Animators know how to bring nightmares to life, which is why the media are responsible for translating some of the greatest examples of evil in storytelling to the screen. We couldn’t help but feel drawn to this animated villain. To respect Bad People Hitting theaters, SYFY WIRE rounds up some of the greatest animated villains that have haunted our childhoods or just made us feel super scared in the best way possible.
other mother – coral
The Other Mother in the Laika adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s coral is the personification of the old chestnut: “be careful what you wish for.” She is the kind mother figure Coraline finds in a parallel universe. Looking more stylish, caring and supportive, Coraline thinks she is a much “better” version of her rushing mother home. But the facade soon lifts and Coraline’s button-eyed Another Mother reveals herself to be Belddam, with a terrifying surreal form that haunts Coraline and the audience. Kudos to Teri Hatcher for voicing The Other Mother with a sinister warmth that sells horror.
Scar – Lion King
In a perfect blend of animation and sound, actor Jeremy Irons’ humorous and insulting appearance in Lion King because Mufasa’s power-hungry brother Scar remains a classic. Irons’ effective British accent elevates the characters, and story dynamics, to Shakespearean heights. He sneaks, he coaxes, and he taunts the naive Simba until the two come face-to-face in the final round for a terrifying battle for supremacy. The scars stay pretty strong because he’s a charmer until he’s not, and then you’re reminded of how dangerous the enemy can be.
Fantasy – Batman: Fantasy Mask
The only theatrical film released based on the extraordinary Batman: Animated Series, Fantasy Mask featured the original villain in Phantasm, which made him stand out from the ranks of DC antagonists. But Phantasm really works as a character because of the complicated, emotional story that ties them to Bruce Wayne. Without spoiling any major reveal, Phantasm looks and sounds menacing with a Grim Reaper vibe and a modified sound from Stacy Keach that’s effectively threatening. Phantasm also does very well as an unforgettable villain as it parallels Wayne/Batman’s vigilante path in life.
kingpin – Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse
Drawn as a huge mass of criminals, Kingpin in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse has the scale and brute strength to be a worthy threat to Miles Morales/Spider-Man. Liev Schreiber imbues a vocal performance with much of the New York threat and heft it takes to sell the character designs higher. Plus, there’s a smoldering rage that makes this Kingpin so powerless and unpredictable; qualities needed in making a villain unforgettable. When he gets angry and unleashes his powers, there’s a brutality that makes you very worried about anyone who gets in his way.
Many-o’-Huggin’ Bear – toy story 3
One big twist overall Toy story The franchise has a cute teddy bear capable of terrible things. Pixar really went there toy story 3 by having Lotso endure the surprise villain of the piece. Sure, they provide a heartbreaking backdrop to the origins of his horrific behavior, and that certainly adds resonance to the story, but they still make hot pink furballs the villains! Ned Beatty should also be commended for lulling us with his performance of his soothing voice, Southern charm and then turning him into a crazy and menacing antagonist who almost burned Andy’s toys into oblivion and beyond.
Ursula – Little Mermaid
Is it much better than the legendary Pat Carroll who played Ursula? No. The comedian and singer put his Broadway belt skills to good use as his vocal prowess turns an underwater wizard into a bombastic and menacing nemesis to all who dare to venture past him in the Walt Disney Animation adaptation of Little Mermaid. Whether she’s doing the lines to tempt adorable Ariel into the devil’s bargain, or just nailing a stopper like “Poor Soul,” we can’t imagine anyone making Ursula as strong as Carroll. Disney animators know it too when they translate the many facial expressions and facial movements of the actresses into their designs for villains. From her purple skin to her white punk hair and crazy laugh, Ursula still haunts us as one of the best.
Lord Farquaad – Shrek
Shrek way ahead of time in mocking toxic masculinity in all its forms compact with the egomaniac, Lord Maximus Farquaad. Voiced with joy by John Lithgow, Farquaad is absolutely hideous and thin-skinned. He is the subject of endless jokes, but his narcissism is also terrifying and vivacious which makes him a powerful despot.
Wicked – Sleeping Beauty
The title “Lady of All Evil” might be hyperbole in the hands of other villains, but Maleficent the witch has the moniker with her head held high. Disney animator Marc Davis designed one of the greatest of all time with Maleficent, the evil wizard who cursed Princess Aurora in the Walt Disney Animation adaptation of Sleeping Beauty. With its sinister black silhouette and mellow voice provided by Eleanor Audley, Maleficent is just as powerful as you can get when it’s instant “bad” reading on screen. However, he is so attractive and charming that you end up supporting him to survive, whether as a mage or a dragon, because he is so flashy and memorable every time he appears.
rattlesnake Jake – Rango
Rango remains a very underrated western CG who finds a pet chameleon turned into an Old West hero. The baddie Rango finally has to beat is Jake Rattlesnake, voiced by the incredible scary Bill Nighy. Designed to look as menacing as the true western diamondback rattlesnake, Jake circles the townspeople of Dirt with hatred and a complete disregard for boundaries. He licks people and throws his poison like water. A bad hombre all around who rises to the occasion in putting on a third act crime show.
King Haggard – The Last Unicorn
If you’re a Gen-Xer, the animated adaptation of Rankin and Bass from Peter S. Beagle’s classic book still looks great. Because it tells a story set in a time when magic was still around and exotic beats like unicorns and harpies still lurk in the shadows of humans, this film depicts some beautiful and terrifying creatures. But the worst of them was a mere mortal, the decrepit King Haggard. Pathetic, emaciated and rough, Haggard rules in a decaying castle overlooking the sea and keeps a terrible secret. As voiced by the spectacular Christopher Lee, Haggard is a terrifying and pathetic villain who evokes no sympathy. Gripping the things he loved most made him a monster, inside and out.
Gaston – The beauty and the Beast
Himbo of all villains, Gaston of Disney The beauty and the Beast is a beef pie that everyone loves. He’s an over-enthusiastic hunter in the town of Belle where all single women, except him, are hot and distracted. He’s pure testosterone squeezed into a muscle suit with Wolf Bauer’s great singing voice. As the film opens, it becomes clear that Beast is not the villain of the story, but Gaston with his unfettered ego and toxic rights.