Bad to the bone and made for the screen, give me a complicated villain over a one note hero any old day but especially on April 29, National Villain Day.
Interestingly, and etymologically, the word villain translates to common villager and comes from the Medieval belief, held by the aristocracy, (and let’s be real those motherf—ers hold everything) that the less wealthy among them were persons “of uncouth mind and manners.”
Class struggles man, then, now and always.
Over time, the definition grew, uncouth became criminal behaviors and villain become synonymous with bad guys, low lives, fiends and foes.
The advent of modern cinema has given rise to some of the most memorable villains in the cultural collective, heroes are nothing without them and plots are hungry for them; from subtle psychos to super hero foils, mouth breathing maniacs to men who can’t eclipse their smothering mothers, cannibal head cases to corrupt kings, it takes all kinds folks.
If you’re feeling grim, take a moment to read our list of the most dangerous zodiac signs and the signs most likely to commit murder. After you’ve been heartily cheered by those sunny subjects, read on for our list of the best of the baddies of film and learn more about what movie villain aligns with your zodiac sign.
Terminator, “The Terminator”
Director James Cameron credits a fever dream, a very Aries kind of sleep cycle, with inspiring what would become the Terminator franchise.
Ruled by Mars, Aries represents the warrior archetype and Terminator is an apex Hunter-Killer who shoots anyone that gets in the way of his objective, energy that’s in line with the impulsive, act now, ask questions later nature of the ram. Aries folk can be relentless in pursuit of an objective, they also look great in black leather and give approximately zero f—s, three things that are incontestably true about Arnold Schwarzenegger as the OG Terminator.
Runner up but number one in our nightmares is red-headed, scissor-happy id incarnate Chucky from “Child’s Play.”
Gollum , “The Lord of the Rings”
Taurus is the sign of tangibility, rulers of the Second House of values and possessions, natives like fancy s–t and often make the fatal mistake of conflating material goods with self worth and/or habitually treat other people like possessions. At their most base bull selves, this manifests as abject greed, fixed thinking and emotional hoarding. Themes clear in bent backed, gold rubbing, “my precious,” whispering Gollum.
Freddy Kruger, “Nightmare on Elm Street”
Gemini is symbolized by the twins and the two sided archetype easily lends itself to stripe wearing, double talking and double lives, the province of super creep Freddy Kruger who managed for a time to be both a killer of children and a father to one.
Compared to other “strong, silent, stalking” type 80’s murder villains, Kruger is a verifiable chatter box. Played by IRL Gemini Robert Englund, Kruger is always quick with a cringy dead pan.
Geminis live in the proverbial gray area and often struggle to distinguish fantasy from reality.
True to the mutable, mercurial nature of his sign, Kruger kills for thrill in the liminal land of sleep. Runner up is Loki who embodies the subversive, trickster energy that is emblematic of Gemini.
Nurse Ratched , “One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest”
Cancers, with their access to the divine feminine, oceanic empathy and deep understanding of need are the great caretakers of the zodiac. At its highest expression this makes them true conduits of healing but when that care goes rancid and the need to feel needed transfigures itself into a dark love of control, a calcified exterior, and passive aggressive power plays you get stern, terrifying ‘take your medicine,’ mommy dearest type Nurse Ratched. In Ken Kesey’s book that inspired the film, Ratched is described as being big busted with an antiquated hairstyle. Consequently, Cancer rules the chest and breasts and is the most nostalgic sign in the zodiac. Played by IRL Cancer Louise Fletcher in the film, Ratched became a symbol not only for the corruption of the maternal but the corruption of institutional power.
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The Joker, “Batman”
The DC universe tells us that the Joker was born on August 1, making our man of mayhem a Leo sun. Leo rules the fifth house of pleasure and play, colloquially known as the “fun house” it is the natural province of laughter, clowns, theatrics and decadence. The Joker, in all his painted face, chaos as cardio glory embodies the underbelly of this sign and the perversion of play. In true Leo form, he does nothing on a small scale or without an audience. His bad is big, his bad is bold and the spectacle he makes of his mischief is always a sight to behold.
Anton Chigurh , “No Country For Old Men”
Javier Bardem won an Oscar for his portrayal of shag rocking, cattle gun wielding psychopath and probable Virgo Anton Chigurh in “No Country For Old Men.” Virgo is ruled by Mercury, planet of the mind and the sign lords over the sixth house of work and daily efforts. Apropos of this, Anton is extremely intelligent and very, very good at being a hit man. Ruthless? Yes. Impulsive? Never. True to the mutable nature of his sign he comes correct with calm, cool strategy and is quick to improvise and adapt. Mercury is, as you might have guessed, mercurial and our man embodies this energy by leaving life and death up to a coin toss.
