We don’t know about you, but we’re still busy watching the latest Suicide Squad trailer over and over again. The new comic book adaptation looks like a joyous celebration of all things villainous, and we can’t get enough. So, with evil clowns and killer crocs on the brain, we’ve come up some of our favorite movies where the baddies are really the stars of the show.
As Harley Quinn would say: “We’re bad guys! It’s what we do.”
1. Scar – The Lion King
Sure, Simba was cute as a cub, and it’s hard not to love Timon and Pumbaa, but let’s be real: Scar is the real star of The Lion King. Jeremy Irons’ sneering, snarling delivery left a generation of kids rightly scared of facial scars and creepy uncles. Campy, witty, and genuinely terrifying, he’s Disney’s finest monster – even if we can never forgive him for killing Mufasa.
2. Mugatu – Zoolander
Queer, weird and utterly unpredictable, Mugatu is the best part of Zoolander – and that’s saying something in a movie with Blue Steel and a David Bowie cameo. He has the film’s best hair, hands down; it’s most surreal lines; and a perfectly coordinated pet poodle. It’s just weeks until we get more Mugatu in Zoolander 2, and we cannot wait.
3. Begbie – Trainspotting
Less funny, and more oh-my-god-I’ve-never-been-so-frightened, Robert Carlyle is the scariest Scotsman ever committed to film as Begbie in Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting. You never have any idea what he’ll do next, whether it’s start a bar fight or glass one of his own mates. There aren’t many movie psychos as genuinely unhinged, and Begbie is never dull – even if there’s no way in hell you’d get us out for a drink with him.
4. The Joker – Batman/The Dark Knight/Suicide Squad
Heath Ledger’s turn as the Clown Prince of Crime in The Dark Knight is rightly held up as one of cinema’s finest villains, but there’s a lot to love in Jack Nicholson’s take in 1989’s Batman. Not to mention Jared Leto’s upcoming attempt in Suicide Squad, and the amazing voiceover work done by Mark Hamill (yup, Luke Skywalker himself) in an assortment of Batman cartoons and games. Basically, the Joker is usually the best thing in whatever he’s in, and we can’t get enough. Why so serious?
5. Hans Landa – Inglourious Basterds
There are plenty of Tarantino bad guys who would deserve a place on this list, but it’s hard not to give the spot to Christoph Waltz’s traitorous Nazi in Inglourious Basterds. Slimy, subversive, and sinister, his almost childlike glee for slaughter (and bingo) made him our favorite part of the WWII romp. No-one else has ever scared us as much while discussing apple strudel.
6. Loki – The Avengers
It’s the role that made Tom Hiddleston a global heartthrob, despite sharing the screen with the likes of Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. They proved no match for Loki’s smooth charm though, as he went from the tormented character at the heart of Thor to the smirking villain making things difficult for the Avengers. Plus, he managed to help sneak the antique insult “mewling quim” into the film, so he forever has our love.
7. Cruella De Vil – 101 Dalmations
A close second in Disney’s cackling animated villain stakes, Cruella De Vil is about the only puppy murderer we can all get behind. All she wants is a nice new coat, which we can surely all sympathize with. Is it her fault that a 101 dogs will have to die along the way? Honorable mention must go to Glenn Close’s live action version, who manages to be almost as animated as her cartoon counterpart.
8. The Gremlins – Gremlins
It’s hard to think of any horror movie villains more relatable than the Gremlins. They basically just wanna get drunk, party hard, and watch Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. They’re basically just tiny, green millennials. Sure, Gizmo is legit adorable, but it’s the monsters that have the insight to turn a department store into their very own playground and take over the local bar. We know whose side we’re on.
9. Hans Gruber – Die Hard
There was always going to have to be at least one of Alan Rickman’s iconic villains on this list, and Snape was just too morally ambiguous to make the cut. Hans Gruber, on the other hand, is the epitome of the sleazy, ruthless European baddie, one of the few villains who was more than a match for Bruce Willis’ John McClane. Unbelievably, this was Rickman’s first ever film role – but it was far from his last.
10. HAL 9000 – 2001: A Space Odyssey
He may have been little more than a glowing red light on the wall, but HAL knew how to win our hearts. From the cool, calm way he refused to open the pod bay doors (“I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that”) to his heartbreaking rendition of ‘Daisy Bell’ as Dave pulls his cores apart, we always thought HAL could have completed the mission better on his own, without all those pesky, fleshy humans getting in the way.