Now we’re turning the corner, closer to the worst of the worst. This is like the institutional floor above the floor where Clarice Starling had the semen thrown in her face right before she met Hannibal Lecter. While for some of you hardened bastards, the first thirty picks might have offered opportunities of debate, from here on out, defending the character of the entries might be a telling sign of sociopathy.
70. Smith, The Matrix
Pick your reasoning here: his mechanical orneriness, his sneer, the way he says Neo’s name like a doctor getting ready to reveal the results of an STD test. Plus he’s unstoppable. He replicates within the matrix by science us plugged-ins could never understand. And he has impractical kung fu moves that he can apply while flying. Oh, and then, there’s the wish that he had lost the battle in the second movie so we would have never had to suffer through that atrocious final movie.
69. The Duke, Salo, or 120 Days of Sodom
I don’t like fecal stuff. Feces is where I draw the line when it comes to comedy, porn, the care I’m willing to provide an infant, etc. The Duke, however, loves fecal stuff, and that’s what elevates him above the other three figurative pieces of shit in this movie when it comes to measurement of our hate. Really, we could pick any of the four despicable, sadistic fascists in this movie. The only thing that truly prevents the four of them from taking the top four spots on this list is my hope that most of you haven’t seen this movie. Having sat through it once, I can describe the entire experience as being like emotional food poisoning. It is beyond pleasureless, it is damaging. My least favorite film fanatics are the ones who care to argue the artistic merit of this film. In fact, if you’ve allowed yourself to see it more than once, disclose that up front, because I do not want to talk to you now.
68. Christof, The Truman Show
There are a few scenes in movie history wherein the everyman hero confronts a god-like figure, but none quite as memorable as The Truman Show‘s ending. What’s so jarring about Ed Harris’ turn as the metaphorical avatar for Divine Creator is the climactic sequence– the way he shifts from compassionate and caring father figure to Old Testament asshole god in an instant, calling down rains, floods, lightning, and death to punish defiance. And when all of that fails to stop Truman, and Truman runs into the end of his existence, Christof move’s back into tone of false, paternal nurturing. That final “And in case I don’t see you…” trademark delivery could only have been made sweeter by an appended “motherfucker,” a la John McCLane.
67. The Operative, Serenity
The crew of Serenity (and in fantasy, their legion of irrationally devoted fans) represent a swashbuckling, fighting spirit and free will from any form of order. One specific form of order, The Alliance, sends the perfect antithesis to squash them. The Operative is a cold blooded killer who always follows orders to the bitter end. He slaughters anyone who stands in his way with no remorse — men, women, and children– all in pursuit of a “greater good.” Funny way of going about it. The Operative is so unlikable to fans of Whedon’s show and spin-off movie that proud Whedonite Diego Crespo held a grudge so complete that he complained about mixed emotions in 12 Years a Slave.
66. Predator, The Predator Series
Predator sucks because he’s so unfair. He spends his first movie playing death tag with a collection of biceps that could make a club full of South Jersey partiers put on insecure sleeves. Arnold, Carl Weathers, Jesse the Freaking Body, three men whose great, great grandchildren will still be failing piss tests. And Predator toys with them. Predator has weapons inside of his weapons. He’s heartless. His heart was taken out to make room another small weapon. So vicious and perfect a militant killing machine that later, lesser chapters had no idea how to context him, and just found lame ways to recruit him onto the side of man.
65. Mr. Joshua, Lethal Weapon
C’mon. It’s Gary Busey. A man whose eyes alone inspire nervousness. Busey in real life is like a comedy show mixed with a game of Russian roulette. Here’s some trivia: Busey was originally hired as “Bus Boy #2” in this movie but then he interrupted a scene to insist that the staff burn his arm with a lighter (maybe). His lunatic hijinx continued and Richard Donner just sort of filmed Lethal Weapon around him (perhaps). That final suicidal leap at the gun? Also unscripted (probably). Just another case of Busey pulling a Busey.
64. Jack Merridew, Lord of the Flies
In the most immediate sense, Lord of the Flies is meant to symbolize the thin construction of human civilization and the rotten, primal anarchy that exists just below the surface. If that’s true, and Jack Merridew exists in our nature, then we all have a sniveling stupid bully in our hearts. Scared of an imaginary beast and driven to evil acts by cowardice and insecurity, Jack Merridew might be just another forgettable young politician if it weren’t for his abusive mistreatment of Piggie, who I like to pretend received his triumphant moment in an alternate ending.
63. Woo-Jin, Oldboy
Confessional time: What’s the most conniving plot for revenge you’ve ever seen through? Washing your ass with your roommate’s loofah? Slipping a laxative in a coffee? Oh, you bad mollafollas. Well, Woo-Jin imprisoned a man for nearly 2o years. Solitary confinement. Never told him why. That’s fucking ruthless, right? Well that’s step one in an elaborate scheme that brings our basically innocent hero to his knees, cutting his tongue off to earn forgiveness. That’s a minor spoiler but if that’s the discovery that you find shocking at this point in the movie, you’ve got bigger concerns than movie spoilers.
