The 10 most despicable creeps on film

Scumbags, jerks and good old fashioned cold-hearted bastards – nobody stoops quite as low as this lot

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In new movie ‘Filth’, based on the novel by Irvine Welsh, James McAvoy plays a right wrong ’un: a bent copper whose racist attitudes and corruption make him one of the year’s most memorable villains. So we asked ourselves: who are the most vile, unnerving characters in the history of cinema? We don’t mean the serial killers and the career criminals – that’s a different list. With these guys, it’s less about what they do and more about how they do it – we’re talking slimeballs and sleazebags, smirkers and shirkers, stoolpigeons and sex pests. So hang onto your lunch as we present the ten most despicable creeps on film…

  • Pat Healy

    Played by Matt Dillon in ‘There’s Something About Mary’ (1998)

    Why so creepy? Let’s count the ways. Private detective Healy, antihero of the Farrelly Brothers’ hit comedy, is a manipulative, lying scumbag who’ll cheat, deceive and exploit anyone in his path (including innocent dogs, the elderly and the disabled) to get where he wants: namely, into Cameron Diaz’s pants.

    Most despicable act: Using Mary’s mentally-challenged brother as a hapless shill.

    Most despicable line: ‘We agreed I wouldn’t fuck you and you wouldn't fuck me until we got this fuck out of the fuckin’ picture.’

    Possibility of redemption: Not out of the question, but we’d never be sure it wasn’t just another slimeball ruse.

    Read Time Out's review of 'There's Something About Mary'

    Pat Healy
  • Thomas Colpeper the 'Glue Man'

    Played by Eric Portman in ‘A Canterbury Tale’ (1944)

    Why so creepy? In Michael Powell’s deeply odd wartime hymn to English fortitude, a trio of plucky young go-getters stumble across the mystery of the ‘glue man’, a local oddball who sneaks out at night and hurls pots of ‘sticky stuff’ into girls’ hair, so making them less attractive to American servicemen. The culprit is quickly revealed to be the enigmatic and charismatic village magistrate, Colpeper.

    Most despicable act: Hurling his seminal adhesives at poor old Sheila Sim.

    Most despicable line: ‘That’s the old ducking stool, very sensibly used for silencing talkative women.’

    Possibility of redemption: Actually, one of the remarkable things about Powell’s film is that, despite his nocturnal habits, Colpeper turns out to be some kind of hero, albeit a vaguely fascist, obsessively self-involved one.

    Read Time Out's review of 'A Canterbury Tale'

    Thomas Colpeper the 'Glue Man'
  • Steve Stifler

    Played by Sean William Scott in ‘American Pie’ (1999)

    Why so creepy? This beloved bad-taste comedy is crammed with pie-fucking teen weirdos, but Stifler manages to stand head and shoulders above the rest in the distasteful-little-shit stakes. Partly it’s his potty mouth, partly his repulsive attitude to the fairer sex, but largely it’s just Seann William Scott’s face: we love Scott, but he was born to play creeps and cretins.

    Most despicable act: It’s a close-run thing, but spiking a classmate with laxatives is a low blow.

    Most despicable line: ‘Why don't you guys locate your dicks, remove the shrink wrap and fucking use them?’

    Possibility of redemption: Dubious. Stifler isn’t a monster. But it’s hard to see him transforming himself into a useful member of society. Huh-huh, we said member.

    Read Time Out's review of 'American Pie'

    Steve Stifler
  • Stathis Borans

    Played by John Getz in ‘The Fly’ (1986)

    Why so creepy? In David Cronenberg’s masterful horror remake, Stathis is the textbook ex-who-can’t-let-go. To make matters worse, he’s also his former girlfriend’s boss. So when Veronica (Geena Davis) shacks up with another guy (Jeff Goldblum), Stathis swiftly resorts to manipulation and stalking. On a tangential note, he’s also the proud owner of the most irksome little ginger beard in movie history.

    Most despicable act: Tricking poor Jeff into thinking Geena is stepping out on him.

    Most despicable line: Veronica: ‘I’m finally on to something that’s big. Huge!’ Stathis: ‘What? His cock?’

    Possibility of redemption: Reasonably high. After his hand and foot are melted off with mutated stomach bile, we reckon Stathis is ripe for a spot of self-analysis.

    Read Time Out's review of 'The Fly'

    Stathis Borans
  • Walter Peck

    Played by William Atherton in ‘Ghostbusters’ (1984)

    Why so creepy? If our previous contender possessed the seediest ginger paedo-beard in movie history, Walter Peck comes a seriously close second. He’s a furtive, squirming little jobsworth, using his position with the Environmental Protection Agency to prevent our Ghostbusting heroes from messing around with vast, potentially planet-destroying powers. Actually, that sort of makes sense…

    Most despicable act: Shutting down the containment grid and dooming Manhattan to a Biblical apocalypse.

    Most despicable line: ‘If he does that again, you can shoot him.’

    Possibility of redemption: We’d like to believe that, after getting half-drowned in hot marshmallows, Walter has a good long look at his life and goes off to be an artist or something. But he’s probably still pushing pencils.

