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Monday, October 26, 2015

Disney Princess Villains: Most Villainous/Scariest Countdown (RATED PG-13)

The content in this article is rated PG-13 for mentioning horror-thematic elements though no explicit details are given. 
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Some Factors in the Countdown: Before I begin the countdown, I want to let everyone know that I think crimes done to children/innocent are the absolute worst and my countdown will no doubt reflect that entirely. Additionally, I tend to believe that it is worse to torture someone than just to kill them. The reason being that their only purpose for living is to live in agony (unless they get away with the scars) where as in death, there is no more pain. I do, however, recognize that torture means chance of survival/rescue whereas death means game-over so sometimes I'm torn. Ultimately I really think it depends on the situation, specifically. (I think that sadly, there can be times when someone might not want to live after the torture they endured and I hope those people know that help is out there.) Furthermore, the more people a villain negatively affects (or tries to affect) the more villainous I consider them to be. For me, less people = More Bully; more people= More Villain. That's not meant to be taken 100%, it's just one factor worth one point in my rating system with many factors involved. That being said, this is a countdown of who I think is the most villainous, as in scariest villains, not who my favorite villains would be. I did not include Mordu as I wouldn't know how to rank him.

Honorary Mention: This Creeper.
Greedy, devious, downright sinister and he owns an asylum! I don't think I have to speak about the horrible things that used to go on in asylums but let's just say, Maurice would not have had a happy ending going there! This guy said himself "Maurice is harmless" but with the right amount of compensation, locking him up was "worth his while". 
"So you want me to throw her father into the asylum, unless she agrees to marry you? Oh that is despicable... (laughs)... I love it!"
12. Duke of Weaselton:
In watching the film Frozen I don't think there is any question that the Duke of Wesealton is certainly a villain (and a weasel). He comes into Arendelle for the first time already looking to manipulate and "exploit" (from his own mouth) Arendelle's secret(s). He is the first person to turn on Elsa and immediately instigate the crowd by calling her a "monster". When Anna goes missing, he tries to do everything he can to paint Anna as a "monster" as well. When the search party is organized to find Anna, he sends his henchmen to kill Elsa so he can try to take over her kingdom. Unfortunately for him, he is very unsuccessful which is why he is a Duke who loses trade with Arendelle and nothing more.

11. Gaston:
Stereotypical "jock" type who thinks he's an alpha-male but in reality is too conceited and narrow-minded to be an alpha-male. This guy doesn't understand boundaries and keeps trying to force himself on Belle. On top of that, he's a narrow-minded and idiotic jerk. Idiot + Jerk = Horrible Combination. As Belle accurately described him, he is "rude and conceited". He becomes a greater villain when he develops the plan to throw Maurice in an asylum if Belle won't marry him. Yikes! That is completely despicable and villainous. In addition, he went on a killing mission solely out of jealousy. Killing someone just because you are jealous that they got the girl over you is insane in my book. The way he tries to manipulate the beast when he is attacking him, saying that Belle could never love someone like him when she has someone like Gaston, was absolutely disgusting and inhumane as well. His life could've been spared and he could've gone back to his 3 bimbettes (Paulette, Claudette & Laurette) but instead he refused to stop attempting to murder the Beast, even if it meant losing his own life in the process. That's frightfully insane to me. 

10. Facilier:
Predator for those with struggles in life and looking for an "easy way out". I'm a bit torn on this one. On one hand, I don't believe it's right to take advantage of other people and manipulate them to harm themselves for one's own benefit. On the other hand, I believe in accountability, responsibility and character; So I believe that once you go looking for an "easy way out", you are inviting certain new things in your life that might harm you. In the end, Facilier paid his own price and the predator became the prey. For me, this will always take away from his villainy. 

9. Jafar:
A coward more than anything else to me. He was the king's advisor who thought the king was an "addlepated wit" so he believed that he should be the one in charge. Unfortunately for him, he was not a prince and therefore could not be in charge... That is, until he got the suggestion of finding a loophole that would force Jasmine to marry him. I find this to be very similar to what Gaston did except Gaston tried to take the problem head on with more character, albeit villainous. Since Jafar used his power to become "Sultan of Agrabah", it put everyone's lives in greater danger who lived in that city. The greater power and responsibility gives Jafar a bump in my book otherwise he would be equal or possibly even less villainous than Gaston. His most frightening forms are the beggar in the prison cell and the snake. (He's got a lot of cool secret passageways though.) 

