Villains that have made me veritably shit my pantaloons: From traditional terrors to modern monsters

WARNING: May contain spoilers for people interested in reading Rebecca or Gone Girl. Also for those who haven’t seen The Shining. I don’t want to give the game away, so you should probably give this article a miss. Sorry, all.  “Doesn’t it feel so good to be bad?” Questions Scarlett Overkill in the new Minions trailer as she jets down from the ceiling in a rocket dress. Indeed. Though not many other supervillains have managed to get their little paws (or claws) on a similar gravity-defying fashion statement, the mantra stands true – from the questionably good, the bad and the ugly, villains across time and the media have often been presented not only with the ability to be very, very bad but present themselves with a joy in inflicting their villainous acts. And many of them make me quiver in their boots whilst they partake in villainy. Many of them make my glasses fog up with fear. Many of them make me shit my own (metaphorical) panties.  So why do I still watch these awful dudes in action? Because it feels so good to be bad if you’re a baddie: and it’s great to watch them be bad if you’re a popcorn-munching goodie. So without further ado, here’s my low-down on the best baddies in showbusiness. SECONDARY WARNING (you can’t have a post about villains without several warnings preceding it): There’s lots of cursing in this. I remembered whilst writing it just how scared these baddies made me and therefore scared myself in the process of writing and, as I write much of my personal work in some weird, freewriting trance-like state, I’ve decided to keep much of the swearing in to preserve my “personal authenticity”. If you ever see a post on this website without one or two curses/phallic images in it, then please assume that I’ve been hacked by Anonymous. 1. The Skeksies from Dark Crystal My boyfriend introduced me to this film a couple of weeks ago and since then I’ve been having the most abhorrent daydreams about the Skeksies cruel and ugly faces. And this was supposed to be a KID’S FILM. Let me tell you – when I have kids, they are going nowhere near this film. The Skeksies are these horrible little birdlike cretins that run around in their Castle of Grimness (not the official title I don’t think, but I’m just trying to paint you a visual, here) trying to fix a Crystal that they’re hoarding: for, basically, on doing so they’ll become indestructible. They have horrible, whiny voices, little beady eyes and are generally vile in every single possible sense. I literally cannot think of one redeeming factor. They kind of look like the Alien from Alien and the Vultures from The Jungle Book had a lovechild: Grotesque. 2. Dracula from Dracula Dracula is the big boss king of baddies and you’d be a fool not to recognise it. The original “mega” vampire, Dracula-themed media has been in abundance for decades, now – nearly a century – and we consistently refer to him as the original top vampiric trope. And he’s one scary-ass motherfucker, at least in literature which is where I know him best. In fact, I studied him for my dissertation – along with Frankenstein’s monster and The Woman in White (where Count Fosco features), all of which have made this list. Clearly I have some sort of problem with scaring myself. Dracula is a must-read, however, for all those who like horror-literature. I read it in broad daylight and still felt the need to crappeth my trousereths. Particularly the scene in which Jonathan Harker looks out of the window and sees Dracula chilling on the castle walls. For some reason I’ve never been able to shake that horrifying mental image: kind of like the same thing as worrying about a monster living under your bed, except for the monster is hugging your house and can get into any window and isn’t restricted to that small, dust-bunny desert under your mattress. Joy. 3. “Master of Fuckery” Frankenstein from Frankenstein Not to be confused with The Creature from Frankenstein. Nope – The Creature’s creator is the real loon in this piece. Frankenstein is so repressed and power-hungry and awful that he decides it’s a great idea to stick loads of human remains together and make a completely socially unacceptable creature who hates the fact that he’s a loner and has nobody to guide him or to tell him how to morally act. Now that’s scary shit. What makes Frankenstein himself a shit-yo-panter character (a colloquialism that I sure hope gets picked up) is the fact that the book is written in such a way that you might be deceived by the extent of his true fuckery. A large portion of the tale is told through his perspective (or his friend’s perspective) – and when you hear The Creature’s, it’s only then that you begin to doubt Victor’s good intentions. In my opinion, Sir Frankenstein is possibly one of the most underrated shithead’s of all time, as film adaptations woefully neglect the fact that he’s the real dick and not his monster. Poor babby Frankocreature. 