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The ones we Hate to Love: Favorite Villains

Updated on August 7, 2017

Monsters can be Human

The Baddest of them All: TV & Movies

Some villains are just downright terrible but there are some that are so bad - they're good. Even though we may loath the character for what he or she does to our favorite protagonists, they are amazing to watch. Sometimes the villains can be likable, perhaps because of the actor who plays them, their motivations or how down and dirty they are willing to get.

Humans have always had an interest in the macabre which is why horror is popular and there are literally women out there who marry serial killers on death row. Maybe it's our interest in something we don't understand, or maybe something else. Either way, there are horrendous characters that we actually like. Here are the baddest of them all and why the character, (however terrible), is so damn compelling:

The Joker (played by Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight )

"Why so serious"? For one thing, his performance took the dark side of the infamous Joker to an entirely new level! I cannot name a fictional villain in history that was better than Ledger's portrayal of the Joker. He is just one of those dudes who "wants to see the world burn". The Joker thrives in chaos and hates the idea of Batman - a vigilante who helps people. There are so many iconic lines in this film, it's hard to name just a few. This character is simply mesmerizing in a very dark, twisted kind of way - the way we love to see villains.

Hannibal Lecter (The Silence of the Lambs, Red Dragon, Hannibal & Hannibal Rising - played by Anthony Hopkins & Gaspard Ulliel)

Anthony Hopkins immortalizes 'Hannibal the Cannibal' in every film he's featured in, giving a riveting performance and actually making a lot of people like him - despite the fact that he's a serial killer and a cannibal. Nothing is more terrifying than a psychopath that's not only diabolical, but also incredibly intelligent. Dr. Lecter embodies so much terror in a single character, he's hard to top. I also had to give a shout-out to Gaspard Ulliel who plays a young Dr. Lecter in the film 'Hannibal Rising'. His character gives us insight into what created the monster & it's one hell of a backstory.

Erik Lehnsherr AKA Magneto (played by Michael Fassbender & Ian McKellen, X-Men franchise)

I have to admit, I have a huge crush on Michael Fassbender. There's just something about that smile. But, that's not why Magneto made the list. His character is quite a complex one. He's not always the bad guy. Sometimes his on-and-off again BFF Professor X can talk him into coming back to the good side. Both Fassbender and McKellen do a fantastic job of portraying this rouge villain and show the character's growth over time. Plus, in most of the movies, he's right when he keeps warning the mutants that the humans will try to come after them. I especially liked the ending of X-Men: Apocalypse , where he throws down the metal "X". But one of his best 'bad guy' moments is when Mystique takes a 'cure bullet' for him and then he heartlessly leaves her alone, stating that, she "isn't on of us" anymore.

Loki (played by Tom Hiddleston, Thor, The Avengers)

This guy is just hard to hate. He's so freaking cool. I know, he is constantly plotting against Thor, but most of the time he comes back around. Like Mageneto, the guy is a rouge, which makes for a more complex villain. He has the capacity to be one of the good guys but something inside of him, (jealousy, in his case), constantly pulls him back to the bad side. And,his costume is pretty rad. I can't wait to see what kind of mischief he stirs up in the new Thor movie.

Tony Montana (played by Al Pacino, Scarface)

"Say hello to my little friend", is probably one of the most recognizable film quotes ever. It has been reused in a ton of movies and parodies and the character Scarface has went on to inspire a lot of other movie villains and characters. There's always talk about a remake but honestly, I don't think anyone could be Scarface other than Pacino. The most evil thing he did was kill his best friend and longtime partner after simply seeing him with his sister, (who is pretty much naked at the top of the stairs). That was pretty messed up. Not to mention he broke the cardinal rule, given to him by another dude he killed - 'he got high on his own supply', which eventually led to his downfall. Still, he made for one awesome villain.

Amy Dunn (played by Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl)

I would not want to get on this chick's bad side! She took the revenge playbook and flipped it on its head. This girl gave no shits about feeling some serious pain to get what she wanted and destroyed anyone who got in her way. Not only did she want to ruin her cheating husband's life, she wanted him to know exactly what she was doing, using her little scavenger hunt to lead him exactly where she wanting. Just like Nick Dunn said in the film, "She stage managed me". That she did Nick, that she did. Rosamund Pike rocked this roll and did justice for "Amazing Amy".

