When we’re sick, we entrust them with our health, sometimes even with our lives. In real life, doctors swear an oath to Do No Harm. In TV and movies, such as this week’s release of ‘A Cure for Wellness’, that rule is often a little… shall we say, pliant. In today’s Roundtable, let’s take a look at some of the worst or even downright evil doctors Hollywood has scared us with.
One could argue that he’s more smarmy and manipulative than actually evil, but my vote goes to Dr. Gaius Baltar, as played by James Callis in the ‘Battlestar Galactica‘ reboot. Our introduction to Baltar in the series began with actions that almost certainly made his character irredeemable: providing information to a Cylon that allowed his Colony’s defenses to drop, thus leading to the planet’s destruction. Never mind that Baltar thought he was just giving over some otherwise meaningless info to a leggy blonde who was going to use it in a contract negotiation, Baltar’s selfishness and narcissism (two traits that do not serve him well throughout the run of the series) were evident from the beginning. Perhaps the most deplorable thing about the character? While many of our heroes fall to the wayside during the show’s run, Baltar survives to the end – although I’m not sure he was ever able to find redemption.
Because I’m not a comic book reader, I hadn’t heard of Dr. Jonathan Crane until ‘Batman Begins‘ – but I immediately fell in love with him. As the villain Scarecrow, instead of helping heal minds, he breaks them. Although tasked by Ra’s al Ghul, he’s 100% diabolical on his own.
The puns from Batman variations of the past are mostly absent in Christopher Nolan’s darker ‘Dark Knight’ trilogy, but Crane gets a few in without coming across quite as cheesy as Arnold Schwarzenegger’s evil doctor character from the oh-so-bad ‘Batman & Robin’ movie. Cillian Murphy is a smug menace with no regard for rules, threats or the establishment. The only thing that makes his better is when he gets a dose of his own “medicine,” which makes him even more psychotic and unpredictable. It was great seeing him cameo in ‘The Dark Knight’ and ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ too.
Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)
When I was growing up, I wasn’t exactly the sort of kid who went in for a dental checkup every six months. My parents would instead take me every couple of years, and the question wasn’t “Does Adam have any cavities?” so much as “How many?” A trip to the dentist was an assurance that at some point I’d be subjected to that high-pitch whirr as the drill inched closer and closer to my terrified face.
I think I was 17 or 18 when I made the inexplicable decision to rent ‘The Dentist‘ on VHS the night before one of those ill-fated visits. It’s a wildly over-the-top horror flick from the director of ‘Bride of Re-Animator’ and ‘Return of the Living Dead III’, and that’s probably all the picture you really need me to paint.
Anyway, you probably think you know where this story is going: I watched a blood-drenched splatterfest about dentistry, find myself sitting in a dental chair hours later, and am scared out of my wits… Actually, the exact opposite happened: I could not stop laughing. Every single thing I saw in my dentist’s office brought to mind the ridiculous imagery I’d subjected myself to the night before, and every last bit of it had me in stitches. Yes, even when they pulled out that stupid drill. I never had a problem going to the dentist again after that. So thank you, Dr. Alan Feinstone. You may be psychotic and irredeemably evil, but I legitimately think you changed my life.
Three words: “Is it safe?” If you’ve seen ‘Marathon Man‘, you may have decided to never go to a dentist again. I can’t blame you.
I fully expected when I sent this topic out to the staff that Hannibal Lecter would be everyone’s first choice. Perhaps that just seemed too obvious, and nobody picked him. Whether you’re partial to Brian Cox’s take on the character in ‘Manhunter‘, Anthony Hopkins in ‘The Silence of the Lambs‘, or Mads Mikkelsen in the ‘Hannibal‘ TV series, the evil psychiatrist with a taste for human flesh is a potent creation.
Based on an early screenplay penned by Aaron Sorkin, ‘Malice‘ is an overheated suspense thriller with a plot that doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. However, Alec Baldwin’s turn as an arrogant surgeon with a raging god complex is a great deal of fun.
What are your favorite bad doctors from movies and TV? Tell us in the Comments.
The staff is going to take a long weekend for the President’s Day holiday. We’ll see you back here on Tuesday.