Lucasfilm Photo by John Jay - © 1978 John Jay - Image courtesy MPTV.net
Darth Vader, Star Wars Trilogy
You can't stand them, but you can't take your eyes off them either. They're the villains who are so bad they make the movies they star in oh-so-good.
Every bad guy knows to wear black. But, like a true fashionista, Darth Vader knows how the details (a cape and a mask!) set you apart. He can choke you half to death from clear across the room. And, he has no problem cutting your hand off right before telling you you're his son. Not to mention the breathing. Did we mention the breathing?
The Joker, The Dark Knight
The Joker—especially Heath Ledger's portrayal
—first seems like your crazy Uncle Dan (bad suit, greasy hair and all). But it doesn't take much screen time to realize he's a force nearly no one can contain. Though a monster, he understands humanity too
well and manipulates it to bring out the worst in people for no other reason than his own enjoyment. After you take in Heath's wonderfully cringe-inducing performance, you'll never look at No. 2 pencils the same again.
Regina George, Mean Girls
As the leader of "the Plastics," Regina is the girl we all feared, and revered, in high school. At her best, your pet name is "loser," and at her worst—well, that's not fit for print. And still, you'd just die to shake your booty to "Jingle Bell Rock" with her or score a spot at her lunch table. We hate her because she's real; we love to hate her because she reminds us that if we can survive the high school jungle, we can make it through anything.
Hannibal Lecter, Silence of the Lambs
First of all, he eats people. That's plain deplorable. And though he's only on the big screen for 16 minutes, Anthony Hopkins
triggers plenty of nightmares with his bone-chilling glare and that infamous "fava beans and a nice Chianti" line. Plus, before he was an incarcerated cannibalistic serial killer, he was a psychiatrist. The bad guys who can get inside your head are the creepiest—no, er, bones about it.
Johnny Lawrence, The Karate Kid
Any character known for his blond hair, blue eyes, black belt and ubiquitous headband is not likely to give you the warm fuzzies. Sure, some may think Johnny was misunderstood, but fighting dirty is hard to forgive. When this archetypal '80s bully swept Daniel's leg, he secured a spot in the dirtbag hall of shame.
Ed Rooney, Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Isn't the cardinal rule of teaching to not play favorites? Mr. Rooney's blatant hatred of Ferris—and the principal's stop-at-nothing crusade to take down the "snot-nosed punk"—gives administrators everywhere a bad name. From Cameron's phony phone call to the principal's credit-rolling school bus ride, watching Rooney get played by Ferris and his pals is truly priceless.
The Heathers, Heathers
Though Winona Ryder's Veronica had a hand in multiple killings at Westerburg High, somehow it's Heathers Chandler, Walker and Duke who really make our blood boil. There's just something about group purging and abusing an overweight classmate that doesn't sit well. And yet, every once in a while, in a moment of weakness, we still catch ourselves uttering those four little words: "What's your damage, Heather?"
The Wicked Witch of the West, The Wizard of Oz
She's gunning for a nice Midwestern girl—and her little dog too. Combine that with her green face and pointy hat, and it's no wonder the Wicked Witch of the West has become the universal face of villains everywhere. Water is this witch's Kryptonite, and, thankfully for nightmare-prone kids everywhere, Dorothy and her gang of misfits got the best of her in the end. Because trying to steal a girl's new red pumps
—that's just evil.
Biff, Back to the Future Trilogy
With classic lines like "Make like a tree and get outta here," Biff is Back to the Future's
dim-witted bully we can't get enough of. He spent three decades making George McFly's life difficult, etching that piercing "Hey, McFly!" into common pop culture vernacular. But like a true family-film villain, Biff always got what he deserved in the end. Ahh, victory is sweet.
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