Baddies Character Costumes from Films
As we have said before, not everyone necessarily wants to be a goody-goody hero/heroine and sometimes they want to be wicked. In this piece we look at a wide range of villains and baddies to be found in films (and not just the usual suspects!). For simplicity, although we could try to categorise this bad bunch, instead we are keeping it semi-alphabetical (taking liberties with given and first names in some cases). Because of film merchandise, a number of these characters have ‘official costumes’, but others may need some creative improvisation. You will also notice that in some cases an ostensibly male outfit (Riddler, Beetlejuice, Chucky) has a female equivalent costume available for the benefit of couples, pairs or femmes who think they cannot be fatale without imitating a male!
Alex Delarge (Clockwork Orange) – The antihero and master of the ultraviolent in a film that was banned on video for many years because of its content. The look involves a white boiler-style suit with braces, a bowler hat and walking cane. Another feature is the false eyelash worn on one eye. A commercial costume is available.
Alex Forrest (Fatal Attraction) – The original femme fatale bunny-boiler. 1980s style power-dresser with a wild corkscrew-curl hairstyle. Because of the pivotal role of a rabbit (?), some sort of bunny prop might be useful to enhance your impersonation. If you do not get the reference, get the DVD – which has a choice of endings!
Baby Jane Hudson (Whatever Happened to Baby Jane) – The faded film star with a vindictive edge and love-hate relationship with her sister.
Beetlejuice – The bio-exorcist from the film of the same name. Supposedly helping a deceased couple to reclaim their homestead, he is working on his own agenda. The commercial outfit (of which there is also a female version) is based on a distinctive black/white stripe suit plus mask/wig. A red frilled wedding suit could also work.
Captain Bligh (Mutiny on the Bounty) – Does your hire outlet have one of those Napoleonic war naval uniforms (the sort of thing seen in Pirates of the Caribbean)? An excuse to use it in a baddie context and recreate the Charles Laughton anti (Fletcher) Christian role.
Blofeld (James Bond films) – Although there have been twenty plus Bond films, the arch villain Blofeld has only appeared in about five (depends if you count ‘For Your Eyes Only’ where his role is a fleeting one). Different actors have taken the role, but the basis of the outfit is a grey Nehru-style suit (not dissimilar to the commercially available Dr Evil (Austin Powers) costume).
Bonnie & Clyde – Instant couple costume! In theory Bonnie wears a number of outfits not usually associated with a gangster’s moll (beret, long coat, etc.) but if you avoid the flapper-style and go for the female pinstripe counterpart to the male gangster outfit, you can probably crack the impression.
Carrie (Carrie) – An early Stephen King book character who has featured in at least two movies (there have been lesser-known sequels). The outfit is based on the climactic Prom scene where (spoiler alert) things get messy.
Catwoman (Batman films) – Whether she is a heroine or villainess is debatable, but this is a costume popular for all number of reasons. As Catwoman has had almost as many costumes as a cat has lives, there are a range of looks to go for, from the basic stretch-knit catsuit and winged mask (Lee Meriwether – Batman, 1966) to Anne Hathaway’s cat-burglar ensemble (Dark Knight Rises) through the Michelle Peiffer’s PVC (Batman Returns, 1992) and the ‘nothing-to-do with Batman (but Razzie Award-winning)’ Halle Belle street-fighter Catwoman.
Child Catcher (Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang) – Things were so much simpler before DBS checks – a wheeled cage, some sweets as bait and a large net, you know where you stand with this ultra-meanie – nowhere near him if you are a child!
Chucky (Child’s Play & Chucky films) – The spirit of a psychopathic killer gets trapped in a doll through voodoo and this little chap then spends several films wreaking havoc, gaining a wife and offspring in the process. Going one better than the films, the costume trade has created a female version (Chuckee, Chuckette?) for that living doll with a homicidal edge.
Commodus (Gladiator) – The villainous Emperor featured in the film Gladiator (2000) who has his father strangled and forces General Maximus Decimus Meridius into exile. Any Roman Emperor-style outfit should command respect.
Darth Maul (Star Wars: The Phantom Menace) – The dark assassin sent to eliminate the young Anakin Skywalker. Although an imposing figure, the red/black facial tattoos and vestigial horns may involve more make-up time than people want to put in (and we have seen some female Mauls in our time). There is, of course, the mask alternative, but this brings its own problems, especially for those wanting to eat and drink.
