10. Mother Gothel (Tangled )– One the newer villains on this list but very much a throwback to evil queens and witched of old. Mother Gothel steals the mystically enchanted Rapunzel from her parents as a baby, locks her up in a tower and tells her that she’s her mother, all so that she can use Rapunzel’s magic hair to maintain her internal youth. She lies to and manipulates Rapunzel her entire life until she escapes at which point Gothel hunts her down. What put her lower than other child kidnapers on this list is that she was far less abusive to Rapunzel at the very least.
9. The Queen (Snow White)– The first Disney villain ever didn’t have a whole lot of motivation but what she did with it was cruel and magically wicked. It all started when a magic mirror told her a 14 year old girl is prettier than her. She responded by hiring a man to kill the young Snow White, when that didn’t work because the man wasn’t terrible she descised herself as the scariest old woman ever and somehow still convinced Snow White to accept obviously poisoned food. Snow White was a sweet girl but just dumb as rocks.
8. Lady Tremaine (Cinderella)– Being evil isn’t always about magic, murder or kingdom conquering, sometimes being evil is just controlling one persons life and treating them cruelly. Lady Tremaine turned her stepdaughter Cinderella into a servant for her and her daughters. The three of them would not only force Cinderella to tend to their every bidding but they abused her endlessly while she did it. Tremaine in particular took great pleasure in denying Cinderella any bit of happiness. She was cold and calculating and had a look in her eyes that could pierce right threw your TV screen. This is one of the only stories I can think of that heavily features magic and talking animals where the main antagonist isn’t some super powered eater of souls, it’s just a mean woman who kept a poor girl locked up in her house and made her miserable for fun and you’ve probably never once questioned it because she’s plenty intimidating without superpowers.
7. Scar (The Lion King)– A lot of people are probably expecting Scar to be higher on this list. Scar is by far one of the most notoriously evil and beloved of the Disney villains. Being based on a Shakespearean character and being voiced by the great Jeremy Irons are big factors in his effectiveness as a memorable villain. He took over his kingdom by killing him brother, the king and convincing his young nephew and heir to the throne that it was his fault and that he should run away. Everyone has that uncle. At the beginning of the movie Scar is always in the shadows and ploting, you know that he has a plan and that when he puts it into effect it”ll be ugly. What puts him lower on my list is how he behaves after he takes over. He becomes a lazy, chuckle head, lying about his cave watching a bird sing while his kingdom dies. He’s also fairly easily overthrown, besides one cheap shot he doesn’t put up much of a fight.
6. Professor Ratigan (The Great mouse Detective)– One of the more underrated villains on the list is the maniacal Professor Ratigan. He’s very much the full package, strong, smart and dynamic. He so awesome he’s a rat with a pet cat. Vincent Price plays the well dressed rodent masterfully, you can tell it’s him but he did something special with this role that really stands out. Ratigan is well spoken and presents himself with a high level of class but he also looks like he could snap at any moment despite a usually gleeful demeanor. He’s always two steps ahead of Basil of Baker Street and takes great joy in mocking him for his failings in stopping. His goal is to take over the United Kingdom of mice with a wind-up robot duplicate of the Queen of Mice England. As crazy as it sounds it comes very close to working. When his plan fails he finally goes over the egde and it results in the most violent scene in any Disney movie.
5. Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty)– Caring the title “Mistress of Evil” pretty much guaranties a spot on the list and Maleficent carries it well. She curses the newborn Princess Aurora because she wasn’t invited to her coming out party. She’s one of the most powerful characters on the list, her powers are seemingly unlimited and she was only taken down after turning into a fire breathing dragon and get stabbed by what I assume is the same prince from every Disney movie until ‘The Little Mermaid.’ Despite that her creepy appearance and incredible power makes her a great force and her bad intentions make her the most iconic Disney villain. She was even one of the main villain in the massively popular ‘Kingdom Hearts’ video games.
4. Cruella De Ville (101 Dalmations)– Cruella is by far the strangest villain on this list. She wants 101 dalmatians to make a new fur coat. She really wants the coat. She’s willing to go pretty far to get it and when her plans fail she goes totally berserk. This woman is not use to not getting what she wants. My first question is why? Why does she want a coat made out of dog? Where would one wear a dog coat. I know the movie is a period peace but I’m pretty sure wearing dog fur was never a thing. If she walked into a classy place wearing dog people wouldn’t be saying how good she looks they’d be saying “that woman is wearing a spotted dog coat! That’s messed up!” Still, killing puppies to skin and wear their fur is pretty evil, certainly worthy of the number four spot.
3. McLeach (The Rescuers: Down Under)– A poacher who wants to kill an eagle so badly he’s willing to kidnap a young boy and keep him in a cage until he tells him where the eagle is, not a good dude. What makes my top three the most evil is how much more real they feel. They don’t have grand or unrealistic goals, their motivations are greed, lust and entitlement, all things you see in the real word, often and regularly. McLeach is willing to kidnap and hurt a child to achieve his goals of killing a rare giant eagle and taking its eggs. His incompetent sidekick Joanna the iguana does hold him back a bit but he’s still a very capable hunter and kidnaper.
2. Frollo (The Hunchback of Notre Dame)– There’s nothing more sinister than someone who does truly evil things but truly believes he’s doing good and uses religion to justify his actions. Frollo is a Paris justice minister with and extreme hatred for gypsies. One night he chased a group of gypsies to the cathedral where he accidentally killed a woman who he thought was holding onto stolen goods, she was really holding her deformed child. He would have drowned the child if the Archdeacon hadn’t intervened. He told Frollo that he must care for the child to repent for the death of his mother. Later he becomes infatuated with the gypsy Esmeralda. He has her locked up and gets very inappropriate with her. He’s disturbed by his attraction to Esmeralda and thinks she must die to free him from a possible life of sin. He’s cold, manipulative and truly believes he is a good man, he is not.
1. Madame Medusa (The Rescuers)– It might surprise you to see this character at the number one spot, you may have even forgot she existed but she deserves this spot. Madame Medusa is obsessed with diamonds and she’s discovered the location of the biggest diamond in the world. Unfortunately for her it’s in a pirate cave in the Devil’s Bayou and the only entrance is too narrow for a full grown adult. Medusa’s solution is to kidnap a little orphan girl named Penny from New York City and send her down the cave. Penny was force down the cave for three months by Medusa or her henchman Mr. Snoops would take her down there at night when no one would see or hear them. They couldn’t keep her down there for long because the high tide would flood the cave. After three months of Penny not cooperating and trying to escape only to be captured by Medusa’s pet alligators they put Penny down the cave one more time and told her if she didn’t find the diamond they wouldn’t let her out of the cave. That story is pretty dark when you don’t bring up the talking mice. The moment with Penny in the flooding cave in truly tense, she begs to be let back up and Medusa just keeps saying “not until you find the diamond.” Watching the movie as an adult I wonder what would have happened if things had gone Medusa’s way. She couldn’t just let Penny go, she knew Medusa and Snoops names and what they looked like. She was perfectly fine with Penny dying in that cave, it’s likely that she would have fed that poor girl to her gators.