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Oh, That Guy: 15 Character Actor Villains You Love To Hate

Oh, That Guy: 15 Character Actor Villains You Love To Hate

When we talked to William Fichtner about his role in “The Lone Ranger” as reptilian villain Bartholomew “Butch” Cavendish (a character boldly reimagined from the character’s original incarnations), he told us, “I’ve played some characters who are rough in nature but I’ve never looked at a character like, ‘Oh I can’t wait to play this bad guy.'” Well, we can’t wait for him to play the bad guy. Fichtner is one of countless character actors, many of whom were steadily employed in the ’80s and ’90s, whose oversized personalities and penchant for playing villainous goons made them unforgettable (even if you couldn’t quite place their names). Those of us who would study movie posters like they were the stats on the back of baseball cards would easily recognize, identify, and follow their careers, but for many, these actors would appear and be met with a knowing, “Oh yeah, it’s that guy…” For those guys everywhere, and to celebrate Fichtner’s truly awesome villain, we thought we’d run down some of our favorite character actor creeps.

Oh, and if you’re wondering where you’ve seen Fichtner before, he played the mobster bank manager in “The Dark Knight” (“Do you have any idea who you’re stealing from?”), a rumpled agent of Satan in the underrated 3D extravaganza “Drive Angry,” the pistol-packing hard-on in “Armageddon,” and the oddly gay cop/Amway salesman in Doug Liman‘s “Go.” See what we mean?

Ronny Cox 
What You Know Him From: If you need a slimy bastard to represent mustache-twirling corporate villainy of the future, look no further than Ronny Cox. He was the ne plus ultra of late ’80s/early ’90s bad guys, fitting perfectly into Paul Verhoeven’s often hilarious, ultra-violent action satires from the era. But dude is the epitome of a working character actor, still working consistently today, mostly in TV. You may remember him from the first two “Beverly Hills Cop” movies, but beyond his villainous turns, his other most famous role has to be Drew, the banjo-playing nice guy in “Deliverance.” Lucky for his character, he narrowly avoided all that pig-squealing sodomy at the hands of sadistic rednecks (poor Ned Beatty), but he didn’t fare much better in the end. 
Movies: Before we knew him by name, any time Ronny Cox appeared in another movie or TV show, all we could think of was, “Hey! That’s the deliciously assholish, power-hungry corporate bad guy from ‘Robocop‘ and the deliciously assholish, power-hungry corporate bad guy from ‘Total Recall.’ ” So yeah, he’s been at this acting thing for a long while, but Cox was so memorable, so easily hateable in “Robocop,” that seeing the titular hero lay waste to him at the film’s climax was unquestionably a highlight of an already great film (that’s aged quite well, we have to say), leaving behind any quaint notions of the questionable nature of bloodlust in big budget Hollywood cinema, and simply making the audience stand up and cheer. So good was Cox, that Verhoeven called on the man to basically reprise his villain turn for “Total Recall,” another film that’s aged well since it opened in 1990. In both films, Cox’s bad guy is always the puppet master, relying on even nastier sub-villains (Kurtwood Smith and Michael Ironside, respectively) and disposable henchmen to do his dirty work. You knew he was great, because even though you hated these two villains, the movie would be worse without Cox’s wonderfully smug portrayals. 
Rating On The Creep-O-Meter: Fairly high. Slimy, slithery, the embodiment of ’80s corporate of greed and hubris. In short, awesomely loathsome. 