8. Hans:
A person who was born with too much money and too many siblings; self-absorbed and semi-suave. Unlike Jafar, he was not a coward who sought a handicap to help him. Instead, he was more evil and got right down to dirty business. Similar to Jafar though, his goal was to be in command of an entire kingdom. I must say that it was impressive how he took out the Snow Monster and protected Elsa from the arrow. That being said, he's also a master manipulator. He is supposed to come off charming and impressive etc. He was a phenomenal actor at every part of the film where he was acting. The way he leaned in and faked true love's kiss before showing his true colors was absolutely villainous! Especially paired with a line like "Oh Anna. If only there was someone out there who loved you." Poor Anna didn't even realize what was going on at first. The way he spoke of his plan "As heir, Elsa was preferable, of course. But no one was getting anywhere with her. But you... You were so desperate for love. You were willing to marry me just like that." That was cold. Talk about objectifying people. Additionally, he had always been planning on killing Elsa. Someone who is that cold and calculating is definitely a scary villain in my opinion.
PS All of the corny stuff he did with Anna was pure commitment to his role! 

7. Ratcliffe:
Along the lines of villains on this half of the countdown, his villainy comes from his flaws rather than a downright sinister place. He told the king there would be gold in Virginia without knowing if it were true and turned out to be wrong. Instead of wanting to admit he was wrong, as he knew he would pay the price, he developed a fantasy that the Native Americans must have been hiding the gold. He then used this fantasy to justify genocide. That action is downright sinister but he just doesn't embody "sinister evil" the way other villains do which is why he isn't any higher on this list. 

6. Maleficent:
The Evil Queen had the justification of vanity while Lady Tremaine had the justification of jealousy and maternal instincts but Maleficent has the justification of "not being invited to the party"?! Wow! That's insanely evil. Especially when one goes about the route of punishing an innocent that is close to the heart of the perceived "guilty" party as opposed to taking it out on the actual "guilty" party themselves. Then when the only solution to Aurora's spell appears in Prince Phillip, her plan is to keep him locked up to wither away and die as an old man who was able to do nothing for most of his life but be a prisoner. Geez! When Phillip escapes, she transforms herself into a magnificent evil dragon and that is her best villainous form. Unfortunately, I don't see much more evil actions from her so I cant put her any higher on this countdown but I do think she is a magnificent villain who certainly captures the look and feel of villains. Her powers and dragon transformation are astounding! She has the best entrances and exits of all of the villains. 

