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NostalgiAwesome #5: 6 Great Villains of Yesteryear Worth Remembering

Bring on the Bad Guys

Here at Needcoffee labs we’re busy rebuilding from our recent attack by Drs. Doom, Octopus, Destiny, and Light who formed a new super villain team, Evil M.D., to punish us for stiffing them on office fees.

As part of the settlement, we’re taking it upon ourselves to honor some hard working Nostalgic villains, long forgotten in the five dollar bin. And we thought while we’re at it, we’d make sure you smart people out there get to forging some little villains of your own. Let’s not forget idiots are reproducing faster than you. And 1992’s Mom and Dad Save the World may have been a stupid movie, but it showed what a planet of idiots was like. (Check it out and others after the jump.)

Direct link for the feedreaders.

So here we are, some of the greatest performances in Nostalgic Villainy in some great (and not so great) movies.

King Haggard (The Last Unicorn)

Direct link for the feedreaders.

Who says we never pick anything for girls? Not that Peter S. Beagle’s masterpiece is just for girls mind you. King Haggard is one serious villain, driven, obsessed, and with real, tragic motivations. Not to mention voiced by Sir Christopher Lee himself to add icing to that villainous cake. We’re big fans of Sir Christopher down here at the labs, and he never does a part unless he knows it will be fantastic. When he was approached to play Haggard he brought his own copy of the book in with him and said that he would do it on the condition that certain things from the book not be omitted. We’re sure the scene above is one of those things. When you hear Haggard describe how unicorns are the only things that make him happy, you and your little villains in training will learn that even villains have hearts.

Skeletor (Masters of the Universe [1987])

Direct link for the feedreaders.

The first of our entries on this list who stars in a less than stellar movie, Skeletor is certainly not an unknown villain, but his movie performance is often forgotten. Somewhere in the production of the Masters of the Universe film, shortly after commissioning the cliché script complete with trip to earth, possibly before spraying Dolph Lundgren down with baby oil, someone decided to ask Frank Langella to read for Skeletor. For those of you not familiar with Frank Langella check out his IMDB page. You may notice he doesn’t do a huge amount of movies, and there is a reason for this. Frank has self respect and a very good theatre career. He doesn’t need your movie. In fact he told the makers of this film that exact thing, but lucky for us Frank had kids that were He-Man fans. And so Mr. Langella found himself sitting opposite Ivan Drago in a cape, wearing pancake makeup and reading from the hokiest script this side of And what did he decide to do? Act the hell out of it of course. The speech above is from the climatic portion of the film and as you can see Frank Langella can make anything sound glorious.

M. Bison (StreetFighter)

Raul Julia as Bison in Street Fighter

Again, it’s not a good movie…by any stretch. Its staggering 3.3 rating on IMDB should testify to that. However, it is the kind of movie young boys will love, and continue to love when they grow up and realize how ridiculous it is. And the main reason for that love is not Jean-Claude Van Damme’s ridiculous accent, or the script they spent about twenty minutes on. (I’d insult the screenwriter here, but he did also write Die Hard–so.) The reason people love this movie is Raul Julia’s performance as M. Bison. It is the single most insane role ever created. Bison monologues for what seems like hours, ruminating over his ridiculous schemes until you’re overcome with fits of laughter. And then, after he’s tried to pay for weapons in “Bison dollars” and designed his city of “Bisonopolis” (complete with food court), you think it can’t get more insane, and then that scene happens. (You know the one, it’s four minutes in to the video above.) Raul Julia again fully commits to something so ridiculous that it shouldn’t work at all. And it doesn’t, at least not as anyone intended–but in a far, far better way.

Unfortunately, all the Bison videos are unable to be embedded. No doubt a villainous plot to keep us from amusing ourselves with them. But find one here.

Open Face (The Adventures of Pete and Pete)

Direct link for the feedreaders.

The Adventures of Pete and Pete had its share of awesome villains, be they baseball coaches, gym teachers, or insane neighbors. But the place where it really cornered the market was school bullies. Every teen show had to have one, but Pete and Pete had a veritable rogues’ gallery on par with Batman and just like with Batman, no villain quite compares to the very first one. Open Face just needs a science lab accident and he’d be threatening the world with death rays. He dresses like a hobo on laundry day and wanders around the school with a posse of vacant-eyed teens who live do his bidding. He even has a dedicated minion whose only purpose seems to be to make his trademark sandwiches, which he eats at all times. His Machiavellian plot to expose Pete’s accidental squid killing, while simultaneously seducing their math teacher, rivals that of some of the heavier hitters on the list. Make no mistake: Open Face does not play around.

Xanatos (Gargoyles)

Direct link for the feedreaders.

Speaking of Machiavellian, these days it should probably be called Xanatosian. David Xanatos was the overarching bad guy on Gargoyles. Though the series had as many recurring villains as heroes, no one ever unseated this Jonathan Frakes-voiced mastermind as the best of them. What you may not remember from the first season of Gargoyles is Xanatos is behind everything. EVERYTHING. He also spends half the season in prison. Sometimes you wouldn’t see him for an episode or two and then something awful would happen and you’d see Xanatos saying that everything was all going according to plan. In the second season, the source of Xanatos’ wealth is revealed: he travelled back in time to the middle ages and had the freaking Illuminati deliver him an antique coin from that time period along with instructions on what to do years later. Do not screw with David Xanatos. But do get the Gargoyles DVDs and show your kids what It means to be Machiavellian.

David Warner

You may not recognize the name (you should) but David Warner is the Sylvester Stallone of villainy. Those cold, icy British tones have been adding hate and malice to lines for years, and in some of the most memorable roles of our childhood.

Probably his least well known is as the other arch nemesis on Gargoyles, the Archmage. Mr. Warner plays two versions of the baddest wizard on the block and manages to make them sound like two completely different people.

Direct link for the feedreaders.

And here’s the probably most defining of his roles, at least in the realm of NostalgiAwesome: the Batman: The Animated Series version of Ra’s al Ghul. The man basically managed to turn a villain that most 90s children hadn’t even heard of and make it in to one of Batman’s most iconic foes. So much so that even made a movie with Ra’s in it. Take note, when you hear people talk about Ra’s al Ghul only trust people who pronounce it “Rashe” not “Ras”

Direct link for the feedreaders.

Last but most certainly not least, Warner took on the role of the personification of Evil itself. In Terry Gilliam‘s amazing, unique, and dare I say timeless, Time Bandits, Warner sends chills down your spine and will make your spine tingle for days. And in that I think the clip speaks for itself.

Direct link for the feedreaders.

And that’s all for now folks, we hope you’ve enjoyed the show and please pick up some of these wonderful DVDs and support the efforts of forgotten Villainy all over the world, by raising your own little supervillains. Join us next time as we continue to search for all things NostalgiAwesome!