Michael Ironside
What You Know Him From: Another Verhoeven regular (“Total Recall,” “Starship Troopers”), and another great undervalued character actor that most people recognize (how could you forget that face, that wonderful bald dome, those eyebrows that almost out-arch Jack Nicholson in “The Shining”) but couldn’t name. It’s a shame, really, because Ironside has all the tools and talent needed to be a more famous actor, or at least appear in better movies. His voice is unforgettable and creepy, his look unsettling to such a point that even when he plays good guys, you never quite know what to think about him. And regardless of what he’s in, he commits fully, elevating even the weakest material.
Movies: Sure, we all remember his turn as Jester in “Top Gun,” and he’s good in it, certainly. But come on, need we say more than “See you at the party Richter!”? While we already proclaimed the virtues of fellow “Total Recall” villain Ronny Cox, it’s Ironside as Richter that proves to be the meatier, more interesting foil to Arnie. Not enough is said about his performance in the film, and how his character has built-in history with Schwarzenegger’s hero, as he’s been sleeping with his girl (Sharon Stone, no less; any man would feel unworthy knowing she was getting it on with the superhumanly muscle bound stud). It adds layers to the good guy/bad guy dynamic while the relentless chase narrative whizzes by, and adds another layer of subversive playfulness to Verhoeven’s often misunderstood sci-fi action spectacle. But it’s his performance as Darryl Revok in David Cronenberg’s “Scanners,” a very good film that overcomes its low-budget technical shortcomings, thanks in large part to Ironside’s scary turn. There’s a reason the cover for the film has his picture on it, because nobody looks more believable using mind-power to cause some poor bastard’s head to explode. 
Rating On The Creep-O-Meter: Scorching! He may look like a guy that nefariously hangs out watching kids in a playground, but his skill as an actor makes him endlessly watchable. 

James Hong  
What You Know Him From: At the tender age of 84, Hong has appeared in something like 350 movies, television shows and videogames (his IMDB page is so long it’ll break your computer) up to and including vocal performances in things like “Kung Fu Panda” and appearances in episodes of “The X-Files,” “Seinfeld” (in the classic “The Chinese Restaurant” episode) and “The Big Bang Theory.” For a while, it was probably because Hollywood unimaginatively cast him as “the Asian guy” in whatever movie they were cooking up at the time, but that’s not to say that Hong isn’t a great actor, because he is. He can be warm and charming and funny, and when he brings these qualities out of himself while playing a bad guy (as he has done a number of times), then things get really interesting and scary. He’s a character actor machine, built to last.

Movies: Most film freaks will identify Hong most often as the immortal wizard in John Carpenter‘s cult classic “Big Trouble in Little China,” a role that required extensive prosthetics but is 100% “Hong.” (Hong manages to ham it up even when buried under all of those appliances.)  He also appears as the shady eye manufacturer in Ridley Scott‘s immortal “Blade Runner,” and played a comic villain in “Wayne’s World 2,” where he got to kung fu fight Mike Myers.” He also gets mad props for appearing in both “Chinatown” and its ill-fated sequel “The Two Jakes.”
Rating on the Creep-O-Meter: Surprisingly low most of the time, possibly because it’s hard to look at Hong and not think about the 5,000 other characters he’s played (many of them comedic), but when he really ramps it up (like in “Big Trouble in Little China”), he can be pretty bone-chilling. 

