THE QUESTION: Who is your favorite original movie villain?
Rob: My favorite original movie villain would have to be Simon Phoenix, as portrayed by Wesley Snipes in Demolition Man. Like The Joker, he’s a psychopath with no remorse who amuses himself with the devilish things he does. While he’s programmed with a wide array of weapon and combat skills, the main reason he’s so dangerous is his unpredictable, unstable mental state. He can switch instantaneously between staring you down without cracking a smile to laughing his head off as he shoots you in the face with a bazooka. THAT is a dangerous man. Doug: My favorite original movie villain is The Operative, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor in Serenity. In stark contrast to the movie’s rough-and-tumble hero – Capt. Mal Reynolds – The Operative is all smooth lines and measured cadences. The Operative is almost impossibly urbane and at times skews into James Bond villain territory with the bemused manner in which he taunts the hero and his elaborate method of killing people. What sets him apart from the Bond milieu is the acts of shocking ruthlessness he is capable of, such as ordering the massacre of everyone who might have helped the Serenity crew. What makes the character resonate for me is that unlike a lot of villains, the character doesn’t radiate evil or menace, just an intensity of purpose, which is even more unsettling. Bryan: Jaws was a movie that was centered around the villain. It rose on the sheer fact of the villain’s presence. Yes, it was a shark, but at the time it was a huge deal. Plus the movie itself is named after the villain! Brian: My favorite villain would have to be the little girl (devil) in the Exorcist. To this day, it’s still one of the scariest videos for me, and I think part of that reason is because exorcisms actually happen. It’s not some alien creature, or mythic monster, but rather the embodiment of pure evil stuck in this little girl. And to truly appreciate this masterpiece, you should see it in it’s unrated, uncut version which is sure to send some chills up your spine. Timm: My favorite villain has to be Ursela from The Little Mermaid. I was petrified as a child watching that movie. I think it was the combination of her manly voice in conjunction with her ability to be practically omniscient. Honestly, what is scarier than a fat ugly mollusk that sounds like a smoker? I can’t think of much. Dave: Brian took one of my favs, and yes, that movie scared me so much (no I wasn’t a little kid, I first saw it in my twenties…) couldn’t sleep. I want to pick Darth Vader…but that is way too obvious, so my choice? The “Pulse” from the 1988 movie with Joey Lawrence called; Pulse. The concept is what scared me; you had a faceless and formless nemesis throughout the film. Any electrical appliances or objects that could conduct electricity became the villain…brilliant concept, a so-so movie though. Justin: “I work for Keyser Soze.”
That one statement was all it took to strike fear into the career criminals in Bryan Singer’s 1995 classic The Usual Suspects, and all it took for me to name him my favorite original movie villain of all time.
The line reveals that a crew of hardened criminals has just discovered that they are indebted to and in the services of one Keyser Soze, a man (or myth) with a legendary reputation for brutality and ruthlessness. His anonymity gives rise to the question of whether he even exists at all. His legend includes stories of him killing his own family, his rivals, his rivals’ families, and anyone who crosses him. Fenster, one of the thieves, tells his crew, “The way I hear it, Soze is some kind of butcher. A peerless, psycho, fucked-up butcher.”
Who is Keyser Soze? Is he really behind the events in the harbor that set the stage for the film? Or is he part of criminal folklore? Verbal Kint said it best: “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist. And like that, ‘POOF’. He’s gone.”
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