With the release of The Princess and The Frog, a return to the traditional 2D animation style of yesteryear (none of these new fangled 3D wotsits), we take a look at some of the best villains in Disney history.
What makes a good villain anyway? Powers of sorcery? Diabolical scheming? Or maybe it’s just a good old fashioned maniacal laugh? Whatever shivers your timbers, there’s someone here for everyone…
While not the sharpest tool in the box, Gaston is a good villain simply because he represents the power of ignorance. Leading a mob of villagers to kill Beast simply because of jealousy and fear, Gaston shows just how scary stupidity can be. Don’t believe me? Three words: George W. Bush.
Stalking around like a fur-wrapped skeleton, punctuating her sentences with cigarette smoke and skinning puppies for their fur, Cruella De Vil is one of Disney’s most memorable villains. She’s like nightmarish version of Anna Wintour, although a swift call to PETA would probably sort her out these days.
Self-centred, power hungry and psychologically abusive, there’s something a little bit true to life in Lady Tremaine. She never lays a finger on Cinderella and yet manages to completely demoralise her by toying with her dreams. The template for judgmental mother-in-laws everywhere.
Although the film was poorly received at the time partially due to its US PG rating, The Horned King is certainly one of the most palpably evil Disney Villains. As a skeletal sorcerer he sought to capture the Black Cauldron so he could raise the Cauldron Born, an invincible army of undead soldiers. And he sounds like one of the Nazgûl. I want my mummy.
A corrupt minister who tried to drown Quasimodo when he was a baby, killed his mother, then kept him locked up in a bell tower when he grew up to be the Hunchback. Harsh. He’s particularly evil because he believes what he’s doing is right and there’s none so evil as evil done in good’s name…
Oozing her way out of her underwater cavern is Ursula, the sea witch from The Little Mermaid. She plotted a cunning scheme to steal Ariel’s voice and eventually the sovereignty of the undersea kingdom. She’s got tentacles, she’s hypnotically manipulative, she’s really creepy and she steals souls. Sounds like one of my ex-girlfriends.
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the pettiest of them all? Probably The Queen from Snow White. She orders an innocent girl’s heart cut out simply because she’s prettier than she is. I’m sure it happens all the time at Miss World.
Jeremy Irons was perfect as the scheming Scar from The Lion King. Not only is plotting the death of your nephew and killing your brother as cold as you can get, he did it with the calm detachment of the baddest of baddies. Long live the King…
“I think it’s time we said goodbye to Prince Abubu”. Jafar sought not only to control Agrabah by marrying Princess Jasmine and killing her father but eventually used his sorcery with a view to conquering the universe. Royal viziers eh? You just can’t get the staff these days.
Topping the list, horny head and shoulders above the rest is Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty. Cruel, calculating and with absolutely no sense of humour, she inspired pure pant-wetting terror in millions of children and still does today. And what had the kingdom done to earn her wrath? They didn’t invite her to a party. Can you imagine that today? “Sorry, you’re not on the list” “Now you shall deal with me and all the powers of hell!”. Mercy.