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12 Villains of Christmas

Image credit: Universal Pictures

It’s that magical time of the year when families and friends get together to spread festive cheer, which sometimes provokes the most unsavoury characters to rebel against the goodness of the season. If you have ever come across a grumpy hater prone to sudden outbursts of anger aimed at anyone who ‘dares’ to enjoy Christmas, then you have probably met one of our twelve villains, who can potentially turn any holiday feast into a night you would rather forget.

Miss Havisham (Great Expectations by Charles Dickens)

Image credit: BBC Films

“Who am I, for God's sake, that I should be kind!”

When an orphaned Pip suddenly finds himself in possession of “great expectations”, he soon learns the shattering truth behind the residents of Satis House. Having been groomed for the life of a gentleman by Miss Havisham, the true identity of his benefactor seems clear to the young man. Yet an embittered old spinster, who is haunted by the memories of her tragic wedding, sows seeds of hatred for the male sex in her young daughter’s heart. Soon Pip will discover that some acts of kindness can inflict the deepest wounds designed to tear his soul apart.

Grinch (How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr Seuss)

Image credit: Universal Pictures

"The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season!

Now, please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason."

Deftly conjured up by the master storyteller, this Santa loathing villain has become a household name for his controversial attitude to Christmas. Having been shunned by the residents of Whoville for his unusual appearance, the malice-filled recluse intends to serve his revenge cold. But this time, his elaborate plotting and scheming are guaranteed to rob Whovillians of their Christmas cheer.

Jack Torrence (The Shining by Stephen King)

Image credit: ABC

“Wendy? Darling? Light, of my life. I'm not gonna hurt ya. You didn't let me finish my sentence. I said, I'm not gonna hurt ya. I'm just going to bash your brains in.”

For Jack Torrance, a recovering alcoholic and a struggling writer, a new position at the Overlook Hotel offers a fresh start. Having an entire mansion at his disposal, an off-season caretaker is presented with a perfect opportunity to finish his novel and spend some time with his family. However, at the first sign of winter chill, a seemingly tranquil place turns into a frightening trap where malevolent spirits begin to unhinge Jack’s mind turning him into a murderous maniac.

Mrs Danvers (Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier)

Image credit: Selznick International

"Mr. de Winter doesn't love you. There's not much for you to live for, is there? Why don't you jump now and have done with it? Then you won't be unhappy any more."

This blood-curdling tale of terror represents a recollection of chilling events that took place in the isolated country mansion in Cornwall. As the young bride of Maxim De Winter assumes her new responsibilities, she receives a cold reception from Mrs Danvers, a sinister housekeeper who goes to great lengths to preserve the distant memory of the former mistress of the house. The remote coastal setting contributes to the feeling of unease and imminent danger for Mrs de Winter filling her with the suspicion of foul play.

Professor Snape (Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling)

Image credit: Warner Brothers

“It may have escaped your notice, but life isn’t fair.”

One of the grumpiest professors at Hogwarts, Severus Snape keeps his class in a tight grip of fear. With zero tolerance to know-it-alls and insufferable children, Snape takes pride in bullying his students into submissiveness with his snarky remarks and dry humour. Having mastered the art of brewing potions and defending against dark forces, Snape is not to be trifled with. His little pantry is filled with powerful concoctions that he has no problem slipping into his students’ pumpkin juice, should anyone try to outfox him.

Spiker and Sponge (James and The Giant Peach by Roald Dahl)

Image credit: Walt Disney

"My dear Sponge," Aunt Spiker said slowly, winking at her sister and smiling a sly, thin-lipped smile. "There's a pile of money to be made out of this if only we can handle it right. You wait and see."

When an orphaned young boy is sent to live with his wicked aunts Spiker and Sponge in their country home, his life takes turn for the worst. Subjected to daily abuse from the elderly spinsters, James is often found contemplating his dire circumstances. However, through a twist of fate, he comes into possession of magical green pellets, which, when accidentally spilled, produce an enormous peach in their garden. Unwilling to miss on this golden opportunity, selfish aunts let greed take the better of them. Together with Ladybug, Centipede and other peach residents, the young boy makes it his mission to free the peach from exploitation.

Norman Bates (Psycho by Robert Bloch)

Image credit: American Genre

“People always mean well. They cluck their thick tongues, and shake their heads and suggest, oh, so very delicately!”

The story, which later became the basis for Alfred Hitchcock’s thrilling movie of the same name, follows the life of maternally obsessed hotelier Norman Bates. Having lost a fare share of business due to road construction, Norman welcomes every client with open arms. So when a Phoenix secretary Mary Crane checks into The Bates Motel, Norman goes the extra mile to please his midnight guest. However, as Norman’s precarious mental state drives him down a violent path, Mary is being served something far more sinister than a hot dinner with a smile.

Ebenezer Scrooge (A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens)

Image credit: Walt Disney

“If I could work my will, every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. He should!”

Every year, a selfish miser Ebenezer Scrooge greets each holiday with ‘bah humbug’, until, one Christmas Eve, he is visited by three ghosts. One by one, the Spirits of Past, Present and Future torment the miserable old man, toying with his conscience. Throughout this ominous night, Scrooge learns some important lessons about charity, generosity and kindness. The miraculous transformation of the main character has touched the hearts of millions of readers, earning its rightful place on the Classics shelf.

Mr Sleuth (The Lodger by Marie Belloc Lowndes)

Image credit: Audible

“Laura smiled a little wanly in the twilight. "Far more afraid of flesh and blood than ghosts," she murmured.”

A gothic cautionary tale for adults warning of what might happen, if one were to take in a lodger! The arrival of Mr Sleuth at the house of an elderly couple on Marylebone Road coincides with a spate of serial killings of women in the East End. This is a splendid story of the macabre that became the inspiration for Hitchcock's first movie, "The Lodger".

Dorian Gray (The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde)

Image credit: Alliance Films

“You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit.”

The life of Dorian Gray changes dramatically upon his arrival in London, where he is introduced to a superficial circle of friends, bringing the worst out of him. In his shallow obsession with youth and beauty, Gray commissions his portrait destined to preserve his looks. But how far will Dorian be willing to go to satisfy his ego?

One of the most controversial works of its time, this tale of vanity ruffled some feathers in Victorian England. Many considered the novel, exploring selfishness and cruelty, to have a corrupting effect, undermining the morals of society.

Macbeth (Macbeth by William Shakespeare)

Image credit: Anton Capital Entertainment

“Life ... is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.”

Shakespeare’s shortest tragedy tells the story of a Scottish general who receives a prophesy from three witches predicting a royal future for the soldier. Driven by dark desires and spurred on by his wife, Macbeth unleashes his deadly obsession with power. He then sets in motion his murderous plan to take the Scottish throne. Notorious for its superstition and witchcraft, Macbeth is often considered to be cursed by many actors.

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