John Glover
What You Know Him From: Glover is one of those actors who can be slippery and charming at the same time, like some freaky deep sea fish that learned how to smile. He’s played a number of villainous roles precisely for this reason; he can be an outright psychopath or one that can make life-altering decisions from some skyscraper’s boardroom.
Movies: While we’re currently in a bout of Super-mania following “Man of Steel,” it’s probably worth mentioning that Glover played Lex Luthor’s father on the first seven seasons of Superman-in-high-school series “Smallville” (he came back for the tenth season as an alternate universe version of himself because… sci-fi... y’know?) But he showed up in a trio of skuzzy roles — as Bill Murray‘s morally bankrupt successor in “Scrooged,” as a morally bankrupt advertising executive in “RoboCop 2” and, most winningly, as a morally bankrupt real estate mogul in “Gremlins 2: The New Batch.” All of these roles allowed to tap into Glover’s reservoirs of charm and sliminess, and they’re all incredibly memorable no matter how much screen time he accounts for. In ‘Gremlins 2,’ he’s probably got the most on-camera time and the greatest arc, and he’s allowed to indulge in a gleefully perverse satire/caricature of Donald Trump (his character’s name is Clamp).
Rating On The Creep-O-Meter: Pretty high, if only because he’s the kind of guy who you can imagine as both the leader of a corporate takeover, or the devil himself (whom he played on a short-lived Fox series, of course).James Remar
What You Know Him From: Gravely crusty voice, dead-eye stare, authoritarian tone…when you’ve got Remar on your side, you’ll bust whomever you’re after. When you’re facing Remar, he’ll eat glass to break your legs.
Movies: Even when Remar plays heroes, there’s a bit of darkness about him, whether it’s rapey Ajax of “The Warriors” or slick, hungover cop Joe in the underrated “Quiet Cool.” Remar is nothing if not prolific, portraying villainy in a number of classic films, including (but not limited to) big parts like the nefarious Ganz in “48 Hrs” and the cokey mob boss of “Band Of The Hand,” or wasted-out henchman thugs like in “Judge Dredd” (where he out-toughs Stallone in his brief minutes of screentime) and last year’s “Django Unchained,” where he revealed his grunts and growls suited two separate on-screen characters. Remar is sort of a gold standard, and over four decades now he’ll play villains in your blockbuster (“The Phantom”) or your no-budget indie (“Vs.”).
Rating On The Creep-O-Meter: Five fire-belching croaks, to signify those iron pipes of Remar, which have also had a steady life in animation and video games. Remar: the Swiss army knife of villainy.

David Patrick Kelly
What You Know Him From: His bizarre, proto-Crispin Glover delivery, where he drags out words and sentences randomly, whether playing low class ingrates or upper-echelon douchebags.
Movies: Kelly got his start as the evil Luther, who convinces you of his black heart when he explains his shooting of gang leader Cyrus with a babbling, “I just like DOIN’ stuff like dat!” Over the years, Kelly has gone on to menace foes as diverse as Arnold Schwarzenegger (“Commando”), Malcolm X (“Malcolm X”) and The Crow himself (“The Crow”). There’s always an ersatz threat to the diminutive Kelly, an unpredictability that imagines audiences to imagine the worst should he ever truly get mad. He’s a guard dog, essentially, the first line of defense for the villain enterprise. Underestimate him against your own will.
Rating On The Creep-o-Meter: Four Coke bottles. All gently smacking together, accompanied by a chant. “Waaaaariors, come out to play-yay-yay-yay-yay!” The iconic line that launched a career of being evil.

Randall “Tex” Cobb 
What You Know Him From:  Having the mustachioed, pug-nose face only a mother could love, Cob started out his career as a professional boxer (which might explain the pugilist face), maintained an impressive record (he beat Leon Spinx) even fought heavyweight champion Larry Holmes. Cobb then went to Hollywood where his villainous mug straightaway earned him many thug and heavy roles.
Movies: Those born early enough will remember him as one of the motley crew team members in Gene Hackman’s saving-POWs-from-Vietnam film, “Uncommon Valor.” Other memorable roles include the sort of slow-witted Mongolian heavy in Eddie Murphy’s “The Golden Child,” and thuggish roles in “Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol,” “Fletch Lives,” “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” and “Ernest Goes to Jail.” Cobb even logged time on television on shows like “MacGyver,” “Miami Vice,” “Walker, Texas Ranger,” always playing a type of thug or muscle, naturally. But Cobb would certainly remain an actor you only knew by face and not name if it weren’t for his most iconic role: Leonard Smalls, the bear-like bounty hunter in the Coen Brothers’ “Raising Arizona.” Perhaps his biggest role with the most lines — often he was just a silent menace — in the Coens absurdist classic, Cobb’s Smalls opportunist character offers to find the missing child of a furniture baron in Arizona. When the scion refuses, this dirty, smelly hulk of a man — deceptively much more canny and sharp than any of the characters he played subsequently — decides to go after the child anyhow to sell it on the black market. When he eventually tracks down the hero of the film, Nicolas Cage, with his bloodhound nose and instincts, Cobb is literally hell on wheels wailing into the last act like Ghost Riding banshee on fire. Arnold Schwarzenegger may have defined the unstoppable force that will track you down, but for our money, we’ll take this colorful terminator over him any other day.
Rating On The Creep-O-Meter:  There’s a mild cuddliness to Cobb due to his teddy bear like visage, but he’s also quite boar-esque. A mean, stinky species that you would probably never want to awaken or fuck with lest you suffer the painful consequences.

