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Despite their misleading prefix, there's nothing all that super about supervillains in pop culture. As we like to point out, sometimes they're actually doing the right thing, but because billionaire Batman's super PAC can afford to outspend them in advertising, they get painted as the bad guys. Their flaws usually come through writers giving them ridiculous schemes and outlandish strategies that the audience knows would never work in real life.

Except it turns out the joke's on us, because some of those seemingly ridiculous schemes are successfully pulled off by mundane real-life criminals quite often.

7
Bad Guys Use Crazy Getaway Vehicles All The Time

Warner Brothers Pictures

In The Dark Knight, the Joker uses an empty school bus as a getaway vehicle, because the last thing the law would search for is missing children. In the real world, using something with six wheels as a getaway would be seen as terribly prosaic by the criminal class.

For example, it turns out dirt bikes are a popular option for the health-conscious villain. In Arizona, an 18-year-old not only successfully fled a traffic stop on his two-wheeler, but also popped a wheelie while doing so, to the shouts and cheers of kids in '80s Spielberg movies everywhere.

stoffies/iStock/Getty Images
Though probably shuffling around in shackles and an orange jumpsuit after didn't make for the most inspiring of montages.

In Connecticut, a man tried to flee the scene of a crash on a bike, only to ride it straight into the side of a police cruiser, because he was a shitty driver on any mode of transport.

But ground escapes are for amateurs -- the high-rollers glide along the waterways of the world. Criminals frequently try to escape the authorities on boats, no doubt inspired by the gondola gangs of Venice. Drug traffickers are into speedboat getaways, Miami Vice-style. Back in 2000, three Florida coke smugglers hauled boat-ass past Marina police before parking at a sea wall and making a run for it through a subdivision. Two of them got away, probably by buying a house in the neighborhood. It was Florida before the mortgage crisis, after all.

Achim Prill/iStock/Getty Images
"Don't worry, the cops won't chase us. They've got a weekend coming up at our timeshare and they do not want to lose it."

Criminals in northern climates, on the other hand, prefer a slower pace. One pair of fugitives in Vermont were caught trying to get away in a rowboat, and north of the border, a man was caught red-canoed trying to paddle away from a robbery. "They were almost too cute to arrest," said a delighted officer, probably.

But none of these crimes can hold a candle to a gang of diamond thieves who took aquatic getaways to another level.

Via oregonlive.com
The most adorably insane level ever.

This eight-person gang set up jewelry stores by sending in members posing as couples looking for engagement rings. Once the salesperson identified the more expensive jewelry, the gang waited a few days before sending in a smash-and-grab unit to, uh, smash and grab them. Then they fled with a multi-car getaway system. One time, the gang used a chihuahua named Roxy to give the salesperson something to hold while examining the goods. Roxy was left behind when the group took off with their diamonds.

misscherrygolightly/iStock/Getty Images
"I'll find you, assholes. I want my cut."

The boldest hit came in Florida, when the gang escaped on jet skis, because it was Friday and even bad guys like to make the most of the weekend.

6
Guns Plus Drones Equals Terror

Universal Pictures

Drones are best known as those friendly neighborhood spycams that burgeoning criminals are launching over nude beaches all across the world. Loading these bionic buzzards with weaponry has always been a frightening thought. It's even more frightening that people have genuinely started trying it out. The Laws of Robotics just got their own Second Amendment.

Hogwit / YouTube
"You couldn't tread on me if you tried."

One Connecticut teen created a floating death machine for a University class -- likely Minion Creation 101 or Introduction to Doomsday Devices. The 18-year-old posted a video of his creation in action on YouTube, because why explain your plan only to your nemesis caught in your deathtrap when you can show it to the entire world? The gun-loaded drone floats around a wooded area, taking potshots at nature. The video was filmed on private property, which apparently makes it 100-percent legal. The government has been using their own remote weaponry for a while, but the idea of citizens being able to launch a robot for a fly-by on civilians is causing fresh debate about how this stuff can be policed.

Meanwhile, others are hopping on the Revenge Of The Nerds: Murderous Rampage bandwagon and hooking up handguns and drones. For another video, a bunch of friends made a similar creation and did some target practice. They were shooting fruit, because as Isaac Asimov once wrote, "Robots fucking hate fruit."

ClearPlexCorp
"Gun control" now means "the robots control the guns."

Hoverboards look like they're off the menu, but at least we'll be able to have hovering death machines roaming the streets. It's a glass-half-full situation.

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5
Weaponized Animals Are A Regular Thing Now

United Artists

Animal minions are a staple of high-end James Bond supervillainy. When a gun or bomb won't do, try nature's weapons: sharks, crocodiles, and snakes. The problem, as any normal human criminal would assume, is that sharks, crocodiles, snakes, and Velociraptors are precious living things with minds of their own. Small-time assailant Nathaniel Buck Harrison politely disagreed with the previous statement before attacking his victim with a rattlesnake. When the snake wouldn't bite, Nathaniel whipped out his gun, but still missed. In some parts of the world, all of this hubbub would have proven Harrison's victim was, in fact, not a witch.

