Comfortable and Furious

A Few More Ruthless Villains: 80’s Action Edition

A Few Ruthless Movie Villains is a popular article that I wrote a few years ago. Time flies, and it is now past time to honor some more unsavory bad guys, this time, 80’s Action style. I will concentrate on the attributes or tags of villain, bully, and sheer nastiness. Most of the movies are clearly 80’s Action, with a couple of non-conformists slipped in.

This is a daunting task, as at Ruthless alone, we have 171 entries in 80’s Action and 80’s Horror, all of which contain bad guys, but I will do my best. This Top 10 List (Plus a winner) is in no particular order, with 2 honorable mentions, who are on the list for sheer nastiness. 

Carter Burke Aliens Like Ash in the original Alien, this guy’s real mission was to bring back the alien specimens for corporate profit. Ripley, Newt and the marine assault team were expendable.

Unlike Ash, this guy was human…well, barely human. He was a smarmy, despicable and ruthless company henchman who got what he deserved from the very entities that he was trying to harvest.

Clarence Boddicker Robocop This is the savage and sadistic villain in the original movie; the murderer and rapist who gunned down officer Alex Murphy. Boddicker was so vicious that not even his own henchmen were safe from his shenanigans.

This guy clearly enjoyed a sick pathology and it was very satisfying when Robocop beat him like a rag doll, in one of the most satisfying villain deaths ever.

The Terminator (T-800) The Terminator What can you say about this time-traveling villain? T-800 checks all the boxes as a murderous and stalking bully, and became increasingly nastier as the movie progressed.

This cybernetic nightmare was the most ruthless assassin ever, and nothing was going to get in his way as he plowed through anyone and anything on his way to complete his mission…Sarah Conner.

T-1000 T2 What could possibly be more terrifying than the cyborg T-800? How about a souped-up and more advanced T-1000? Robert Patrick was born to play this role as the T-2 assassin that not only had superpowers, but was constructed out of a mercurial alloy that allowed him to morph into shapes masquerading as other humans.

We have the irresistible rock against the immovable force as Arnold comes back as a T-800 “good guy” to battle this horror to try again to save the ever-stalked Sarah Conner.

Ace Merrill Stand By Me While Stand By Me is not technically an 80’s Action movie, it was made in the 80’s and there is plenty of action, so there. As a villain, we have Ace, played brilliantly by Keifer Sutherland. Ace’s specialty is running with his gang of hoodlums and bullying, beating up and terrorizing young boys.

Ace got his comeuppance when he brought a knife to a gun fight, and Chris (River Phoenix) drew down on him with a pistol. “You can’t kill all of us”, said the bully. “Just you, Ace.” Ruthless!

Mula Ram Indiana Jones: The Temple of Doom Mula Ram was a religious leader of perhaps the most violent cult the world has ever known. Not much of a fan of human rights, Mula also not so openly practiced child slavery.

This, however, was not the worst of his naughtiness, as he also was fond of ripping the beating hearts out of his live, human victims, then hurling the heartless humans into a raging volcano. Just savage.

Predator Predator The Predator was perhaps the most formidable non-human villain ever (not quite, see the winner below). Not only could he shoot lightning bolts better than the most accomplished Larper, he was also armed with an atomic blast and collected human skulls and spines.

This killing machine went through an entire crew of U.S. State governors before Arnold went feral and finally took this villain down. As far as his nastiness, Arnold described him best. “You are one ugly motherfucker”.

Clubber Lang Rocky III Rocky fought a lot of tough opponents, but Clubber was the fighter that genuinely terrified him. While not really a villain in the classical sense, Clubber had about the baddest attitude that you can imagine, and the looks to back it up.

Just listen to this exchange when he is interviewed before his match with Rocky:

“What is your prediction for the fight?” -Interviewer

“My prediction?” -Clubber Lang ”

Yes, your prediction.” -Interviewer

“PAIN!” -Clubber Lang

Bennett Commando Vernon Wells is the consummate 80’s Action villain and bad guy. From his totally unhinged and over-the-top performance as Wez in The Road Warrior , to Bennett, “I don’t need the girl” in the greatest 80’s Action movie ever, Wells is the villain template.

I mean, what is more despicable, hard-core and outrageous than to kidnap the 12-year-old daughter of the baddest Special Ops human being on the planet?

Humungus  The Road Warrior Humungus was a man of few words. The words that he did speak, with that voice machine, were terrifying. He spoke words of supposed peace, but the implied threats were beyond devastating.

Don’t believe what you hear, but what you see, and look at that arsenal of death behind him.


Special Honorable Mention for sheer nastiness:

Sprug Dollman [Singing] “I ain’t got no body… Sad and lonely, sad and lonely…” Sprug was just nasty and had the worst teeth since Dustin Hoffman in the movie Papillon. In spite of having no arms, legs or torso, he was a formidable villain because of his scientific superpowers.

Andrew Dirty Harry Andrew was the assassin of random people in Dirty Harry. Unsavory does not begin to describe this creep. I’m hard-pressed to envision a better psychopath than this guy. [EDITOR’S NOTE: It was pointed out to me by one of our dearest fans, that Dirty Harry was made in 1971. Also, Dollman is outside the window as well, made in 1991]

And The Winner is:

Of the two non-humans on this list, the Alien is the ultimate villain, bully and has no peer for sheer nastiness. The Alien was the most unwelcome guest ever in a movie and was a snarling, biting, chomping, eviscerating and head-banging nightmare of a monster.

Ash said it best, “Its structural perfection is only matched by its hostility…Perfect organism…unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality”

Alien is the scariest horror movie ever made, and this nightmare of a monster is the reason why the alien is the greatest 80’s Action villain ever. I fully realize that Alien was made in 1979, but due to space-time and relativity, it qualified.



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