Darth Vader (Star Wars films) – Undoubtedly one of the best recognised film villains of all time, but the problem is the outfit: Not only does being the Dark Lord of the Universe involve wearing an imposing suit, but the mask is Vader and it is difficult to be the character without it (it can be difficult to eat, drink talk and see with it). That said, there is a female Vader costume available on the market which is short, sexy and far, far away from the original Dark Lord concept.
Dr Elsa Schneider (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) – The sharp dressed but devious archaeologist, who works with both Joneses to further her plans.
Dr Evil (Austin Powers) – Models himself on arch Bond Villain Blofeld in his plans for world domination and his grey Nehru-jacket-style outfit.
Faora (Superman/Man of Steel) – Also known as Ursa, this is a super-villainess from Superman’s home planet of Krypton who joins with General Zod (below) to try to defeat the Man of Steel.
Frank the Rabbit (Donnie Darko) – Cult film involving an air disaster, time travel, physics and this giant menacing rabbit, for which there is (or at least was) an official costume.
Frankenstein’s Monster (Frankenstein) – Classic horror monster, available in a wide range of costume options. For a couple, there is, of course, the Bride of Frankenstein, but despite a striking hairdo, her conversational skills were a little limited and she probably wasn’t bad – just made that way.
Freddy Krueger (Nightmare on Elm Street) – Wes Craven’s nightmare made flesh (sort of). With his burned flesh, tatty striped jumper and fedora he has become one of the most popular modern day Halloween baddies. Although masks can be found, use of some of our specialist make-up products such as the bloody face scar special effects kit can yield dividends.
General Zod (Superman films) – Arch-enemy of Superman who, with female accomplice Faora, seeks to destroy the Man of Steel. An official costume and accessories are available.
Ghostface (Scream) – A popular and simple Halloween baddie whose look derives from Edward Munch’s famous Scream Painting.
Gollum (Lord of the Rings) – Although a victim of circumstance, portraying this devious creature may prove a challenge, as it is generally agreed that a mask is essential and little else.
Gordon Gekko (Wall Street) – The ‘greed is good’ yuppie of 1987, who preceded the ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ by many years.
Gru (Despicable Me) – Looking like a cross between Uncle Fester of the Addams Family and Dara O’Briain, the Irish writer/comedian, Gru is a criminal mastermind much helped (or hindered) by his multitude of Minions (for which costumes are available even if they are not ‘baddies’).
Hannibal Lector (Silence of the Lambs and others) – Infamous cannibal made famous by Anthony Hopkins, although films of the other books with other Hannibals have also been made. Commercial outfit usually involves a prison strait-jacket and mouth-guard, but a suit plus a bottle of Chianti may be more subtle.
Jason Voorhees (Friday 13th) – Along with Michael Myers and Freddy Krueger, one of the three classic modern horror fiends who have appeared in multiple sequels, although Jason has also made it into the 25th century future in Jason X. The commercial outfit, is however based on the original outfit worn for the Camp Crystal Lake homicides.
Jigsaw (The Saw movies) – Although Jigsaw is ostensibly a killer, taking his name from cutting a jigsaw piece of flesh from victims, his later argument is that many of his victims harm/kill themselves when forced to take chances in perilous situations. He works through two intermediaries (for which costumes are available) – Billy the Ventriloquist Puppet (who also rides a trike!) and the cloaked Saw Pig.
Leatherface (Texas Chainsaw Massacre) – A horror fiend with a chainsaw, and a film which has been remade/recut. There is also a female version, featuring a chainsaw handbag as an accessory.
Lex Luther (Superman films) – Although some of Superman’s foes from the Krypton Phantom Zone have been already mentioned, this is the Man of Steel’s main earth-bound nemesis and leading criminal mastermind.
Loki (Avengers Assemble) – Thor’s wicked brother in Norse mythology and the Marvel Avengers series. An official costume, involving a muscle chest, cape and interestingly horned helmet could certainly create an impression, but for licensing reasons, it seems to have been withdrawn from the market.
Medusa (Clash of the Titans) – Medusa was the snake-haired gorgon from Greek mythology, whose glare could turn you to stone. For such a supposedly ugly character, there are a surprising number of Medusa costumes commercially available. One to look at (carefully) for Halloween!
