A compelling villain is a rare and precious thing. Without Darth Vaders and Hannibal Lecters and the Jokers to teach them, how would little kids learn what to fear and hate? That's why we keep returning to them in sequel after sequel: The truly awesome bad guys will stay scary forever. Unless, of course, you find yourself watching a totally different movie, and someone who looks kinda familiar shows up. "Oh hey," you say out loud, "isn't that the guy who played Thorgarr Dickhammer, the Commander of the villainous Forces of Cruelty in Barbarian Dong-Monsters XVII, my favorite movie?" First, you're excited, and a little proud of yourself for making the connection. But then you realize that you're watching a romantic comedy -- and general Dickhammer is the impotent comic relief.
The real-life, mostly dong-free versions of that story are ...
#6. Freddy Krueger Was Slapstick Comic-Relief In An '80s Sci-Fi Show
New Line Cinema
Even up against competition like the Alien, the Predator, Jason Vorhees, and Steven Seagal, Freddy Kruger manages to stand out as one of the creepiest monsters to come out of the '80s. As the fedora-wearing ghost of a skinny child murderer who haunted the children of the people who burned him to death, Krueger embodied at least five different primal fears. And that was before he turned Johnny Depp into Watermelon Slushee.
And as the extremely talented Jackie Earle Haley found out in 2010, Freddy just isn't Freddy if he isn't being portrayed by the first man to ever play the role, Robert Englund. The gravelly voice, the creepy sarcasm -- Englund is Freddy, and his distinctive features will be irrevocably linked to dream-murder until the heat death of the universe.
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty
This is the least terrifying picture of him I could find.
But He Was Also:
Willie, the hapless comic relief alien in V.
Cue the laugh track transitioning into "Awwww."
Though Freddy is Englund's most famous role, when he took the part, he actually went against his usual type -- which was, well, this fucking guy. For those of you who are too young to remember (or if you just Eternal Sunshined it from your brain after the fuck-awful remake), V was a David Icke wet dream turned into a TV show about "helpful" human-like aliens who land on Earth who are eventually revealed to be evil lizard-men in disguise. Most of the aliens were hot. One of them was Willie. Willie was a good guy. Willie was slapstick. And Willie was so ...
... fucking ...
Englund even uses the same mannerisms for both characters (he was still doing the series when the first Nightmare movie was made), making it impossible not to be reminded of this bumbling doofus whenever the scarred killer comes on screen. And it's kinda hard to be terrified of a dream demon when you're half expecting him to get overexcited about his puppy costume and face plant on the sidewalk.
#5. The Creepy Girl From The Ring Is Also A Beloved Cartoon Character
Samara Morgan, aka the videotape ghost girl from The Ring, is two things: probably responsible for bringing the "creepy ghost girl in white" trope to Western cinema, and definitely obsolete if she hasn't figured out how to haunt Blu-Rays. She was portrayed by Daveigh Chase, who has since gone on to do more conventional pretty actress stuff, like, uh, the sequel to Donnie Darko. Oh well.
But She Was Also:
The voice of Lilo in Lilo & Stitch.
Technically making Stitch the second-most-dangerous monster in this picture.
It's no secret that actors can do voice work in some pretty contradictory roles. The Kurgan from Highlander has been voicing Mr. Krabs in SpongeBob Squarepants for quite a while now. It's just that when you have no idea that the actress even is a proper actress instead of just some model or random extra they stuck in makeup and told to climb in a well, it gets pretty weird when she's suddenly voicing cute Disney characters with utmost gusto. Did you know she did both roles in 2002? I'll never not believe tha she didn't record at least some of her Lilo lines wearing that fucking Samara Morgan outfit. And now none of us can ever unsee that mental image.
Samara has practically no dialogue, which is pretty lucky, actually. I'm pretty sure that no matter how terrifying your lines are, if you deliver them in the same voice that told me that "Ohana" means "family," and family means nobody gets left behind, I'm just gonna want a hug.
Well ... on second thought ...
#4. General Zod From Man Of Steel Was Really Into Wrestling In Groundhog Day
Warner Bros. Pictures
Say what you want about Man Of Steel, but Michael Shannon's General Zod was a pretty decent villain. It remains to be seen what Batman V. Superman does to his defeated corpse, but even if his reanimated form talks and moves like Jar-Jar Binks (would you put it past them?), it should go on the record that Shannon's Zod was a worthy update to Terence Stamp's 1978 version. Hell, even his fucking Caesar haircut and grumpy gas station attendant goatee retroactively make the cheesiness of the old movies better; if Kryptonians thought this was cool, then suddenly all those years of spit-curls and underwear over the pants make a whole lot more sense.
Warner Bros. Pictures
"Fuck you, man. This look is a statement."
But He Was Also:
Fred the Wrestlemania groom in Groundhog Day:
In case you can't watch that video, Fred is the guy whose marriage Bill Murray saves off-screen once he finally gets every aspect of Groundhog Day right. On the plus side of things, his character gets to interact with Bill Murray and comes away with his dearest wish (Wrestlemania tickets) fulfilled by Bill "fucking" Murray, which has to be on par with beating Superman in hand-to-hand combat as far as rushes go. Then again, the guy whose extra-special dream is fucking Wrestlemania probably isn't prime villain material, even if he later proves willing to don weird-looking armor and absurd hair. It's just hard to take him seriously as a threat when you've seen him jump up and down in glee before gently kissing Andy McDowell on the cheek and finally being led off in a huff by someone who looks like they weigh about 90 lbs.
Still, if you want to use this as an excuse to start ranting about the superiority of the old school General Zod ... well, let's just say you don't want to Google Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert.
(But everyone else does. That movie is amazing).