I’ve wanted to watch No Country for Old Men since Javier won the Oscar. So finally, a couple of weeks ago, I sat down on a Monday night and watched Josh Brolin’s character make bad decisions and Javier sport possibly the worst men’s haircut in cinema history.
I love Westerns (non-John Wayne ones, sorry) so I was keen to see the Cohen brothers’ idea for an alternative and bleak style. It’s the Cohen brothers, so obviously the movie was fantastic. Anton Chigurh was a serial nutcracker! I found myself yelling at the telly multiple times for Llewelyn to run! And the weapon of choice, a captive bolt pistol…so wonderfully grisly.
The two most frightening parts were Anton walking toward the motel room with his socks on, and the other motel room scene where Anton turns the hall light off so he can’t be seen under the door. I was panicking the cat was going to cop it; but it’s OK, the cat turned out fine; his owner not so much but let’s be honest, it’s the cat we’re worried about.
Watching this made me think the whole movie was set up just to model someone so intimidating as Anton. It’s like they had an idea for his character and built a screwed up story to fan the flames of his psycho fire. All it took was a poor, over confident war veteran to decide that stealing drug money was a good idea. Everything about the movie is harsh, matching the western theme; the land, the brutality of the corrupted drug bust, the weapons, even the mutilated, cropped ears of the dogs.
Looking online, I’ve noticed that Anton ranks in several top 10s of greatest villains, so it got me thinking to compile my own list. I’m from a younger generation so perhaps I have a slightly different perspective to offer? So my husband, my mother and I listed some names – in no particular order. A quick warning that there may be some spoilers.
Max Cady – Cape Fear – Robert De Niro
To be fair I haven’t seen the original version with Robert Mitcham so maybe others have preferences over the two. However mum watched this with me in my teens and Cady is evil on epic levels, and understands the law enough to be good at it. He honestly feels like he was the one wronged. The lengths he goes to mess with Sam Bowden’s family is twisted and menacing; raping the mistress, making out with the daughter at her school, dressing up as the housekeeper, even babbling as he drowns in the river leaves them haunted.
Scar – The Lion King – Jeremy Irons
Honestly, it’s Jeremy Iron’s voice that makes Scar a fantastic bad guy. Kills his own brother for the throne, to only be a terrible dictator, and manipulates his young nephew into growing up with major commitment issues. Murder and psychology!
Mick Taylor – Wolf Creek – John Jarratt
This is my mum’s and husband’s pick. Now please don’t yell at me, but I personally am yet to see Wolf Creek. I haven’t mustered up the courage to give it a go. The idea of it all makes me so infuriated given that it’s loosely based on the backpacker murders such as Ivan Milat’s doing. That someone could have no ounce of compassion or appreciation for human life as he maims and tortures, just boils my blood. Mum recommends to have a good comedy ready nearby for afterward.
The Evil Queen – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – Lucille La Verne (voice)
The Evil Queen rates up in a few top villain picks, yet she and I have some personal history. Being a Disney freak, my mum and nanna took me to see Snow White at the movies when I was little. Well apparently I screamed when I saw her (and the dwarfs apparently :/) and ran out the cinema where my mum had to chase me, and my poor Nan was left watching Snow White by herself. I didn’t leave the cinema entirely; I stood behind the wall and kept peeking around the corner at the screen.
Cersei Lannister – Game of Thrones – Lena Headey
Whore-bag bitch, I hope she dies. Moving on.
Cell – Dragon Ball Z – Dameon Clarke (American dubbed voice)
My husband is a massive DBZ fan, so this is his pick. I’ve watched most of the series in and out (it’s like Bold and the Beautiful, you can miss five episodes and they’re still about to fight, and Goku is still running on Snake Way) and I personally like the Frieza series, especially when Trunks ends him. When the Cell series began, I did watch the scene where he jams his tail into a human’s body and drains him dry ala Starship Troopers. My husband sees Cell as one of the most evil DBZ villains because his basic motivation is the enjoyment of killing.
Dolores Umbridge – Harry Potter: The Order of the Phoenix – Imelda Staunton
THE most evil Barbie’s grandma I’ve ever seen; I wanted her to die more than Voldemort. She’s frustrating, ignorantly rude, passive aggressive and sadistic. One of her worst moments was trying to cast out poor ‘ole Professor Trelawney. She is a perfect example of a manipulative, extremist thinker that believes themselves more important than others. There was something very eerie about her way to somewhat cleanse the school and turn it into a prison.
Colonel Hans Landa – Inglourious Basterds – Christoph Waltz
This soulless weasel! I remember watching the first scene set in the dairy farmer’s house, and squeezing my husband’s hand as the scene turned from an unsettling calm to horridly despicable. Waltz’s performance was astounding as the merciless yet well-mannered Nazi Colonel, any scene he was in, I was just dreading the outcome. I went stiff when he asked Shosanna/Emmanuelle to try the strudel and orders her a glass of milk; heart in throat. Although he didn’t get my desired outcome, he got that smarmy pratty look knifed off his face.
Timmy York– Identity – Bret Loehr
Now, obviously this twist doesn’t come right until the end, but seriously, all this kid needed were those terrifying few minutes. We got to see the montage of how he committed each murder, ending with Amanda Peet whimpering as he whacks a gardening hoe against his palm with a murderous scowl across his chubby cheeks. ‘Whores don’t get a second chance’. AHHHHHH! BURN IT WITH FIRE!
Esther – Orphan – Isabelle Fuhrman
Speaking of children here’s another piece of work. It’s not the best horror movie I’ve seen, but it is underrated; holy Hera did it freak me out. The Coleman family, recovering from their own demons, adopt a nine year old Russian girl to complete their family. But she ain’t quite right. In fact she’s a psychotic, homicidal 33 year old woman with proportional dwarfism who tries to seduce the father and then kills the family (ah, life in the suburbs). Of course the mother finds this out while she’s nowhere near her family and you’re yelling at the telly for the rest of the family to get the hell out the house while Esther transforms into her normal self and brandishes a knife. Fuhrman, who was twelve at the time of filming, did a very convincing job.
Robert Doob – Eye for an Eye – Kiefer Sutherland
I saw this movie a long time ago, and for some reason it has a very low rating. I remember it being good and Kiefer played this manipulative rapist really, really well. Perhaps it’s dated? I’m not sure, I’d have to watch it again. Regardless, my mum and I liked the movie and, perhaps from a woman’s perspective, it’s very violating. It’s every mother’s nightmare. Sally Field’s character calls her daughter at home while stuck in traffic. Her daughter chats away to her, while answering a knock on the door. Sally Field then has to listen on the phone while her daughter is attacked, raped and murdered. The rest of the movie is very much the law side of things and how Kiefer’s character cannot be convicted. He then begins to taunt Sally Field, at one point making mud pies with her kindy-aged daughter while she’s at play group, and later inferring that he could make an exception for ‘kiddy pussy’. Makes you want to string him up by his genitals.
Annie Wilkes – Misery – Kathy Bates
I’m ending on one I haven’t seen before. When I asked my parents opinion on one of their favourite villains, I could hear my dad on the phone say to my mum ‘who was that mad woman with the writer?’. Both of them were very convinced with Kathy Bates’ performance as Annie Wilkes and said she was terrifying. I went to JB Hi-Fi the other day and bought it as I know about the movie, I know how many references this movie has, I know how it ends, but I have never actually seen it – or read the book! Shameful I know. So I include Misery in hopes that maybe you’ll go out and watch the movie villain you’ve heard is ripper, but never sat down and appreciated.