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10 Voices That Made the Villain

In this week’s episode of Comic Book Men, Walt Flanagan, Bryan Johnson and Brian Quinn hold auditions for the role of the evil demon, Papa Blood, in their new claymation movie.”The bad guy is always tough,” Brian notes. “If you don’t get the bad guy right, then the threat doesn’t seem scary or big enough.” While the guys narrow down who will voice their prince of darkness, here is a list of bad guys who definitely got it right…

1. Mark Hamill as The Joker (Batman the Animated Series)
Who would have guessed that Mark Hamill, aka Mr. Luke Skywalker himself, would employ one of the most memorable and iconic Joker voices in Batman history? Hamill’s interpretation perfectly walks the line between mischievous clown and gleeful psychopath. His Joker has a voice like a wild musical instrument — rising, diving and frequently exploding into maniacal laughter; the perfect antithesis to Batman’s calm and level baritone.

2. James Earl Jones as Darth Vader (The Star Wars Series)
No list of iconic voices would be complete without the inclusion of the most recognizable bass of all time: James Earl Jones as Darth Vader. Deep, resounding and powerful, Jones’ breathy voice has stuck in the minds and imaginations of children and adults for decades.

3. Douglas Rain as HAL 9000 (2001: A Space Odyssey)
Douglas Rain’s HAL 9000 is remarkable mostly because of its unnerving lack of emotional energy. HAL’s voice, even as he threatens and is threatened with death, never leaves the monotone; it sits uncomfortably within the uncanny valley, so close to human but so terribly far.

4. Ellen McClain as GLaDOS (The Portal Series)
Though a relative newcomer, gamers all over have been hailing the work of Ellen McClain as GLaDOS since the first Portal release in 2007. Written to compliment Ellen’s kind voice, GLaDOS is sort of the anti-HAL; an antagonistic AI with a wicked sense of humor and a voice like a melody.

5. Alan Rickman as Professor Severus Snape (The Harry Potter Series)
Alan Rickman’s voice as Severus Snape is immediately recognizable; the perfect Slytherin hiss, steady and deep, laced with an extra dose of poison when directed at Harry Potter. Deliciously sinister, Rickman’s voice stayed with us for all seven films. We were lucky to have him.

6. Pat Carroll as Ursula (The Little Mermaid)
The Little Mermaid is credited for kickstarting the Disney Renaissance, but can you imagine the film without the booming yet sultry voice of Pat Carroll as Ursula? Ariel may have lost her voice, but the Emmy, Grammy and Tony Award-winning Carroll never lacked in resounding tones, making Ursula’s Broadway-meets-Burlesque performance one of Disney’s most memorable.

7. Tim Curry as Darkness (Legend)
Like the late Alan Rickman, Tim Curry has an impressive set of villainous voices under his belt. None, however, have more playful malice than Legend‘s Darkness. Deep, dark and resonating, Darkness finds Tim Curry at his best.

8. Jeremy Irons as Scar (The Lion King)
Irons brings his classical theatre training and Shakespearean influence to the forefront of The Lion King‘s villain. Combine that with Irons’ silky voice and flawless delivery, and it’s easy to see why Scar deserves a spot on the list.

9. Eartha Kitt as Yzma (The Emperor’s New Groove)
Eartha Kitt wowed audiences as a prolific singer, cabaret star, stand-up comedian and more for over 60 years, and she brings each of these talents to the role of Yyzma, the ancient and eccentric evil genuis in The Emperor’s New Groove. When the critically acclaimed movie was turned into a television show, Eartha Kitt won an Emmy Award for her work as the emperor’s “scary beyond all reason” adviser.

10. Tom Hardy as Bane (The Dark Knight Rises)
Tom Hardy’s voice as Bane has become just as iconic as the villain’s headgear. Muffled and in constant, tremendous pain, Hardy delivers an impressive voice performance as the hulking terrorist in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises.

Comic Book Men airs Sundays at Midnight/11c.

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