5. Lady Tremaine:
We are warned right off the bat in the beginning of Cinderella that the "evil stepmother" here is "Cold, cruel, and bitterly jealous". I believe it is also implied that she is "vain and selfish" which is where her two daughters get it from. Though she is not entirely selfish as she does have the maternal instinct, albeit evil version, to do everything she can to see her daughters thrive. (I personally know that a woman can be selfish enough to not have maternal instinct so that's why I make that distinction. She treated Cinderella bad but not her own two daughters.) Unfortunately, anything means belittling and degrading competition regardless of the fact that they are (were) children. She forced Cinderella to be a servant in her own home and gives her an almost unbearable amount of work to do. She never lets Cinderella speak or defend herself, she simply punishes her regardless. What makes her sick is the fact that she knows that poor Cinderella isn't responsible for what she gets blamed for yet Lady Tremaine berates her for it anyways. She is a master of psychological torment, adding little sentences to Cinderella like "Now, it seems we have time on our hands. time for viscous practical jokes. Perhaps we can put it to better use." She goes on an ego trip, degrading Cinderella and making her redo chores that she has already done on top of countless others that are very back-breaking and time-consuming. She is constantly doing what she can to keep Cinderella looking bad and feeling bad. This is disgusting behavior of a woman towards a child. I can relate to Cinderella in many ways so I understand the torment inflicted by an "evil stepmother and her two daughters"; The evil stepmother who makes you work hard in taking others' chores on, feeds you the bare minimum that she has to only because she has to, doesn't give you proper housing, always blames you just because you are there, never lets you defend yourself ever and on top of it tries to psychologically manipulate you into believing that you are less than you actually are; The two daughters who constantly degrade you and try to put you down and make you feel like less than them as well as get spoiled while you are neglected and they love to rub it in your face. Lady Tremaine knew full and well that Cinderella had nowhere else to go and no way to escape so she just allowed herself to get as nasty with her as she wanted. Even worse, she taught her two little minions to do the same if not worse to Cinderella. She knew exactly what to say to set her daughters off on Cinderella with ripping the dress too as she was a master manipulator. Excuse me, the one route of escape that Cinderella had was finding a man who Lady Tremaine could not stand a chance against rescuing Cinderella. That's why she locked Cinderella in her room during the glass slipper fitting. While I completely respect and admire the maternal desire for one's child(ren) to do well, I find it downright sinister to treat another child like that under the basis of "competition". Nobody should treat children this way and Lady Tremaine started this treatment of Cinderella while she was still a young child. Having met a woman just like her in real life, I don't believe they have souls in the sense of the word. PS I'd like to note that I don't think Cinderella realizes that her strength makes Lady Tremaine treat her worse. While Cinderella does occasionally try to speak up for herself but is silenced right away, she mostly tries to be obedient, thinking it will not make it worse. In one way she is right but I don't believe she recognizes the other side at play because she's too close to the situation as well as doesn't think that way, herself. I think it is only in retrospect that she would be able to realize that Lady Tremaine would never let up until she had completely broken Cinderella's optimistic and innocent spirit.

4. Ursula:
The competitive, cruel, cold-hearted manipulator. She preys on "Poor Unfortunate Souls! It's sad but true." What makes her different, and worse, than Facilier is the fact that she is more like the devil herself than Facilier. She even has contracts which are representative of "making deals with the devil". She lures in "the lonely, the miserable and the weak" in their times of despair, manipulating them so that she can turn around and trap them in a torturous state for the rest of their lives/eternity? While we don't necessarily know if Facilier makes deals with "children", we certainly know that Ursula does. Now I don't think of Ariel as a child since in her time and place, she was a young adult but the main point here is that Ursula called her a "child", therefore saw Ariel as a child and decided to proactively take advantage of her. Ariel was just a "necessary casualty" in Ursula's war for power against Triton. She wanted to hit him where it would hurt him most and she knew his youngest daughter was the perfect way to do that. Unlike Maleficent though, she took it a step forward and manipulated it into a plan to gain power over all of the seas, affecting merpeople and humans alike; Whereas Maleficent just got revenge. She oozes evil with her aggression and devious scheming. She also manipulated the power of love to her advantage, knowing that Ariel would naturally want to do anything to attain her true love. That's despicable to me. She does whatever she wants and she doesn't care about what anyone else thinks or feels. A cold-hearted snake.... 