Keith David
What You Know Him From: David is easily one of the most underrated actors still working today. You definitely know his face, which seemingly hasn’t aged much in more than 20 years, but his voice…goddamn what a voice. In another life, he could’ve been the smoothest DJ to ever don a pair of headphones. We’ve been blessed to not only hear him, but see him as well, showing up memorably in seminal John Carpenter flicks “The Thing” and “They Live,” but also beating a guy with his fake leg in “Dead Presidents” and smoking tons of weed in “Platoon,” to name merely a few great turns (his IMDB page is something of a tome).
Movies: Disney was wise to cast him in 2009’s “Princess and the Frog,” taking advantage of that memorable, devilish voice, as he put his singular inflection to great use in that film (you could argue he did similar things as The Cat in “Coraline,” but that’s not a villain). But leave it to Darren Aronofsky to cast him as a thoroughly debauched nasty dude looking to leech off pretty Jennifer Connolly’s drug habit. If you don’t know the reference when we say “ass to ass,” than you haven’t seen “Requiem for a Dream,” or you closed your eyes and plugged your ears during the devastating climax. You could argue further that his roles in “They Live” and “The Thing” are at times villainous. Regardless, they’re both quite complex, at times antagonistic to each film’s hero but also the voice of reason. Keith David is another actor where, even when playing a good guy, the audience will doubt his nobility throughout. There’s something about him that’s more than just creepy, because as scary as he can be, you may also want to hug him, or at least be in his circle. 
Rating On The Creep-O-Meter: Questionable/confusing simmer. He’s terrifying, to be sure, but he’s the bad guy you want to be friends with, because it’s better to have him on your side than be against him.  

Billy Drago
What You Know Him From: The single least trustworthy face in movie history. Did Billy Drago emerge from the womb with a sneer? Perhaps a clenched fist? Drago is a guy who wears scars the way the rest of us wear hats.
Movies: Do you need a villain shorthand where an actor pops up onscreen and, without dialogue, you have to know he’s evil? Drago’s your man, seemingly paid by the syllable as he haunts films like “The Untouchables” and “Invasion USA” like he literally just killed someone offscreen before the director yelled “action.” Drago has appeared on screens both big and small, but he is unquestionably a villain: there’s a certain perversity to Takashi Miike pursuing the actor to be the protagonist of his infamous episode of “Masters Of Horror” knowing just how grody and unwelcoming Drago could be. Drago rarely gets the call to play in the big leagues, offering his villainy to low-rent actioners over the years, but when he surfaces, he makes an immediate impression. You’d love to see him causing trouble in one of these Marvel movies if they weren’t pointlessly casting Oscar nominees to flex and growl instead.
Rating On The Creep-O-Meter: Seven spinal shivers. If you bring him home to meet your mother, she’ll jump out the window. Few know how to make an impression as starkly as Drago does.

