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Who Are Disney’s Most Evil Villains?

Two Disney villains stand head and shoulders above their counterparts — and not for the reasons you'd think.

by
Chris Queen

Bio

July 11, 2013 - 9:00 am
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Disney Villains

This time last year, I wrote a piece on the appeal of the Disney villains. In it, I wrote about the cottage industry that has sprung up within Disney’s vast merchandising empire surrounding villains like Ursula, Maleficent, and Cruella de Vil. The villains of Disney’s great animated films hold a certain fascination for fans, and in my post I discussed why.

…to many Disney fans, the villains are just…well…cooler.

[...]

The villains put on the best show — and they make the fantasy world go round. Without great villains, Cinderella would have never tried on the glass slipper, Wendy and her brothers would never have learned heroism in Neverland, and Giselle would have never made it to New York City to meet her true love, Robert. Without the bad guys we don’t realize who the good guys really are and how we can aspire to be one ourselves.

This year I toyed with the idea of making a list of the baddest Disney villains (notice I didn’t say “worst” — there is a distinction), but after perusing Google, I realized there’s already a glut of villain rankings. From professional writers and listmakers to everyday bloggers, plenty of others before me have attempted to make a list of the baddest of the bad. Mine would have simply become just another list.

And I learned that the most evil villains depended on your criteria. For instance, Maleficent might win based on magical powers, while Jafar may take the cake for creepy charm. Scar or Ursula may top a list based on sheer cruelty, while Lady Tremaine could grab the title of the ultimate mean girl. Buzzfeed listed Cruella de Vil near the top because:

She wants to wear the skin of puppies.

Let me repeat that: SHE WANTS TO WEAR THE SKIN OF PUPPIES.

So, who really are the most evil Disney villains? I chose to write about the two worst based on my own criteria. These two stand head and shoulders above their counterparts — and not for the reasons you’d think. One villain goes back to the earliest of the Disney classics, while the other comes from the modern era. Regardless of powers, methods, or circumstances, these two villains reach their own level of evil because of what they represent.

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Top Rated Comments   
You forgot the worst Disney cartoon villain of all.

Bambi.




Yes, Bambi.



Bambi, the indoctrinator of small children, who taught them to hate mankind and his guns, and to love all the furry little animals of the forest.


Oh, and you thought it was just a happy little story?

Bambi has done more damage to hunting than everything than PETA, the ALF, and ELF combined.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
In Snow White's defense, they were voluntarily working in the mine before they met her.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I just want to point out that Robin Hood doesn't steal from the "rich", he retrieves unlawful taxation from the grabbermint.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (23)
All Comments   (23)
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Any list that doesn't put Maleficent at the top of a list like this seems to be missing what "bad" is. Maleficent isn't passive-aggressive. She isn't sneaky. She isn't subversive. She turns into a bad-ass dragon with purple-and-green flames and needs to be taken down by (magic-assisted) brute force. She's brilliant, she's beautiful, she's vain, she's beset by clownish underlings, she's clever, and she's cruel. Why bother with being sneaky when you can just OWN your evil and kick sand in everyone's collective faces? Maleficent. Nastiest of the nasty.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Chris,

First, love you stuff on Disney. takes me back to when the world was not going you know where in a hand basket.

Second,. what about Captain Nemo in "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea?" An avowed pacifist who murders shiploads of people and keeps others imprisned against their will? Granted, the conflict was more pronounced in the Verne novel.

Just thinkin' out loud.

Linc
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
At the time I thought Cruella Deville was pretty scary.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It's remarkable that both of your "worst villains" are women described as being gripped by "vanity," although one is the stereotypical "old hag," a demographic seldom characterized by vanity, and the other is also a no-longer-young woman. And in both cases, the heroine is, of course, young and pretty -- the sort of person most prone to vanity.

In both cases, moral goodness is represented as female youth and beauty, while deep evil is represented as a woman who has outlived her youth. And the older woman's wish to maintain what would garner a judgement of goodness is, perversely, identified as something very evil! It's a lot like ridiculing women for getting facelifts and in the same breath ridiculing them for looking old.

I submit there is something evil in a culture that chooses to attach the concept of evil to a woman's audacity to live into old age. There is no male equivalent to the "old hag" -- no insinuation that old men ruin the world by their very being. That insinuation is made of old women all the time.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It sounds like you have a chip on your shoulder. In your first sentence, you completely misrepresent what the author said. The author specifically writes "This year I toyed with the idea of making a list of the baddest Disney villains (notice I didn’t say “worst” — there is a distinction)". And you finish the first paragraph with a sentence that is conjecture, even if you have some personal experience with being young and pretty and vain, you can't speak for all young and pretty people.
The second paragraph has me befuddled. Have you even seen the two movies in question? If said woman getting the facelifts did so by lying, cheating and stealing, then perhaps she deserves the ridicule.
As for male equivalent, what about Lawrence - Prince Naveen's servant?
I submit that a person, regardless of gender, who has had their way their entire life, and has found a way to supernaturally extend their life beyond normal capacity, that person would be MOST prone to vanity.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
How can you have a discussion of Evil Disney Villains and not even mention Michael Eisner?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
As a dog lover I always wanted to punch the cat-lady in "Lady and the Tramp".
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You completely ignore Disney's "The Black Cauldron".

The villain is "The Horned King", who's clearly a liche , and who wants to rule the world with an army of undead soldiers that the Cauldron will produce for him. In this way, you see the raw lust for power from dictators (like our President).

It's a better story than Snow White, because in the end the bad guy is defeated by personal self-sacrifice, as opposed to the "hero" needing others to intervene out of vengeance, which is precisely what happens when the dwarves chase Maleficent to her doom after it's already too late for Snow White.

Just sayin'.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I once attended a lecture by Vincent Price, who self-professedly enjoyed playing bad guys. He enjoyed the opportunities that they offered for character development and complexity.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Price was an interesting critter. Quite the thinker, and a genuine gentleman.


Unlike most of the current Hollywood crop.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You forgot the worst Disney cartoon villain of all.

Bambi.




Yes, Bambi.



Bambi, the indoctrinator of small children, who taught them to hate mankind and his guns, and to love all the furry little animals of the forest.


Oh, and you thought it was just a happy little story?

Bambi has done more damage to hunting than everything than PETA, the ALF, and ELF combined.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Heard at a movie theater:
Young voice pipes "That b@s+@rd shot Bambi's mother!"

Followed by:
*Slap!*
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Except for Ponocchio's cat (sp?) cats were always evil.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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