As this month starts arguably the most exciting time in any sport, March Madness, each week we will be selecting our “Final Four” of a specific movie/tv/music/comics topic. For the first installment, we’ve decided to pick our Final Four of Movie Villains.
Scar, The Lion King
Killing your brother is some cold-blooded stuff, especially by trampling his ass to death by stampeding wildebeests. Mufasa’s death in The Lion King affected my generation much like the death of Bambi’s mom did to its own generation. Killing blood relatives, exiling your own nephew, and then giving millions of kids a metaphorical punch to the childhood bone? That’s some next-level villainy right there. Disney goes Shakespearian here, with Simba as the Hamlet role who is usurped as the rightful heir to the kingdom by Scar, filling in for Claudius. Jeremy Irons is perfectly cast as the conniving, theatrical, power-hungry Scar and it’s one of the best voice-acting performances in Disney history.
Colonel Hans Landa, Inglourious Basterds
I think it’s safe to say that you automatically reach a certain echelon of evil by just being associated with the Nazis in film. But to have a Colonel of the SS that is know as “The Jew Hunter” in a film, it leads you to believe that time with him with neither be fun nor pretty. Played brilliantly by now 2-time Oscar-winning actor Christoph Waltz, Landa is charismatic the way you would expect a Bond villain to be, but what separates him from a guy trying to melt all the gold in Fort Knox is his genuine pleasure of finding Jewish refugees and exterminating them. Tarantino wastes no time exemplifying how bad he is either. In the first scene, Landa proves it in the way he talks, his cold stares, and his ability to manipulate. Oh yeah, he kills a woman with his bare hands, too. Luckily, he gets what he deserves in the end.
Anton Chigurh, No Country For Old Men
I think there can be a debate as to which of these next two entries act less human, and I think you can argue both points. Anton Chigurh is less a human character than he is an ever-present force of destruction and misery. To label him as Death personified would be an accurate statement. He shows no mercy, no emotion. Once he has been put on a job, he carries it out until he is the last one standing. Javier Bardem gives a terrifying performance as a blank slate that disappears as quickly as he arrives. There are few scenes in recent film history as tension-filled and disturbing as when he flips his coin and asks the shopkeeper to call it. It’s a sick, twisted game that he gets some bizarre kick from and sums up his character perfectly.
HAL 9000, 2001: A Space Odyssey
HAL is a dick, plain and simple. It doesn’t matter that he doesn’t have a body and he’s just a computer. He does more villainy without a brain than most do with a fully-grown one. What makes him even worse is that all he’s doing is protecting the mission he was programmed to do and he acts like a passive-aggressive jerk when he feels like you are about to come between him and his objective, like he’s in the right and you’re the one who’s wrong. He kills an entire fleet of people in their sleep, lets one dude die in the vacuum of space, and locks David out of the space station. This sort of villainy is the most annoying and makes me believe that computers are all out to get us.Follow Anthony on Twitter and be sure to check out the picks made by Dan and Mark