    Read Time Out's review of 'Ghostbusters'

    Walter Peck
  • Michel Delasalle

    Played by Paul Meurisse in ‘Les Diaboliques’ (1955)

    Why so creepy? Even if we skip over the classic French thriller’s terrifying second half and just focus on the parts where Michel is actually ‘alive’, this self-satisfied schoolmaster is pretty unpleasant. He bullies his wife and their young charges, sleeps around, talks with his mouth full and generally acts like the world is there for his amusement.

    Most despicable act: Well, that would be telling…

    Most despicable line: ‘Die, darling! Die and do it quickly!’

    Possibility of redemption: Highly doubtful. Michel regrette rien.

    Read Time Out's review of 'Les Diaboliques'

    Michel Delasalle
  • Jabba the Hutt

    Played by various puppeteers in‘Return of the Jedi’ (1984)

    Why so creepy? Well, he’s a giant talking slug, so that’s not a great start. But we’d be happy to ignore this ‘Star Wars’ slimeball’s gastropodal nature if Jabba wasn’t such a lascivious, corrupt, self-satisfied git. Exactly what he’s planning to do with those scantily clad slave girls once the lights go out doesn’t bear thinking about.

    Most despicable act: Feeding an exotic dancer to the Rancor monster.

    Most despicable line: ‘This bounty hunter is my kind of scum – fearless and inventive.’

    Possibility of redemption: Unlike Jabba, very slim indeed.

    Read Time Out's review of 'Return of the Jedi'

    Jabba the Hutt
  • The Landlady

    Played by Lin Shaye in ‘Kingpin’ (1996)

    Why so creepy? The Farrelly Brothers strike again, and it only gets worse. The only woman on our list truly is a gruesome piece of work: not only is she hunched and hideous, with hair like a year-old dishrag and skin like distressed leather, but she forces her hapless tenant (Woody Harrelson) to pay for his room in sexual favours.

    Most despicable act: There’s a moment involving two fingers and a tongue which has become a barf-bag classic.

    Most despicable line: ‘What is it about good sex that makes me have to crap? I guess it’s all that pumping. You really jarred something loose, tiger.’

    Possibility of redemption: We don’t know. We don’t care. We just want her to go away.

    Read Time Out's review of 'Kingpin'

    The Landlady
  • Lincoln Wineberg Jr

    Played by William Hootkins in ‘Hardware’ (1990)

    Why so creepy? This terrific low-budget British horror flick features a futuristic kill-bot with drills for hands. Yet that psychotic automaton is by no means the nastiest thing in the movie. That award goes to nosy neighbour Lincoln Weinberg Jr, a morbidly obese, porn-obsessed sleazeball with the dirtiest mouth in the post-apocalyptic wasteland.

    Most despicable act: Making filthy videophone calls with his face covered by a pornographic picture with one strategically placed eyehole.

    Most despicable line: ‘How about if I fuck you with a string of popcorn up your ass?’

    Possibility of redemption: Not after he gets shredded like a pulled-pork sandwich.

    Read Time Out's review of 'Hardware'

    Lincoln Wineberg Jr
  • Bobby Peru

    Played by Willem Dafoe in ‘Wild at Heart’ (1990)

    Why so creepy? His lips. David Lynch’s sprawling rock ’n’ roll road movie is crammed with morally bankrupt oddballs, from psychotic hitmen to insectophiliac cousins. But somehow Bobby Peru is more disturbing than any of them. And what really makes him stand out – besides the sexual sadism and armed robbery – is that hideous, slimy, twitching mouth packed with scummy, rotten teeth.

    Most despicable act: Threatening a pregnant Laura Dern.

    Most despicable line: ‘One-eyed Jack’s yearnin’ to go a-peepin’ in a seafood store.’ Possibility of redemption: Pretty much nil, and anyway he blows his own head off with a shotgun before the chance comes around.

    Read Time Out's review of 'Wild at Heart'

    Bobby Peru

Pat Healy

Played by Matt Dillon in ‘There’s Something About Mary’ (1998)

Why so creepy? Let’s count the ways. Private detective Healy, antihero of the Farrelly Brothers’ hit comedy, is a manipulative, lying scumbag who’ll cheat, deceive and exploit anyone in his path (including innocent dogs, the elderly and the disabled) to get where he wants: namely, into Cameron Diaz’s pants.

Most despicable act: Using Mary’s mentally-challenged brother as a hapless shill.

Most despicable line: ‘We agreed I wouldn’t fuck you and you wouldn't fuck me until we got this fuck out of the fuckin’ picture.’

Possibility of redemption: Not out of the question, but we’d never be sure it wasn’t just another slimeball ruse.

Read Time Out's review of 'There's Something About Mary'

Read our review of 'Filth'

Filth

  • Rated as: 4/5

There’s in-yer-face cinema, and then there’s in-yer-face, down-yer-throat and throw-it-back-up-all-over-the-pavement cinema. This punky adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s novel ‘Filth’ is a glossary of grimness, a dictionary of darkness. But it also dishes up humour that’s blacker than a winter’s night in the Highlands and unpolished anarchy that’s true to Welsh’s out-there, frighteningly frank prose. Best of all, it features a possessed, full-on turn from James

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