Silent Movie Villains: Which Baddies Do You Love to Hate?

Sure, heroes are great and if we didn’t have them, who would arrive in the TA-DA nick to time? But a hero is only as good as the villain they battle. Silent movie villains are often written off as Victorian melodrama stock characters with mustaches and top hats. We know that reality is different and now is our chance to share our REAL favorite baddies.

I have to admit a weakness for Musidora’s bad girls in Louis Feuillade’s serials. Most of you know Irma Vep from Les Vampires, cabaret singer, thief and spy, but Diana Monti, the adventuress villain of Judex, is equally wickedly delightful.

Your turn! Please share your favorite baddies, both famous and obscure. Were they chilling? Were they eccentric? Were they humorous? Any flavor of wickedness is welcome!

***

Like what you’re reading? Please consider sponsoring me on Patreon. All patrons will get early previews of upcoming features, exclusive polls and other goodies.

8 Replies to “Silent Movie Villains: Which Baddies Do You Love to Hate?”

  1. There are a lot, but my favorite is Erich Von Stroheim in The Heart of Humanity. He’s the ultimate villain there, and he plays the part with such relish that it’s impossible not to hiss him when he comes on the screen.

  2. Any of Chaney and Von Stroheim’s villains are rightfully at the top of the list, but I would also make a place for Gladys Blackwell, as the whip-wielding evil sister Nana in ‘Seventh Heaven.’

  3. Eric Campbell in Chaplin’s Mutual films, especially ‘Easy Street’. So sad he died in a car crash in 1917…

  4. Von Stroheim is hard to beat for this dishonorable award, but I’ll go with Ernest Torrence in “Tol’able David.” This was the first film I saw him in, & I was pleasantly surprised later to find him in attractive & even tender roles (“Steamboat Bill, jr.,” “The King of Kings”). Great versatility!

  5. I have to go with Marie’s two Lon Chaney nominations. His Phantom of the Opera is also splendid— but is he truly bad, or just misunderstood ?

Comments open for 90 days. Comment policy is found in the sidebar menu.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.