Jigsaw (Tobin Bell, Saw Franchise)

This is one twisted psychopath, geez! Even in my worst nightmares, I wouldn't be able to think of 1/10 of the shit he does to his victims. In his mind, he's actually doing them a favor though. The first film, Saw, had one of the lowest budgets ever but proved that with a good story and a good villain - a huge budget isn't needed. Jigsaw loves the gore and isn't afraid to watch his victims suffer. He claims he wants them to get out of the horrid situations he puts them in so they will 'appreciate life', but he makes it pretty damn hard for them to even have a shot. Still, you have to respect a villain who so thoughtfully creates horrific torture games to hurt his victims. Bell is truly entertaining as Jigsaw and his voice is downright creepy.

Cersei Lannister (Lena Hedley, Game of Thrones)

Who doesn't want to see this bitch die this season? The answer - nobody. Everyone is anticipating Cersei meeting a brutal death but after the last episode, it just seems like she's gaining even more power! That's the last thing Westeros needs. She's done many awful things, it would be hard to name them all. But, she's pulled off some pretty awesome revenge moves as well. Nobody liked the 'Shame nun' and Cersei definitely got revenge on her in that dungeon room literally waterboarding the woman with wine. No matter how much we all hate her - we can't deny that she's a badass villain. She even got to say one of the ultimate lines of the series - "When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground".

Russell Edgington (played by Denis O' Hare, True Blood)

The King of Mississippi is the best villain in the True Blood series, at least in my book. He has swagger and isn't afraid to flaunt his power. I love Denis O' Hare, who also appears in 'American Horror Story'. He makes us instantly love this character the moment he rides in on his white horse. Being a 3,000 year old vampire is easy for him. He lives in a mansion, he's a king, has a hot husband but -his ambitions never stop growing. Hands down, one his most evil moments: ripping out a newscaster's spine on live television. This dude was positively evil in a really cool way.

Fiona Goode (played by Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Coven)

Who's the baddest witch of them all? The supreme - obviously. I know, Coven got a lot of negative feedback but I really liked it. It didn't jump all over the place like 'Freak Show' and actually stuck, (mostly), to a main story line. Jessica Lange is an incredible actress and this role showcases that beautifully. There are few lines she won't cross to keep her power in the coven, including murdering members under her protection.

Mr. Blonde (played by Michael Madsen, Reservior Dogs)

Keeping bullets from firing out of this guy's gun proves to be a huge problem to his team members in this Tarantino film. Torture also isn't out -of-bounds when it comes to his activities, as he shows when he cuts off a cop's ear simply for his own sadistic entertainment. It turns out, he's not that interested in wealth, as the others. His hobbies seem to include killing people just to watch them die. He's a great smooth-talking, gun-wielding, fancy dressing villain that's completely essential to this classic.

Lucifer (played by Mark Pellegrino, Supernatural)

It's weird to say this but, Lucifer is pretty cool - at least in the Supernatural series. He is a constant threat to Sam & Dean, who just can't seem to keep him in that cage. He has a ton of witty remarks and sometimes is actually hilarious. Even though, at times he is funny, there's no question that he is a force to be reckoned with. He's a master of manipulation and carries with him the mother load of supernatural powers. He remains a main villain in the series that constantly gives Sam & Dean one hell of a run for their money.

Hans Landa (played by Christoph Waltz, Inglorious Bastards)

There isn't really a character that Waltz doesn't nail but this is a great portrayal of a villain. He does a lot of really F'd up stuff in this movie, including hunting down Jewish people for Nazis - what a dick! Still, he has likability in the sense that, in the end, he does make a deal with the good guys, (mainly to save himself and get out from under the Nazis). He's certainly an intimidating character throughout the film, giving off a persistent presence of evil and intrigue. "That's a bingo": a memorable line from this villainous performance. Plus, it's always nice to see a villain get what's coming to them in the end ;)

Dexter Morgan (played by Michael C. Hall, Dexter)

A serial killer with a moral compass? He exists - fictionally anyhow. Dexter, played by Hall, is taken in after a horrific childhood experience that left him scared for life. His adoptive father, Harry, notices that young Dexter is seriously messed up in his head and decides to use what he knows he will become to do some good. Using a 'code', Harry teaches Dexter how to be the perfect serial killer. Taking this into his adult life, Dexter becomes a blood-splatter analyst, giving him a major edge on his extracurricular activities. He only kills people that his 'code' dictates 'deserves it'. This series had such a long run for a reason - it's really good. Hall shows the darkest sides of himself while also managing (mostly), a relatively normal life. He's one of the best TV series villains ever.

