20 Film/TV Villains Who Were Just Misunderstood

17) Jason Voorhees – Friday The 13th

Michael was a sociopath, Freddy was a child killer, the Cenobites were demons, and Leatherface was a backwoods inbred hick. But what did poor Jason ever do? In the game of Life, Jason Voorhees kept rolling snake eyes: he was born deformed, he apparently drowned while swimming in the lake when the camp counselors were supposed to be watching him, and when his mom tried to get him some Old Testament justice, the surviving counselor chopped her head off.

From that point on, what’s a man left to do, on his own, in the middle of the woods with no formal education, a deformed face, and no practical skills? Well, when idiots keeping moving within spitting distance of your hovel and causing a ruckus with all their drinking, drugging and sexing, how’s a backwoods simpleton supposed to act?

Really though, Jason is a pitiable figure. In Friday the 13th Part II, Ginny uses the spirit of Jason’s mother to distract him, and stop Jason from whacking her (it’s the same strategy Whitney uses in the Friday remake). In Friday IV, Jason gets distracted when he sees that Tommy’s shaved his head in a kind of homage to the machete-wielding killer, and in Friday VIII, after being exposed to toxic waste, Jason mutates back into the weepy child version of himself.

Basically, despite his mad skill with anything sharp and/or pointy and his ability to exploit even the most innocuous object and turn it into a deadly weapon, Jason’s kind of a big kid inside. All he wants is his mommy, or someone, to protect him from all the mean kids and their obsession with getting high and getting laid. Failing that, he’ll defend himself with extreme prejudice, and you know the best way to stop him? Don’t live anywhere near Crystal Lake. That’s his turf!

16) Prince Nuada – Hellboy II: The Golden Army

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Sometimes a villain is just a guy that’s been pushed too far. That’s the case with Prince Nuada, the so-called bad guy in Hellboy II: The Golden Army, and you’ve got to admit right off the top that when your hero’s called “Hellboy” it’s really kind of hard to qualify what makes a villain.

Okay, so maybe not. But it’s still easy to comprehend Nuada’s anger. The world of humans has always been obsessed with ploughing paradise, and slowly but surely the realm of the supernatural creatures, led by Nuada’s father King Balor, was forced into a smaller share of the Earth. Pollution, resource extraction, over-population, drought, climate change, and man-made disasters are just of the few of the many reasons that Nuada has a beef, and just a few of the many reasons he wants to take over.

People are bad, I think we all get that in some way, but a widespread takeover by the elves, fae and the trolls? Good thing we’ve got Hellboy to save us. Still, you have to wonder why a demon spawn would risk his life for us, and Nuada tries to make this argument when confronted by Hellboy; humans don’t like him, he’s got “Hell” in his name, and he’s sort of meant to bring about the end of the world.

Seriously though, I think we all might agree that, as a people, humans are in the mood for new leadership at the top, but all this Golden Army nonsense is going a bit overboard. A society that’s more in tune with nature and where magic and the supernatural are completely real? Sounds pretty good to me. If Prince Nuada just ran for office the old-fashioned democratic way he might be in charge by now.

15) The Repo Man – Repo! The Genetic Opera

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In a bleak future where plague has made the commodification of organs necessary and profitable, and one tyrannical corporation has a literal monopoly and the right to repossess your body parts if you miss a payment, the only person a girl can trust is her father. Right? Maybe not so much.

In the play, and later movie, Repo! The Genetic Opera, the young and naive Shilo has spent the first 17 years of her life as a shut-in, so ill that she can’t be exposed to anyone. Shilo, being a teenager, is naturally interested in exploring the outside world, even if it is a Tim Burton-esque nightmare of ceaseless doom. The boogeyman on this street is the Repo Man, and what Shilo doesn’t know is that the Repo Man everyone fears is her overprotective father, Nathan. And the secrets don’t end there.

Shilo discovers that the source of her illness is her father, as Nathan has been intentionally poisoning her to make her sick and unable to go outside. One might consider that child abuse, especially when fused with Nathan’s Jekyll and Hyde life as the Repo Man, the soulless functionary of a corrupt, capitalist system. What we learn over the course of the story though is that Shilio’s mother Marni was not just the object of Nathan’s affection, but the object of GeneCo CEO Rotti’s too. It’s from his influence that Nathan sought to protect his daughter from, and in the end Shilio comes to understand her father’s sacrifice during the show’s climactic showstopper at the Opera.

You may say that hardly absolves Nathan, I mean look at some of the numbers he performs: “Legal Assassin,” “Thankless Job,” and “Let the Monster Rise,” but tell me the work you do doesn’t make you feel a little bit nutty. (Except, of course, for writing for We Got This Covered, which is a that’s job consistently rated five-stars of awesomeness!)