What makes a good villain? Is the best villain a character with green skin who shrieks into the moonlight? Or is the best villain a character you can almost relate to? I give you a few of the best villains ever created.
Dracula by Bram Stoker
Forget all the sexy stuff you read and see in the movies about vampires. Dracula vants one thing: blood. He requires the blood of humans to survive, and has no qualms at all about killing everyone in the whole vorld, vone neck bite at a time, to keep his thirst quenched. His motive for traveling to England is simply that he currently lives in a remote area of Transylvania, and there aren’t a lot of people to suck dry. England has “teeming millions,” as he puts it. The main characters of the book start to get in his way, and he immediately starts viping them out, vone by vone, turning Lucy Vestenra into a vampiress, scaring her mother to death. Van Helsing starts plotting against him, and he retaliates by going after Mina Harker, the most dear to every one of his rivals. He is vicked, cruel and heartless right to the end, ven they cut his head off and stab him through the heart.
Norman has the worst case of mommy issues in recorded history. Like all the best villains, we like Norm at first. He seems nice, if a bit odd, and lonely, living in a roadside motel. He’s a good boy, takes care of his mother, taxidermy enthusiast, and stabs random motorists in the shower. He is the reason I lock the door when I shower even though I’m home alone. The thing about Norman is you feel bad for him. You try to understand the power his dead mother has over him. You want to redeem him and that my friends makes him one of the best villains of all time.
The creepiest part of the entire movie is the final scene when Norm is in police custody and you hear his inner mother speak. “It’s sad, when a mother has to speak the words that condemn her own son. But I couldn’t allow them to believe that I would commit murder. They’ll put him away now, as I should have years ago. He was always bad, and in the end he intended to tell them I killed those girls and that man… as if I could do anything but just sit and stare, like one of his stuffed birds. They know I can’t move a finger, and I won’t. I’ll just sit here and be quiet, just in case they do… suspect me. They’re probably watching me. Well, let them. Let them see what kind of a person I am. I’m not even going to swat that fly. I hope they are watching… they’ll see. They’ll see and they’ll know, and they’ll say, ‘Why, she wouldn’t even harm a fly…’”
K, now I’m not gonna lie, Jack Torrance scares the begeezus out of me. Not because of what he did or the haunted hotel that takes him as its victim. No he scares me because I am a writer and I know the terror of facing a blank page. I have nightmares about breaking through writers block by unleashing on the unsuspecting populace of Las Vegas with an AK 47 and a swarm of venom spitting wasps. For me, Jack is the most understandable of the villains. First of all, he’s trapped on the top of a mountain in the winter with no one but his wife and kid for company. Second, his wife is a pain in the butt. She’s crying the entire freaking movie! When she attempts to attack Jack with the baseball bat she has the weakest swing known to man. Truly pathetic. And her teeth! Holy crap her teeth! Get some braces and maybe your husband won’t try to bash your brains Wendy. I’m just sayin’.
Most villaintastic line: “Wendy? Darling? Light, of my life. I’m not gonna hurt ya. You didn’t let me finish my sentence. I said, I’m not gonna hurt ya. I’m just going to bash your brains in.”
The Silence of the Lambs
The Red Dragon
The scariest thing about Dr. Lecter isn’t getting a dinner invitation from him. The scariest thing about Dr. Lecter is his intelligence, charisma, charm, and likability. He is a very likable guy, until he feeds you to a passel of pigs who crave human flesh. He almost has a protective nature when it comes to Clarise. Maybe protecting her by consuming the brain of a work rival is a bit much, but it’s still kind of sweet. He’s a mentor to an up and coming serial killer with mommy issues in Red Dragon played by Ralph Fiennes. He helps Ed Norton track down a serial cannibal. OK, he doesn’t so much as help as try to steer the young investigator away from himself and ends up having to stab the poor guy, but he’s nice about it. He helps Clarise work through her difficult childhood. He even buys her a really great pair of shoes. He’s the perfect guy, if you can get past the whole killing and eating people bit.
Great villainous line: “I do wish we could chat longer, but... I'm having an old friend for dinner. Bye.”
Titus Andronicus by Shakespeare
His final words are, “If one good deed in all my life I did, / I do repent it from my very Soule.” That’s the vilest “screw you” in literary history. He is the main instigator of the carnage throughout the play, and yet his only motive is that he enjoys what he’s doing. He loves to hurt people. He wants people to hate him. It is ecstasy to him. He proclaims in his big speech, while standing with his head in a noose, that his only regret is that he was not 10,000 times worse before he was caught. He convinces Demetrius and Chiron, the sons of the Queen, Tamora, to kill Lavinia’s betrothed, Bassianus, in front of her, just to make her grieve. They do this, then rape her and cut her tongue out and hands off, so she can’t tell. Aaron eats it all up. It’s delicious fun to him. Then he frames Titus’s sons for Bassianus’s murder, and lies to Titus, that if one of his family will cut of his hand and send it to the emperor, the emperor will spare his two sons. Titus complies, cutting off his hand, which is returned from the emperor, along with Titus’s sons’ heads anyway. Aaron knew it would happen, and loves every minute of it. He’s finally caught and forced to die by starvation and dehydration. He refuses to show remorse. And you thought Shakespeare was all about true love. In my humble opinion, Aaron the Moore is the best villain in history because he enjoys his villainy. He doesn’t have the luxury of a bad childhood to blame. His only motive is that it’s fun to be bad. It’s not hate or malice, it’s just a good time. And that makes him the nastiest nasty ever created.