Disney: Ranking the Official Disney Villains

Screenshots of The Evil Queen, Cruella De Vil, Ursula, Captain Hook, and Jafar from their respective movies. Copyright goes to the Walt Disney Company.

Hey! Hallie here!

What Halloween is complete without this line up of villains? These characters usually take over the Disney parks during the Halloween season and have been the center of many of Disney’s Halloween ventures. Obviously, I won’t be able to talk about the entire list of villains that Disney has created over the years. Because of that, I will only be focusing on the list of ‘official’ members of the Disney Villains franchise. The Disney Villains franchise tends to be the focus for most of the villains Halloween events, so this ensures I’m sticking to the members that show up the most during Halloween. I will only be adding one additional villain to the list, but I’ll explain that when it comes up. Anyways, this is a long list, so let’s get started.

  1. The Evil Queen. At the bottom of the list we have The Evil Queen from ‘Snow White’. I don’t dislike the character. She’s absolutely intimidating and you’re lying if you say you aren’t scared of her old woman form. The reason why she’s stuck down here is because she’s the least explored of all the villains. This is partly a result of her movie being the first Disney feature length film. ‘Snow White’ is one of Disney’s shorter films, and more time was, rightfully, spent on Snow White and the dwarves. The lack of focus on her leaves her with very little personality to speak of by the end of the movie. Plus, she doesn’t really have a reason for treating Snow White the way she does. She’s just jealous of Snow White being prettier than her. That’s shallow, even for a villain.
  1. Jafar. Jafar as a snake was pretty cool. Let’s be honest, there’s a reason why Jafar isn’t one of the more popular villains. For one, he’s missing an epic villain song. He sings the reprise of “Prince Ali”, but it isn’t long enough to be satisfying. It’s not that he’s the only villain on the list without a song, there are plenty missing songs, but most Disney movies coming out during this period had villain songs that were stand outs. He’s also one of the more generic villains. He wants to be the Sultan for no other reason than wanting more power than he already has. I mean, he’s already the royal advisor. It isn’t like he isn’t rich and powerful when the movie starts out. He also tries to force Jasmine to marry him. Gross.
  1. Captain Hook. Captain Hook is probably the least intimidating villain on this list. He’s overdramatic and a bit of a baby. We even start out the movie with Captain Hook having already been bested by Peter Pan. Several times. This does give him good reason to go after Peter Pan, though, as well as a set up for several enjoyable sequences with Tick-Tock, the crocodile. Captain Hook is mostly there for audiences to laugh at. Which is why, when he almost succeeds in killing both Peter Pan and Tinkerbell later in the movie, it comes off as so much of a shock. He also has two different songs about his crew of pirates. He only sings in one, but both serve as excellent villain songs. Overall, Captain Hook is fun to watch but not very frightening.
  1. Gaston. Gaston is one of those villains you’ve come across in real life. He’s a misogynistic jock who cares about his image more than he cares about other people. I met at least three of those guys in my college alone. Gaston isn’t all that scary of a guy. He’s more unintelligent than anything. It’s only at the end of the movie, when you see him start to really enjoy hunting the Beast, that he becomes intimating. But throughout the rest of the movie he’s complained about books with no pictures in them, pouted when Belle turned down his insulting proposal, and bragged about eating far too many eggs. Gaston gets all his frightening points for illustrating the danger of a misogynist with too much influence. The time it took for him to create a violent mob and lock up Belle in the process is both too scary and too realistic.
  1. Cruella De Vil. This list is already getting close. If this list was a ranking of villain songs, she would undoubtedly be higher. Cruella De Vil is an excellent villain. Her concept is simple, but effective. She’s rich and she likes fur coats. She likes them far too much. So when she sees some cute puppies who just so happen to have spots she’d like to wear on a fur coat, she doesn’t hesitate. Cruella is truly evil. That’s the only explanation for her wanting to make a fur coat out of puppies. Cruella is also absolutely terrifying. If you haven’t seen that crazed look in her eye during the car chase scene at the end of the movie, you don’t know the true meaning of fear. The only reason she isn’t farther up on the list is because she’s evil for the sake of being evil. And really, what backstory could justify killing puppies?
  1. Oogie Boogie. This is my only addition to the list. You can’t really have a Halloween ranking of the Disney Villains without the main villain of Halloween. Oogie Boogie is talked about quite a bit before his appearance in the movie, and his first appearance lives up to the expectation. He’s introduced with one of the best songs in the entire movie, which is saying something because ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ soundtrack is a masterpiece. His evil laugh is one of the best you’ll hear in any Disney movie. He doesn’t give much of reason for doing what he does other than that he’s kind of hungry, but he’s undoubtedly an intimidating presence. Who wouldn’t find a sack full of bugs terrifying? He ultimately isn’t really the main villain of the film, Jack takes the title of both hero and villain for this movie, but Oogie gives the other characters serious reason to fear for their lives.
