Hollywood provides us with an escape from reality with morality tales, shoot-em-up yarns and “based on real life” flicks.  One of the greatest angles that movie writers continue to take is good vs. evil, for it provides the audience with heroes to root for and villains to hate.  Some actors thrive when they portray the villain, so here is a list of 5 great ‘Bad Guy’ actors working today (and one more great character actor that is no longer with us…so to speak).

Alan Rickman

Hans Gruber.  The Sheriff of Nottingham. Severus Snape. These three villainsnapeCredit: Amazon.coms have propelled Rickman from a classically trained actor into one of Hollywood’s great ‘bad guy’ actors.  Rickman’s smooth voice and cadenced line delivery lend to his wicked portrayals through the years; these characteristics have also served him well in his creepy ‘good guy’ roles in “Galaxy Quest” and “Alice in Wonderland.”  His voice is so distinct that you may have read this entire paragraph with his voice in your head!

Christopher Lee

After playing numerous classic villain roles in the 1950’s (from Frankenstein to Count Dracula), Lee established himself as one of Hollywood’s go-to ‘bad guy’ actors.  After a few more roles, Lee disappeared from Hollywood until the early 2000’s when he secured two of the most coveted ‘bad guy’ roles.  He was cast as Saruman the White in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, as well as Count Dooku in the “Star Wars” prequels.  His deep voice and menacing stare are incredible weapons in his villain arsenal. 

Tim Curry

Curry portrayed one of those characters that nightmares are made of – the evil Pennywise the Clown in Stephen King’s “It.”  His large grin and distinctive laugh have been used time and again to establish his wicked yet comedic portrayals.  Curry came to prominence in 1975 with the hilariously evil Dr. Frank-N-Furter in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and went on to play great villains in “Legend,” “The Three Musketeers” and loads of voice acting for the bad guys in popular cartoon series.

John Malkovich

With the sunken eyes and meticulous speech, Malkovich has perfected the creepy guy.  After coming to prominence with his work on “Dangerous Liaisons,” Malkovich was nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of the villain in Clint Eastwood’s “In the Line of Fire.”  His flair for the comedic served him well as Cyrus the Virus in “Con Air” and Teddy KGB in “Rounders.” 

And 1 More in Memoriam (kinda) - Billy Zabka

Although he is still alive, Zabka’s ‘bad guy’ career has been dead since the 80’s.  As a child of the 80’s, I HATED Billy Zabka; the vileness in which he portrayed the teenage antagonistic characters was incredibly effective. He portrayed horrible bullies in “The Karate Kid,” “Back to School,” and “Just One of the Guys.”  He has a great sense of humor about his past roles.  He rejoined the actors that played fellow Cobra Kai students in a music video for the band No More Kings for the song “Sweep the Leg” (get it?); he has also appeared on a skit for “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” in a reprisal of his role as Johnny Lawrence.