Michael Wincott
What You Know Him From: Few actors are identifiable simply by their voice, but Michael Wincott is one of those actors — he has a voice that is both terrifying and serene, whispery and gravelly, all at the same time. He’s got a willowy figure, too, which just adds to the otherworldliness of his presence. You hear and feel Michael Wincott before you ever actually see him, which might be even more terrifying.
Movies: When it comes to playing bad guys, Wincott is scarily in command: as Top Dollar, a villainous mob boss in moody comic book adaptation “The Crow,” he is downright scary. Part of this certainly had to do with the macabre mood of the film, which intensified after its lead (Brandon Lee) was accidentally killed on set, but Wincott is commanding in his own right. Long before Jamie Lannister was banging his sister in Rapunzel-y towers, Top Dollar was having intimate relationships with his kin in “The Crow.” The nineties also saw him playing a pair of equally memorable slimeballs — in “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves,” as the Sheriff of Nottingham’s equally vile cousin and a seedy music mogul in Kathryn Bigelow‘s underrated apocalyptic thriller “Strange Days.” Apparently he also played a villain in Ridley Scott‘s “1492: Conquest of Paradise,” but considering nobody has seen or remembered that movie since it came out (it’s never even been put out on DVD), we’ll just have to take the internet’s word for that one. Even when he’s not playing a baddie his characters still have an unavoidable level of slime to them, like his starship captain in Jean-Pierre Jeunet‘s nearly unwatchable “Alien: Resurrection” or his slithery intergalactic pilot in Disney’s animated “Treasure Planet.” Most recently, Wincott got to let his freak flag fly once again in “Hitchcock,” playing Ed Gein, the real life serial killer that inspired “Psycho.” In one of the film’s best flourishes, Gein advises the filmmaker (Anthony Hopkins) on how to spy on (and possibly murder) his wife, who he suspects might be cheating on him. It’s a fantastical bit of horror movie ickiness, brought to the screen in a way only Michael Wincott could.   
Rating On the Creep-O-Meter: Unreasonably high. This guy could scare us silly just by talking to us on the phone. Even when he’s not explicitly bad he gives us the willies.

William Sadler 
What You Know Him From: Those glorious, glorious pockmarks! Sadler’s unsmiling mug allows for a gaunt, terrifying profile, like a skeletal golem eager to pry your soul from the body. He’s always had these intense, angry eyes that threaten to sizzle your steak, providing a capable enemy for scores of heroes, to the point where it almost seemed like a winking joke when Shane Black brought him in to play the President in “Iron Man 3.”
Movies: Sadler is 63 years old, and busier than ever. If he’s the reaper (as suggested by “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey”) then he’s certainly getting his exercise in. Ubiquitous without ever being a household name, Sadler has played both sides of the hero/villain spectrum, but it’s probably those darn pockmark biases that make him such an unwelcoming presence. Among all post-Gruber villains to menace John McClane, Sadler was the best in “Die Hard 2,” bringing a sense of menace that poncy Jeremy Irons couldn’t match in the third film, never mind the focus-grouped baddies in parts four and five. He also vowed to take it to the bank in “Hard To Kill,” only for Steven Seagal to promise he’d be going to the BLOOD BANK, possibly the best call-and-response of any hero and villain ever. A generation of TNT viewers probably know him best as the would-be thug in “The Shawshank Redemption” who, behind bars, learns a new sort of humanity and redeems his murderous edge.
Rating On The Creep-O-Meter: Four angry glares. Sadler could play a world-crushing bad guy, but he was also at home playing your garden-variety angry dad, swigging a cold one from the porch and sneering as you raked the leaves incorrectly.J.T. Walsh
What You Know Him From: J.T. Walsh was felled by a heart attack at the age of 54. Had he lived, he would probably have amassed a resume that rivals the great bad guy actors. As it stands, he already kind of did. He’s got the face and body of a suburban dad, which probably explains why not too many people could place him, but man was he good at being bad.
Movies: While Walsh often played bad guys, or at least guys you loved to hate, like in the fantasy “Pleasantville,” his best and most memorable role was probably as an insane truck driver in Jonathan Mostow‘s underrated gem “Breakdown.” This was Walsh in full effect: he comes to the aid of Kurt Russell and Kathleen Quinlan, whose car has suffered from engine trouble. Walsh, milking that suburban dad thing for all its worth, offers to drive her to the nearest service station while Russell waits for a tow truck. And then Russell never hears from his wife again. It was like an incredibly taut episode of “The Twilight Zone,” and Russell and Quinlan made such an unassuming couple that you rooted for Walsh to get his comeuppance. Which he does. Spectacularly.
Rating On the Creep-O-Meter Scale: Off the charts. He doesn’t just make your skin crawl – it drives away to find a gas station and never comes back.

