Movies are one of the best sources of entertainment nowadays, and have been for decades. They can take us on a journey, teach us a lesson, or simply just make us laugh. However, many of these movies would not exist without a main villain or antagonist. They are extremely important in a movie’s plot and can sometimes make or break a film.
The villain gives a movie balance while providing someone for movie-goers to root against, standing opposite of the hero. It’s all about the struggle and the journey that characters go through during a film. That’s why we love a good villain: they challenge the heroes and force them to overcome some sort of adversity, which adds to the allure of the movie.
That is why having a terrible movie villain can literally ruin a movie, both in the eyes of the fans and in box office numbers. Ultimately, when a villain falls flat, fans hate it. It’s disappointing to see a character that is meant to be scary or intimidating wind up being useless.
A good movie villain will be praised and can truly elevate an okay film into a classic. An average movie villain will be forgotten over time, but won’t be hated. But a truly horrible movie villain will ruin a movie and likely wind up on lists just like this one.
10. King Koopa – Super Marios Bros.
Fans of the Super Mario video games endured numerous battles with King Koopa aka Bowser throughout their childhoods playing the various installments on Nintendo. When it was announced there would be a movie adaptation, fans were patiently waiting to see the portrayal of their long-time nemesis.
These fans were horrified when the character in the film, played by Dennis Hopper, looked nothing like the reptilian antagonist they were used to. He was a man wearing a suit who later turned into some sort of human-dino hybrid.
The movie could have been salvaged if the production team had been successful in courting their first choice for the role, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Hopper simply wasn’t frightening in the least and was the wrong man for the job. Overall, the movie was a flop and has received terrible ratings on Rotten Tomatoes.
9. Blackheart – Ghost Rider
In the comic book series, Blackheart is a terrifying, pitch-black demon who possesses a wide array of supernatural powers. So when it was announced that a 2007 movie adaptation of Ghost Rider would feature Blackheart, fans were salivating at the opportunity to see the villain on the big screen.
Once the movie was released, however, fans were left scratching their heads. Not only was the character not a terrifying demon, but he was portrayed as a pale, skinny man who reminds you more of Edward Cullen than a terrifying villain.
Blackheart did show flashes of his demonic side throughout the film, but didn’t give the fans what they wanted in terms of a full and permanent transformation. His performance was flat throughout the film, his acting was horrific and he didn’t instill fear like his character in the comic books was known for.
8. Laurel Hedare – Catwoman
Sharon Stone was one of the more prolific and famous female actors of the past 25 years, but perhaps her worst role ever came as Laurel Hedare in the 2004 release of Catwoman. Not only was her acting and character atrocious, but the movie was also one of the worst superhero films of all time. In fact, the film was a tremendous flop as it only grossed $82 million with a production budget of $100 million.
What made her character so terrible was the fact that her powers essentially came from her face cream. The premise is that she has a successful cosmetics company and murders anyone who tries to stop her face cream from hitting store shelves. This face cream makes people develop skin as hard and strong as a rock, until they stop taking it. Once they do, it literally melts their face.
If that’s not one of the stupidest premises for a movie villain you’ve ever heard…
7. The Master – Manos: The Hands of Fate
This film is not only the worst on this list, but is also consistently rated as one of the worst movies ever made. It not only has a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes, but it also has a rating of 1.9/10 on IMDB, with more than 29,000 people casting their vote.
The movie is absolutely horrific and full of poorly-edited scenes that contribute nothing to the plot. But perhaps the worst thing about this movie was the villain, The Master. The Master adds next to nothing at all to this already-atrocious movie.
Villains tend to be conniving and witty geniuses with great plans for domination, but The Master seemed content with just standing around and breaking up arguments between his many wives. I mean, what else were you going expect from the main villain in one of the worst films of all time.
6. Nuclear Man – Superman IV: The Quest For Peace
Like many other films on this list, Superman IV: The Quest For Peace has often been described as one of the worst films ever made. This designation likely has a lot to do with the villain of the film, Nuclear Man.
