Famous Villains Whose Looks Have Totally Changed 

Jacob Shelton
5.9k votes 752 voters 66.6k views 19 items

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.

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 ... 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. 

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The Apes (Planet of the Apes)
The Apes (Planet of the ... is listed (or ranked) 3 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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Pennywise the Dancing Cl... is listed (or ranked) 4 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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