Lance Henriksen
What You Know Him From: A voice that suggests a layer of hell below the sulfur. A craggy old visage that paint his life as a hard one where he’s had to fight and scrap for every inch. This man has LIVED.
Movies: The original choice for “The Terminator” was apparently Henriksen, which would have been a decidedly different version of film history. While Arnold The Superstar has been responsible for several unforgettable movie moments, there’s no argument that the less physically-imposing Henriksen would have been scarier. There’s a lanky, haunted menace in Henriksen, a weary spirit that suggests a spirit constantly running from the devil, eager to cause just a little extra pain. Leading the vampires in “Near Dark” was a major turning point for him, coming after his good guy android in “Aliens” and painting him as a potential sadist to match those sunken, dead eyes. He would go on to play scum-of-the-earth thugs in “Johnny Handsome,” “Hard Target” and “Stone Cold” (the latter a particularly thrilling, and apparently improv’d lead villain performance), marking him as king of the b-movie set.  The stories of Henriksen’s niceness are legendary, but onscreen, you just couldn’t trust him, even in his neutral roles as law enforcement agents are cowboys, cementing him as a man out of time. His choice of roles improved considerably after a run as an unlikely leading man in TV’s “Millennium,” which showcased his underrated skills as a dramatic performer, but soon it was back to the same direct-to-DVD schlock and historical roles that were his bread and butter. Never one to turn his nose up at a dubious role, he’s showed up in some peculiar places as of late, but you sense the actor has one last great villain left in him.
Rating On The Creep-O-Meter: Seven packs of cigarettes, which the invincible Henriksen has likely just finished on his lunch break.

Brion James
What You Know Him From: “My mother? Let me tell you about my mother.” BLAM. There’s no way the opening interrogation scene from “Blade Runner” was ever going to end nicely, but the moment still makes you jump, even on the umpteenth rewatch, thanks above all to the seething menace of Leon Kowalski, all forehead and bicep and played by the one and only Brion James.
Movies: James, who died in 1999 aged only 54, was great muscle in a number of excellent Hollywood flicks because he was also, always, more than great muscle. Skin-job Leon Kowalski is still his best part, but James brought his oddly loveable lunkheadedness to many other ’80s and ’90s classics, some great (“The Fifth Element”, “48 Hrs.”), some terrible (“Tango & Cash”, “Enemy Mine”), some with James as villain, some as hero (or supporting hero, at least): and that’s without even starting in on his TV work, and the fact that he produced a film called “Pterodactyl Woman From Beverly Hills”. And the fact that he was in “Blazing Saddles”! We could go on all night…
Rating On The Creep-O-Meter: 6. Nexus-6, that is.

Jason Isaacs 
What You Know Him From: Aristocratic asshole behavior of the worst kind. This guy is probably bullying your favorite hero because his servant buttered his toast incorrectly.
Movies: Best known as the patriarch to the snobby Malfroy clan in the “Harry Potter” movies, Isaacs certainly has perfected a certain queenly upper-class sort of villainy, the type that would have swallowed up ‘Potter’ co-star Alan Rickman had he not rejected the sea of post-“Die Hard” villain parts he was offered. But Isaacs, a legit capital-A actor, also brought a nastiness to Col. Tavington in Mel Gibson actioner “The Patriot,” proving a memorable, vicious foil that could not be more British against the apparently super-American Gibson. Isaacs’ condescension also shined in the kidflick “Peter Pan,” where he outdid Dustin Hoffman’s contemporary, campy Captain Hook in “Hook” with his own savage, bitter, slimy swashbuckler. ‘Pan’ is just one of many roles where Isaacs brings so much more to the role beyond what’s on the page, bringing great dimension to his baddies to suggest there was once a good man there. Even if he’s talented enough to ham it up, Isaacs is the guy when you want a baddie with layers.
Rating On The Creep-O-Meter: Honestly, maybe a ½ magic spell. Isaacs would likely charm you off your feet before revealing he had evil plans for you. He’s so good at it, but it’s simply not the main quiver in his bow.