KNXV-TV
Voldemort, perhaps, but no witch.

In a South Carolina case, Jeffrey Culp asked a guest down the hall from his hotel room to keep it down. In a completely level-headed response, the other guest returned to confront Culp with his python, which he shoved into Culp's face and mouth. This is not generally how pythons attack things.

WCNC
"I don't ... man, what ... what is the plan here? I feel like we should've discussed this beforehand."

For others, taming the animal is a waste of time and resources. They've played enough Angry Birds to know that creatures make excellent projectiles. A Houston perp used a dog as a medieval mace, flinging it around by the leash to strike a police officer. Dogs have been on the receiving end of similar attacks in the line of duty -- one police dog had a cat hurled at it by a suspect (airborne cats are the pipe bombs of the animal kingdom).

But the absolute ultimate bad guys' best friend is the alligator. California police discovered a massive stash of marijuana being guarded by an alligator, adorably named Mr. Teeth. Mr. Teeth was purchased as a tribute to Tupac Shakur, which was way back in the days when his owner was simply smoking $100,000 worth of weed instead of selling it. And incredibly, Mr. Teeth isn't the only alligator working as a marijuana security guard -- a pair were uncovered looking after another dealer's stash in Washington. Which leads us to two questions. One: Alligators can live in Washington? And two: Were the alligators super chill?

Thurston County Sheriff's Department
"Duuuude, check it -- they say, 'See you later, alligator," but is it ever really later?"

Creative types are finding uses for alligators everywhere. One prankster thought it would be funny to throw one through a drive-through window. It was hilarious, if you can find the humor in an aggravated assault charge. But fear not -- once these weed-guarding alligators have been removed from a life of crime, they can go legit. One Indonesian authority wants to use alligators to guard death row inmates. If they go well in that role, there's the opportunity for guys like Mr. Teeth to get promoted all the way up to executioner.

4
Bank Robbers Have Begun Using Lifelike Masks

20th Century Fox

Expensive, realistic masks are all the rage in on the cat-burglar-walk this season -- and not just the ironic Richard Nixon "I am not a crook" masks which are so popular onscreen. These masks are so realistic that when a white bank robber in Ohio masked himself as a black man, he managed to genuinely convince police and witnesses he was of an entirely different race.

Hamilton County Sheriff's Office
He was charged with multiple counts of aggravated robbery and one count possession of douchebag facial hair.

"The Handsome Guy" is another masked marauder who came to notoriety through his disguise. He robbed several banks all across Texas, sometimes even using fake arms to conceal his fingerprints. Witnesses described his face as eerie, but still realistic, and others thought he might have been ill.

Bank Of America
"I'm sick. I'm going to need all of your money for a doctor."

Cases like this keep popping up. A criminal uses a lifelike mask, and the police detain an innocent person who happens to look exactly like the disguise used. It's facial profiling at its worst. Due to their droopy complexion and one foot in the grave, old people are often the favored faces:

Cornelius Police Department, CBC
They may look old, but they're young at heart.

Elaborate disguises aren't limited to bank robbers. An elderly Caucasian man stepped on a flight from Hong Kong to Canada, then shed his skin in the bathroom to reveal he was in fact a 20-year-old Asian man. He was detained in the end, but it's a frightening possibility for law enforcement. A foreigner might slip onto a plane without being randomly searched at all.

Canada Border Services Agency
"Being treated like shit for being old was quite the welcome change of pace."

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3
Bond-Esque Gadget Cars Are Totally A Thing

United Artists

Alcoholism and reckless driving are the two pillars of the evergreen James Bond franchise. A violent super spy enjoying a tipple is no stretch of the imagination, but the automobiles he rolls around in seem outlandish. They're vehicular Swiss army knives, but with half the corkscrews and ten times the blades. They would be incredibly hard to replicate, but that hasn't stopped some from trying.

The vehicle wasn't glamorous, but the gadget was straight out of a stylish Batmobile or a sleek Aston Martin. Simon Chaplin, a 62-year-old man from Wales (or a 25-year-old man in an elderly mask) rigged his Peugeot 309 up with a smokescreen device, because if you want to cover your tracks without raising suspicion ...

BBC
... you may as well make it look like your exhaust is broken.

Chaplin got his chance to activate the device when a policeman tried to pull him over. Unfortunately, it acted as less of a smokescreen and more of a smoke signal. The officer simply hung a little way back and followed the fumes. Chaplin lost six points on his license, received 100 hours of community service, and hopefully came to the realization that a villain with dentures simply isn't going to work.

