Best Disney Villain Songs

Disney-Villains-ReelGood1

I already did Best Villains  so in honor of Halloween it seemed appropriate to talk about some villain music.  Particularly my favorite villain songs.  Actually there aren’t as many as you’d think.  Classic villains like Lady Tremaine and Maleficent don’t have a villain songs.

Special Notice- Hellfire-  I could not put this on my list but I know everyone will ask about it.  I just can’t support a song that is openly supporting the rape and murder of a woman.  I’ve talked about it so much on the blog.  It crosses a line I am not comfortable with.  That said, it is very well sung and the animation is haunting, so for that reason I am honoring it as separate from my list.

So that said- my list.

10. Trust in Me- One of the first villain songs in any Disney film and it is close to an Adam and Eve type villain as Disney gives us.  Like the serpent in the Biblical story, Kaaa oils and slithers his way around the jungle, hypnotizing his victims with his beguiling song.  It is made all the more creepy by the fact it is Sterling Holloway, the voice of Winnie the Pooh claiming to be Mowgli’s best of friends.

9. Gaston- Perhaps the funniest villain song.  It’s a big pep talk for our town hero.  The fact that we know he wants to make our heroine unhappy at whatever cost gives it an eery undertone.

8. Heffalumps and Woozles- One of the spookiest moments of Disney.  We’ve got a true nightmare with all the minor chords and inflections of a haunted house song.  There is also always something creepy about toys like jack in the boxes.  Plus, they want to steal Pooh’s honey!   This song is especially effective when you think it is aimed at toddlers. It’s in every shape and size, size, SIZE!

7. Prince Ali Reprise- While a reprise and not a complete song it is very effective.  A joyous number from earlier in the film is now used to control and manipulate.  At this point in the story Jafar has total control of the Genie and everything else.  It all looks very bad for our heroes.

6. Mob Song- An extremely chilling song because it’s an entire town taking on our heroes that are basically household items.  How is this going to work?  As the music escalates the tension gets tighter and stronger until we feel real panic, like a mob would feel.  The animation is striking and captures the darkness and increasing madness of Gaston and the crowd.

5. Savages- Perhaps the most thoughtful Disney villain song and it is the redemption of Pocahontas which made my bottom 10 Disney movies.  It is a cliche ridden historical travesty but in this song they reach some emotional truth.  Some criticize it for the way it stereotypes people but that’s the whole point of the song.  Both sides have rationalized why the other is the villain and needs to be done away with.  It’s very profound and beautifully drawn and sung.

4. World’s Greatest Criminal Mind- Brought in a series of villain songs in movies that would go nearly uninterrupted for the next decade of Disney movies.  Ratigan is a hilarious villain with Vincent Price as one of the best voices ever. The fact he kills a mouse for calling him a rat when his name is Ratigan is so funny.  Kind of like Gaston it is a funny villain song but very effective.  Ratigan is the closest Disney has ever gotten to an over-the-top Bond villain and I love it!

3. Mother Knows Best- As far as straight singing this is probably my favorite Disney villain song and one of my favorite songs.  Donna Murphey is amazing as Mother Gothel.  It is Sondheim level quality.  It takes the nurturing of motherhood and uses it to control and manipulate a child.  Is there anything colder than that?  It’s so effective.  I just love it!

2. Poor Unfortunate Souls- One of the most brilliant voice casting in Disney history.  Pat Carroll gives Ursula a mix of a truck driver and a drag queen.  She is on full saleswoman mode and uses every sweet and conniving method she can muster to tempt Ariel into her web. She would have said she’d cured cancer if it would have gotten her the ending she wants.  That’s my kind of villain.  The animation is brilliant and funny and I love that ursula is the only octopus we see aside from a brief glimpse of one in Under the Sea.  There is nobody who looks like her.  She is blackness, overweight, with red lipstick.  Got to like that!