  1. Maleficent. Okay, put away your pitchforks and torches. There was no way the Mistress of Evil wasn’t going to make the top five, but, once again, she’s the villain of one of Disney’s earlier movies. Maleficent’s motivation for cursing Aurora to die an untimely death was simply not being invited to the celebration held for Aurora’s birth. Sure, historically that might not be the most outrageous reason to kill someone. But it still isn’t much of a backstory. Maleficent has been expanded on since, but the animated version is left simply to be frightening. And she succeeds. Maleficent is terrifying, especially in dragon form. You really have to wonder how brave King Stefan had to be to decide to skip giving her an invitation to the celebration. Maleficent also steals every scene she’s in. She carries the biggest presence out of everyone in the movie. You can’t tear your eyes off of her, and she prefers it that way.
  1. Dr. Facilier. “Friends on the Other Side” is one of the best villain songs of all time. Dr. Facilier is extremely entertaining to watch on screen. He’s a natural smooth talker and very effective conman. He let’s other people do his dirty work for most of the movie, and nearly succeeds. You also understand a bit of why he wants to do what he does. He’s a very poor man who’s business is shoved in a back corner of New Orleans. He wants money and power because he’s never had any. It’s not the most relatable thing ever, but in the very least he isn’t Jafar. Dr. Facilier is frightening not because of his own appearance, but because of his “friends”. You get the feeling from the very beginning of the movie that he’s messing with a power he can’t control. His death is an unsettling reminder of that when he’s dragged screaming into a grave.
  1. Scar. Scar comes off as a bit pitiful at the beginning of the movie. He’s barely tolerated by his pride and, while he would fight back against Mufasa if he could, he literally doesn’t have the strength. He dislikes his family and how much they blatantly dislike his presence in return, but he doesn’t really have a means of putting a stop to it. That is, until he teams up with the hyenas. After that he kills his brother in what is one of the most chilling scenes in any Disney movie. No one will ever forgive him for that scene where Simba tries to wake up Mufasa. Scar ends up being one of the only Disney Villains that succeeds. He leads the pride to ruin, but he wins. Until he’s dethroned by Simba and eaten by hyenas, that is. Scar seems pitiful at first, but he quickly proves himself to be worth paying attention to. “Be Prepared” is also my favorite Disney Villain song of all time, so Scar gets extra points for that.
  1. Ursula. Ursula’s one of the most sassy and self-aware villains Disney has created. She knows she’s not the best person, and she genuinely enjoys that fact. She does feel that King Triton has wronged her for banishing her from the kingdom, so of course she jumps on the opportunity to trick Ariel into helping her overthrow Triton. She’s actually very convincing, to Ariel at least, and her powers are really given the opportunity to shine here. Not only does she turn Ariel human and take away her voice, but she also turns herself human and hypnotizes Eric. She’s very hands on and it’s effective. She’s also terrifying. Who hasn’t had nightmares of the scene where Ursula crawls toward Ariel and drags her into the sea? Or the scene where giant Ursula emerges from the sea with an equally giant trident in hand? But Ursula gets the most points for “Poor Unfortunate Souls”, obviously.
  1. Hades. My favorite aspect of a villain is how much I enjoy their presence when they’re on screen. Hades wins that category hands down. Hades is frightening, especially when he’s angry, but he’s also hilarious. He’s the king of sarcasm. He’s the kind of person you’d want to be friends with if he wasn’t so evil. He gives Meg some good advice about men, his jokes are perfect, and he’s naturally charismatic. But he is evil. He tries to kill Hercules as a baby. He manipulated Meg into deceiving Hercules throughout their entire relationship, which he reveals to Hercules before Meg can, effectively emotionally destroying both of them. And if you know anything about the Titans in Greek mythology, you know why using the Titans to kill his brother is particularly messed up. Hades isn’t the most accurate adaptation of the character from Greek mythology, and he doesn’t have a song, but that doesn’t take away from just how often he steals the movie away from the other characters.

That’s my list! Each of these villains are so excellent, it was hard for me to rank them. I also had a hard time leaving a few of the lesser used Disney Villains from this list. Yzma and Claude Frollo in particular are villains I wish would be used more often. (If I had put Yzma on this list she would be at the top.) Hopefully Disney can find a way to use the Disney Villains this Halloween. These characters can’t be seen in the parks this year, but Halloween isn’t really the same without all of the villains coming together to create some mischief.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!

Hallie

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