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Darth Vader, “Star Wars”
Libra is represented by the scales and balances and their solar quest symbolizes the eternal search for equanimity. In kind, dark lord Darth Vader was prophesied to be the chosen Jedi who would bring balance to the Force. Unfortunately, the scales tipped in a different direction and instead brought us a sharp dressed, mouth breathing, death dealing style icon and the most popular villain in cinematic history. Runner up for Libra villain goes to Green Goblin, born on October 11 and fellow masked mouth breather Michael Myers, read more about his stars here.
Eric Killmonger, “Black Panther”
Manipulative and mistrustful, sexy in a very tortured way and driven by revenge, Killmonger, played by Michael B. Jordan personifies many of the tell tale traits of the Scorpio archetype.
Scorpio is associated with the eighth house of sex, death and regeneration and natives are notoriously single minded and ruthless in pursuit of their desires.
True to form, losing his father at an early age initiated Killmonger into death as a reality and the experience of that loss informed every decision he made in its wake. Emotionally complex he admits to his cousin T’Challa, “I lived my entire life waitin’ for this moment. I trained, I lied, I killed… just to get here… And all this death… just so I could kill you.” All this death for a chance at vengeance, big time Scorpio vibes.
Ever the optimists, Sagittarius folk view life as a great gamble and aim to make the very best of any hand they are dealt or setback they are saddled with.
Lemons to lemonade, challenge to opportunity, terminal cancer diagnosis to maim heavy YOLO cult revolution. Our galvanizing, gravel voiced Jigsaw, facing his own mortality seeks to teach others how to be full present in and protective of the one, wild and precious life they have to live.
These people have a real joie de vivre and it’s easy to see how the wasted lives of others would be a thorn in their hoof. Sagittarius rules the ninth house of philosophy, higher leaning and universal truths and the extreme methods of this live for today guru ultimately seek to bring humans closer to themselves and the lives they are meant to lead.
Lord Voldemort, “Harry Potter”
Tom Marvolo Riddle was born on December 31, 1926 making the dark lord a true blue Capricorn. Those born under this sign often get a rough shake in the childhood department and are forced into adult roles or assume a gravity beyond their years.
He Who Cannot Be Named is no exception, disowned by his muggle father and orphaned by the death of his magical mother, the Dark Lord comes of age in the grim confines of an orphanage.
Bound by ambition, to be the best and claw their way to the top at all costs, Capricorns use setbacks, underestimation, and revenge fantasies as a kind of accelerant for achievement and advancement. Checks out.
As a cardinal earth sign, Caps are attached to worldly goods and true to form, Voldemort took to stealing from his fellow orphans, hoarding their possessions as trophies. Later this materialism manifested as LV fracturing himself into seven tangible Horcruxes.
Hannibal Lecter, “The Silence of the Lambs”
According to the books that inspired the films, Hannibal Lecter celebrates his birthday on January 20, 1933, making our favorite cerebral cannibal an Aquarius sun with a Scorpio moon.
It tracks. Water bearers identify with the archetype of the loner/genius, face pressed to the glass (or prison walls) outsider. Aces at emotional detachment, chilling stillness and big picture thinking, Aquarians have high hopes for humanity and wild theories on how best to move our species forward, in Lecter’s case, that equates to eradicating evil by eating it.
Lecter is many things, a brilliant manipulator, a linguist, a cannibal and a keen dealer of one liners but like most water bearers the one thing he refuses to be is ordinary.
Thanos, “Avengers: Infinity War”
Pisces folk swing wildly between bleeding heart and broken nihilist, a duality made manifest in hyper sensitive super villain/foster father with the gold hands and serious jawline, ladies and gentlemen, Thanos.
While his methods are problematic with top notes of genocidal maniac, it could be argued that his guiding objective, to save the resources of the planet and salvage life itself, is almost pure.
Our man is operating from a place of pain (says that girl that’s loved many a villain in her day) as his quest to kill half the denizens of the universe was born from watching the people of his home planet perish as a result of unchecked overpopulation.
Pisces are big on escape and as Thanos maintains, “Reality is often disappointing. Now, reality can be whatever I want,” spoken like a true, and truly unhinged Pisces.
Astrology 101: Your guide to the stars
Astrologer Reda Wigle researches and irreverently reports back on planetary configurations and their effect on each zodiac sign. Her horoscopes integrate history, poetry, pop culture and personal experience. She is also an accomplished writer who has profiled a variety of artists and performers, as well as extensively chronicled her experiences while traveling. Among the many intriguing topics she has tackled are cemetery etiquette, her love for dive bars, Cuban Airbnbs, a “girls guide” to strip clubs and the “weirdest” foods available abroad.
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