Michael Myers (Halloween) – From the successful series of horror movies started by John Carpenter (although Halloween III Season of the Witch, involving evil masks, was not part of the Myers series). In best slasher movie style, the costume involves a mask and large knife!
Mystique (X Men) – For the girl who wants to make an impression, this blue-bodied shape-shifter should do the trick.
Poison Ivy (Batman and Robin) – A delinquent in the original comic, in the film Poison Ivy was a sultry seductress played by Uma Thurman. In recent years she has also taken on other incarnations as one of the Gotham Girls group of female heroes/villains. She is often teamed with the Joker’s sidekick, Harley Quinn, but as Harley has not appeared in a movie (yet) she does not qualify as a movie baddie.
Pris (Blade Runner) – One of the four replicants who return to Earth from the mining colonies in search of their Maker. Pris’ combat gear whilst disguising herself as an automaton, involves a white unitard/catsuit, racoon-style eye-make-up and an orange/white frizz wig – very discrete.
Queen of Hearts (Alice in Wonderland) – There have been several film versions of Alice in Wonderland and, not counting the more recent Tim Burton variation (see Red Queen), possibly the most memorable is Disney’s 1950s cartoon creation. Although the playing card-inspired red/white/yellow outfit is pretty standard, there are also some interesting short and skimpy versions available – watch out for the one with the flamingo handbag.
Ravena, Queen (Snow White & the Huntsman) – In a 2011 reimagining of the Snow White story, we have a wicked stepmother who is also a shape-shifting sorceress, turning into a flock of ravens occasionally (hence the name). There is an official costume for this character.
Red Queen (Alice in Wonderland) – A variation on the Queen of Hearts noted above, this character from the Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland combined elements of both the Queen of Hearts of the Wonderland story and the Red Queen of the Looking Glass sequel. The heart motif is dominant in the commercial costume.
Regan (The Exorcist) – Good excuse to look bad and behave even worse. If you can create the look, it should turn a few heads.
Riddler (Batman films) – Frank Gorshin reprised his TV portrayal of the Riddler in the 1966 Batman movie and Jim Carrey undertook a suitably restrained interpretation in ‘Batman Forever (1995). Either way, the outfit involves a green suit (or jumpsuit) with a question-mark pattern. Accessories may include a green bowler (also decorated with question-marks) and a cane with a question-mark shaped handle. Carrey also had an orange buzz-cut wig. A ‘Miss Riddler’ outfit is also commercially available.
Saruman (Lord of the Rings) – The white wizard who went to the Darkside. Commercial costumes are available.
Sheriff of Nottingham (Robin Hood) – Classic film baddie (he is the one who cancelled Christmas in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves), the outfit is basically rich medieval.
Sweeney Todd (Sweeney Todd – Demon Barber of Fleet Street) – Seeking revenge on a judge who has wronged him, Sweeney deals with the cut-throat competition head-on and, with his accomplice Mrs Lovett, goes into the catering business.
The Invisible Man (The Invisible Man, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) – There are those who cannot see this working, but aside from a complex commercial costume of a few years ago involving ‘floating glasses and a hat’ and a trench coat, the usual approach is a bandaged head, glasses and gloves.
The Joker (Batman films) – Rather like the comic book character, the Joker has had a few different screen incarnations. Cesar Romero recreated his successful TV persona for the 1966 Batman movie, Jack Nicholson gave an impressively enigmatic performance for the Tim Burton Batman (1989) and most recently Heath Ledger won a posthumous Oscar for his manic portrayal of the Joker in ‘The Dark Knight’ (2008).
The Shark (Jaws films) – We have not had many animal baddies in our list, most probably for practicality reasons. We could have had King Kong, but many regard him as Victim not Villain, T. Rex (Jurassic Park) or Godzilla are no-nos, and although there are a few manimals such as Werewolves and Cat People, we thought a Shark was best, most famously seen in Jaws and also in an upgraded version in Deep Blue Sea (1999). It is also helpful that there are a few shark outfits on the market.
Tony Montana (Scarface) – An American gangster of Cuban origin who commands respect throughout the underworld with the help of his trusty ‘little friend’, a companion of lethal calibre. He has a trademark white suit worn with a 70s-style burgundy shirt. The outfit is available commercially.