Honorable Mention
There are plenty of undersung bad asses that we didn’t have room for but still deserve our respect (and cold, mortal fear). Christopher McDonald is probably best remembered in his villainous role in “Happy Gilmore,” but he’s been more serious (and far creepier) in things like Robert Rodriguez‘s “The Faculty,” Ridley Scott’s “Thelma and Louise,” hell, even Brad Bird‘s “Iron Giant“; Walton Goggins is a villainous superstar in the making, thanks to turns in “Predators” and “Django Unchained” (and a prolonged arc as a very bad dude on FX’s “Justified“); John Getz is the perfect eighties sleazeball in “The Fly” (he even showed up in “The Fly II!”); not even an Oscar nomination for “Babe” could take away the low rent anonymity of James Cromwell, who proved he could be very bad in “L.A. Confidential” (and other, less films like “Species II“); Anthony Heald was so memorable as Chilton, the warden who looked after a band of incredibly deadly psychopaths in “Silence of the Lambs” (and later “Red Dragon“) that when the character was introduced on NBC‘s “Hannibal,” we let out an audible sigh because it wasn’t him again; Mark Strong continues to do excellent work in often marginalized bad guy roles in things like “Sherlock Holmes,” “Sunshine,” “John Carter” and “The Guard” – maybe being British makes you bad; MC Gainey has had a host of memorable bad guy roles, starring alongside Goggins (at least for a little while) as a similarly fiendish character on “Justified” and in last year’s “Django Unchained,” as a bible-quoting slaver named Big John Brittle; Billy Burke can strike fear into your heart without you ever knowing his name, both as an abusive husband in the J. Lo basic cable staple “Enough” and as a Satanic cult leader in “Drive Angry;” Gary Cole might have been the boss from hell in “Office Space” but he brought a little more heat to “Pineapple Express” as a murderous drug lord and (even chillier still) a gangster in Sam Raimi‘s woefully underappreciated “Simple Plan;” and ending on a high note, Gregg Henry, a favorite of director Brian De Palma (who knows a thing or two about bad guys), was unstoppable in “Body Double” and returned for even more ass-holey-y fun in James Gunn‘s horror throwback “Slither.” – Erik McClanahan, Gabe Toro, Rodrigo Perez, Drew Taylor, Ben Brock

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Comments

Akurei

Yeah, if Michael Wincott (who also voices Death in Darksiders II) called me I'd have an orgasm. I get so turned on by his voice.

ETFP

How could you mention Jason Issacs and there not be one mention of his badass role in "Brotherhood".
I'd NEVER want to cross Michael Caffee. Not even if he was offering me caffee (That was a Boston accent joke)

:(

Andrew

It seems like such a shame to mention Michael Ironside and not mention Highlander II: The Quickening. The subway scene is one of the single funniest things I have ever seen in a science fiction/action movie.

scl

I woulda included Peter Greene in this… not really a scary bad guy, but always the bad guy, and memorably so.

sdhfdshj

Good call on JT Walsh. Rent Needful Things, a little-seen Stephen King movie that has Ed Harris AND JT Walsh, playing a tormented small town businessman with an obsession for train sets. Don't call him Buster! It is Walsh's best performance.

Also, where the hell is Cole Hauser on this list? Dude played the most chilling villain I've ever seen in Higher Learning, a manipulative neo-Nazi skinhead. He was also great as the drug-addicted bounty hunter and secondary villain of Pitch Black.

