9 Movie Villains in Animated Movies Who Are Much More Evil Than You Thought

The Other Mother - 'Coraline'

Though many recent animated films like Encanto and Turning Red have villains who are misguided instead of evil, there are still plenty of villains who are bad to the bone. In fact, some of them are even worse than most people realize.

Let’s take Claude Frollo from Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The man not only ended a woman’s life, but he also adopted and abused her child and then went on a campaign to drive out and destroy everyone from their ethnic background – except Esmeralda, who he’ll forgive for being Romani if she’ll fall in love with him, which of course she won’t. There’s also Syndrome from The Incredibles. Not only did he annihilate countless superheroes, but he also sold weapons all over the world with no thought to the damage they could do.

1. Claude Frollo – ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’

Claude Frollo - 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame'

Judge Claude Frollo is a real piece of work. In the song “Hellfire,” he reveals he wants Esmeralda to die if she doesn’t fall in love with him. Meanwhile, every single interaction with her shows that he views her with contempt because of her gender and race. He sees all Romani people as wicked and ungodly, and has dedicated his life to driving them out of Paris. He can’t stand the fact that he’s attracted to Esmeralda and sees it as a result of her witchcraft – which is why he’s so insulted that she can’t stand him. In his mind, his attraction is her fault. 

That would all be bad enough, but Frollo actually takes it a step further – he doesn’t just try to get rid of Romani people, he literally takes their lives. That’s how he got involved with Quasimodo. Believing his Romani mother to be a thief, he chased her through town and pushed her onto the stone steps of the Cathedral, ending her life. She wasn’t a thief – the bundle she’d been carrying was a baby. That baby was Quasimodo. Frollo wanted to end him, too, but the Archdeacon forced him to adopt the baby as penance for what he did to his mother. Though he did adopt him, he emotionally abused him throughout his entire life. 

2. Shan Yu – ‘Mulan’

Shan Yu - 'Mulan'

Based loosely on Attila the Hun, Shan Yu is the leader of the Hun Army in Mulan. Because he only has six minutes of screen time and because most of his misdeeds are implied rather than explicitly shown, it’s easy to forget that Shan Yu is responsible for the demises of thousands of innocent people. In his attempt to take over China, he does things like destroying entire villages, taking down all the residents – including children – in the process. He also kills his own men if they aren’t sufficiently dedicated. 

These acts were depicted in a deleted scene but were cut for several reasons, including how dark and disturbing it was for a kid’s movie. 

3. Charles Muntz – ‘Up’

Charles Muntz - 'Up'

In some ways, Charles Muntz is a sympathetic figure. He made a scientific discovery and was determined to bring it to the rest of the world. But over time, it became less about scientific truth and more about personal glory. 

He wants credit for discovering an exotic bird species whose existence has been denied by the scientific community, and anyone who gets in his way is going down. Literally – the guy eliminated anybody who he thought was going to claim the bird for themselves. In some cases, these were other researchers, but in other cases, they were just tourists looking to enjoy Paradise Falls. To make things even creepier, he kept their hats, helmets, and skulls as trophies to celebrate his victory over them. 

4. Ursula – ‘The Little Mermaid’

Ursula - 'The Little Mermaid'

Ursula might be a fabulous villain who was inspired by actor and drag queen Divine, but she’s also fabulously evil. Most people remember she took Ariel’s voice in exchange for temporarily turning her into a human. If Ariel could make Prince Eric fall in love with her, she’d get to keep her new form – if not, she’d be transformed into a polyp in Ursula’s garden. 

What they may not remember is that Ariel is far from the first person she made such a deal with. In fact, most of the merfolk who went to Ursula were unable to pay the price for her services. As a result, she turned them into polyps. She has a whole garden full of these miserable creatures, who are constantly moaning and writhing in agony. 

Her tendency towards greed and dark magic is why she was banished from King Triton’s kingdom. But she feels no remorse – instead, she’s bent on revenge. 

5. The Other Mother – ‘Coraline’

The Other Mother - 'Coraline'

Everything about the Other Mother – also known as the Beldam – is horrifying. She’s a shape-shifting monster who entices children to stay in another dimension so that she can eat their flesh and devour their souls. Her true form is a terrifying arachnid-like monster. There’s no doubt whatsoever that she’s pure evil. 

The scariest thing about her is that Coraline is far from her first victim. She’s successfully sewed buttons onto multiple children’s eyes, trapping them permanently by stealing their souls. What’s more, she quickly gets bored with the kids she traps, so they pass away from neglect but still can’t leave because she has their souls. It’s not clear how many kids have met with this fate, but any amount is too many.

6. Percival C. McLeach – ‘The Rescuers Down Under’

Percival C. McLeach - 'The Rescuers Down Under'

If Percival C. McLeach were just a regular poacher, he’d still be evil. With so many animals on the brink of extinction, taking them down for profit and glory is shameful. Abusing your pets, like he does to his monitor lizard Joanna, is also pretty despicable. His mistreatment of animals is made even worse by the fact that he seems to realize the animals are sentient.

But McLeach isn’t just hurting animals – he also kidnaps an 8-year-old boy named Cody. He does this to get revenge after Cody helps a golden eagle escape. He goes beyond scaring Cody – he tries to make it seem like he was eaten by crocodiles, and then actually tries to feed him to the scaly beasts. So, he’s not just willing to harm other species – he’s willing to destroy a human child. 

7. Syndrome – ‘The Incredibles’

Syndrome - 'The Incredibles'

As a child, Syndrome looked up to Mr. Incredible and wanted to become his sidekick. When Mr. Incredible rejected him, he didn’t just accept it and move on – he began to despise superheroes. He decided that if he couldn’t be special, nobody could, and started a campaign to assassinate every superhero he could get ahold of. He probably eliminated about 50 of them before he got to Mr. Incredible, his ultimate foe.

But it wasn’t just superheroes who he hurt. In order to fund his reign of terror, he invented and sold weapons to countries all over the world. Those weapons, which were used in various wars, could have injured or ended millions of people. As far as he’s concerned, this is incidental – selling those weapons was simply a means to an end. 

8. Judge Doom – ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’

Judge Doom - 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit'

Who Framed Roger Rabbit was one of the most bizarre movies to come out of the ’80s, and Judge Doom is part of the reason why. Despite being a Toon himself, Judge Doom wants to not just destroy their home Toontown, but also wipe all Toons off the face of the Earth. He wants to take down Toontown so that he can make money by building a freeway over it, but it’s not clear why he wants to do away with every Toon – or why he has to do it so viciously. He claims it’s because he has to “rein in the insanity by making Toons respect the law,” but that’s just a flimsy excuse. 

Toons are supposedly immortal, but Judge Doom finds a way around this with a substance he calls “dip.” He first uses it on a shoe-shaped Toon who whimpers with fear the whole time it’s being dissolved in the dip. It’s a tough scene to watch, and it really brings home Judge Doom’s evil nature.

9. Tzekel-Kan – ‘The Road to El Dorado’

Tzekel-Kan - 'The Road to El Dorado'

Human sacrifice was actually practiced by the Aztecs, who the indigenous people in The Road to El Dorado are loosely based on. In real life, this was a serious religious ritual. We’re not here to cast aspersions on ancient peoples – but we are here to do that to Tzekel-Kan specifically.

Motivated both by religious beliefs and by a relentless drive for power, he’s sacrificed huge numbers of people in his time as the High Priest. He isn’t just doing this in order to help the village. Instead, he’s trying to gain eternal life, and he’ll even do things like destroying his own assistant to get there.