Movies had given us some pretty badass villains over the years, from Darth Vader in “Star Wars” right down to Ledger’s Joker in “The Dark Knight” – a role so crazy-awesome it somehow made us forget that the character basically looked like a panda after pigging out on a jar of raspberry jam.
But there is something else we’d forgotten. Due to a sudden onset case of mass amnesia or those weekly bleach margaritas, it somehow slipped our minds that among all the Scars, Lecters or Stansfields of the movie world, there is a whole bunch of villains equally awesome as the so called classics. You won’t find these villains on T-shirts or any Top 10 Lists and the only time you will hear their names mentioned is in discussions between mega nerds who are to regular nerds what regular nerds are to the women who won’t sleep with them.
Anyway, here is my list of the The 6 Greatest Movie Villains (we just forgot about):
6. Cyrus “The Virus” Grissom
To the people born in the 80s, the name of Cyrus ‘The Virus’ might ring a certain bell, reminiscent of a time when porn still mainly came in magazine form and that one faithful summer you all went to see the new Batman movie starring George Clooney. The reason you only faintly remember those times, together with Cyrus, is because your brain loves you and tried his best to make you forget most of the 90s. I am here today to undo all of his hard work.
Cyrus was the main antagonist in the mostly forgotten 1997 action flick “Con Air”, played by real-life crazy John Malkovich. All you need to know about Cyrus is this: he spent 25 of the 39 years of his life in prison, he is immensely intelligent (having earned himself a Bachelor’s Degree and a Juris Doctor while incarcerated) and so f-cked in the head that during one scene in the movie he threatens a toy rabbit at gun-point:
Cyrus is something of a cross between Gary Busey and Gary Busey from an alternative dimension where he is a criminally insane genius instead of just plain insane – a bona fide hurricane of charismatic awesomeness. This driving (and killing) force behind the plot of “Con Air” took one look at a heavily guarded prison AIRPLANE and said “Yeah, I can escape from that”. Also, he brought in Dave Chappelle to the plan, which is always a plus.
5. Charlie “Madman Mundt” Meadows
The Coen brothers have so far won 6 Oscars and are the pair behind such hits as “The Big Lebowski”, “Fargo” or the immensely popular “Javier Bardem has a weird hairdo, kills people” (aka “No Country For Old Men”). And yet, throw their name around a room full of people and chances are most won’t know who the f-ck you’re talking about. So what are the chances anyone will remember their less mainstream movie like “Barton Fink”?
In the movie, John Goodman played the role of Charlie – John Turturro’s neighbor, and a lovable “common man” who sold insurance, if by insurance you mean “murder” and by sell you mean “give away for free”. Charlie was actually an insane serial killer named Karl Mundt, who liked to shoot his victims and keep their heads as kill-trophies, also fulfilling the movie’s need for a Satan-like figure. Having Satan in their movies is a trope the Coens love to play with, because why the hell not (Zing!). To reiterate: In “Barton Fink” John Goodman basically plays a serial killing Devil.
The thing is…. If you are anything like me and know Goodman mostly from his comedy roles, then the image of this jolly ol’ Fred Flintstone running around with a shotgun in “Barton Fink”, taking down cops amidst a sea of hellish fire is akin to having to watch Jackie Gleason murder Art Carney and sodomize his lifeless corpse – pure nightmare fuel. Well deserved of the #5 spot.
4. Frank “The Enforcer” Nitti
Brian De Palma’s “The Untouchables” is an enjoyable classic and one of the few Kevin Costner movies that do no suck, though “3000 Miles to Graceland” it is not. But if you were to name the villain of this flick, it would probably be Robert De Niro as Al Capone, right? That famous baseball bat scene, where he’s totally bashing some poor sucker’s skull in? It was a great performance, I give Bobby that, but his character cannot hold a candle to one of Capone’s main thugs, Frank Nitti (played by Billy Drago).
Nicknamed “The Enforcer” Nitti was responsible for supplying the biggest amount of ass in the movie and thoroughly kicking it for our enjoyment. He was the guy who dresses as a cop, went straight into a heavily guarded Police Station, killed a material witness in one of the biggest mob trials in Chicago’s history… and then calmly walked out the back door. Seriously, this guy was the movie Joker of 1987. No wonder he was able to kill Sean “Jesusf-ck” Connery when he just felt like it.
But the biggest accomplishment of Frank Nitti is in the way he died – thrown off a tall building and smashing face first into a car below. Not only should a frame by frame reenactment of this scene be featured in every dictionary under the term “Holy F-ck!” but it is also the only time in history when Kevin Costner (the guy who killed Nitti) looked… well… pretty gosh darn badass.
