The 10 Best Cartoon Villains – Part Two: The Evil Villains
4. Maleficent, Sleeping Beauty. Her icy elegance alone makes her a formidable contender – and she sure knows how to make an entrance (in a blaze of eldritch flame) or exit (dwindling into a sliver and vanishing into a ghostly moon of her own creation). Maleficent has impeccable fashion sense too: spiky black and purple robes and a headpiece shaped like a set of elegantly curved horns. (It is a headpiece, right? I mean, her head couldn’t really be shaped like that – could it?)
The self-described “mistress of all evil” is one nasty babe alright, whether she’s sarcastically taunting her captive prince or shooting lightning bolts at her cartoonish minions (“a disgrace to the forces of evil”). In fact, she’s so bad-ass she even manages to sneak a naughty word (“…and all the powers of [h-e-double hockey sticks]!”) into a Disney ‘toon while turning into the coolest-looking cartoon dragon ever.
3. The Evil Queen, Snow White. Her performance may be way over the top by 21st century standards, but it’s still damn scary. Imagine being a kid in 1937 as her grotesque witchface fills a movie palace’s giant screen, and looking straight at you she cackles “she’ll be buried alive!” You’d probably be hiding under your seat if you hadn’t wet it first.
There’s a pair of ‘wow’ shots in the film that never fail to impress me. In the first, the elegant queen downs the potion that will transform her into a withered hag. The foreground and background elements framing her suddenly slide in opposite directions and dissolve into a blur as the room begins to spin about her – a simple yet powerful multiplane effect.
In the second, she’s just plummeted from a cliff. The previously hectic soundtrack turns dead-silent and the camera follows a pair of vultures as they slowly spiral downward to enjoy a good meal… while the shot slowly goes out of focus and fades to black. It’s a breathtaking moment of visual storytelling, one that more than a few present-day action directors would do well to study.
2. The Other Mother, Coraline. ‘The Other Mother’ is a perfect doppelganger of Coraline’s real life mom, save for the unnerving pair of buttons where her eyes should be. Even so, the substitute mom starts out as a real sweetie pie, charming Coraline with a yummy dinner in a magical dimension as colorful as the youngster’s real world is drab.
As events unfold and the Other Mother reveals her soul-snatching agenda, she transforms into her true self: a mechanical-limbed spidery creature with a leering death’s-head of a face. Don’t let your kids watch this film just before bedtime: her final, relentless pursuit of Coraline is 100-proof nightmare fuel.