80s movie villains who Deserve a Comeback

The late ’70s and ’80s gave movie-going audiences quite the collection of spine-tingling baddies to love. Freddy from Nightmare on Elm Street, the xenomorphs of Alien and Aliens, and, of course, the Predators (who are currently making their triumphant return in The Predator.)

But what about the lesser appreciated villains and monsters of the decade? They need a return to the movie world too! And that’s what this list is for – to examine just some of the non-rebooted baddies of the ’80s that need a bit of revisiting. Some of their comebacks are down the cinematic pipeline, while others aren’t even a thought in the minds of studio execs. So grab your favorite VHS tape and  revisit just a few of the many deserving antagonists who should be brought back to movie screens.

The Kurgan from Highlander

Coming from a tribe that would “toss children into pits full of starved dogs, and watch them fight for meat” (according to a certain Egyptian-born Spaniard immortal), The Kurgan from Highlander always seemed like both the coolest and the most disgusting of the ’80s fantasy/action genre bad guys. Played by the iconic (and oddly crush-worthy to my weirdo self) Clancy Brown, The Kurgan has always left an impression of being a man who has no limits, and will do anything to get what he wants – including fighting Sean Connery! Who dares to try and decapitate James Bond?! Well, clearly the Kurgan does, without a bit of fear in his eyes.

So why mention this crazy hair cut, leather rocking baddy on this list? Well, there keeps being rumors of a Highlander reboot in the works, and even some rumblings of Dave Bautista playing The Kurgan – and I’m not gonna lie, I really like the sound of that. Bautista has shown how much he’s grown as an actor (especially in his short cameo in Blade Runner 2049), and with his size and intense glare, he’d make a great Kurgan. But even more so than a Highlander reboot, I want the Kurgan to get his own origin movie, not so that we feel sympathy for him, but rather fear him even more as a villain. Sprinkle it with elements from the recent Highlander comics, and you got a recipe for Kurgan excellence.

The Beast from Krull

Krull might be one of the most uneven sci-fi/fantasy films of the ’80s. It has some good special effects, coupled with some ones that were dated from the moment the movie first screened in cinemas. The story has some interesting beats, but also has way too many plot holes that make you wonder how it even got financed in the first place. But the one thing that remains the best part of the movie, even some 30 plus years later, is the film’s villain: The Beast. With his deep red eyes and horrifying teeth, this destroyer of worlds has yet to escape my mind.

But why should he come back to the big screen? Simple – Hollywood needs more ugly, unsympathetic bad guys. There is a tiny bit of backstory related to this creature (and how he was involved with the Cyclops species within Krull), but maybe with a better written and more thoroughly conceived movie, we can get the full truly grotesque and terrifying Beast experience. Get Andy Serkis to play him, and the team at WETA Digital to give him a refresh, and he’ll continue to terrifying little kids (like yours truly back in the day) and intergalactic princesses for decades to come!

Darkness from Legend

Probably my favorite movie bad guy of all time, Darkness from Ridley Scott’s Legend will always have a special place in my heart. Not only is he played by the immortal Tim Curry (in one of his most, if not the most, under-appreciated role of his career), but with the makeup talents of artist Rob Bottin, Darkness became one monster you didn’t ever want to mess with – especially if you are an unicorn or Tom Cruise. Couple all those facts with his ridiculous height, irresistible belly laugh, and wonderful taste in fashion and truly, what is not to like about Darkness?

Since the film’s 1985 release, there has yet to be a depiction of the devil more interesting and captivating than this and Darkness deserves to terrify audiences once again. Maybe a story revolving around Jack and Lily’s adventures after the first movie could give us more time to learn about Darkness, and how his life was changed after the film’s ending… depending on what cut of Legend you watched, that is. Regardless, there has to be some way to reintroduce this vision of evil on the big screen – especially so we can see those big yellow eyes in glorious IMAX.

horror movies for kids

The Monsters from The Monster Squad

Hey, remember Universal’s Dark Universe project? Yeah, it would have been “interesting” to see the classic monsters of cinema all “edged” up for today’s audiences, but the concept just never felt right. Even with all the cool casting ideas (including genuinely awesome casting like Angelina Jolie as the Bride of Frankenstein), none of it seemed like the logical way to reintroduce audiences to the OG movie creatures of Hollywood’s past. But you know what would make sense, especially in the Stranger Things-obsessed era we live in? Bringing back the baddies (and the whole cast) of The Monster Squad!

With its growing cult status and loyal fanbase, The Monster Squad needs to make a genuine comeback – one that pays homage to what came before. It should continue the story of a small band of kids, going up against the greatest Halloween friendly villains the world has ever seen. It also would be incredible to see other kids from around the world go up against their culture’s famous monsters in a similar way.

Skeletor from Masters of the Universe

With a mixture of creepy intensity and a dash of delicious campFrank Langella tried his best at making Skeletor a captivating bad guy. Heck, Langella even considers it among his favorite parts that he’s ever played, and it shows on screen. But with tons of episodes of the He-Man animated series already existing in the minds of young fans, and the decline in popularity of the toy line to which the show was based on, Langella’s performance fell by the wayside at the time.

But with the on-again, off-again news of a Masters of the Universe reboot, Skeletor has yet to make his long-deserved comeback. I’d love to see this nostalgic baddie (along with the rest of the franchise) return to the big screen, but this time in a movie that matches the tone of what Langella was attempting to showcase with his performance. He shouldn’t rock a rejected Solid Gold costume, nor exist within the framework of a piss-poor script. Skeletor deserves to be known as the villain that audiences love but will equally fear, and not just as the skeleton dude that screams “And he prays” in a meme video.

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