Röyksopp’s Top 5 Villain Names In Movies

22nd February, 2009

Before we kick off with the villainy, we just want to make a note of the following: this is a list of characters that has an evil-sounding name, and not a list of the most villainous characters. Furthermore, we’ve also chosen to skip all those villains with German sounding names – we didn’t experience the hardships of WW2, so we don’t find names with a German sounding ring to them particularly scary. This means that Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, Jason Vorhees (more of a Dutch sound to it) and Hans Gruber etc. is disqualified by default. Ok, let’s move on…

Guess you all know the drill by now – first we list up those who didn’t make it into top 5, but qualifies to our “Honorable Mentions”:

Clarence Boddiker – “Nice name (from an “evil” point of view), but not too malicious. One can sense that there is something fishy with a guy called Clarence Boddiker, but then again, not enough to make you wanna run off in a completely different direction. Those who have seen the movie (Robocop) will however have noticed that this man means business, and is nothing short of a mean motherf#%&er! ‘Give the man a hand…'”

Graf Orlok – “If said with the right kind of voice “Graf Orlok” sounds sinister enough – not a pitch-black dark kind of name, but there is a twisted undercurrent with a hint of enigma to it. It has to be said though, that the actor who played Graf Orlok (in “Nosferatu”) was named Max Shreck in real life, which is substantially more scary (“Shreck” is German and means something like “fright”). Christopher Walken’s character in “Batman Retunrs” was called Maximillian Shreck, which we assume was some sort of homage. Orlok is not in our Top 5 though…

Max Zorin – “…And speaking of “Max”, (and Christopher Walken for that matter) here’s yet another – Max Zorin. With a name like that, there are 2 options: become a criminal or work in a circus. Mr. Zorin chose crime, which got him some action with Grace Jones and eventually killed by James Bond. Note: when giving your child a name, don’t use the letter “x” – they’ll end up crimelords or jugglers. ”

Hannibal Lecter – “Sounds like the name of either an ingenious killer or a complete moron. Either way, one doesn’t want to be associated with this guy. Scary as hell in the movie “Silence Of The Lambs” but since we’re judging by the name only, Lecter is not really the name of an insane crimelord. No dice.”

The top 5:

5. Emperor Ming – “Nicknamed “Ming the Merciless” – now we’re talking… This is a name charged with an evil-aura. Also has a “foreign” ring to it – plays on xenophobia, which most “evil” names tend to do. And he’s got a title, “Emperor”, which suggest he can do crime without having to do the time. We’re not playing 100% by the rules here, but we feel obliged to give Ming bonuspoints for an outrageously sinister wardrobe. And he’s got his own soundtrack. ‘FLASH… Ah-haaaa!'”

4. Thulsa Doom – “Any true villain knows the importance of having a name that clearly states his intentions, and how far he’s willing to go to get it his way. Borderlining to the comic is also adviseable, thus inviting to conflict. This allows the villain to set an example – for instance by saying something like “nobody messes with Thulsa Doom” and then bring some evil s#&t on his victim or nemesis. Thulsa has figured this out. Either you fear Mr. Doom by default or you make a joke of his name, after which he will correct you accordingly.”

3. Xander Drax – “Again with the “x”s! If you’re lucky enough to get no more than 2 “x”s in your name, you’re meant to be a criminal. And if your name is Xander Drax, it sounds as if you’re ready to take on the world! Not in order to reap profits, but rather to destroy it! You’re probably a fiend when it comes to sharks, acids, lasers and nuclear explosions. Son, you are going places – The number 3 spot on our list, to be precise.”

2. Hector Savage – “Now, one could argue that this guy shouldn’t been in this list, considering that he originates from a comedy (Naked Gun 2½) and his name is obviously created in order to generate laugther. However, had this been the name of an evildoer in a “serious” movie, he should arguably had the number one spot. The name, a combination of “Hector”, who was considered to be the greatest fighter in the Trojan war, and “Savage” – it’s prononced in French to give it an even more evil ring, can only be described as very sinister and evil. He also sports a classy moustache – a quite common thing for megalomaniacs.”

