The Best Villains in Film

In Hollywood, the good guys nearly always win, but the bad guys are what makes a film good. If there’s no threat, then any heroic deed is worthless. In this blog, we’re going to look at characters that are pure evil and why they are so terrifying

Amon Goeth – Schindler’s List

Played by Ralph Fiennes in Schindler’s List, the Commandant of the Kraków-Plasków Concentration camp was terrifying. Even more terrifying is that he was a real person. Shouting “Heil Hitler” as he is executed shows his total lack of remorse. Famous for executing people on the spot he instilled fear in everyone around him.


Emperor Palpatine – Star Wars

Every list of movie bad guys has Darth Vader in it, but I’m not putting him in because of his eventual redemption. Palpatine was far scarier than Vader in Return of the Jedi. He didn’t even need a lightsaber because he could use force lightning. As the true Dark Lord of the Sith he was the physical embodiment of pure evil. The prequels show him to be cunning, cold, calculated, manipulative and pure evil. With an absolutely chilling performance from Ian McDiarmid, he has to go in.


Annie Wilkes – Misery

Kathy Bates is truly terrifying in what can only be described as a super fan gone mad. After rescuing Paul Sheldon from a car accident, she tortures and psychologically tortures the author, forcing him to write follow-ups to the books she loves. From her deadpan dialogue to her sledgehammering of Sheldon’s feet and tying him to his bed, the character is one of cinemas scariest villains and a reflection of super fan culture


Nurse Ratched – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Playing on the classic fear of abuse of authority, Louise Fletcher is ghastly as Nurse Ratched. A classic example of abuse of power, her superiors turn a blind eye to her physical and mental abuse and domination of the inmates at Salem State Hospital. Ending up having her nemesis, RP McMurphy lobotomised to achieve “order” she is the archetypal abuser of power.


Patrick Bateman – American Psycho

A stereotype of the banking class, he is everything our society values, rich, handsome, well turned out and charming. A yuppie at heart, he believes in greed, money and power. A drug-addicted murderer, Bateman is essentially the template for the current trend known as the Alt-Right, dressing up psychotic murder and hatred as “traditional values” and “common sense.” A grooming creep, he uses his power over women to his advantage before murdering them. He also thinks Genesis’ best era was when Phil Collins was the singer. All kinds of evil.


Khan Noonian Singh – Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Reprising his role form Star Trek, Ricardo Montalban’s portrayal of the genetically modified superman is a Nietzschean nightmare. With superior intellect and strength, Kirk has to destroy the Enterprise to stop him. His performance sparkles and even gives us the best pained cry in film history from William Shatner – KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!