It can be hard for an actor when they get typecast into a role they can never escape, and few do. However, this often works out great for us as we get to enjoy the actor at their best over and over in new venues. One such actor is Tim Curry, and one such role is villains. The key to his villainous success is a voice laced with sin, dripping in delight of the devilish acts his characters produce and enjoy. It’s not easy picking just 10 roles, and it’s even harder to to place one over another, but I managed and here’s what I came up with. It’s all for you, Curry! And don’t let his friendly appearance fool you – this guy is pure evil.
#10: Cardinal Richelieu, The Three Musketeers (1993)
It seems, in many works, that members of the cloth are always quite villainous. Take this as you will, but it’s an understandable place for a villain. Religion is a powerful tool, and such power is easy to exploit. Cardinal Richelieu does this in a very typical fashion, plotting to overthrow the king to his own ends, ensuring his own cowardly safety. To guarantee his success, and probably to some extra delight of his own personal reasons, the Cardinal outlaws the musketeers, only to find that the three (plus a guest) didn’t take too kindly to the blanket of pink slips.
Even when events work against him, Richelieu manages to manipulate the situation to his own benefit. The true mark of any good villain who thrives on manipulation is the ability to turn a negative situation into something positive. Proactive thinking!
#9: Kilokahn, Super Human Samurai Syber-Squad
This one is a bit more obscure, but some of you may recognize him as I did. Super Human Samurai Syber-Squad (can’t believe I had to type that twice) was a Power Rangers-style show where a boy fights viruses in cyber (I wont bow to your will again, “Syber”-Squad) space. The cause of the viruses? This purple bastard right here. Kilokahn is an escaped military program gone wrong (don’t they all?) and, for some reason, has found help in some quiet computer hacker who hates the world and has no friends (don’t you get any ideas).
As villains go, he’s pretty basic, and he only beats out the Cardinal because I’m a) more familiar with his exploits, and b) he’s all purple and shit. Now, he’s not the most powerful villain, to be sure. In one episode he’s turned good by one of the characters installing an “E for Everyone” game on the computer. Still, he wants to rule all of cyberspace (for whatever reason he wants that dump) and eventually the world (ditto).
#8: Arl Rendon Howe, Dragon Age: Origins
Okay, so this villain doesn’t quite play the main antagonist in the game, and unless you play a human noble (one of many origin choices in the game) he just comes off as a dick. Because of this, it’s easy to look over Howe because of his almost lackey nature when compared to such threats as his superior Loghain, who has orchestrated the old king’s death and moves to claim power for himself, and a big ass dragon who wants to, well, do dragon stuff.
However, Howe deserves some credit. When Loghain begins to doubt his own villainous actions, Howe keeps him focused and reminds him that all the death he’s caused is for a greater good! Never mind that Howe benefits from the whole takeover as well. Howe doesn’t let anyone come close to messing up his BFF Loghain’s plans. He sends out assassins, manipulates, and (get this) even locks up Loghain’s daughter because she was getting lippy (although she is a bit of a bitch).
And remember that bit about human noble origin? Yeah, if you go that route Howe is even more of a noteworthy dick! When you begin, you’re just being a happy lad or lass living in your estate with your awesome family being awesome. Then here comes Arl Rendon Howe-did-I-become-such-a-dick esq., who puts on a friendly face and, in the middle of the night, gets everyone killed. So, yeah, in summary: not a nice guy.
#7: The Bracketts, Tales from the Crypt; “Death of Some Salesman”
This spot is a triple threat, as Tim Curry plays not one, not two, but all three members of the Brackett family! Eddie Murphy style, before there was a style. In the episode, a traveling con-artist posing as a funeral plot salesman happens upon the Brackett home and is invited in to make a sale. Everything seems to be going well, aside from the anus-clenchingly ugly appearances of Ma and Pa Brackett, until the salesman of the title happens upon a few bodies of previous salesmen. His immediate escape is halted and soon he is forced to choose between death and having Tim Curry in a fat suit ride him until he kills himself. Managing to endure the slurpy sex, he is rewarded by hearing that if he is to marry the wild hog that is their daughter, he gets a dowry of $40,000 (oh, and live).
Of course, being Tales from the Crypt, nothing goes quite according to plan and things go south quick. The Bracketts make the whole episode, with the loose skin suits, the constant slurping noises, the display of dead salesmen around the house, and Tim Curry riding Ed Begley Jr.
#6: Dr. Frank-N-Furter, a scientist, The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Now I’m sure I’ll get some complaints about the good doctor being anywhere other than number 1 on this list, but here me out. While Frank counts as a villain because of murder, mad science, and sex manipulation (free band name), he’s hardly hurting anyone (discounting the murder). Frank is the kind of villain you wouldn’t mind being a victim of because of what a fun time you would have! He sings, he dances, he becomes a she!
There’s sadly not much I can say about him that isn’t already public knowledge already. He has wild parties, he creates ripped life, he kills Meat Loaf with a hatchet, and he puts on one hell of a show.
#5: Hexxus, Ferngully
Hexxus makes it this far on the list for style and substance alone. This character is literally dripping with evil – and he gets a song! Hexxus is a malevolent force released from his
tree-prison due to deforestation of the land of Ferngully. Ferngully is a world populated by faeries, hot ones at that, and naturally they hate industry cutting down their homes and shit. Well, the writers knew kids wouldn’t give enough of a shit about some sprites losing their homes, so they threw in Hexxus to make the evil have a face.