4. “Shit-inspiring” Sauron from Lord of the Rings Nothing gets me quite like a giant, firey eye in the sky (“When the moon hits your eye like a giant-firey pie that’s a-Sauron…”) I don’t really have anything else to add to that. It looks kind of like a giant, firey vagina… 5. The ‘orrible old lady from Insidious That big devil-thing in the first Insidious is absolutely nothing compared to that creepy old woman running around holding a candle. Not only is that a super dangerous fire hazard, it makes her look ridiculously gaunt, evil and awful and I veritably shat my own pantaloons when I first saw her, hence confirming her place on this list. Something about old people being awful really gets to me: I mean, you’re OLD now. Isn’t it tiring to be so monstrous? Has nobody taught you any manners along the road!? You’re supposed to be teaching me! You’re more adult than I am! Why are you a dick, then?! Well, this old lady takes it to the next level in this film. She just sits in dark corners and glares at the protagonist with a horrible, twisted little smile like a bully who’s been robbing trick-or-treaters of all of their sweets. Except by trick-or-treaters, I mean the protagonists of the film. And by sweets, I mean their bodies. I am TOO AFRAID even to Google image a picture of her delightful visage to share with you all, an act I’m neglecting to do that will hopefully preserve some of your sanity along with mine. 6. Count Fosco from The Woman in White Count Fosco is a fat mean know-it-all from a brilliant book who is a defecation-inspiring within your pantyhose kind of guy because he manages to fool everybody within the text for a long time. He has a “snake’s  tongue” – a real smooth-talker. But he’s actually an overweight misogynist who gets off on money and crime. And his birds. He fucking loves his birds. 7. Rebecca from Rebecca SPOILERSPOILERSPOILER. Rebecca is the original Amy from Gone Girl (who, incidentally, is listed below) as the first wife to ever pull a true mindfuck over her husband. You spend the whole first three-quarters of the book suspecting that her sweet husband Maxim de Winter is the villain, before discovering that Rebecca was a total bitch to him during their marriage and did all sorts of devilish and delinquent things. A bonafide bad bitch. Kind of like a siren, the beautiful Rebecca was coveted by all and had many under her thumb: a character I find truly terrifying for her sinister and sociopathic attitude towards all people who she views to be her malleable, experimental ants. And she seems to live on after death: somewhat “stalking” your unnamed protagonist (Maxim’s second wife) like a bored ghost who just can’t let go. And is perhaps part-arsonist. 8. Amy from Gone Girl SPOILERRRSSS EVERYWHERE. Though if you’ve read the name ‘Amy’ anyway then it’s probably too late.  Maybe there’s a shit-your-pants quality that I find in most sociopathic, female characters in literature/films. Amy had the same effect on me as Rebecca, because she gets into your head. I think what is so worrying about Amy in particular is that she’s so quietly vicious: there’s nothing open or obvious about her, so you can’t second-guess anything that she does. I would rather all villains make themselves totally evident via keeping dead kittens in jars and singing along to Meghan Trainor loudly (arguably the biggest malicious act you could bestow), than wander around quietly doing shithead things to their loved ones. 9. The “Quiver-me-timbers” Queen from Snow White I have several memories of being a kid and not being able to watch the film Snow White on my own. In fact, the one time I attempted to do this, I ran downstairs screaming and crying over the scene in which the Queen creates that red poison apple and is cackling everywhere. Luckily, everyone was watching that cute film about a seal (I think it was called Andre?) downstairs, a far less horrific piece of cinema. LOOK AT THAT. LOOK AT THAT TERRIFYING TWISTED SHIT RIGHT THERE. However my childhood fear has been somewhat soothed by what I just found searching for that picture: That’s better, though I don’t think Dominos should pick the Queen up as their new sales advocate. Not unless they want to appeal to a very specific, singular demographic. 10. Jack “Totally Twisted” Torrance from The Shining SPOI – Oh, forget it. You should have seen The Shining by now. Consider this a cultural awakening if you haven’t, and you can use the following blurb to lie and say you have seen it if you haven’t, because if you haven’t at this point, well, that’s just embarrassing. Known largely for his demonic eyebrows, Jack Nicholson takes being horrifically fucking creepy to the extreme in his role as Jack Torrance. Nobody plays the part of psychotic drunkard quite like Mr Nick and jeez even writing this is creeping me out. Steven King really is the king of horror. Damn him. 11. Joffrey “Lil Shit” Lannister from Game of Thrones Who knew that a little pre-pubescent kid could cause so much TERROR? Well, they can – in fact, the very fact that he is but a small human only seems to add to the psychological torment of it all. Slap a badly knitted jumper from grandma Lannister on him and a pair of circular glasses and he could be a millennial version of the Milkybar Kid. Instead, he’s a mean little motherfucker, swanning around in oversized velvet robes with an unflattering penchant for killing everybody and anyone he doesn’t remotely like. When I first started watching Game of Thrones I was immediately inspired to fear Jaime (Joffrey’s older brother) based on the fact that – you know – he pushes sweet little Bran out of the window (if that’s a spoiler for you then I’m sorry but you really need to catch up – that happens in the very first episode!!! Come on!!! What’s wrong with you!? Why are you so behind!?!?). Now I thought THAT was mean. But after Joffrey takes the reigns of the Seven Kingdoms, he gives you a lot more to fear for all your beloved favourite characters. Oh well. It’s Game of Thrones. They’re all fucked, anyway.

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