1. Francisco Scaramanga – “There is not even a choice for Mr. Scaramanga – the path of villainy and crime is already set. This name gives so many evil associations; he could be a stealthy assasin-legend, the head of a Latin-American drug cartell, a grey eminence masterminding crime in the white house, he could be a pimp, a thug – hell, he could be it all! This is a name that truly inspires fear amongst fellow human beings. I wouldn’t even dare to deliever mail to this guy. Those who has seen the movie, also knows that he’s a true pioneer in terms of weapons fashion – he was the first man ever to sport a gun made out of gold, years before any rapper/ganstah’ could even spell “iced-out” or “bling”. Cocky/insane enough to only carry one bullet in his gun at the time – confident and evil – our number 1!”

  • hahahahaha
    all i can do is laugh
    that is a wonderful analysis

  • My top 5.

    5. AGENT SMITH – No real name necessary when you are the embodiment of “The Matrix”. Creepy.

    4. CRUELLA DEVILLE – 101 Dalmations was the first movie that I remember seeing in the theatre, and this bitch scared the wits out of me at 4 years old.

    3. JARETH – Having just one name means you are either a pop star megalomaniac, or an evil wizard in “The Labyrinth”. Opening scenes of the baby kidnapping are scary for a little kid.

    2. IVAN DRAGO – I always thought this name was badass. When I first heard and saw that this was Rocky’s next fight, I was like, Uh Oh. Plus Rocky got his ass kicked by him.

    1. COUNT DRACULA – Come on. Anyone not scared of this name is full of it. Vlad the Impaler is pretty nasty too. If you were to meet these guys prior to knowing about them I think the whole, ‘Dracula’, ‘Dracul’ is pretty frightening.

  • Another fantastic list to generate conversation and hahas. Very commendable for not including Hannibal Lector because I expected him to be on the top five. I do think that the name Hannibal Lector sounds very menacing and fearful.

  • Dang, that Francisco Scaramanga is stuck in my mind! Somebody that carries around a golden gun, equipped with only a bullet, and named “Francisco Scaramanga,” can’t be forgotten, memorable and waaay deserves to be on Röyksopp’s Top 5 Villain Names In Movies. Way to go, Röyksopp!

  • Guys this is genius! Ever thought of making your own magazine or at least a column in a big daily newspaper?

  • eple

    wOw! now i see that U’re fiend of analysing films in all bearings…hah 😀
    …like it – and the idle hour club too….thank U for your time

  • Oh my god, who would have thought and “x” mean you’re meant to be a criminal? Good list as always, and that’s a very deep analysis. Kind of like what my English teacher would make us do with names, analyza how a character’s name reflect upon their personality….serious reading in between the lines.

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  • rannin

    what?! no emperor palpatine (aka darth sidious)?! easily my all-time favorite villain. to be honest, i don’t know all those people that did make your list :L


  • It’s funny, but I never really thought about the best villain name until you mentioned it, and I was surprised it wasn’t on your list. If you haven’t seen it, check out my favorite move of all time: The Fifth Element, and revel in the primary antagonist’s most awesome villainous name:

    Jeanbaptiste Emmanuel Zorg

  • libellule

    really good list !

  • seems like you’re kind of bond-movies fans ^^
    so am i, AND, “The Man with the Golden Gun” was acutally one of my all-time favorites:D

    you should have mentioned his 3rd nipple. cause that’s pretty much the most scary thing about that dude 😛 xD

  • Johnny B

    I love the multiple nods to James Bond movies.

  • andra

    I only recently discovered your music, and I am thoroughly enjoying it so far. I must admit that I find your lists absolutely charming, and I felt compelled to join the discussion. I would like to suggest another name, although the character who wears it is hardly a villain in the traditional sense. But either way, one cannot but recognize the potential of such a name: “Maxwell Demon”, from the film “Velvet Goldmine”.

  • agata m

    I don’t wanna be mean, but being called Torbjørn Brundtland is a bit on the wild side, too…

  • Tusen takk! SÅ tilfredsstilt etter gjennomhøring – lykkelig for endelig å kunne friske opp lydbildet mitt. Nå kan sommeren bare komme – jeg er klar.

  • Hans Gruber, With Hans being dragged out when you pronounce it, as delivered with disdain in his eyes by Alan Rickman.

    Mordred, the name says it all.

    Keyser Söze, He didn’t even exist in the Usual Suspects and he was still horrifying.

    Ras Al Ghul, Any villain that has his own Lazarus pit, which revives him when he is killed, is a fellow who’s name is only to be heard in a hushed whisper.

    Victor Von Doom, V’s are as sinister as X’s when they come in pairs. Doom is a monarch, scientist, sorcerer megalomaniac.

  • ctrl.alt.destroy

    Dr. Evil
    ..anyone agrees?