Way over on the other end of the villain spectrum is bona fide bad dude James "Whitey" Bulger, a prominent Boston crime boss of the '70s and '80s. He had a vehicle that was reported as being "Batmobile-style" due to its ability to emit oil leaks and smokescreens. After one drive-by, Bulger fled in the Bulge-Mobile wearing a wig and floppy mustache, because every good villain likes to dress up.

eBay
It's like if Bruce Wayne saw his parents murdered and concluded, "Fuck it. Everyone must die."

You can get your own smokescreen unit on Amazon. Or if you're short on cash, just don't have your oil changed for a few months and get the effect for a fraction of the price.

2
Blowgun Attacks Are Oddly Common

Associated Film Distributors

Comic books villains always have weird and wonderful weapons which are much more interesting than our mundane guns-and-knife shows. Those things definitely kill us, but would it kill them to get creative? Bizarrely, many groundbreaking young evildoers are branching out into a classic villain weapon: the exotic blowgun.

In fiction, a blowgun usually shoots darts tipped with poison or some other chemical to wreak havoc on its target. In the real world, people are shooting them long-distance for the sake of it, like they were practicing blowgun three-pointers. A group of tourists were enjoying the sights of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge when silver darts pierced two of them. One lady was hit in the kneecap, while a man was struck in the thigh. The assailants were terrible shots, is what we're saying.

Abel / Twitter
The "San Francisco Treat" isn't at all what the commercials built it up to be.

Mystery blowgun attacks are surprisingly common (a term here meaning "They have occurred more than once"). In fact, one pair of Texas teens darted a child and an old woman in a motorized scooter in a Walmart parking lot. The only way the previous sentence could get more Texasy would be if it had happened in Florida.

KPRC
You don't see this crap at Target, despite their logo literally inviting it.

Todd Farthing is yet another bizarrely specific lunatic who was caught shooting darts at random people. He lanced the arms of two students on the University of Illinois campus and was promptly arrested, which was probably the best possible outcome for everyone involved.

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1
Too Many People Have Tried To Build Death Rays

20th Century Fox

The death ray is the ultimate in villainy -- a weapon capable of subjugating entire populations thanks to the inherent ferocity of a giant laser beam. Most sane people dismiss it as a product of fiction, something that can only exist in three out of seven Star Wars movies. But that hasn't stopped villains around the globe from trying to create their own ghastly humanity-enslaving laser cannons.

The first nefarious plot we found came from New York:

CNN

You probably didn't hear about it at the time, as it was only the tenth-most shady, evil thing being done in the state that week. Glendon Crawford and Eric Feight, who really should've spent some time developing supervillain names, were caught by the FBI while they were trying to construct a mobile X-ray device to silently kill what has been reported as a number of different groups, including "undesirables," "enemies of Israel," and Muslims. The device was designed to be turned on remotely and emit an extremely dangerous level of radiation, which the target wouldn't even realize they had been subjected to until days later.

Remarkably confident in his own ability, Glendon (seriously, get an evil pseudonym, dude) thought the creation would be "Hiroshima on a light switch," capable of killing anything that breathes within a day or so. Basically, the design boiled down to driving around in a truck and pointing an X-ray at people -- an idea that Feight took straight to the KKK for donations. Luckily, he and his partner were arrested by the FBI before they got a chance to build anything.

ABC News
Enjoy a Mister Frostee as your insides slowly melt from the radiation.

A death ray comprised of sunshine, which is not as whimsical as it sounds, had a period of running rampant across London, destroying cars and starting fires. It was caused by light reflected off a skyscraper built by Rafael Vinoly, a Uruguayan architect based in New York (the Maniacal Scheme capital of the world). This death ray was no accident, though -- Vinoly has a penchant for buildings that double as destroyers. At a hotel he designed in Las Vegas, the rays reflected by the structure were searing the hair of swimmers by the pool. It seems the Death Star was built by a distant relative of his.

BBC
"Tell me where the Rebel Base is, or all of Alderaan's cars will have melty hinges!"

Death rays aren't exclusively the obsession of modern lunatics, either. Like music, the cream of the crop comes from the 1970s. The U.S. had banned a cancer drug which was found to be bogus, which led to a bunch of "get rich quick" scam treatment centers popping up in Mexico. This gave James R. Lewis, a Republican congressman who also wanted to get rich, the idea to build his own shady treatment center in South America. But he needed to raise money for the project, which he did in the sanest possible manner: He attempted to hire a laser expert to construct a giant, blinding death ray which he could sell to a Guatemalan military colonel for investment capital. Lewis's plan was ultimately foiled by the FBI, but he might've simply been ahead of his time. Ragingly evil politicians are so hot right now.

Hoss is currently live-tweeting the progress of his own death ray @M_Hossey.

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For more real-life supervillains, check out 5 Real Supervillain Attacks on America That History Forgot and 5 Real World Criminals Who Were Certified Supervillains.

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