Celeste W

Yes, the aforementioned should be on this list, I second that Jonathan Banks has been sorely omitted as well as Mexican thug extraordinaire Danny Trejo. Others of note are Kim Coates (currently brilliant on Sons Of Anarchy ), Nick Chinlund (was great in Con Air, Movies and TV) William Forsythe (does cold and calculating really well) Robert Davi (who can play cold and remorseless quite well), Khigh Dhiegh (The North Korean Brainwasher in the original Manchurian Candidate and the infamous Wo Fat on the original Hawaii Five-O, et al), Henry Silva (perennial Villain of the 50's thru 70's), Andrew Divoff ( Good at playing a Villain with no soul-Does Russian and South American really well), Robert Lo Sardo ( totally tattooed on his upper body, bald head and moustache. Plays the ice cold murderer Gang Leader, Menacing Psycho to the hilt), I could go on. I am somewhat of a Movie Nerd and know A LOT of the many great Character Actors' names.

Theo

No Tony Todd??? Oversight of the week. haha

Adam Scott Thompson

No Clancy Brown?! What the French, toast?

Andrew

Awesome list. Another vote here for Powers Boothe, Clancy Brown and Jurgen Prochnow. No Stacy Keach either?

Fas

The Shawshank Redemption must be noted for the great love-to-hate character actors:

The aforementioned William Sadler
Clancy Brown (how did he not get a mention on this list!)
Bob Gunton

Den

Raul Julia (Street Fighter, The Addams Family)!

j

Miguel Ferrer! Miguel Ferrer!

bohmer

Udo Kier (Blade), Tony todd (The Rock), William Atherton (Die Hard, Ghostbusters)

DC

surely Sean Bean?

this Billy Drago Death reel is pretty decent. youtube.com/watch?v=305QDgmv9ag

Rabiman

What, no Powers Booth?!!?

rabiman

JT Walsh is the first face on Mt. Rushmore of creepy character actors. Even his last role in Pleasantville utilized his rep perfectly. JT will be missed.

GMan

Good list. I remember Michael Ironside most from "The Next Karate Kid" – another villainous role.

Another one I would add is Miguel Ferrer.

Carlos

A list like this one is bound to leave out some great names , but I consider myself satisfied with the inclusion of Ironside, Wincott, Billy effin Drago. Man, that guy!

(Also: Disqus, people!)

Greg

How do you confuse Billy CAMPBELL in Enough with Billy BURKE in Drive Angry?

loudrockmusic

How could you guys forget about Billy Drago in Briscoe County, Jr.??

Steve Mesa

It was Billy Campbell, not Billy Burke, who played J.Lo's abusive husband in ENOUGH.

barky bark

Some others: Jurgen Prochnow, Udo Kier, Eric Roberts, William Atherton, Richard Lynch…

BJC

John Glover in 52 Pickup big oversight.

droop

you didnt even mention wincott in three musketeers! for shame

TheoC

Excellent list, in my head you could probably fill a list with Michaels alone but you got the main two, Ironside and Wincott. great stuff.

JD

Note: Ridley Scott's 1492 IS available on DVD. You can get it on Amazon. It's not great, but it's not bad either. One of Ridley's more interesting mid-level films. (And Wincott's terrific in it.)

cwoodrun

OWDL114 – Said it all. Also good list all around. Billy Drago is so great in The Untouchables.

jonathan

Love Keith David, but you should have mentioned his role in Men At Work. He's not a villain, but it's because of all the other roles you believe he's going to snap and kill everyone at any moment in this movie.

cinejordan

William Sadler was terrifying in 'Rush.' Sweaty creep…

owdl114

(Because I just can't not say it) Hello to Jason Isaacs!

Drew Morton

Michael Wincott. Amen.

Also, John Glover is pretty great in the c-level NIGHT OF THE RUNNING MAN (with Scott Glenn and that guy from WEEKEND AT BERNIES as the lead!).

Hayden Maxwell

Tom Noonan basically epitomizes this criteria.

Brad

Brion James was awesome in Blade Runner no question, but him and Johnathan Banks absolutely destroyed it in Armed and Dangerous.

eduardo

Oooh, I love these guys. Nice list, could've used more Rutger Hauer.

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