Wizard magazine in the United States, which focuses on comic books, anime, gaming and such, last year compiled a list of the 100 greatest villains of all time from movies, comics, television, video games and so forth.
Though many of the villains on the list will be known only to those with a fair interest in comic-book adventures, many famous fiends also feature.
Number one is Batman’s über-nemesis, the Joker. A nefarious chap indeed, responsible for much tragedy in the Batman universe. Go down the list and Marvel Comics’ Dr Doom is at number four — bested by Star Wars‘ Emperor Palpatine and Pazuzu, the evil spirit in horror flick The Exorcist.
George Romero’s zombies from his Dawn of the Dead movie collectively grab the number-five spot, one above Silence of the Lambs‘ creepy Hannibal Lecter. Seventh place goes to Star Trek‘s Borg, against whom resistance is, after all, futile.
Lower down there is the hungry shark from Jaws (10) and the aliens from Alien (11), Agent Smith from The Matrix (24), Dracula (30) and TV gangster Tony Soprano (33). Darth Vader is ranked 11th.
A building, the menacing Overlook Hotel from The Shining, occupies 55th spot, and the ever-so-bitchy Amanda Woodward from TV’s Melrose Place managed 49th place. Dallas villain JR Ewing got in at 69, Orwell’s all-seeing Big Brother at 75 and Psycho‘s Norman Bates was ranked a measly 93rd.
Now, what if one were to add some South African “villains”, real or imaginary, to the list?
Opposition parties and the Sunday Times would argue that Manto Tshabalala-Msimang is more of a nightmare on anyone’s street than the claw-clashing Freddy Krueger (number 14). Eugene “Prime Evil” de Kok would likely rate high on the list — more villainous than The Godfather‘s Michael Corleone and more sadistic than Agent Smith, perhaps?
If allegations of police chief Jackie Selebi’s links to crime syndicates prove to be true, would that make him more evil than Jason Voorhees, the determined killer from the Friday the 13th movies? Maybe the demented ramblings of Lord of the Rings‘ Gollum (number 62) still top Selebi’s so-called sins — you be the judge.
Of course, those who remember Knersus from the early days of South African TV would know he was a much worse (and hungrier) monster than Godzilla, so he’d have to rank above number 44.
Dina Rodrigues, guilty of paying to have a baby killed — one could place her in the same league as the scheming Iago of Othello, who made number 48 on the list.
And so it continues. The Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging — worse than zombies? The apartheid government — would it take the Borg’s cube ships away and relocate them to a faraway, dusty planet with flickering signs in space saying “Borg only”? Kurt Darren — musical genius or more frightening than the murderous hillbillies in Deliverance?
Any more suggestions?