To celebrate the Spooktacular month of October, the Bit Players have put together a tournament to honor those individuals that make the month leading up to Halloween such a special one: the movie villains. For the entire month, you can vote on each matchup as we lead up to Halloween, when we will crown the #1 film villain of all time. Whether they're demented psychopaths, silent slashers, megalomaniac world-crushers, or just manipulative bullies, movie villains have long been a huge part of film history and serve just as vital of a role as the heroes they battle; they often become more revered than even the cape-donning protagonists that serve as their foils, perhaps because it's easier to see a little humanity in the evildoers than strict do-gooders.
The seeding was meticulously discussed for about 30 minutes over a group text, formulated with care and precision based on many factors. A great villain is nuanced, and their value to film history is what ultimately determines their seeding. That value can be calculated from the villain's evil index, number of kills, mental instability, badass factor, costume, name, cultural impact, continued relevance, and many more factors that should all be considered carefully as you select the winners of each matchup.
The voting process will be laid out as follows:
Round 1: Monday, October 3 - Wednesday, October 5
Round 2: Thursday, October 6 - Sunday, October 9
Sweet 16: Monday, October 10 - Wednesday, October 12
Elite 8: Thursday, October 13 - Sunday, October 16
Final Four: Monday, October 17 - Sunday, October 23
Finals: Monday, October 24 - Sunday, October 30
Read below to pick your champion, and make sure to enter your email address in the final matchup in order to be entered into a random drawing for a $50 Fandango gift card. You may vote as many times as you'd like, but your email will only be entered once per day. This means that over the course of the full tournament's 27 days, your email could be entered 27 times to win!
Enjoy, and may the Baddest Baddie win!
Well, this one just seems pretty cut and dry, doesn't it? There's a reason that Joker is the overall #1 seed, and though both Joker and Shere Khan, as will be the case with almost every one of these villains, are victims of circumstance, it's just much easier to sympathize with a kitty than a clown.
A terrific 8-9 matchup between the Aladdin tormentor and the Wicked Witch of the West. Sources say that Judy Garland was treated terribly by her male costars in The Wizard of Oz and that the only person she spent any time with on set was Margaret Hamilton, the actress who donned the green makeup and prosthetic nose to play the witch. And Jafar was a dick to Robin Williams. Do the right thing here.
While still relatively new to the villainous scene, so fresh-faced he hasn't even found a crew to sit with at lunch, Kylo Ren looks to be a pretty formidable asshole going forward. He's already destroyed multiple planets full of people and seems to just be a really angsty dude. Gaston is no slouch, however. Never trust anyone that good-looking.
Ivan Drago killed Apollo Creed. Pennywise is a killer clown. A villainy showdown doesn't get much tighter than this.
Jason Voorhees has been terrorizing teenagers for upwards of 30 years by this point, and his hockey mask has become an icon for horror. He has single-handedly made summer camp a completely unappealing prospect for spending one's time between school years, undoing all of the work done by Meatballs, Heavyweights and Wet Hot American Summer, but Scar is a formidable opponent for the horror film mainstay, especially for younger viewers who had to witness the trauma of Mufasa's death.
Magneto has racked up one of the highest kill counts of any villain in this tournament, probably save the planet destroyers who dwell in outer space. Despite his terribly understandable catalyst for evil in the Holocaust, his deadly deeds are inexcusable. Not to mention the metal-wielder takes viewers on emotional roller coasters each and every film, never fully committed to either good or bad. On the other side of the bracket is Geoffrey Rush's Davy Jones from the Pirates of the Caribbean films, whose most evil accomplishment is having an octopus for a face.
Mr. Glass, played brilliantly by Samuel L. Jackson, could have been a real contender with the right resources. Think of him as an indie villain, making low-budget evil magic with what little means he has, but the depths of his evil could flow as deeply as the likes of Vader and Ren: he would totally destroy a planet if he just had the resources. However, Sid from Toy Story was a raging little psychopath and a much more recognizable threat. We all knew a Sid in elementary school, the kid who somehow always smelled like graham crackers and super glue and had that not-quite-there look, so perhaps his proximity to our everyday lives, our neighborhoods, makes him a much more devastating villain.
In many ways, Sauron and Regina George are one in the same. When the eye of Sauron shines from the fearsome black skies of Mordor, his will is done by all those in its gaze. Similarly, when the bright blue eyes of Rachel McAdams shine from the fearsome popular girl lunch table of North Shore High, her will too is done. She can manipulate with the best of them, but something tells us that the sheer power and breadth of influence of Sauron is going to be an easy ticket to the Elite 8 against the Joker.
