disney villains listAdmit it: Disney princesses and other heroes of Disney animated features can be… kinda bland. But the villains are always fascinating and alluring. Many are seductive and deceptive by nature, and most have much more flair and style than the protagonists who defeat them. Really, it’s a wonder that it took so long for Disney to allow filmmakers to twist one of its stories to focus more on the villain than the heroine, as it has with Sleeping Beauty’s foe in “Maleficent” (opening May 30).

If the Angelina Jolie live-action twist on the 1959 cartoon succeeds, there’s a whole Hall of Infamy of Disney evildoers ready for their close-ups. Here are 30 of the worst — er, best — Disney animated villains ever.

30. Yzma (“The Emperor’s New Groove”) disney villains The ancient Peruvian witch may not be the scariest Disney villain, but she’s one of the funniest, thanks to a sly performance by Eartha Kitt.

29. The Horned King (“The Black Cauldron”)
The film is one of the more unfortunately overlooked in the Disney canon, and so is this John Hurt-voiced baddie, who’s not afraid to take fashion tips from Maleficent — or to steamroll a kingdom to possess the magical title object.

28. Governor Ratcliffe (“Pocahontas”)
He’s kind of your garden-variety ugly imperialist, as voiced by David Ogden Stiers in his imperious Major Winchester mode. Also, the pig-tail coif really isn’t working for him.

27. Kaa (“The Jungle Book”)disney villains The python can not only squeeze his victims to death and swallow them whole, he can hypnotize them as well. Loses points, though, for having the same voice as Winnie the Pooh (Sterling Holloway).

26. Mother Gothel (“Tangled”)
Kidnaps infant princess and locks her in a tower for so long that Rapunzel gets a severe case of Stockholm syndrome. Has the lovely singing voice of Broadway vet Donna Murphy.

25. Gaston (“Beauty and the Beast”)
At first, he’s just an arrogant yahoo. But he does have the power to foment an angry, torch-bearing mob.

24. King Candy (“Wreck-It Ralph”)disney villains He’s modeled after the Mad Hatter in Disney’s animated “Alice in Wonderland,” but the throne usurper and code re-writer is on a serious power trip.

23. Hans (“Frozen”)
This handsome prince is certainly charming, but it becomes clear that he’s just trying to marry for power. His biggest crime: coming between sisters Elsa and Anna.

22. Professor Ratigan (“The Great Mouse Detective”)
Any rat who has a pet cat is pretty badass. Plus, the rodent crimelord is voiced by Vincent Price.

21. Clayton (“Tarzan”)disney villains Ugly imperialism (a la Gov. Ratcliffe), poaching (a la McLeach from “The Rescuers Down Under”), and Gaston’s chin.

20. Sid Philips (“Toy Story”)
Sid’s just a kid, but his sadistic, diabolically creative experiments with recombined toy parts make him a suburban Frankenstein.

19. Madame Medusa (“The Rescuers”)
Played by the great Geraldine Page, Medusa hints at untapped reserves of evil. After all, suppose she’d succeeded in her plot — grab an orphan girl no one will miss and use her to find a hidden gem in a cave too small for a grown-up. What would she have done with little Penny then? Feed her to the pet crocodiles?

18. Shan-Yu (“Mulan”)disney villainsHe’s just a man, but he’s strong enough to withstand an avalanche — not to mention, leading a marauding, bloodthirsty army.

17. Chernabog (“Fantasia”)
He’s a silent demon, but he makes up for it with the most horrifying theme music ever (Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain”). He’s also pure evil, using his powers to raise the dead and wreak havoc. His only weaknesses: daylight and the strains of Schubert’s “Ave Maria.”

16. Madame Mim (“The Sword in the Stone”)
She’s included on general craziness points alone. Can turn herself into various creatures, including a scary dragon. Fights a memorable wizards’ duel with Merlin.

15. Hades (“Hercules”)disney villains Played by the always sinister James Woods (he even looks like Woods), but with more camp and flamboyance than Woods usually musters. He gets way too much enjoyment from making Hercules’ life miserable. Oh, and he rules hell, which is named in his honor.

14. Judge Claude Frollo (“The Hunchback of Notre Dame”)
A typical Victor Hugo villain, he’s all the scarier for believing himself to be motivated by righteousness. Willing to burn down Paris out of his obsession with a girl he can’t have.

