Oh, Those Naughty Ladies - My Favorite Female Disney Cartoon Villains
The Artful Villains of Walt Disney
This started out to be a nice little hub on villains in film, inspired by kpfingaz's forum. As I began my research, however, I quickly realized that there was simply too much material for one hub. Can you say...series?
Good villains (yes, there is such a thing as a "good" villain) require certain elements to be in place for their villainy to be truly apparent and appreciated. A decent plot is always welcome, and the requisite not-overly-bright henchmen add a nice touch, but truly evil villains need a truly good hero or heroine to upon whom to vent their spleen. It is difficult to vent one's spleen adequately if the target is unworthy in some way.
Our first four ladies
Spleen Venting - Did Somebody Say, "Spleen Venting"?
Well, what can I say. When it comes to the ladies, they certainly seem to have the edge in the evil department - at least on film...and nobody can be a witch like a Disney witch.
The wicked queen was one of the first of many notable scary women I encountered. She was a force to be reckoned with as the queen, but when she transformed herself into the sly old crone, she was downright frightening. That film certainly taught us to be wary of stranger bearing gifts. Pity the poor old lady in a cloak who approached any of us with a juicy red apple - we knew what to expect, and were already primed to slam the door, or run - or both.
Cruella De Ville was a nasty piece of business, too. I couldn't imagine anyone wanting to skin those cute little puppies. Her "staff" left a lot to be desired in the efficiency department, but that is only to be expected. I really think there must be a special agency where one applies for henchpeople.
Let me see... where on earth could one find a good henchperson these days? Perhaps in Social Media posts? I really can't see anyone actually adding that category to their online profile... Or maybe in the "want" ads? Aha!
Wanted - henchperson/creatures
Qualifications for Hench-person:
- hard-working and obsequious
- not stupid, but not overly bright
- somewhat useful in small ways but inept when the chips are down
- willing to accept all manner of abuse and come back for more
Ursula didn't really need many hench-fish, but her barracudas were rather frightful - all those sharp teeth.
And The Ladies Have It...
Sorry men, but let's be realistic here. When it comes to the sheer wicked duplicity that goes with creating mayhem and all sorts of nastiness, the ladies have it, hands down...and no cute remarks from the peanut gallery, thank you.
The fair sex is amply represented here by Susan Sarandon, a very classy lady, and, my goodness, doesn't she make an amazing bad girl? Her more earthy charms are well-displayed. Unfortunately, her magical charms are somewhat handicapped by the ineptitude of her (male) hench-twit...but she does make a lovely, campy spectacle striding down the neon-lit streets of New York in search of the enchanted Ella.
For absolute, awe-inspiring evil, though, few can top the White Witch from the Narnia Chronicles. She is truly a study in B.A.D.
She brings to mind the Snow Queen from the Brothers' Grimm fairy tale, but the queen pales in comparison. A pretty nasty package in her own right, she can't hold a candle to this computer-realized vision of Nasty, with her unquenchable lust for power.
Let's not leave out the men completely...
Don't Be Discouraged...
Now, I wouldn't want you to think that the distaff side was being showcased at the expense of our menfolk. Men make great villains! (...and trust me, that's meant as a true compliment... )
One of the scariest dudes I remember from Walt Disney's Halloween Specials was the Headless Horseman. Mind you, he had a great build up before we ever laid eyes on him. We loved those Halloween shows. Hosted by the Mirror of Snow White Fame, the hour-long show featured all our frightful favorites: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Night on Bald Mountain, The Sorcerer's Apprentice - come to think of it, that wretched broom certainly took on a nightmarish villainy all its own - and all the pranks of Donald Duck and his boys, Huey, Dewy and Louie, out for Halloween treats.
The evil wizard from "Aladdin" certainly owes a lot to the wicked viziers of the Arabian Nights. Sinbad's voyages in print or on screen would not have been complete without an evil advisor or two.
Jeremy Irons lent his voice and awesome talents to Scar, creating a truly frightening characterization. He out-smarmied the snake from Jungle Book: he cringed and begged with deplorable oiliness. He was truly a scary force to be reckoned with, unrepentant and unregenerate to his bitter end.
...and really, that's what it's all about, isn't it? The wicked ones must be vanquished and all put to right with the world. There will be loss, but in the end, the sacrifice will bring about renwal and the rebirth of peace. The boy will get the girl, the lost will be found, loved ones will be reunited - at least until the next evil villain crawls out of the woodwork...
New Entries into the 'Top Villains' category
Uma Thurman turns in a totally awesomely evil performance as the wicked Queen in "Snow White and the Huntsman." From the same producers that brought us "Alice in Wonderland" this film takes the fairy to version to a much darker place.
This lady certainly proves she has the chops to take on the best of them. Her character leaps off the screen - scary, evil, and all too believable. Keep an eye out for the pre-quell, due out soon in theatrical release, another must-have for the Blu-ray collection.
So with fiendish laughter echoing in our ears, "Moo-ooo-hoo-aaa-aahhhh haahahaaaa", and with a passing nod to Si and Am, so ably voiced by Peggy Lee - Si and Am were,of course, the Siamese pussycat monsters who made life so miserable for poor Lady in Lady and The Tramp - we bid a fond farewell to our villainous crew, confident that the next time we need a good scare, they wiil be on hand to provide the goose bumps.
And the ladies have the last words...
© 2009 RedElf