Villains Famous Villains Whose Looks Have Totally Changed

Jacob Shelton
1.5k votes 189 voters 8.7k views 19 items Embed

List Rules Vote up the villain makeovers that you are okay with

It’s a fact of life that any film or television show that you love will be remade and you probably won’t like what the new generation of producers do to the thing you once held dear. The hardest type of changes to accept are villain remakes. We grow close to a villain, and once we’ve accepted something as super scary, or so bad that they’re good, it’s hard to accept anything else in their place. Remakes of iconic villains are so hard to pull off, especially if the villain that’s being remade is a cult classic like Pennywise the Dancing Clown, or Freddy Krueger, but that doesn’t mean that people are going to stop trying. Remember the good times and check out these famous villains who got a makeover.

Most of the time, remakes of villains only end up making fans love the original version of that villain even more. For instance, there are so many versions of Leatherface saturating the chainsaw market that the only real choice is to pledge your undying allegiance to Gunnar Hansen. But sometimes it’s cool to have different versions of famous villains because it’s possible for an actor, or costume designer to bring something different to the table that makes you see that character in a new light. Keep that in mind while you’re exploring these famous villains who got a make over.

Vote on the villain makeovers that you’re okay with, and leave us a comment about how you’d fix the character looks that you totally hate.

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Joker (Batman)


Joker is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Famous Villains Whose Looks Have Totally Changed
Photo: Warner Bros.

The Joker has been kicking around DC Comics since 1940, and even though he's changed from the pancake make up wearing villain of Adam West's Batman to the pseudo homeless spirit of anarchy of The Dark Knight, to the very zef hustler of Suicide Squad there are always a few trademarks that never seem to change. His green hair is always front and center, although sometimes it's more of a seaweed green than the vibrant lime of the comics, and he's never lost that beautiful smile. 

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The Undead (Dawn of the Dead)


The Undead (Dawn of the Dead) is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous Villains Whose Looks Have Totally Changed
Photo: United Film Distribution Company/Universal Pictures

There are so many different zombie designs out in the world that it would be insane to compare them all, so let's focus on the undead of George Romero's Dawn of the Dead, and the Zach Snyder remake. The original designs and effects were done by Tom Savini, splatter master, and the zombies were given a blue or grey tinted face as a way of showing that they were still essentially human and hadn't quite started to decay yet. It was also as a way of saving a lot of money.

However, in the remake, Snyder had all the money to burn, and based the zombie's design on a series of crime scene photos to make them look as realistic as possible. 


Pennywise the Dancing Clown is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous Villains Whose Looks Have Totally Changed
Photo: Warner Bros. Television/New Line Cinema

In Stephen King's It, Pennywise is described as a mix between Bozo the Clown and Clarabell from Howdy Doody. According to the Tim Curry (the original Pennywise), the look of the evil clown evolved over the course of filming. “The clown face was a little mixture of all three of us." The three people he's talking about are himself, Bart Mixon (the effects guru of the film), and director Tommy Lee Wallace. “But the first five days of shooting there wasn’t a day when the face was quite the same, because tiny little things evolved, like the shape of the mouth. And the eyebrows are actually the hardest thing to really nail down.” 

The new version of Pennywise is meant to evoke a more 16th century clown. Emmy-winning costume designer Janie Bryant made the form fitting suit that draws upon a number of bygone times – among them Medieval, Renaissance, Elizabethan, and Victorian eras.

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The Mummy (The Mummy)


The Mummy (The Mummy) is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous Villains Whose Looks Have Totally Changed
Photo: Universal Pictures

In 1932, Boris Karloff creeped onto the silver screen as a cursed Egyptian mummy that looks as good today as it did then. The creature design consisted of cotton, collodion, spirit gum, clay, and linen bandages treated in acid and burned in an oven. Karloff called the shoot, "the most terrifying ordeal I ever endured."

Fast forward to the modern remakes of The Mummy franchise and the titular character has gone from a bandaged ghoul to a motion captured, skeletal, apparition rapped in cobwebs

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The Apes (Planet of the Apes)


The Apes (Planet of the Apes) is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Famous Villains Whose Looks Have Totally Changed
Photo: 20th Century Fox

The apes from 1968's Planet of the Apes might be one of the most iconic looks in modern filmmaking. What's so remarkable is that with all of those effects the film was still relatively cheap to make. The original ape makeup was designed by John Chambers, who built up his cosmetics chops during his time in the Army, where he created prosthetics for wounded soldiers with missing noses, arms, legs, and chins. This is why the makeup looks so believable.

While the 2001 remake maintained the same level of prosthetic ingenuity, the rest of the movie doesn't quite hold up, and the modern prequels of the film have unfortunately gone completely the way of CGI.

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The Deadites (Evil Dead)


The Deadites (Evil Dead) is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Famous Villains Whose Looks Have Totally Changed
Photo: TriStar Pictures/New Line Cinema

The widely beloved Evil Dead franchise came from small beginnings in the cold of Michigan and has become one of the greatest horror continuums to ever be recorded on celluloid. But the look of the main antagonists, the deadites, has been in flux since the first film was released in 1981.

Initially they were mostly painted up actors, with very light prosthetics. And even though the 2013 adaptation of the original film has its haters, they tried to keep the deadites as close to the original as possible by using very little CGI. The film's director said, "We didn't do any CGI in the movie [...] Everything that you will see is real, which was really demanding. This was a very long shoot, 70 days of shooting at night. There's a reason people use CGI; it's cheaper and faster, I hate that. We researched a lot of magic tricks and illusion tricks."


Count Dracula is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Famous Villains Whose Looks Have Totally Changed
Photo: Universal/Hammer/Columbia Pictures/Universal

Since originally appearing in Bram Stoker's Dracula in 1897, Dracula has been portrayed hundreds of times by just as many actors, and they usually maintain his noble stature. From the '30s throughout the '70s, the tuxedo wearing look that Bela Lugosi pioneered was pretty much de rigueur for actors playing Dracula.

His biggest update came in Francis Ford Coppola's 1992 update of Stoker's book. This character design for this Dracula contained elements of Lugosi's mystic portrayal while also working in elements of Kabuki Theater, and a series of silky, crimson red robes. 

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Captain Hook is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Famous Villains Whose Looks Have Totally Changed
Photo: TriStar Pictures/Disney–ABC Domestic Television

When most people think of Captain Hook, the image of a foppish old rogue with a curly black mustache and a feather in his hat appears. Most modern adaptations of the character stick with that (with minor changes).

In J. M. Barrie's original text, the character had an obsessive nature that owed more to Moby Dick's Captain Ahab than anything else, but that obviously softened over time. In Stephen Spielberg's Hook, the captain is a full-on baroque set piece that's full on bluster and without a hint of irony.

On the opposite side of the coin, in ABC's Once Upon A Time we get a leather-clad dark Hook who seems like he probably ate most of his lunches in a high school theater. 

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