They're the meanest, the worst, the embodiment of animated evil - but without them, our favorite Disney movies would be pretty uneventful. Playing the Ying to our beloved protagonist's Yang, these villainous foe are among the 10 best wrongdoers in the Disney universe.
Claude Frollo (The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
How Frollo made it past Disney's censors is beyond us. He takes animated evil to a whole new level, a dark place that most children probably can't even comprehend. Think of a character with the genocidal instincts of Adolph Hitler and a cold callousness and determination to do what he must to get what he wants, even if it means slaughtering an entire cultural group. While purging Paris of Gypsies, Frollo kills young Quasimodo's mother and, to atone for his sins, allows the deformed child to live, raising him in the cathedral. His fatherly instincts lacking, Frollo often berates Quasimodo and doesn't hesitate to turn on the half-formed when his lust for the Gypsy Esmeralda further drives his wickedness. Frollo's lustful and fiendish darker side is about as depraved and evil as a Disney movie can handle.
The Evil Queen (Snow White and the Seven Dwarves)
A character so sinister that even Disney's production team couldn't think of a more fitting name for her, The Evil Queen's hateful rampage against the beauty that is Snow White is reprehensible and petty. When her query to the Magic Mirror as to who is the "fairest one of all" produces an unfavorable answer, The Evil Queen sets out to rid herself of the competition, otherwise known as Snow White. Disguising herself as an old hag with good intentions, the Queen feeds the fair Disney princess a tainted apple which will cause her to slip into "The Sleeping Death," curable only by "Love's First Kiss." Sometimes it doesn't pay to be the most beautiful…
Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty)
Despite what Angelina Jolie's recent live-action movie may say, Maleficent will always have a place in our hearts as one of Disney's finest villains. What makes Maleficent quite the dubious devil are not just the actions she takes against King Stefan and Princess Leah, but why she's hell bent on killing their daughter, Aurora. Upon the birth of Aurora, Stefan and Leah host a christening and invites the Three Good Fairies. Maleficent, enraged that she wasn't invited to the christening, bestows a curse upon the child which states that upon her 16th birthday, she will prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and die. Seems like kind of an extreme reaction, no?
Ursula (The Little Mermaid)
She doesn't want much, just your voice! While many of Disney's evil entities are up front about their true intentions, some are a bit sneakier. The sea witch cecaelian, Ursula, disguises her misdeeds as acts of mercy towards the unfortunate sea-dwellers that seek her help. Through magic spells, she bestows her customers with what they wish, imposing impossible stipulations for her services. When they're unable to fulfill their end of the bargain, they're added to the sea witch's growing collection. Ursula's greatest deception came at the expense of Ariel - daughter of King Triton - in order to rule the seas. For the price of her voice, the witch turned Ariel into a human in order to woo the man of her dreams, giving her 72 hours to receive the "kiss of true love." You can guess how poorly things went for Ariel and Triton.
Being Royal Vizier to the Sultan of Agrabah, the sinister Jafar is close enough to a position of power that his malicious intents are easy to act upon, especially when he can manipulate the Sultan to unsuspectingly do his bidding. As with most Disney villains, Jafar seeks more power and aims to take Agrabah as his own, but needs some help doing so. Enter his need for Aladdin to retrieve the Genie lamp. In order to overthrow the Sultan, Jafar cooks up a nefarious plot that involves arresting Aladdin to trick him into liberating the lamp, marrying Princess Jasmine to usurp the throne, and eventually using the power of the Genie to take Agrabah as his own. To show just how evil he is, Jafar morphs himself into a giant King Cobra and a more demonic version of Genie.
Scar (The Lion King)
There is definitely no subtlety behind Scar's malevolent motivations, nor is there any question as to just how evil the cunning lion really is. As younger brother to Mufasa, the king of the Pride Lands, Scar grew up with resentment and envy clouding his mind. Once known as Taka, Scar's name change came after an initial attempt to thwart Mufasa's claim to the throne in The Lion King prequel book, A Tale of Two Brothers. As an adult, the sly uncle to Simba - Mufasa's son and heir to the throne - has a far more murderous appetite which he satiates by killing his brother and shaming Simba into thinking Mufasa's death was his fault. Sounds like a nice guy, right?
Gaston (Beauty and the Beast)
I'm as slick as Gaston and as quick as Gaston, I can act, speak, squeek, and can narrate like Gaston! <clears throat and chuckles> Sorry, I just had too...
A good villain needs to be made up of a slew of gross traits. The hunter Gaston has his share and more of personality quirks that earn him a spot amongst Disney's finest foe. Arrogant, egotistical, chauvinistic, superficial, conniving, and greedy are just the tip of the very thick iceberg, but all of these pale in comparison to his most odious trait - he is a killer. In his impossible quest to take Belle as his bride, the crude Gaston realizes the obstacle that stands in his way is the literal beast in the castle, and so he sets off to kill the monster. When he realizes he'll never have Belle to himself, regardless of what stands in his way, he resorts to wanting to kill the beast just so the creature can't have Belle.
Cruella de Vil (One Hundred and One Dalmations)
Want to really drive home that a character is evil to their core? Make her a bony hag that smokes constantly and has only one goal: skin 99 Dalmatian puppies to make a fur coat out of. Her obsession with wealth and her deadly fashion sense sets her on a constant pursuit of the dogs, giving her a unique and slightly more morbid arc to the Disney franchise. The crotchety woman doesn't want power and she has all the riches one could need - she's in it just for the satisfaction of adding another gem to her collection of dead animal furs, a need that sends her spiraling into madness.
Captain Hook (Peter Pan)
Captain Hook's persistence on capturing and defeating Peter Pan is more of a fixation fueled by the fact that Pan himself was the cause of Hook's missing left hand, which he cut off and fed to the Crocodile, Tick-Tock. Add in the frustrations that he also can't fly and is constantly pursued by the oversized Crocodylinae, and you have what drives the bitter, vile old pirate. What separates Hook from many other Disney villains is that he's not in search of power. His entire life revolves around his obsession with capturing and killing the youthful Pan and forgoes the typical rewards of limitless power, control, or obtaining impossible love. Hook's uniqueness is really what makes him one of Disney's more memorable villains as you're left wondering what he would do should he ever succeed in dispatching Pan.
Oogie Boogie (The Nightmare Before Christmas)
As the one evil force that haunts Halloween Town in Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas, Oogie Boogie has to really shine as a villain to stand out amongst the crowd of creeps, ghouls, and monsters. What better way to seem abhorrent in the eyes of the film's child viewers than to threaten the sanctity of Christmas and the king of Christmas himself, Santa Claws. Jack may have been misguided in his attempt to take over Christmas, but Oogie bleeds malevolence… and bugs. In the extended universe that spans two video games, The Pumpkin King for Gameboy Advance and Capcom's The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge, it's revealed that Oogie was once king of his own holiday, Bug Day, but when it was dissolved, he slunk into Halloween Town and often sets his sights on the Pumpkin King's throne.