13. Shere Khan (“The Jungle Book”)
The urbane menace George Sanders, whose voice underlies so many suave and sophisticated villains (“Rebecca,” “All About Eve”), translates surprisingly well to the jungle, where his jungle-ruling tiger is all the scarier for never raising his voice above a sneer.

12. Queen of Hearts (“Alice in Wonderland”)disney villains Lewis Carroll’s fantasy-world monarch has a hair-trigger temper and a capricious will, so she’s ready to lop heads for no reason at all. Props to Helena Bonham Carter in the live-action version, but she can’t hold a candle to the sheer psychotic rage of Verna Felton in the cartoon version.

11. Honest John (“Pinocchio”)
The poor puppet encounters fearsome villains at nearly every turn in the story, from exploitative impresario Stromboli to ravenous whale Monstro. But the worst of all is the misleadingly-named fox who lures Pinocchio into a world of candy-coated sin in the first place.

10. Si and Am (“Lady and the Tramp”)
Grown-up viewers will cringe at the ethnic stereotyping of the singing Siamese cats, but kids may notice only their unfettered malice and mischief, as well as their ability to make it all look like poor Lady’s fault.

9. Lotso (“Toy Story 3”)disney villains The Pixar movies have the opposite issue from the rest of Disney’s animated features; their heroes are colorful and interesting, while their villains are often perfunctory and pedestrian. A notable exception is this huggable, strawberry-scented demagogue, a teddy bear who turns a daycare center into a fascist dictatorship and nearly gets our heroes incinerated in a furnace. Plus, he’s voiced by Ned Beatty, in the same menacing manner of his you-are-tampering-with-the-forces-of-nature heavy from “Network.”

8. Lady Tremaine (“Cinderella”)
As voiced by Disney regular Eleanor Audley, the scheming, imperious, vain, power-hungry taskmaster is the kind of woman who gives wicked stepmothers a bad name.

7. Ursula (“The Little Mermaid”)
The undersea witch with the slimy tentacles, whose seeming helpfulness toward Princess Ariel is actually a ploy to oust King Triton from his ocean throne, is one of the scariest Disney villains ever, thanks to the frightening performance of Pat Carroll.

6. Scar (“The Lion King”)
How do you follow up an Oscar for playing the chilly and sinister Claus von Bulow? If you’re Jeremy Irons, you play a fratricidal lion, and you play him like you were playing Claudius in “Hamlet.” (Though Scar also has a touch of Claus, as delivered in the line “You have no idea.”) Here’s a guy who kills his regal brother, then ruins the kingdom out of sheer spite. That’s evil.

5. Jafar (“Aladdin”)disney villains The whole character is pretty much a swipe from Conrad Veidt’s villain in the 1940 live-action fantasy “The Thief of Baghdad,” but he’s still delightfully wicked, plotting to marry Jasmine, kill her father, and steal her kingdom. Also, he has the deliciously grouchy Iago (Gilbert Gottfried) for a sidekick, maybe the only Disney-villain henchman who isn’t a brainless buffoon.

4. Captain Hook (“Peter Pan”)
Stylish and debonair, Hook is even more dangerous after Pan symbolically castrates him (feeding his hand to the crocodile), now that he has a vicious hook for an appendage. As in all productions of this story, he’s voiced by the same actor (Hans Conreid) who plays the Darling children’s father; Freudians, make of that what you will.

3. Cruella de Vil (“101 Dalmatians”)
She has the best name of any Disney villain — maybe any villain ever. And you can’t fault her fashion sense, even if that’s what drives her to dognap and try to skin 101 puppies.

2. Maleficent (“Sleeping Beauty”)
Here’s a woman willing to destroy an entire kingdom just because she wasn’t invited to a party. Plus, she has the transformational powers of Madame Mim, the voice of Cinderella’s stepmom (Eleanor Audley), and those iconic horns. As villains go, Maleficent is pretty magnificent.

1. Wicked Queen (“Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”)disney villains She was the first Disney villain, and she set the bar for all the rest. She has the same magical gift for transformation as some of the other witchy villainesses, but get this: Even though she wants to kill Snow White out of vanity, she’s actually willing to destroy her own beauty just for a final chance to poison her stepdaughter. That’s how full of hate she is. More than anyone else on this list, she’s the one still likely to haunt your nightmares well into your adulthood.

Photos courtesy Disney, Pixar

Share on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on RedditBuffer this pageDigg thisShare on LinkedInPin on Pinterest

« »