The eight most vile Disney villainesses

“He didn’t trust women or cats.” So said one of Walt Disney’s chief animators of his boss. Not convinced? Take a look at these outrageously evil womenfolk.

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  • Cruella De Vil

    Before Miranda Priestly and The Devil Wears Prada, Cruella De Vil occupied the top spot as fashion’s bitchiest baddie. Where you see an adorable puppy, Cruella sees a luxury fashion item.

    See her in:
    101 Dalmatians

    Motivation for dastardly deeds:
    A killer coat. Plain and simple.

    Evil rating:
    6/10. She might have puppy murder on the brain, but doesn’t Cruella just seem a bit more scattered than scary?

    Best line:
    “Poison them, drown them, bash them in the head. You got any chloroform? I don’t care how you kill the little beasts but do it!”

    Rap sheet:
    Puppy-napping. Dangerous driving.

    Read 101 Dalmatians review

    Cruella De Vil
  • Maleficent

    They don’t call her the Mistress of Evil for nothing. Maleficent is an icon of wickedness. Eyebrows arched, she arrives in plumes of green smoke to put a curse on the newly born princess Aurora.

    See her in:
    Sleeping Beauty

    Motivation for dastardly deeds:
    Like a lot of Disney villainesses, there’s not a whole lot of justification for Maleficent’s mwah-ha-ha crimes. Why does she curse the newborn princess Aurora so that she pricks her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and dies before her 16th birthday? Simply because the king left her off the guest list to the christening party. Talk about bearing a grudge.

    Evil rating:
    9/10. The eyebrow, the cackle, the cheekbones—and she can turn herself in to a dragon.

    Best line:
    “Now shall you deal with me, and all the powers of hell!”

    Rap sheet:
    Attempted murder of a prince. Cursing (the spell-casting variety, not swearing. This is Disney). Scene-stealing.

    Read Sleeping Beauty review

    Maleficent
  • Mother Gothel

    She looks like Cher and her attitude is manipulative hippie-mom on a bad trip. Mother Gothel is a thoroughly modern Disney villainess, whose skill set includes not only sorcery, but also an acid-tongue. The mistress of passive-aggressiveness, Gothel cunningly convinces Rapunzel that she is her mother; she needs the gullible little princess around to exploit her fountain-of-youth hair.

    See her in:
    Tangled

    Motivation for dastardly deeds:
    Vanity. She wants to stay young and beautiful.

    Evil rating:
    4/10.

    Best line:
    “Look in that mirror. I see a strong, confident, beautiful young lady. Oh, look—you’re here too.”

    Rap sheet:
    Kidnapping. Theft. Sarcasm. Smothering parental style. Assault.

    Read Tangled review

    Mother Gothel
  • The Queen of Hearts

    A little bit like a toddler at a birthday party who’s gorged herself on icing, the Queen of Hearts is prone to rampaging. She is a fearsome dictator and her cowering servants paint roses red to avoid her cutting off their heads. Lewis Carroll called the Queen of Hearts “an embodiment of blind rage.” These days, we’d call a psychiatrist.

    See her in:
    Alice in Wonderland

    Motivation for dastardly deeds:
    Here’s where we need that psychiatrist.

    Evil rating:
    7/10.

    Best line:
    “Someone’s head is going to roll for this.”

    Rap sheet:
    Cheating at croquet. Beheading.

    Read Alice in Wonderland review

    The Queen of Hearts
  • Madam Mim

    They had purple hair dye in the Dark Ages. Who knew? Mischievous sorceress Mad Madam Mim is the bag lady of Disney villainesses. Isn’t there something a little bit adorable about her purple-and-pink matchy-matchy fashion sense? Still, while Mim is eccentric, she can hold her own in the spell-casting stakes, as we learn in her final showdown with Merlin.

    See her in:
    Sword in the Stone

    Motivation for dastardly deeds:
    Rivalry and a childish urge to prove that she can out-magic Merlin.

    Evil rating:
    4/10. More mad than bad.

    Best line:
    “Sounds like someone’s sick. How lovely. I do hope it’s serious.”

    Rap sheet:
    Crimes against fashion. Animal cruelty.

    Read The Sword in the Stone review

    Madam Mim
  • Queen Grimhilde

    A.k.a. the Evil Queen

    She may not be the fairest of them all, but she is the chicest. The Evil Queen is the Disney villainess we want to grow up to be, with her fierce eyebrows and fashion-forward turban. Walt called her “a mixture of Lady Macbeth and the Big Bad Wolf.”

    See her in:
    Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

    Motivation for dastardly deeds:
    Fading beauty.

    Evil rating:
    9/10. Cold, cruel and black-hearted. Hell, she’s prepared to eat the heart of a dead child.

    Best line:
    “Magic mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?”

    Rap sheet:
    Narcissism. Vanity. Child cruelty. Causing the death of an animal.

    Read Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs review

    Queen Grimhilde
  • Lady Tremaine

    So famous, no one bothers with her name. She is simply the Evil Stepmother. Dressed like a stern Victorian governess, Lady Tremaine is not in possession of witchery skills or sorcery, so she must rely on good old-fashioned psychological abuse to crush Cinderella.

    See her in:
    Cinderella

    Motivation for dastardly deeds:
    Jealousy. She despises Cinderella. You can understand her frustration: Here she is, with two spoiled, demon-tempered daughters on her hands, and along comes this saintly little do-gooder. What’s a parent to do?

    Evil rating:
    7/10. This is a woman who calls her cat Lucifer.

    Best line:
    “Pay no attention to her.”

    Rap sheet:
    Child abuse.

    Read Cinderella review

    Lady Tremaine
  • Ursula

    Half octopus, half obese drag queen, is it any wonder that sea-witch Ursula isn’t happy as a clam? Thing is, you can’t help thinking that the world would be a more fun place with Ursula in charge.

    See her in:
    The Little Mermaid

    Motivation for dastardly deeds:
    Power, plain and simple. Ursula wants to be queen of Atlantica.

    Evil rating:
    4/10. More drama queen than pure evil. That said, the scene where she looms out of the water as a giant has been known to scare the barnacles off small children.

    Best line:
    “It’s time Ursula took matters into her own tentacles.”

    Rap sheet:
    Soul-sapping. Impersonating a mermaid.

    Read The Little Mermaid review

    Ursula

Cruella De Vil

Before Miranda Priestly and The Devil Wears Prada, Cruella De Vil occupied the top spot as fashion’s bitchiest baddie. Where you see an adorable puppy, Cruella sees a luxury fashion item.

See her in:
101 Dalmatians

Motivation for dastardly deeds:
A killer coat. Plain and simple.

Evil rating:
6/10. She might have puppy murder on the brain, but doesn’t Cruella just seem a bit more scattered than scary?

Best line:
“Poison them, drown them, bash them in the head. You got any chloroform? I don’t care how you kill the little beasts but do it!”

Rap sheet:
Puppy-napping. Dangerous driving.

Read 101 Dalmatians review

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