in Downtown Manhattan.
Atherton plays a weasel better than any man should. We refuse to believe that in the real world he’s anything other than a complete bastard as nobody is that good an actor. He’s only on-screen for a few minutes in total but the impact he has is undeniable.
We’ve all dealt with a Walter Peck at some point in our life, the un-wavering bureaucrat that suffers from little man syndrome. An unflinching belief that he is right and everyone else is wrong. To this day we still wish Venkman had punched his lights out.
2. Amon Goeth (Schindler’s List)
The absolute embodiment of the Third Reich’s evil will. Goeth is brilliantly brought to life by a rarely better Ralph Fiennes, the menace he brings is at times terrifying. If Oscar Schindler represents the ability to do good, and the strength of the human spirit then Goeth is the polar opposite. What a git.
There is complete apathy towards all of those around him and a sense of devotion to his job that makes him pant wettingly scary.
And Number 1 goes to…………
Carter Burke (Aliens)
What can we say about our number 1 choice? Paul Reiser did such a good job of playing the ultimate slimy company man who we still hate him to this day. Even after playing all round good guys on TV, (My Two Dads, Mad About You) I still want to strap a pulse rifle where the sun don’t shine and pull the trigger.
He is everything that a villain should be and he does it all without putting a gun to anyone’s head. He manipulates, lies and cheats and is prepared to let everyone be slaughtered at the retractable mouths of the xenomorhphs just to make a few dollars. We still stand up and cheer when he gets his comeuppance, and not a whisper, we mean a full on, fist pumping berserker cry. “TAKE THAT BURKE YOU SOD!”
So there it is. Agree? Disagree? Are there any glaring omissions? Feel free to share your thoughts with us.