Hexxus is moving muck, dripping poison and pollution while feeding off toxins and greed. He’s the anti-Al Gore. When he moves, he seems so sexualized by it all; he really gets into it (especially during his song, “Toxic Love”). During the final moments of the movie, Hexxus is finally confronted by the sprites and, not one to leave the audience hanging, gives us the best final form a cartoon villain has ever given us. Props to him for all that nightmare fuel.
#4: Skull Master, Mighty Max
This villain is a tad unique in that you didn’t really get to see him all that much. In most cartoons you have a main villain and many sub villains that all work for him or are a result of him. Skull Master, however, is just this big asshole who is a constant threat, but not in every episode – if that makes sense. What this means for the character is that when he does show up, it has all that much more value.
Skull Master is, as far as we know, immortal, and has been around for a very long time. He got his first big break when he convinced a city to free up all their souls to his crystal to escape a terrible disaster that was coming for them all. Naturally, this was a bad idea, but he coaxed them along with some black magic and what not. True to his character and not his word, he didn’t save anyone, taking the souls with him and damning all the people to wander the bottom of the ocean forever. Early-morning cartoon stuff.
Skeletor’s cousin has some great lines, too. He has made remarks to ripping out Mighty Max’s heart and eating it raw, as well as tearing him limb from limb and sucking out the marrow. Oh, and “showing [him] a thousand subtle shades of pain, and a hundred ways to die.” Keep in mind, Max is just a kid. This guy doesn’t play around. Oh, and he lives in a volcano inside the core of the earth, or something. That’s just neat.
#3: Doviculus, Brutal Legend
It’s very possible many of you wont know who this next villain is, and for that reason question why he belongs in the top three. Well let me tell you, he does, and it was hard for me not to put him as number 1.
Brutal Legend is a game that follows the exploits of Eddie Riggs, a rock ‘n roll roadie who gets thrust back in time to the age of metal. No, not the bronze age, I mean heavy metal, like melt-your-face metal. It’s a world populated by hot rods, hotter babes, and really twisted demons. The demons of the Tainted Coil, a faction of lust loving S&M soldiers, are led by Doviculus, a demon so gnarly looking you wish you could see more of him. Doviculus came into power after his predecessor left for the future. And hey, when you’re left with a group of cock-hungry demons in a power vacuum, you seal that shit up quick.
Doviculus just has a presence of evil and malice. In his best moment, he tears out Eddie’s girlfriend’s heart, stuffs it in his own chest cavity, and then summons a four-headed guitar to give rise to a two-headed beast made up of a lack of black sludge and parts of a giant cathedral. Oh, and the girl was a goth chick – and killing a goth chick is really bad karma. He then precedes to call Eddie’s mom a whore. So, again, mean shit.
#2: Pennywise the Clown, IT
Of course this bad mofo was getting on this list, and of course he was getting in the top 3. Unarguably one of the best Stephen King movies is IT, the two-part story of a group of kids who are terrorized by an ancient and hungry evil that disguises itself as Pennywise the dancing clown. Of course, the parents can’t see any of this, just the death he leaves behind. This fact makes the clown all the scarier, as the kids have no adults to turn to for answers and must rely on themselves. It’s hard to rely on yourself, however, when you have a homicidal clown preying on your deepest fears.
Pennywise is responsible for some of the greatest scenes in horror movie history. The best, of course, is his tempting of a child to come down into the sewers with him. For the majority of the films, the kids know to be afraid of Pennywise, because he’s a fucking scary-ass clown. This little kid, however, doesn’t really know what that kind of fear is, to just immediately distrust a man in makeup chilling in the sewers on a rainy day. Pennywise is keen to this, and rather than just be all “I’m going to eat your bones!”, he opts to lure the kid in with promises of fun and candy and balloons! I mean, hell, Pennywise is just a van away from being on Nancy Grace’s shit list.
Everyone knows Pennywise – he gave reason to be afraid of clowns (as if there wasn’t before). It’s a shame he had such a shitty “final form” at the end of the movie, but just chalk it up to the kids having shitty imaginations and a giant spider is the best they could perceive for what IT really looked like.
#1: Darkness, Legend
Here it is, the very finest in Tim Curry evil. This guy not only embodies Tim Curry at his most evil voicing, but the character itself is like a perfectly cobbled collage of evil imagery. He’s got the red skin, horns, goat hooves, fire-inspired decor, and a taste of sweet, untainted, souls. Yes, his look is nothing new, but at the same time it’s the best of what’s available. Every aspect of evil is put on full display and done to perfection.
Darkness is pure evil, the avatar of hate, lust, malice, etc. He’s walking, talking, bad. These other guys on the list? Here because of Darkness. You can’t have them without him, and as he so puts in the movie, you can’t have good without him either. Because can anything be “good” if nothing is “evil”? Probably; I dunno. He says it better. And why does he say it better? Because Tim Curry says it and he’s got a voice like sweet, sweet, evil pudding.
So what did we learn? Well, Tim Curry is best known for his villainous voice. Most of the entries on this list are from his voice acting work, and that’s fine because the man has a voice box set to menacing. However, as Pennywise, Cardinal, and a bit of Darkness proved – the man has a bit of an evil face. The devil in Manhattan, of sorts. Selling you things you don’t need for prices you can’t afford. His career has been on a bit of a down slope, at least compared to the 90s – but hopefully this list will add to his infamy as a great villain actor. And let’s hope he doesn’t get any terrible ideas from this either…