10 More Delightfully Hammy Villain Performances

By Elizabeth Peterson in Daily Lists, Movies, TV
Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at 8:05 am
When we ran our list of 10 Delightfully Hammy Villain Performances back in August, we didn't pretend it was absolute. There are far too many gloriously goofy, outrageously evil, batshit insane bad guys of TV and film that we knew we couldn't fit them all in one list. You guys knew it too, suggesting your favorites in the comments (and of course by "suggesting" we mean "screaming in all caps about how we missed so-and-so"). Between your suggestions and our favorites, making a second list of awesomely crazy evil villains was obviously a necessity.

Today's villains come from the realms of fantasy, drama, action and of course science fiction, to further delight us with overly exaggerated, scenery-chewing bastard shenanigans. Some of the actors on this list are clearly having fun, while others are making the best of an embarrassing situation. The overacting really stands out in roles meant to come across as exciting, dramatic, or frightening, and instead brings the audience on a journey over the cliff-edge of convincing human emotion and into the realm of pork-flavored madness. It is time once again to put on your favorite evil goatee and start plotting, for this is Hammiest Villain Performances II: The Hammening!

10) Geoffrey Rush as Casanova Frankenstein in Mystery Men
Aside from having one of the best villain names ever, Casanova Frankenstein has the honor of being portrayed by Oscar winner Geoffrey-freakin'-Rush. We don't know quite how he found his way into this film, but boy, we're glad he's here. Rush slums it up with glee as the stylish supervillain of Champion City and leader of the Disco Boys (Eddie Izzard provides a complimentary cheesy side-dish as Tony P., the most disco-obsessed of all henchmen). Probably the best thing about Casanova Frankenstein is his outrageously ambiguous accent, though.

9) David Bowie as Jareth the Goblin King in Labyrinth
David Bowie can sing, a fact as obvious as his generous natural endowments are in Jim Henson's Labyrinth. While he is an amazing, god-like pop star, Bowie's subtlety as a villain in this film can be summed up in one simple phrase: "Nothing? Nothing? Nothing, tra la la?!" Perhaps the line was an attempt to emote via music? We don't know, but we do know that Bowie as the Goblin King is damned entertaining to watch. He disses Hoggle, scolds Sarah, bosses around goblins, and professes love with the enthusiasm of a kid starring in his first high school musical who is trying very hard indeed. Honestly though? David Bowie's acting doesn't have to be good quality. All he has to be is David Bowie and we're there, glued to the screen to see what he will do next, and whether it is possible for his pants to get any tighter.

8) Dennis Hopper as King Koopa in Super Mario Bros.
Although it's remarkably hard to un-see Dennis Hopper as Frank Booth from Blue Velvet, his performance as King Koopa in Super Mario Bros., a bizarre yet oddly endearing mess from the '90s, is so goofy that we almost forget to be creeped out. Just try to watch him say "Goomba!" without being delighted. Hopper's evil wackiness as King Koopa would only be matched when he went on to play Deacon in Waterworld. At least he got to wear a cool eye-patch in that one.

7) Mary Jo Pehl as Pearl Forrester in Mystery Science Theater 3000
Yes, all of MST3K falls under the hammy category, because it's a damn enjoyable comedy show. But Pearl Forrester earns a special place on this list as an underrated, rare example of the lady mad scientist. Of course Dr. Forrester and TV's Frank are what we call the best of the best, and defined the role of the Mads. But when Clayton Forrester's mother officially took over, it became apparent that she was more than equipped to carry on with the mad science, making Mike and the bots subjects of her own warped experiments (which naturally include cheesy movies). Pearl wants to rule the world, and treats her interaction with the Satellite of Love as an unwelcome annoyance to be dealt with while she gets on with bigger and better plots. The PBS-style phone pledge to raise money, for example, is a special kind of evil. She even ended up the evil dictator of Qatar at the very end of the series, which we don't like to think too hard about because it makes us sad.

6) Alan Rickman as Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
Who puts the "ham" in Nottingham? Alan Rickham! Rickman. Sorry. Alan Rickman. He proves to be a more adept thief than the titular character, singlehandedly stealing this entire film with his cackling, torturing, yelling and jumping. Even the peasants he oppresses cannot help but laugh at his antics. Rickman is a prefect fit as the villain in this fun bastardization of a beloved English folktale. Everybody now: "Locksley! I'll cut your heart out with a SPOON!"

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