Whether it is an animated movie or a musical adaptation, we have to admit that villain songs are essential. In recent years it seems that Disney or new musical movies have forgotten how crucial the villainy motif is, with favourites such as Frozen and The Greatest Showman forgoing them altogether.
Still, if you ask anyone, they will tell you that villain songs are often the best in the entire film. But what are the best?
Happily, we’ve plunged into the dark heart of musical numbers from the world of film. Mwahahaha.
20) Friends on the Other Side – The Princess and the Frog
Keith David is an actor with a spectacular voice, so of course why not put that to great use as a memorable Disney villain? Friends on the Other Side is a special villain number where it starts as an enthralling song to ensnare our hero, here Prince Naveen, and then transforms into the spell itself. Dr. Facilier, a greed bokor who uses magic and voodoo for financial gain, uses the number to read fortunes only for it to be a trap. Over the course of the song, Facilier turns Naveen into a frog as he sings deceivingly about green being in the Prince’s future.
19) Reviewing The Situation – Oliver!
Fagin is one of those villains that you cannot help but love. Why? Because, well, he is a cheeky scamp who has trained a bunch of orphaned boys to steal. Is he as bad as Bill Sikes though? No. Exactly. Anyway, they are two merry numbers that Fagin has. Whilst Better Pick A Pocket Or Two is certainly a memorable refrain, it is Fagin’s attempt to turn to good that is the better one. With a rhythmic breakdown as to why his new idea would not go well, this is a catchier number and has more insidious connotations – especially when he finds himself back with Dodger.
18) Savages – Pocahontas
There are a couple of numbers on this list in which the villain sing songs convinced that they are the good guys. None of that is more prevalent than this number from Pocahontas. Sung by the Native Americans and the English invaders, this song is a joint number where both sing about how the other is worse, with the number concluding that actually there is fault and prejudice for each group singing. I mean, it is interesting to see viewpoints on both sides and this number is a wonderful tune but I think we all know which side is worse overall, don’t we?
17) Stars – Les Miserables
Casting Russell Crowe as the antagonist Jalvert in this movie adaption of one of the most famous stage shows of all time was…interesting? I guess he tries his best but when put against heavyweight performers such as Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway, Crowe is woeful. Still, the song makes the list because it is a terrific ode to Jalvert’s moral conscious, as he sees villainy everywhere. A special mentions goes to Jalvert’s final number in which his overt need for justice literally pushes him over the edge.
16) Dentist! – The Little Shop of Horrors
Steve Martin’s deliciously devilish ditty is a brilliant ode to the most sadistic profession. A song satire about how only psychopaths turn to dentistry. It also showcases just how much of a bastard the dentist (Orin) is, regardless of when the white coat is on. Even with a film that has a bloodthirsty plant as its main star, the abusive boyfriend and teeth hack is the most odious character. Apparently Steve Martin upset the young girl so much for popping the head off her doll during this number that he rushed to her after they called cut.
15) Playing With The Big Boys Now – The Prince of Egypt
Oh, speaking of Steve Martin, why not include the brilliant romp he sings alongside Martin Short in the Prince of Egypt. As honourably mentioned, we toyed with this or Plagues, a song sung by the entities descending horrendously on Egypt. However, there is something charming and brilliantly loquacious about this number which sees Ramses advisors (and conmen) performing to convince the world that Moses is the liar. We found out recently that the West End stage show does not have this number and we are still in mourning.
14) Oogie Boogie’s Song – Nightmare Before Christmas
You’d have to be a right bastard to be the villain in a town filled with ghosts, ghouls, and vampires. In Halloween Town, Oogie Boogie is so bad and mean that he is ousted from the population whose residents scare for fun. Oogie Boogie is a sack filled with insects who would rather murder and cheat than, you know, just pop up and say “boo,” for a giggle. Oogie Boogie’s Song, sang gloriously by Ken Page, is a number about how fiendish he is; singing to his next victim – Santa Claus. Welp!
13) I Put A Spell On You – Hocus Pocus
Our other cover song on the list. Who are we to deny Bette Midler’s campy version of Jalacy Hawkins’ classic? Of course, Come Little Children, the spooky song sung by Sarah, is also a noted number. But when Bette Midler’s toothy Winnifred bursts into this number in order to spellbind all the adults of Salem, we cannot help but love the evil witches. It is a blast of a number and every Halloween, we have a boogie to this version more than once. Well, actually, we listen to it every day.
12) Night Surgeon – Repo! The Genetic Opera
Repo! The Genetic Opera is a wrongly derided movie that has its fair share of (wrong) detractors. Set in a steampunk future where synthetic organs can be repossessed by fiendish company GeneCo, the movie revolves around Shilo, a sickly young girl wishing to be free. However, her father and doctor Nathan (Anthony Stewart Head) is manipulated by GeneCo’s owner Rotti into committing murder. This is best shown in Night Surgeon where Nathan’s Repo Man personality is taunted out of him by Rotti and his maniacal children. It’s a great number to belt out in the shower too.
11) Toxic Love – FernGully: The Last Rainforest
The second Tim Curry number in a movie that feels more crucial than ever. FernGully is 90s film about magical creatures who are trying desperately hard to save their forests from being cut down by man. Toxic Love is sung by Hexxus, an evil spirit who is freed by humans and inhales their sweet, sweet pollution in order to gain powers. This somewhat sensual number is an ode to smog, oil, and all that nasty stuff that contaminates our planet. If a thing is being heralded by the bad guy, you know it is wrong.
The Greatest Villain Songs continues: 10 – 1