Joffrey Baratheon (played by Jack Gleeson, Game of Thrones)

Remember that little kid Batman saved? Well, maybe he should've let him die. Joffrey will probably go down in history as one of the most hated characters of all time. He kills without mercy, endlessly tortures Sansa and everyone else around him and gets off having prostitutes beat the shit out of each other. You have to give props to Gleeson though, portraying a character that evil couldn't be easy and he truly nailed the roll, making virtually every GOT fan leap in joy when he finally met his demise.

Quintus Lentulus Batiatus (played by John Hannah, Spartacus)

Damn, this guy had a lot of awesome quotes throughout both seasons of Spartacus he was featured in. Despite that, he was an awful human being. Among his worst actions, he: beat his slaves, used them to fight in the arena for his own profit, killed anyone who pissed him off and was basically a rapist. Hannah was amazing as Batiatus, breathing life into the character, making watchers both cringe and laugh.

Alonzo Harris (played by Denzel Washington, Training Day)

It wouldn't be a list of great villains if a dirty cop character didn't make the list. I'm a huge supporter of the men in blue but this guy was downright dirty and mean. This character is a natural born sociopath who will do anything to turn a profit. His methods are notoriously feared and he really f*cks with his partner. Denzel is a truly dynamic actor, who, even as a villain, is totally compelling.

Negan (played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, The Walking Dead)

It sucks that this show went so far downhill by the time Negan showed up. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is an incredible actor and actually believable as the psychopathic lord of the apocalypse. He has style, an incredible ability to give great monologues and a chilling demeanor. Unafraid to use his signature weapon, 'Lucille', he basically runs the post-apocalyptic world using sheer terror. There doesn't seem to be a line this character won't cross and he really deserves more screen time. We're all sick of the long camera pans and emotion blah-blah. We all want to see more Negan!


Did I miss any of your favorite villains? Comment below and take a look at my note-worthy mentions! :)

I want to play a game.

— Jigsaw, SAW

Heath Ledger as The Joker Scene from The Dark Knight

Madness as you know is like gravity, all it takes is a little push.

— The Joker, The Dark Knight

The best of Fiona Goode

Note-worthy Villains

These villains may not be at the top of my list, but they still deserve a mention. Here they are:

  • Max Cady (played by Robert DeNiro, Cape Fear)
  • Alex Forest (played by Glenn Close, Fatal Attraction)
  • Clay Morrow (played by Ron Pearlman, Sons of Anarchy)
  • Ramsay Bolton (played by Iwan Roheon, Game of Thrones)
  • Harley Quinn (played by Margot Robbie, Suicide Squad)
  • Bane (played by Tom Hardy, The Dark Knight Rises)
  • The Governor (played by David Morrissey, The Walking Dead)
  • Kilgrave (played by David Tennant, Jessica Jones)
  • The Trinity Killer (played by John Lithgow, Dexter)
  • Regina George (played by Rachael McAdams, Mean Girls)
  • Jack Torrance (played by Jack Nicholson, The Shining)
  • Buffalo Bill (played by Ted Levine, The Silence of the Lambs)
  • Boyd Crowder (played by Walton Goggins, Justified)
  • Ailleen Wournos (played by Charlize Theron, Monster)
  • Tyler Durden (played by Brad Pitt, Fight Club)
  • Lucretia (played by Lucy Lawless, Spartacus)
  • 'Baby' Firefly (played by Sheri Moon Zombie, The Devil's Rejects)
  • Lex Luthor (played by Jesse Eisenburg, Batman Versus Superman)

Incredible Joker Cosplay

Great 'Training Day' Scene

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