Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Top Five Faceless Villains

While we all enjoy a good villain to boo and hiss at (such as these fearsome females), sometimes it can be more interesting and unsettling to have a more unknowable - faceless - antagonist. In this list I won't be looking at baddies who hid their faces like The Claw from Inspector Gadget but those soulless villains, often corrupt corporations or surveillance states, who conspire against our hero for their own nefarious, and usually nebulous, ends. Evil organisations such as James Bond's SPECTRE aren't eligible as they often have a single leader (in SPECTRE's case, Blofeld) who acts as the hero's nemesis rather than the organisation themselves.

Wolfram & Hart

Appeared in: Angel 

Built around the premise 'what if lawyers actually were as evil as people say they are?, Wolfram & Hart are the demon-worshipping law firm that plan to end the world on Buffy spin-off Angel.
We get to know several of the firm's smarmy employees over Angel's five season run but we never meet the mysterious 'Senior Partners' - beings who are basically personifications of evil. An organisation of humans as the evil enemies of our traditional monster hero, W&H are the perfect villains for the more moraly-grey world of Angel. 

HYDRA

Appeared in: Marvel comics and the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Originally featuring in The First Avenger, HYDRA were used to a brilliant effect in The Winter Solider. In the Captain America sequel, that niggling doubt about the modern world - that we're all being spied on for evil purposes - turns out to be true and, what's more, the good guys we thought we could trust (namely SHIELD) are in fact controlled by HYDRA, the ex-Nazi terrorist organisation. HYDRA are one of the best faceless villains, as they have no one head person in charge. Quite literally as their catchphrase is 'cut off one head, two more will take its place.' Hail HYDRA!

The 'Listen' Creature

Appeared in: Doctor Who - 'Listen'

Number three on our list is a bit of a different one; rather than a headless organisation this one is an unseen creature. The most ambiguous Doctor Who monster, 'the perfect hider' that the Doctor hunts for in 'Listen' is left unseen, leaving it to the audience to make up for themselves whether such a creature exists. It's a sophisticated twist on the usually front-and-centre Who antagonists - but, come on, that is clearly an alien standing behind Clara...

The Village

Appeared in: The Prisoner

Probably the most nebulous of the villains on this list, we never get any real sense of what the mysterious overseers of the Village in 60s spy series The Prisoner actually want. We know they wish to find out why our nameless hero Number Six resigned from his job but just why it is so important we never find out. Regardless, the ever-changing figure of Number Two, who runs the Village, the unique architecture and the almost-lobotomised residents make the Village one of the most insidious faceless villains in all of fiction. But, as Number Six always asks, who is Number One?

Big Brother

Appeared in: Nineteen Eighty Four 

Turning our list on its head is our leader. All Big Brother is is a face - whether he exists or not is never discovered but the image of Big Brother is certainly used by corrupt dictators IngSoc to keep control of the dystopian Britain featured in Orwell's seminal novel. Created in the forties, Big Brother infamously predicts the rise of the surveillance state. If you need proof that Big Brother is the most evil faceless villain on this list it inspired the inexplicably long-lasting Big Brother reality series. It may appear that we are the ones who are watching Big Brother but, in fact, Big Brother is watching you...

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