While Pinhead has the look that makes for a horror villain icon, we just don't see him touching Lord Voldemort in this matchup. The dude was insanely frightening in the books, but once Ralph Fiennes beautifully gave him on-screen life as a magical man-snake, he was cemented as one of the all-time great baddies. We're pretty sure he's the only villain in the competition that literally split his soul apart to achieve immortality, which is like the craziest thing someone could do to themselves. His self-mutilation reached outwardly as well, as he has one of the higher death tolls in the tourney.
Khan might have the gift of star-destroying on his side, but almost no one can touch Buffalo Bill's creepiness. He's one of the tournament's few (if only) true serial killers, and the fear he has instilled in viewers for decades is a deep-rooted and American one; the reality of getting snatched up and put into a van to live one's last days inside of a psychopath's basement well is probably always somewhere in the backs of American girls' minds, lodged however deeply.
Even before he became the Skittles-loving running back of the Seattle Seahawks, Predator was always one of the coolest villains in terms of looks, and the multi-film franchise life has seriously elevated his worth as a villain, but we actually see the Grinch as a pretty formidable opponent. Thanks to early exposure through Theodor Seuss Giesel, M.D., The Grinch's villainy is widespread in terms of renown, and Jim Carrey plays the green ghoul perfectly. We're keeping a close eye on this matchup.
Immortan Joe's villainy is somewhat watered-down by the fact that the dude is high out of his gourd on silver spray paint for the entirety of Mad Max: Fury Road. We're pretty sure anyone would go fucking nuts under those circumstances, and the fact that there's no water probably isn't helping matters. He probably just has cottonmouth like a motherfucker. Dr. Evil, on the other hand. Evil is in his name, people.
Yes, we know the shark's name is not Jaws. But let's be real. The shark's name is Jaws. And Jaws's type of evil is a methodical one, hellbent on rage and destruction that completely runs counter to any true shark-like psychology, which makes it a particularly dangerous foe. Its rage is a supernatural occurrence in a purely biological environment, while Bane is kind of the opposite. He's had many incarnations, but perhaps the most famous version is Tom Hardy's in Christopher Nolan's third installment of his Dark Knight trilogy. The main thing going against Bane is the fact that you can't understand a damn thing he says, while Jaws lets his chomping do the talking.
The Tobey McGuire Spider-Man depiction of Green Goblin is hardly distinguishable from Jingle All the Way's Dementor, in terms of both looks and demeanor, so that's not really doing him any favors. This matchup is pretty much just a formality, and we see Halloween's Michael Myers making a deep run, slicing up opponents with a large knife of victory.
The original film version of Lex Luthor, played by Gene Hackman, is almost too comically evil to be taken seriously, and the masterful way that Jack Nicholson portrays Jack Torrance's coming completely unhinged is impossible to ignore, which makes this a particularly paradoxical matchup. You've got pure, globally-aspiring evil portrayed terribly, and an intimate, singular evil portrayed amazingly. Tough choice.
It doesn't help Megatron's case that the films through which he ran roughshod were utter pieces of shit, but maybe there's people out there that are huge Transformers fans and throw him a solidarity vote over Agent Smith, the actual, obvious choice here. Few villains are as innovative and compelling as the Hugo Weaving-played program, and Agent Smith's ubiquity and limitless nature in the Matrix franchise is somehow terrifying within that universe.
Nothing we could ever say will convince you that the Leprechaun is the smart vote here, let's be real. Darth Vader has destroyed planets. Planets.
Tom Hiddleston squares off against Bela Lugosi as Loki takes on the original filmic depiction of Count Dracula. Loki is the master of the heel turn, which is always going to boost his worth in a tournament like this, constantly keeping viewers on their toes. He's also in color, which helps a lot.
Two of the baddest bitches in Disney World somehow got slated against one another, and we couldn't be happier. Cruella de Vil gets the obvious edge because, well, she kills puppies for a living, and that's obviously a super not-okay thing to do, but Ursula is part octopus, which, if Davy Jones showed us anything about villainy, is also not a good thing. Puppies, though. Think of the puppies.
Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman) and Sheriff of Nottingham (Alan Rickman) is one of the most even matchups in the first round. Both villains present master classes in acting and pure, theatrical villainy, which makes this one an incredibly difficult decision to make.
"Put the bunny back in the box!" What's more evil than holding a stuffed bunny hostage while commandeering a plane full of convicts on the way to paradise? Well, maybe the Terminator, but probably not. In the vacuum of The Terminator, Arnold is menacing and an incredibly relentless villain, but given the fact that time has changed so many things about the robot badass, it's hard to consider him a true, classic villain. On the other hand, Cyrus said the words, "if you say a word about this over the radio, the next wings you see will belong to the flies buzzing over your rotting corpse," which is an incredible thing to say. Your choice.