1. Be Prepared-  In a movie where almost nobody did their own singing (even Broadway star Matthew Broderick didn’t),  it is especially compelling Jeremy Irons sang Be Prepared.  It is as close as Disney gets to a Hitler villain.  He even has Nazi hyenas.  He oils and defines his plan dripping with disdain for everyone including his brother.  He is a sociopath who has no guilt throughout the movie for any of his choices.  All he cares about is himself to the detriment of the entire kingdom.

Advertisements

The Best Disney Villains

Disney-Villains-ReelGood1

I  tried to whittle the list down to 10 but I ended up with 16 and I figured why not include them all?

So, here goes- the 16 best Disney Villains as determined by me.

16. Man with the Bowler Hat (Meet the Robinsons)- This was such a creative villain.  Everything about him surprised me.  I love his look and that he is a reminder even the most innocent of us can turn to a life of villainy if we aren’t careful (and get enough sleep!)

Bowler-Hat-Guy-Goob-disney-villains-2321212-320-20915. Yzma- Emperor’s New Groove– One of the funniest villains.  She’s got style and is a spazz.

yzma14. Prince John- (Robin Hood) It kind of pains me to have him so low but there are so many great villains.  This is another funny villain who is constantly sucking his thumb and crying for Mommy.  And yet he’s incredibly ruthless to all the people.  He’s probably the villain who does the most harm for the greatest number of people (Gaston, for instance, pretty much only hurts Belle and The Beast).   He’s also got that great English dry wit

prince john and hiss213. Shere Khan and Kaa (Jungle Book)-  Really the success of these villains has to do with the voice talent.  Sterling Holloway plays against type as the hypnotizing Kaa who oils his way around the room and Shere Khan voiced by George Sanders is very creepy and deeply voiced villain.

shere khan and kaa12. Evil Queen (Snow White) Another one that pains me to see it so low because she is so great but there are 11 I like even better.  Her transformation is amazing and she is so vain even being queen isn’t enough for her.  She isn’t content until she is better than everyone else in every way.

SW_Queen11. Ratigan- (Great Mouse Detective)-  the most James Bondlike villain of any of the Disney villain.  Not satisfied with a simple solution he makes everything as complicated as he can.  Amazing voice performance by Vincent Price, one of first great villain songs and hilarious to have a villain named Ratigan who becomes enraged when called a rat.

ratigan list

10. Devil (Fantasia)- I know the devil should be higher because he’s the Devil! But it is a short sequence so I thought 10 seemed a good spot.  The artistry in Night on Bald Mountain is amazing.  The demons and spirits that the Devil rules over are gorgeous especially compared with the light and peace of the Ave Maria section.  It’s as stunning a depiction of good vs evil as in any Disney movie (or any movie for that matter).

on bald mountain

9. Captain Hook (Peter Pan)-  Another funny villain. The slapstick with the crocodile is the highlight of the movie but Hook steals every scene he is in.  He is sniveling, snide and extremely manipulative.   The way he interrogates Tinker Bell is intense.

peter-pan-1953-peter-pan-and-captain-hook hook and smee

8. Coachman, Stramboli, Monstro (Pinocchio)-  For my money the Pinocchio villains are the scariest because there is no sense of justice or retribution.  There is no humor or lighter side to them.  Just despicable, greedy, awful, terrifying people.  For the morality tale it is, they work perfectly.  I certainly wouldn’t want to sin if I knew they were at the end of every bad choice.  I mean the coachman turns little children into donkeys to work in salt mines for money?  Does it get more evil than that?

