Bridge Publications has performed a national poll to find out more about which bad guys have left a lasting impression on moviegoers in the past. Cloaked or masked, brutally cruel or coldly cunning — from Dracula to Hannibal the Cannibal, Darth Vader to Terl the Psychlo — they rank among the 13 most notorious fictional villains of the 20th century, according to this new, national poll. Traditional figures in the roster of the arch-villains of books, film and television — Frankenstein’s monster; Transylvania’s blood thirsty gift to the
ghastly, Count Dracula and the entombed terror of ancient Egypt, the Mummy — took the lead in the survey by Dateline News Service with 50% of those polled.
But for a full 30 percent of the respondents, the 20th century’s most sinister characters were ominously newer: the visored darkness of Star Wars’ Darth Vader; the muzzled fury of Hannibal Lecter, and the alien evil of Terl, the space villain of L. Ron Hubbard’s science fiction epic Battlefield Earth, whose nine feet of taloned, gas-breathing menace — personified by John Travolta — is already giving film goers a “teasing” glimpse on his way to filling the country’s movie screens in May, 2000.
Three other fictional super-threats — Elm Street’s very own nightmare, Freddy Krueger; Friday the 13th’s helmeted hatchet man, Jason and Halloween’s pitiless Michael Myers — combined their villainous talents, meanwhile for 15 percent of the respondents in the Dateline News Service survey. And rounding out the roll-call of the 20th century’s most notable nasties — with five percent of the poll were 007’s silver-plated adversary, Dr. No; Flash Gordon’s classic nemesis, Ming the Merciless; Dr. Jekyll’s cold-blooded alter-ego, Mr. Hyde, and one crafty curio, Sax Rohmer’s infamous Fu Manchu.
As for the 21st century, virtually all respondents were sure their favorite fictional arch-villains will continue to live on — probably more
villainous than ever.