17 Movie Villains Who Completely Ruined Your Childhood

Trouble sleeping as a child? Intense, morbid fear of lollipops? There's a good chance one of these is the reason.

Film geeks are a loyal breed: from those tender early years when we were first able to hoist ourselves up in front of the TV to catch a heavily-edited Saturday morning version of Red Sonja - which was still probably not the most appropriate of viewing material - we were utterly, helplessly hooked. And the advantage of youth of course is that your ability to distinguish good from bad in movie terms isn't yet developed; feature length Care Bears movies? Brilliant. Half-cocked live action cartoons? Count us in. Something about a cross-dressing alien with a penchant for Reese's Pieces? Definitely. Parents the world over have for years been content to let their offspring bask in the magical glow of cinema, often ignoring the morality tale offered in The Cable Guy to depend on TV as a surrogate babysitter. After all, they only need rely on the trusty badges affixed to every release by film classification bodies, ensuring their little ones will never suffer any night terrors at their hand, as they get on with their lives as if their offspring never existed. Or at least that was the case until filmmakers managed to start sneaking in villains who€™d have grown adults whimpering beneath a blanket with every light in the house turned on. Depending on your threshold for evil this unexpected cavalcade of puppets, plague-faced hags and squinty-eyed cave-dwelling animals probably had different effects on you, but one thing is certain - there's a good chance at least one was to blame for countless sleepless nights, soiled mattresses and a total inability to enjoy the benign pleasures of childhood. And even more pertinently, it was these villains we encountered in our formative cinema viewing days that shaped our expectations for more modern ones.
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Gem is a freelance writer, musician and librarian. Her hobbies include: recreating movie death scenes from LEGO, concocting new types of bird suet cakes, walking on fresh snow and playing the glockenspiel - all at the same time.