Created by perennial Man of Steel villain Lex Luthor, Nuclear Man was an attempted clone of Superman. Luthor achieved this by stealing a piece of Superman’s hair, attaching it to a nuclear bomb and shooting it into the sun… yeah. Amazingly, it worked and Nuclear Man became a real being who possessed all of Superman’s powers.
There was, however, one little flaw: Nuclear Man needed the sun to survive and thus could be defeated by anyone creative and smart enough to simply stand in the shade. Fans couldn’t believe this was a legitimate villain that was approved by production. With this monstrosity as the villain, it’s no surprise that this movie was panned by both the critics and audience.
5. Venom – Spider Man 3
Venom is without a doubt one of the best comic book villains of all-time and is arguably Spider-Man’s toughest foe. This made his appearance in Spider-Man 3 one of the most disappointing in movie history. From the moment the Spider-Man comic book series was announced for the big screen, fans were praying to finally see Venom in all his mighty glory.
Long story short? They didn’t. Not even close.
Fans were let down when the announcement came that Topher Grace of That 70s Show fame would play the supervillain. Fans didn’t get a huge, enforcing and frightening Venom; instead, they got one of the least intimidating people on earth.
Why they chose to cast Topher Grace as Venom is an absolute mystery to both fans and critics alike. Despite this horribly cast and acted villain, Spider Man 3 is still among the most successful super hero movies of all time with a worldwide gross of almost $900 million.
4. Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd – Diamonds Are Forever
There has been a multitude of stupid and awful James Bond villains throughout the series and its history, but these two take the cake.
Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd are assassins working for Ernst Stravo Blofeld, and could not be more useless. First of all, they are not exactly the most terrifying looking henchmen as they are normal-looking, middle-aged guys who are more annoying than threatening.
Wint and Kidd seem more interested in mindlessly killing people than actually working towards the plot of world domination, which isn’t a trait most people want in their henchmen. With several attempts on Bond’s life, including one where one of them was literally posing as a waiter serving him a meal, they still failed. Even being that close to him without him knowing who they are, they still couldn’t get it done.
3. Mr. Freeze – Batman & Robin
Mr. Freeze, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, was a large reason why this installment of the Batman series goes down as one of the worst of all time according to both box office numbers and critic response.
Mr. Freeze was the main antagonist of the film, threatening to freeze all of Gotham City. This film is chock-full of horrific one-liners and puns from the villain, all of which are related to the cold. Look, no one minds the odd pun that relates to the character here and there, but when they go on for over two hours, there’s a problem.
The character actually had a decent and well thought-out background, as Mr. Freeze was originally a scientist who fell into a vat of liquid nitrogen, and now needs ice to survive. However, with the awful performance and delivery by Schwarzenegger paired with the lackluster writing, the character was destined to fail.
2. Lex Luthor – Superman & Superman Returns
In the comics, Luthor is an ambitious genius with extreme wealth and a huge hate for Superman. However, his portrayals in the films were very different from what fans are accustomed to in the bald supervillain.
In 1978’s Superman, Luthor is portrayed as a wise-cracking villain who seems more like a scummy salesman than a wealthy genius. In the film, he cares more about his real estate than world domination, a notion that the Luthor of the comics would scoff at.
It gets even worse in Superman Returns when he is portrayed by Kevin Spacey. His “genius” plot in this film is to destroy all of the habitable land on earth, except his own new continent, while killing billions in the process. It remains an absolute mystery why a money-obsessed villain would essentially kill most if not all of his potential target market for his new land mass.
1. Harry and Marv – Home Alone Series
Here they are, the absolute dumbest, worst and most useless movie villains of all-time, Harry and Marv of Home Alone fame. These two men plot to break into a house that is occupied by an 8 year-old left at home by his family.
Should be easy enough, right? Wrong.
These two useless men somehow manage to not only set off each and every booby trap that a child set up for them, but they also fall for it all over again in the sequel. And keep in mind, these two men are supposed to be renowned criminals, capable of escaping the law for months, and it is an 8 year-old Macaulay Culkin that takes them out.
Despite these awful villains, Home Alone was a huge success that grossed about 16 times the production cost of the film.