62. Vincent, Collateral
Tom Cruise is nuts. Hardly an industry secret. And maybe that’s why he catches us so off guard in this Michael Mann thriller. Vincent the silver-hair haired assassin is cool and collected, measured and sociopathic. He’s calculating, manipulative, and in charge. The kind of villain who would laugh at and dispose of a scientology follower just for practice. He’s certainly unremorseful in his sporty torture of bumbling cab driver Max. At least in part, our hate for Vincent is rooted in respect. There’s something almost admirable about his cold acceptance of his polished brand of nihilism (best on display across the table from the doomed jazz club owner). Vincent teaches us that hate and respect aren’t at all mutually exclusive.
61. Cloverfield Monster, Cloverfield
The Cloverfield Monster is distinguished from its influential predecessors through its historical context. His grandfather Godzilla was a theoretical supposition, a metaphor built on speculative fear. Born of collective Pacific anxieties over the untamed power of nuclear energy, Godzilla was both victim and monster. At times, a pitiable creature as he suffered the imagined fate that was the real villain of that film. The Cloverfield Monster, on the other hand, is a manifestation of a recent panic, a realized fear that already had happened. When the initial Cloverfield attack occurs, the clever first person perspective, in a sort of cheap virtual reality, places the audience in the body and eyes of a New York city resident trying to make sense of a disorienting attack. That’s something no one wanted to experience again.
60. Osama bin Laden, Zero Dark ThirtyWhat the last entry symbolized, Osama bin Laden personified. And orchestrated. Let’s be real. Bigelow didn’t even have to try here. We hated the villain of her movie before she even had the idea to make the movie. This was pure revenge porn. Skilled craftsmanship, but revenge porn nonetheless. Chastain, as precise a performance as it was, had our empathy and support before she spoke or breathed or blinked onscreen. In fact, bin Laden barely has to make a screen appearance, poking his head around a corner just long enough to take an American bullet (Think about the guy who gets the IMDb credit for Osama bin Laden; that has to suck). Seriously though, try to imagine this same movie with any other villain from our list taking Osama’s place. If we found out the CIA was tracking Jigsaw (#100) or Candyman (#71) with state of the art surveillance on a confined compound in the Middle East? The whole country would protest the waste of money! In this case, our hate came before the movie, and we were reminded of that by an emotional revisit in the film’s opening sequence.
59. Brick Top, Snatch
If after all this you’re still struggling to identify a movie’s villain, I’ll give you a pretty solid rule: If Steve Buscemi isn’t in the movie, the physically ugliest character is probably your villain. Holy hell, is Brick Top ugly. His satellite dish glasses and tragic dental plate only perpetuate the stereotype (the villainous stereotype, you racists!). He is vicious, brutal, sadistic. It takes a dark soul to feed his victims to pigs. Remember early in the movie when Mickey’s weirdly lovable mom tells Tommy, “There won’t be no murderin’ done roun’ here, I don’t mind tellin’ ya!”? Well, consider that Brick Top murders Mickey’s mom about ten feet from where she made this declaration, which changes the entire genre of the movie instantaneously.
58. Dam0n Killian, Running Man
I want to go on record and say that I thought Richard Dawson was a son-of-a-bitch before this movie. All his mouth-kissing on mommies right in front of their husbands and kids. It never sat comfortably with me. But, all in all, his Price is Right pimpage is a small indiscretion compared to his sleazeball turn as host of the life-or-death game show of the future, The Running Man. Dawson seems too believably giddy as he unleashes his comic book like villains into the arena to hunt down Arnold. His character might have seemed even more unbearable had the movie kept the deleted scenes, wherein Killian leaned slowly toward each female audience member and gave their earlobes a sensual peck. What a pervert.
57. John Ryder, The Hitcher
John Ryder is another one of those killers who seems to fancy himself some sort of messianic professor with a syllabus that involves murder and some dark lesson about human civilization. But his lesson plan goes a bit further than most. From the moment we are nudged into realizing the fate laid upon the family that picks him up, it feels like Ryder toes the line of movie exploitation too close for comfort as he moves through a script that is very evidently in his favor, which is a frustrating thing for an audience who would be satisfied with a 20 minute film if it concluded with Ryder dying.
56. Stripe, Gremlins
Sometimes it’s not about what the villain does as much as who they’re doing it to. Yeah, they have the ugly yellow eyes, the ears like batwings, and the burn rough reptilian skin, but honestly, the other gremlins aren’t really evil or malevolent. They’re just mischievous. Their most unforgivable offense is bullying Gizmo, the most adorable movie entity of all time, and Stripe just happened to lead that effort. Honestly, you could put this little guy up against Gizmo…