Cinema history has presented audiences with some antagonists that can truly only be described as pure evil villains. This type of villain seems to have lost its luster in recent years. Movies seem to be more interested in antiheroes or warped reflections of main characters with motivations audiences can relate to. Even Thanos, whose great plan was to wipe out half of all life in the universe, was given a backstory to justify his draconian dream.
It's become so commonplace that it would be a refreshing change of pace to see more truly unsympathetic characters on cinema screens. The types of villains who want world domination for no other reason than they'd like to be in charge. The villains who slay their own henchman at the slightest disagreement, and don't have any sort of love interest to show audiences a different side of them. That's the class of villains that really knows how to make its mark.
- 1311 VOTESPhoto: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring / New Line Cinema
In The Lord of the Rings, great rings of power are forged and distributed to the various races as a way to rule their kingdoms. Secretly, another ring is made, a ring strong enough to control all of them. This ring is created by The Dark Lord Sauron, and he uses its power in an attempt to enslave all of Middle Earth.
Sauron was known as the "enemy of the free people" in Middle Earth. He is the embodiment of evil in The Lord of the Rings. He's more like force of nature than an antagonist since he has absolutely no qualities that a human (or elf or hobbit) could relate to. Seriously, the guy's home base was literally called "Mt. Doom." He's just pure evil with a thing for jewelry.
- 2328 VOTESPhoto: IT / Warner Bros. Pictures
Pennywise is a malevolent force of ancient evil who resurfaces every couple of decades to terrorize and capture children in the town of Derby. Pennywise feeds off of the children, which gives him the energy to survive his dormant periods. This animalistic behavior is only justifiable for actual animals, but Pennywise is clearly a being of higher intelligence. Also, it's not like he just consumes humans purely for sustenance; he specifically seems to enjoy psychologically tormenting them before their demises.
- 3380 VOTESPhoto: Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith / 20th Century Fox
Palpatine might have one of the highest body counts in cinema history. He is the mastermind behind the construction and deployment of the Death Star, so any loss of life caused by that behemoth (like, say, the complete annihilation of Alderaan) also lands on his head. In the prequel trilogy, it is Palpatine who corrupts Anakin Skywalker and executes order 66. He is directly responsible for eliminating one of the greatest peacekeeping forces in pop culture.
Why does Palpatine do all this? What motivation does he possibly have to justify his actions? Well, he's just evil. He's consumed by the dark side and lusts for power and eternal life. That's it. That's the driving force behind what he does.
- 4261 VOTESPhoto: Raiders of the Lost Ark / Paramount Pictures
Major Toht is a Nazi scientist who does whatever it takes to help the Fuhrer win. In Raiders of the Lost Ark, his mission is to find the Ark of the Covenant and give the Third Reich a supernatural advantage in WWII. When we first meet Toht in the film, he's getting ready to torture Marion Ravenwood. Not an auspicious introduction.
Like any good villain tale, Toht's arrogance is his own undoing. When he and his fellow evildoers open the Ark of the Covenant, they all meet gruesome ends. Toht has his face melted off, but fear not, he's so awful that you don't feel bad for him.