There is actually a lot of Chucky in Leonardo DiCaprio's Calvin Candie. Endlessly smiling, even more endlessly evil, most endlessly entertaining despite it all. The only difference is the overt racism, but we're pretty sure that Chucky would have slaves if he were capable, so this one might be a wash.
Is Shredder just a dude? It just occurs to me that I really don't remember much about his mythology other that he was super scary as a kid. Leatherface, on the other hand, is very much just a dude who has an insatiable urge to chop human beings to little bits with a chainsaw and possibly eat them with his family afterwards. I'm not even sure Shredder could pull a trigger with his eyes closed and head turned, but I guess he really dislikes turtles, which is pretty fucked if you think about it.
Hans Gruber better win this, but there is certainly a case to be made for Ebenezer Scrooge, particularly Michael Caine's portrayal for the fact that his evil is done to Muppets. How could anyone ever be evil to Muppets? God, now we just want to see The Muppets Die Hard.
Imhotep doesn't stand a chance, no matter how many times Brian chooses to vote. Hannibal Lecter is film villains.
As far as the coolness factor and looks, Xenomorph is one of the top dogs in this 32-villain fight. It just so happens that the deeply mythological creature from the Alien franchise is facing off against perhaps the king of cool in terms of movie villains, Keyser Soze. The Usual Suspects is built around the mystique of Soze, but an entire film universe is built around the mystique of the Xenomorph species, a constantly developing history and evolutionary background that is constantly surprising and constantly fearsome. You can't go wrong here.
There might not be a matchup more compelling on paper. On the one hand, you've got one of the most recognizable villains in the Scream films' Ghostface, inhabited by many characters across the five films, wielding giant kitchen knifes and carving up highschoolers like turkeys on Thanksgiving, and on the other you've got Shooter McGavin, the hot-shot pro golfer from Happy Gilmore whose evil is too hilarious to get too mad about. In fact, the comedy factor here is what makes Ghostface vs. McGavin the eyebrow-raising matchup that it is; it's one of the few pairings that defines a clear difference between how you see film villainy. Ghostface is commentary on the film villain itself, attempting to satirize the concept we're unpacking throughout this whole tourney, but Shooter is the most cartoonish and ultimately benign force we have here, perhaps the real definition of a film villain throughout history. We want to both fear these figures and know we're completely safe from their grasp.
Pound for pound, Jigsaw might be the most terrifying villain on this page. The original Saw was so terrifying and surprising, and really displayed the sadism of Jigsaw in a nice way, but it wasn't until the remaining like 7 or 8 movies that the full depth of his evil unspooled itself. There's something incredibly creepy about the fact that Jigsaw does what he does for fun, as opposed to Dr. No's somewhat practical (as far as practicality can go for essentially a super villain scheme) approach to destruction.
Biff Tannen is the film representation of every douchebag bully you've ever met in life, but there is something almost untouchable about Castor Troy's craziness and Nicolas Cage's (and then John Travolta's) unhinged performance. Face/Off is one of the greatest movies of all-time, too. Just wanted to get that statement in, in case Troy gets ousted here and we don't have the chance later.
Whereas Ultron tormented Sokovian citizens for about 30 minutes despite his limitless promise as a villain, Freddy Krueger has been terrorizing dreamers for 30-plus years. This is the fundamental difference between A Nightmare on Elm Street's villain and Ultron: longevity. A killer crazed robot is cool and all, but he didn't last very long, did he? Freddy Krueger slashes people up in their fucking dreams with real-life consequences, and has been doing so for as long as any of the Bit Players have been alive. He also doesn't seem to be slowing down.
Hans Landa would be a delightful person to hang out with if it wasn't for the whole Nazism thing, which makes him one of the more interesting villains in the tournament, but does it make him one of the better ones? HAL9000, on the other hand, is something especially terrifying in a completely artificial intelligence that decides to go rogue and cause some mayhem. Totally not cool to hang out with.
Bellatrix Lestrange has a long-standing reign of terror throughout the eight Harry Potter films, in a lot of ways more terrible even than Lord Voldemort himself in that her evil has a human face, and Thanos is blue and in space, which is pretty scary too. If this were five years from now, Thanos's seeding might be much more favorable (and his tournament life), but given that we've only seen the tip of that evil iceberg on Guardians of the Galaxy, we don't see him standing much of a chance against the Dark Lord's number one girl.