Hello, readers! Here we are for another round of this five-part series, with part II of the greatest villains in film history. For those of you that just arrived, you can find out who the first ten villains from part I are here.
So, once again, let’s begin the countdown, starting with…
40) Captain (Cool Hand Luke) – Strother Martin
1967 – If you thought Warden Norton from The Shawshank Redemption was cold, Strother Martin’s Captain makes Warden Norton look like Deputy Barney Fife. “Now I can be a good guy, or I can be one real, mean son of a bitch… It’s all up to you.”, he says during the preliminary lineup. Despite not fitting an intimidating profile, what with his greyish-white hair and reedy, southern accent, he was one not to be trifled with. When wronged or crossed, he’ll let you know who’s boss. But hey, as he mentions in his now iconic speech, “I don’t like it any more than you men.”
39) Dr. Rene Belloq (Raiders of the Lost Ark) – Paul Freeman
1981 – Indiana Jones’s nemesis, Dr. Rene Belloq would always wait for Indy to do the dirty work, only to swoop in and steal the prize for himself. He’s cultured, sophisticated, eloquent, well dressed, yet above all else, obsessed. Assisting the Nazi regime, Belloq was determined to find, capture and eventually open the lost Ark of the Covenant for what he sees as a “transmitter to God”. In the end, though, Belloq finds out the hard way what happens when you essentially open “Pandora’s Box” in one hell of a thrilling finale.
38) Auric Goldfinger (Goldfinger) – Gert Frobe/voiced by Michael Collins
1964 – There have been many memorable Bond villains (most recently portrayed by Javier Bardem in Skyfall), but none were as memorable as the devious Goldfinger. His plan of taking over Fort Knox not to rob the gold, but to devalue it thereby increasing the value of his own stock was ingenious and diabolical. Plus, it’s almost impossible to forget the murder of Jill Masterson in one of the most enduring images in film history. In talking about Goldfinger, it’d seem wrong not to give a solid nod and mention to Goldfinger’s quiet yet menacing henchman Oddjob (Harold Sakata), but it’s Auric Goldfinger that steals the show.
37) Lars Thorwald (Rear Window) – Raymond Burr
1954 – One of legendary filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock’s greatest works, Rear Window is a must-see on how to make a great, taut thriller. Then again, anything Hitchcock is a must-see on how to make a great, taut thriller. Raymond Burr is absolutely chilling as Lars Thorwald, a wholesale jeweler that, according to the eyes of Jimmy Stewart’s L.B. “Jeff” Jeffries, may or may not be hiding something. The final confrontation where Thorwald, while not seen, creeps up the steps to Jeff’s apartment and the viewer can only hear his slow, booming steps while Jeff anxiously awaits is cinematic gold. Who knew Perry Mason would make my top 50 villains list?
36) Eve Harrington (All About Eve) – Anne Baxter
1950 – The gorgeous Anne Baxter’s Eve Harrington is living, walking proof of the Proverb “Charm is deceitful and beauty vain.”, and the title says it all. Eve Harrington may appear humble as she befriends Broadway’s biggest star Margo Channing (Bette Davis) and becomes her understudy. Deep down, though, she’s the most seductive, scheming and manipulative diva of all divas who’s willing to use anyone to get what she wants. I won’t give away the ending, but trust me when I say it’s a great and rather fitting ending for Eve.
35) Nurse Ratched (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest) – Louise Fletcher
1975 – Louise Fletcher earned every bit of her Best Actress Oscar for her role as the battleaxe Nurse Ratched, the tyrannical head of a Salem, Oregon mental institution. Fletcher’s calm yet utterly cold attitude is enough to where you just wanna smack the smug glances off her face, and the undercurrent of sexual tension between her and Jack Nicholson’s Randle McMurphy adds so much more to their back and forth chemistry no matter how off-putting they are to each other. However, it’s the final confrontation between her and Brad Dourif’s young, stuttering Billy Bibbit that really makes you love to hate her.
34) Asami Yamazaki (Audition) – Eihi Shiina
1999 – I don’t know how they do it, but the Asians are kings at rattling moviegoers’ nerves ’til they’re numb. In total fairness, Aoyama, the lead protagonist, held a fake casting call to meet new girls. Anyone with even half a brain should know that you’re bound to piss off a psycho at some point during the auditions, but I don’t think anyone would expect the unsettling extremes taken by Yamazaki, who makes the Jigsaw Killer look like a incompetent amateur when it comes to who can torture their captives the best. Definitely not for the faint-hearted, films like Audition and villains like Yamazaki will have you canceling your match.com subscription in no time.
33) Lady Tremaine/The Wicked Stepmother (Cinderella) – voiced by Eleanor Audley
1950 – No one scared me into fertilizing my diapers as a toddler more than Cinderella’s wicked stepmother. In today’s world, you have to wonder how many complaints to Social Services this woman would get ’cause she is a Bitch, and that’s with a capital B. It’s the coldness in her calm, smooth voice, such as when she peeks back through the door after ruining Cinderella’s chance at the ball, and says “good night”, that makes her so utterly cruel. You almost have to applaud Cinderella for her “turn the other cheek” ability to take so much abuse. I mean, how much crap can a girl take before going Kill Bill on all three of them?
32) T-1000 (Terminator 2: Judgment Day) – Robert Patrick
1991 – The best of the Terminator franchise, Terminator 2: Judgment Day gave us one of the most menacing villains of the ’90s and of all-time. Made of a liquid metal known as “memetic poly-alloy”, T-1000 is able to shape-shift into – well, pretty much anything. What makes him so menacing is the fact that he doesn’t look intimidating at all. He appears to be exactly like the ordinary, everyday cop he’s disguised as, that is until he very politely comments, “Say… that’s a nice bike.”, a statement that former bike owner forever knows to be the last words he ever heard. Writer/director James Cameron could’ve nabbed a Schwarzenegger look-alike such as Jean-Claude Van Damme or Dolph Lundgren; however, the lean and fit Robert Patrick was completely polar opposite of Schwarzenegger in almost every aspect, making him the perfect choice for the role.
31) Jame “Buffalo Bill” Gumb (The Silence of the Lambs) – Ted Levine
1991 – Is it really too much to ask to put the lotion back into the basket? Obviously, when people think of The Silence of the Lambs they think of Hannibal Lecter. Rightly so, but still the ultimate shame in that is not enough credit is then given to Ted Levine’s haunting performance as “Buffalo Bill”, the serial killer who skins his female victims’ corpses so he can make himself a “woman suit”. Levine is nothing short of terrifying and certainly made a number of people scared to put on lotion just like Jaws made people scared to go into the ocean. People remember Academy Award winners Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster’s roles in this film, but Ted Levine’s performance deserves its recognition as well.
Well, that’s all for this round. Next week I’ll have picks 30-21. Feel free to comment on any favorites from this list, and start making your predictions on who you think will be #1.