9. Ursula – The Little Mermaid (1989)
A jealous sea witch who tricks Princess Ariel into trading her voice for an opportunity to visit the human surface world.
There are a lot of vain, envious Disney villains but Ursula is one of the best. The drag routine-inspired “Poor Unfortunate Souls” that boasts of her previous bargains with naïve dreamers has rightly lived far outside the film it originated in, and the character and her fabulous brand of evil is often held up as a queer culture icon
Demise by: After growing to Kaiju size with King Triton’s stolen magic, she is impaled by the prow of a ship.
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8. Hades – Hercules (1997)
Brother of Zeus, tired with his lot in (after)life, plans to make baby Hercules mortal before leading a Titan conquest of Mount Olympus.
Duplicitous relatives have been popular antagonists since at least Shakespeare’s time, and this tempestuous huckster take on the God of the Underworld has become one of the most iconic versions of the character. James Woods seems to be enjoying his every moment of being bad, his improvisational additions to Hades’ angry outbursts providing plenty of inspiration for the animators to make his character’s physicality more devilishly expressive.
Demise by: An immoral god can’t really die, but he is dragged into the depths of the underworld by countless tormented souls.
7. Cruella de Vil – One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961)
A sociopathic animal hater obsessed with buying and killing a litter of Dalmatian puppies to make into a fabulous new coat.
Having needless animal murder as your main driving force immediately catapults you up the evil rankings. She has one of the great Disney villain entrances, first announced by her car’s rumbling engine, then her sinister silhouette and Roger’s mocking and ominous improvised ditty (“Cruella de Vil, Cruella de Vil, if she doesn’t scare you, no evil thing will…”).
Cruella also has a great look and energy, like an animated socialite skeleton in a cocktail dress and furs, gesticulating wildly with her cigarette holder and painting the world with her privilege and sickly green smoke, occasionally turning on a sardonic charm but more often than not letting her terrifying temper get the best of her. She doesn’t even do her own dirty work, usually leaving her abused bumbling henchmen Jasper and Horace to commit the actual crimes.
Demise by: Survives but crashes her car into her henchmen’s truck and into a ditch, and is forced to watch her quarry escape.