Villains.They come in all shapes, sizes and tropes. Without them there would be no conflict and thus no story. So today, we’re looking at our favourite villain tropes and the wonderful executors of them.
The Mandatory Villain’s Song
Disney pretty much owns this trope. They provide countless examples such as the iconic bad guy anthem ‘Be Prepared’ from The Lion King. There’s just nothing like a big musical number to highlight your corrupted soul.
Evil Example: ‘I Put A Spell On You’ – Hocus Pocus
Although Scar did a fantastic job of terrifying children with his song, Bette Midler took it to another level. She uses this amazing rendition as a way to execute her plan, compelling partygoers to dance until they die.
An archetype as old as storytelling itself. For every innocent lovable princess or maiden, there’s her wicked stepmother plotting from her tower. Usually treating the protagonist as a slave, our hatred for this character exists from the get go and we wait patiently for them to get their karma.
Evil Example: Mother Gothel – Tangled
Credited as being a very realistic villain, Gothel is the emotionally abusive kidnapper of Rapunzel. She stole the young infant to use her as an extremely effective anti-aging product and locked her in a tower for eighteen years.
Evil All Along
“Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!”
This one just stings. To me, there’s just something so infuriating (yet luring) about not knowing who your true enemy is. Being fooled is such a welcome slap in the face, that shows us for assuming we know better! This trope usually goes hand-in-hand with plot twists which can either make or break the story.
Evil Example: Atlas – Bioshock
“Would you kindly, powerful phrase. Familiar phrase?”. One of the best video game plot twists came from Bioshock when we discovered that our friendly Irish ally, Atlas was the corrupt Frank Fontaine all along. The phrase ‘Would you kindly?” was used as a brainwashing tool against the protagonist, Jack, to help fuel Fontaine’s evil plan. Rude.
Every school has to have one. More often than not, this character is just a shady lady who bullies people rather than striving for world domination. But still, their words hurt.
Evil Example: Heather Chandler – Heathers
Leader of the ‘Heathers’, Heather Chandler is the most popular girl at Westerburg High School and the frenemy of main character, Veronica Sawyer. When a revenge plan goes wrong, Heather ends up dead and the first in a line of ‘fake suicides’ caused by Veronica and her boyfriend J.D.
The Big Bad
The term was popularised in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, serving as a description for the almighty evil throughout a series. They are the cause of all the bad happenings in the story, the final boss, the puppet master, etc. When they’re dealt with, goodness will finally be restored.
Evil Example: Lord Voldemort – Harry Potter
Not much needs to be said. The main antagonist in Harry’s life, Voldemort is the cause for chaos in the Wizarding World. The entire series is a build up for that final fight between the Chosen One and the Dark Lord.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold
A wonderful trope in my opinion.Seeing a temporary antagonist become a part of the hero’s gang is so much fun to watch. It’s awkward, they never know how to adjust properly to their new morality and end up messing up, a lot.
Evil Example: Spike – Buffy the Vampire Slayer
From villain to ally to love interest, we hate to love this bleached blonde vampire. He becomes a key member of the Scooby Gang while remaining morally ambiguous (and a pain the neck…no pun intended)
No evil mastermind can truly do their work alone. This trope consists of the evil genius who is obsessed with taking over the world and his accomplice who is content in the physical side of things.
Evil Example: Drakken and Shego – Kim Possible
Shego acts as the muscle and Dr. Drakken provides the…brains? That’s up to you to decide. The two are the main antagonists in the series and they just about subvert the trope. Shego is the calm, cool and collected one while Drakken has a short-fuse and throws temper tantrums.
Cute but Psycho
Sugar, spice and everything nice, these are what little psychos are made of. While these characters may appear sweet, they are extremely unstable and are just waiting to blow.
Evil Example(s): Alois Trancy, Black Butler & Harley Quinn, DC
These two are more alike than you may think. Both are blonde. Both rock the booty shorts look. And both obsess over men who don’t care about them all that much. They are just one wrong word away from plotting your demise.
Not Evil, Just Misunderstood
The cause of much debate through fandoms. Once a villain’s tragic past is revealed, BAM! They get a pity party, along with defensive fans claiming that they didn’t do anything wrong. No crime is too big for this trope!
Evil Example: Loki – Marvel
Oh Loki, you poor son of a frost giant. Of course you’re not evil. Evil people don’t lead an alien army into New York to destroy the city. Right?
As if children weren’t scary enough, now we have to get the paranormal involved! Kids are thought to be pure, innocent little things. It just makes it more sinister when they become evil. They have to be completely dependent on us and unable to take care of themselves, not crawl out of our televisions and watch us in our sleep.
Evil Example: Damien – The Omen
He is literally the Antichrist!