3. Professor Ratigan
When you think of good rodent-centered animated movies (for whatever strange reason), you probably think of “Ratatouille” or perhaps “The Secret of NIMH”, if you are a loser almost as horrible as me. But if you indeed were me, there would be one, mostly forgotten movie that stands out above the rest – “The Great Mouse Detective” (1986), the only known Disney movie with, I kid you not, a striptease scene.
“The Great Mouse Detective” is basically a rodent version of Sherlock Holmes, and Professor Ratigan fulfils the role of the movie’s Moriarty, who in the books was Holmes’s archenemy and in this movie is a gigantic mentally unstable genius rodent. Voiced by Vincent Price. If you suddenly experienced a sudden pain in your temple after reading this, do not panic, it’s just your brain kicking itself for not seeing this movie earlier.
Ratigan’s evil plan for the movie was as sensible and stable as the character himself – to build a robot duplicate of the Mouse Queen of England and rule the country with an iron fist. Huh… hey, anyone noticed that this “Holmes’s enemy using advance technology to take over England” bit is a tad similar to Guy Ritchie’s version?
Anyway, what really gets you about the character is that he constantly looks as if he was ready to explode with crazy at the slightest provocation. The best part? We totally get to see that near the end of the movie, when Ratigan abandons all semblances of “class” and “civility” and turns into a psycho bruiser out on a kill. And did I mention that he is Vincent Price? Cause that’s kinda important.
2. Clarence Boddicker
Let’s talk about Paul Verhoeven’s “RoboCop”. [geek-out]OHMYGODDO YOUREMEMBERTHATSCENE WHEN THOSE GUYS GUN DOWN MURHPY AND IT’S ALL LIKE RATATATA AND F-CK ME THERE WAS SO MUCH BLOOD AND THEN THEY TURNHIMINTO A CYBORG AND IT’SAWESOME![/geek-out]. I apologize for that, but believe it or not I really like this movie. And I especially love crime boss Clarence Boddicker, the man responsible for turning Alex Murphy into the existentially troubled cyborg he is today.
Played by Kurtwood Smith (who you might remember more vividly as the Foot and Ass obsessed Red Foreman in the TV series “That ‘70s Show”), Boddicker embodies everything that makes a good villain (or bad, however you look at it): he’s psycho, charismatic, more evil than drowning orphans with cancer, but above all else, he seems genuinely happy. We somehow got it into our heads that our villains should be dark, brooding and perfectly willing to let Nietzsche f-ck them in the ass if the occasion arose. Not Clarence though. He always seemed to actually enjoy what he was doing and what he was doing was causing chaos. He also liked The Tigers.
Now granted Clarence isn’t all that forgotten, usually people will remember him if you mention “that guy who killed the dude who later became that robot cop in that one movie… ‘Mr. Smith Goes to Washington’ I think it was called”. But among all the kickass robotic action in the most faithful depiction of Detroit to date, it’s very easy to miss one simple human bad guy. A bad guy who really knew how to keep b-tches in line.
1. Captain Feeny
Bloody hell, it’s so hard to be a Kubrick fan nowadays. For the last couple of years good old Crazy Stan (as I am sure he would be known to his friends if he had any) has been shanghaied by trendy douchebags who constantly name drop his movies as if that gave them even a hint of a real personality (it doesn’t). But I am here today to talk about a movie not even those assh-les remember, and a villain who appeared in it for less than 5 minutes, never to be heard from again. The greatest forgotten movie villain – Captain Feeny (Arthur O’Sullivan) from “Barry Lyndon”
“Barry Lyndon” is the story of *SPOILERS* Barry Lyndon (played by Ryan O’Neal) whose life slowly but surely goes to hell because he really wanted to bone his cousin. But the entire movie would consist of nothing more than Barry drinking beer and banging whores in Dublin, if not for one character – the highwayman by the name of Captain Feeny, who robs Barry early in the movie.
During the very short time he is in the movie Feeny manages to steal not only Barry’s money, but also the entire scene and most of my interest. He is a gentleman thief who always addresses the main character with the utmost respect without getting all queery about it. This unshaven older gent might very well be aiming his twin pistols at you, but that doesn’t mean he has to be rude while doing so. His smooth style of speech, Old World charm and professionalism in the age old art of thievery should be an inspiration to all great movie villains in the future.
Besides, I love the way he describes his “victims”:
Barry: Mightn’t I be allowed to keep my horse?
Feeny: I should like to oblige you, but with people like us, we must be able to travel faster than our clients. Good day, young sir.