3. Mother Gothel:
A sick, manipulative, outspoken woman who stole a baby out of vanity. At least the Evil Queen married the father and waited for him to die (most likely) before going after Snow. Additionally, she made Rapunzel live in near-total isolation her whole life. It's surprising that Rapunzel has such a good vocabulary and conversation skills. She should've come out far more socially awkward and ignorant than she was. Back to Mother Gothel. If it wasn't bad enough that she made keeping herself young the sole purpose of Rapunzel's existence, the way she went about it was just atrocious. To keep Rapunzel from leaving the tower, not only did she make the world seem honestly like "hell" but she also made Rapunzel very insecure. Her tactic was to keep Rapunzel down, describing her as "sloppy, under-dressed, immature, clumsy, gullible, naïve, positively grubby, ditzy, vague and getting chubby". This would be horrible coming from a stranger but coming from someone you believe is your mother is just horrifying. It's actually inhumane in my opinion. When Rapunzel believes that Eugene might have feelings for her, Mother Gothel's solution was to completely destroy Rapunzel's confidence and break her heart. She gets even harsher on Rapunzel than ever before by saying "Likes you? Please, Rapunzel, that'sdemented.... Why would he like you? Come on now- really! Look at you- you think that he's impressed?" Ouch! She could've just painted Eugene as a liar and went with the "he's a deceiver who will leave you" argument but no. Instead she decides to make Rapunzel feel like the problem starts with her not being worthy of love. This is heartbreaking. Absolutely heartbreaking. I experienced a lot of this growing up (except with my real mother unfortunately) and I can tell from first-hand that mental abuse like this should not be underrated. Thank goodness Rapunzel was strong and able to overcome Mother Gothel because if she didn't then it would be a devastating ending, in my opinion. I hate to imagine Rapunzel's live if this villain had been successful; forced to be isolated with only a cold manipulator using her for the rest of her life. What makes this all worse is that Mother Gothel is pretending to be Rapunzel's mother. Anyone who knows about psychology, and child psychology in particular, knows that as humans we idolize our mothers and hold her as a pinnacle in our minds and hearts. So to hear such horrible, awful, belittling things from one's mother (or perceived mother in this case) is just heartbreaking, as I said. Plus she hired thugs to frighten her "daughter", thank goodness she didn't take that any further. And she forced Rapunzel to carry her weight up by her hair every time she came and went from the tower (which was quite often) even though she had a (secret) door the whole time! Oh, and she forced Rapunzel to watch as she stabbed and murdered her boyfriend right in front of her eyes... Proof about the psychology towards "mothers" is the fact that even after everything, Rapunzel still couldn't help but feel sad in the moment Mother Gothel died in front of her eyes as well. That makes the whole situation even worse to me. The fact that someone so innocent as Rapunzel had to live so closely bonded with such a monster without even realizing it (for the most part).

2. Evil Queen:
Completely horrible human being. This woman actually wanted to kill a child solely out of vanity. Talk about sinister. She is incredibly villainous, with her jealousy knowing no bounds or limits. She believes she can do whatever she wants, including killing someone because they make her feel bad about the way she looks. She is ridiculously competitive and stubborn, never ceasing to go after Snow when she finds out that her plans to kill her have failed. The simple fact that another female who is prettier than her could even be alive, was too much for her to bare. That's a woman with some serious issues and this woman had authoritative power over a kingdom? Yikes! She also practices witchcraft, black arts, black magic, and sorcery which is incredibly frightening. She is very symbolic of a Satanist, in my eyes. Those people are truly frightening to me as their #1 rule is self-centeredness: Do whatever you want, whenever you want it (regardless of what anyone else thinks). It is their excuse for all kinds of horrors. As she goes deep into her dungeon we see many skulls and one skeleton of a prisoner that she clearly had locked up and starved to death. Upon seeing this forgotten prisoner, she kicks it's bones! She is called the "EvilQueen" for a reason. She combines torture and murder. When I was a young girl and went to Disneyland, I remember her in the window and it frightening me as well as everywhere she was on the "Snow White" ride. I do think they should've shown more assassination attempts on her part to be more accurate with the original tale. The lightning bolt death was the most amazing villain death ever though, it was like nature claiming her because she was so vile. 

1. Shan Yu:
Based largely on a real-life villain, Attila the Hun. Anyone who knows this part of history knows that this guy was evil incarnate. "This name was synonymous with terror among his enemies and the general populace of the territories that his armies swept through." Did anyone else see the village that Shang's father failed to protect? That was the work of this guy, Shan Yu. Talk about a frightening scene. He had to have slaughtered the entire military as well as every townsperson including the women and children. I wont speak about this in detail but it's likely that the women of the village had slower and more painful deaths than everyone else in town. What an absolutely horrendous way to die. This guy was murdering countless people with his hands and simple weapons. He was killing people up close and personal in gruesome fashion. He also killed people "just because" as shown in his line, "How many messengers does it take to send a message?" and he clearly commands equally sinister people as one of his soldiers gave an evil smile and answered "Just one." before setting up his bow and arrow. An avalanche couldn't kill this guy and when he popped out of the snow along with his hardiest soldiers, well that was the stuff scary movies are made of. (Another thing scary movies are made of: Shan Yu perched at the top of the building like a gargoyle, so scary!) This is hands down to me, without a doubt the all-time worst DP villain as he combined torture and murder for nothing other than his own ego and power. 

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