Stromboli-from-Pinocchio

coachman

7. Mother Gothel- (Tangled)- A woman willing to manipulate her ‘daughter’ and basically ruin her life for her own greed.  Make her a prisoner and brainwash her into believing she is doing her a favor.  That’s pretty bad.  I love Mother Knows Best because it takes the nurturing maternal nature of mothers and turns it on its head, uses it for bad not good.   It’s perfect.  She’s the closest Disney has come to having a true sociopath as their villain

tangled__mother_gothel_by_frie_ice-d6va25s

6. Gaston- (Beauty and the Beast)–  It seems to low but again there were simply 5 I like even better, but I love Gaston.  He is an interesting villain because in the minds of most people he’s the hero.  But like the Evil Queen in Snow White his lack of control over one person causes him to descend into madness.  He probably has the funniest villain song; although World’ Greatest Criminal Mind is a close second.  It’s not even really a villain song.  It’s just everyone telling him how great he is.  No wonder he thinks he should have his way!

5. Lady Tremaine (Cinderella)–  Otherwise known as The Wicked Stepmother, Lady Tremaine, gets 5th spot from me because she is so duplicitous even to her own daughters.  She plays the part of genteel and kind and then proceeds to make Cinderella’s life a living Hell.  She locks her up when she worries Cinderella’s foot will fit and she encourages the girls to rip off her dress, despite pretending to keep her side of the bargain.  She is like that women at work who makes your life a nightmare but then always tries to claim the high ground.  I love how her eyes are yellow with disdain.  She also has a cat named Lucifer!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

4. Cruella De vil (101 Dalmatians)- I love how her name has both cruel and devil in it but I still love her.  She is perhaps the most shallow villain.  All she cares about is looking good with her dalmatian furs.  That’s just hilarious and over-the-top but it feels believable in the story.  Her driving, the way she throws her hands in the air and even yells through the phone are all totally chilling and funny. I’m no animal lover but anyone who wants to kill 101 puppies just for her wardrobe gets top honors on the villainy tribe in my book.  Such a funny character and I love how she mocks Roger ‘Roger’s songs…’

crazy cruela

3. Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty)- Aside from the Devil, Maleficent is the closest Disney got to a pure evil character.  She has horns for goodness sakes!  She is basically a She-Devil with all of his powers to create thorns, thistles, demons and pronounce curses on people who don’t invite her to parties.  That’s got to be the best part of Maleficent is that she curses Aurora to death for getting snubbed at the christening.

There are arguments for subtle villains who have good and bad but there’s also a case for going all the way in a fairytale.  Make your characters, the heroes, stand up against the ultimate evil.  That’s what made Harry Potter so good is there was no chance of redemption for Voldermort.  That bridge had already been crossed and he was evil.  I haven’t seen the new Maleficent yet but am highly skeptical.  By softening her it could take away what is the most special about her.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

2. Scar (Lion King)-  I remind you I gave Lion King #13 spot on my final rankings but Scar is a fantastic villain.  He’s smart, disdainful and murders his own brother with glee.  He may actually be Disney’s 2nd sociopath.  He’s convinced what he is doing is right even though it clearly isn’t.  He is completely selfish and has surrounded himself with people he can control.  (How brilliant to make hyenas who laugh his cronies).

What puts Scar so high though is Jeremy Irons voicework.  It is dripping with disdain as if he is condescending to talk to everyone at all times. His villain song, Be Prepared, is one of my favorites, both the actual song and the animation.  It’s the best part of Lion King and completely gripping.

mufasa and scar

1. Ursula (Little Mermaid)-  As I’ve mentioned many times on this blog Little Mermaid was my favorite movie growing up and Ursula is a big part of that . She is so unique.  In a movie full of fish and mermaids, she’s an octopus with tentacles that cover the screen with their blackness.  She’s overweight and speaks like a chain smoker and is perfect.  I love how she looks like a combination of a drag queen and a truck driver.

And her villain song is brilliant.  Poor Unfortunate Souls is funny, manipulative and the perfect song to trick a 16 year old lovestruck girl.  She also equally villainous when she turns into Vanessa and for no good reason, she just is evil with those yellow eyes!

She also has a dishy motive of revenge on Triton.  She’s been banished and when the two spare off it is classic.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.