Forgotten Superhero Movie Villains!


Gene Hackman’s name is almost synonymous with that of Superman’s arch enemy Lex Luthor, Jack Nicholson’s bank balance reminds him everyday why he decided to play The Joker in Tim Burton’s “Batman”, and Julian McMahon was so determined to prove his Doctor Doom was bad to the bone that he played him twice. But what of the forgotten superhero movie villains? Which cinematic graveyard can you find their tombstones? Er, the Moviehole crematorium…?

by Olivia Marne, Captain Cumquat and Phoebe Gallagher.

Bryan Marshall as Dino Moretti
“The Punisher” (1989)
Having been filmed in Australia, it was a given that local talent would be hired to fill the supporting spots in the Dolph Lundgren starrer – but as the main villain, mobster Moretti, the guy that hosted “Australia’s Most Wanted”!? What were they thinking? Was Red Symons too busy on “Hey, Hey”!?

Martin Sheen as Jason Wynn
“Spawn” (1997)
Alongside Michael Jai White’s ‘Spawn’, Charlie and Emilio’s dad channeled his inner madman to play sinister suit Jason Wynn in the feature film adaption of Todd MacFarlane’s comic. Though John Leguizamo played the films main villain, The Clown, Sheen’s no less memorable in the film – if even because of a shocking hair dye and beard stick-on he donned in it. Thinking Sheen was much more at home playing President Bartlett on “The West Wing” a couple of years later. Don’t expect him to be a part of the inevitable reboot.

Joseph Culp as Doctor Doom
“Fantastic Four” (1994)
Having not been released, and only available illegally throughout the black bagged areas of a comic convention, we of course have never seen *cough* this terrible movie *cough * but we do know that actor and filmmaker Joseph Culp played Victor Von Doom in it. Culp, the son of “Greatest American Hero” legend Robert Culp, was – like everyone else in director Roger Corman’s shunted release – robbed of an opportunity and then some here. Work hasn’t dried up though, Culp continues to both act and make his own films – he recently appeared in several episodes of “Mad Men”, and made a movie about 9/11 called “The Reflecting Pool”.

Faye Dunaway as Selena
“Supergirl” (1984)
About the only one that benefited from this film flop were red boot manufacturers. Not that playing the evil magic woman at the center of the comic book movie hurt Faye Dunaway’s career at all; ‘Bonnie’ would live to escape cinematic incarceration. Helen Slater played the title role, and is apparently still receiving sumly residual cheques for it, so it wasn’t a total waste of time (for those involved).

Scott Paulin as Red Skull
“Captain America” (1990)
Before Hugo Weaving made out with red paint, actor Scott Paulin got to give Steve Rogers his best growl. The performance of the “Teen Wolf” actor (he was the theatre director in the Michael J.Fox movie) left a lot to be desired, but then so did everything else about the horrible direct to video cheapie. Matt Salinger, son of famed author J.D, played the title role.

David Boreanaz as Luc Crash
“The Crow : Wicked Prayer” (2005)
The “Angel” and “Bones” star has been rumoured for superhero parts for years (in fact, he even tested for Superman at one stage) but I’m thinking the closest he’s ever going to get to playing such a character – and if only because he’s not getting any younger – is his forgettable turn as a maniacal satanist in the fourth “Crow” movie. I tell you, you haven’t seen a “Crow” movie until you see Eddie Furlong flap his deadly wings in the direction of Tara Reid’s speed bumps. I joke.

Mark Hamill as The Trickster
In “The Flash” (TV, 1990)
“Star Wars” Luke Skywalker was cast as Barry Allen’s (John Wesley Shipp) nemesis, The Trickster, about halfway through the first season. Hamill was terrific in the role – hammy but deliciously maniacal. Later on Hamill would become a regular go- to guy for voice-over roles (namely, ‘The Joker’), in several animated TV series and movies.

Nick Nolte as David Banner
“Hulk” (2003)
The “48 Hours” good guy played evil dad to Eric Bana’s Incredible Hulk in the controversial superhero pic. Nolte’s unstable David Banner would absorb his sons powers and become a Hulk-like creature himself, setting the scene for a big old freaky family feud. The same scene would later be tweaked, polished and replayed again-and-again in countless other pissing-away-money blockbusters.

Armand Assante as Rico
“Judge Dredd” (1995)
Casting definitely wasn’t the Sly Stallone film’s strong point, but there’s worse actors than Mambo King Assante director Danny Canon could’ve cast to play the psycho ex-Judge Rico. Still, guessing the movie isn’t one Assante has highlighted on his CV for future prospective employers.

Peter Greene as Dorian Tyrell
“The Mask” (1994)
Jim Carrey brought the comic book to life in the insanely successful 1994 flick, but Peter Greene – then somewhat of a “go to guy” for rogue roles; he also appeared, around the same time, in “Pulp Fiction”, “Under Siege 2”, “Judgment Night” and “The Usual Suspects”, and essentially playing the same role in each one – added a mild edge as the mobster hot on green face’s tail.

Judd Nelson as Nathaniel Burke
“Steel” (1997)
Whoever thought to cast basketball star Shaquille O’Neal as DC Comics character John Henry Irons needs their head read.. Unless, of course , that same person cast the reliable Judd Nelson (“The Breakfast Club”, “New Jack City”) as the films rogue; having seen his super nasty work in underrated thriller “Relentless”, the Brat Packer wasn’t such a bad idea. Unlike the movie.

Colin Friels as Louis Strack
“Darkman” (1990)
Back when he was trying to break into the U.S market – and he did, if even briefly – Aussie actor Colin Friels (“Malcolm”) got to ham it up as comic-book villain Louis Strack, a corrupt developer who has been bribing members of the zoning commission and working in cahoot with a mobster (Larry Drake), in the Sam Raimi-directed film. Liam Neeson, you’ll recall, played the hero Dr Peyton Westlake with Frances McDormand playing love interest to both Neeson and Friels’ characters.

Treat Williams as Xander Drax
“The Phantom” (1996)
Though best known these days for his ‘good guy’ roles, thanks to TV’s “Everwood”, Treat Williams did get to turn on the nasty for the 1996 film adaptation of the cult comic classic “The Phantom”. The veteran actor plays a pirate – after, of course, the skulls – who gives the guy in purple a run for his money, even kidnapping his girlfriend (Kristy Swanson) at one stage in the picture.

Can you think of any more ‘forgotten superhero movie villains’!?