Well, you’ve done it. You’ve made the leap. You are now a bonafide henchman of the Secret World Order. Whether you’ll be slinging a submachine gun over your shoulder, performing maintenance checks on the bunker’s generator, or ticking off boxes on your clipboard, you have signed your name up to fight alongside some of the baddest, maddest, most sinister-est men and women in the world today! Hooray!
Sure, overtime may be mandatory. Yes, the purple beret never fits properly. And okay, sometimes your Line Manager Mr Claymore, seems to appear beside you without you ever seeing him walk through the door – but you know what? There are worse bosses out there. Whether they are actively murdering their paid staff, being a bit of a wet blanket or otherwise being a little too evil for you to handle, the world of villainy can be a dark and disturbing place.
Trust me, one look at this list and you’ll be queuing up to sweep out the Shark tank filters on your Sunday off – and be thankful for it!
6. Dr. Evil – Austin Powers series (1997-2002)
There are many things about Dr. Evil that can make a minion break out in a cold sweat. The threat of being sent to assassinate the Man Of Mystery himself, Austin Powers, is certainly daunting for most. Likewise, the ever-present threat of pools of water filled with vicious, ill-tempered sea life with no safety rails in sight can also be quite disturbing. If you ever foul up your work, you might even find yourself sliding into the depths of an incinerator – and one that might not even work properly, either!
But the real issue with being on Dr. Evil’s payroll is his tendency to humiliate people who aren’t on the top of their game. His constant poking, prodding and bouncing of balls directly on your snozzer is enough to force a grown man to tears – in front of everyone! Not even Janine from the Postroom will look at you now. If you don’t meet his criteria, he will go so far as to dismiss everyone around him. Except for that guy. And that guy. And those two. And the guy with a wrench. And that guy twiddling knobs looking like he’s doing something.
Well, this is awkward.
5. Frau Irene Engel – Wolfenstein: The New Order/The New Colossus (2014-2017)
Cold, merciless, violent and spine-chillingly terrifying, Frau Engel is arguably one of the most sinister characters in the dark world of Nazi occupation, as shown in Wolfenstein: The New Order and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus. Where she started as a sadistic, sociopathic adversary of BJ Blazkowicz, she swiftly rose through the ranks of the Nazi Party, going so far as to control her very own flying fortress above the skies of 1960s America, hunting terrorists down wherever they hide.
What makes her stand out is her unusual levels of cruelty and childlike glee when taking lives. While she never seemed to actively harm the soldiers beneath her, her professionalism never quite extended as far as her own children. Raising her daughter Sigrun to become a monstrous murderer in her image, she openly discussed the possibility of euthanising her, simply for being out of shape.
Better not ask for that second dollop of strudel, soldier.
4. Adrian Veidt – Watchmen (1986/2009)
After Veidt hung up his cloak and denounced his vigilante past as Ozymandias, Veidt built a financial empire on his superhero past, and raked in millions. Seeing the way of the world, Veidt used his new income to fund a new project – a secret project. Whether you’re reading the graphic novel or watching the Zak Snyder movie (which I will defend to the death, anyone who hates on it), two very different paths lead to the same result – a manufactured catastrophe designed to unite humanity and end the Cold War once and for all.
For the small army of scientists, artists and otherwise talented know-it-alls, what did they make of their grand magnum opus? No one will ever know. Like the rulers of old, blinding the architects of their vast cathedrals so they may never build anything greater, Veidt had his loyal staff murdered in horrible, brutal ways just to keep them quiet. Nice one, Boss.
3. Kim Jong Il/Alien Cockroach – Team America: World Police (2004)
I realise, by the way, that I am going a little off the beaten trail here. Yes, Team America is more action than espionage, but you have to admit – it has all the hallmarks of an epic spy-fi tale. You have a group of professionals acting against a conspiracy to destroy life as we know it, with an evil mastermind at the head of it all. And what a mastermind – it is, by all appearances, Kim Jong Il himself. The then-leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Il is cast here as a sinister, if somewhat sad, man who will not suffer fools gladly.
It is made most clear when the Dear Leader is frustrated when a Chechnyan terrorist leader is unable to take a delivery of WMDs, insisting that it must be the fault of the translator – before callously shooting him in the back of the head. Throw in a sadistic execution of a UN Weapons Inspector, a tank of man-eating sharks and a pair of killer panthers (and totally not kittens) just lounging around the palace and you have one bad mother.
Bonus points for revealing his true form and leaving the planet on a dinky little spaceship, swearing revenge on Team America. But they’ll be waiting, Kim Jong Il. They’ll be waiting.
2. Number Two – The Prisoner (1967)
You’ve heard of this, don’t even pretend you haven’t. The story goes that in a post-Danger Man universe, retired or disgraced secret agents are swept up and taken to The Village. With no idea where they are, who they’re dealing with or even, in some cases, who they are themselves, the inhabitants of The Village are brainwashed, bullied or coerced into revealing any secrets they hold, while also losing any trace of identity. Supervised by the secretive Number Two, not even the audience back home are privy to all the secrets of The Village, or the true fate of the eponymous prisoner in Number Six.
Why is he on this list? Because, frankly, not even those who work for Number Two understand what the hell he’s blabbering on about. Is there anything worse than a manager who can’t express himself clearly? The worst thing of all, you’re never quite sure who the hell he is. Each time we meet Number Two, he is a different person with a different personality – each as baffling as the last.
What a nightmare.
1. Ernst Stavro Blofeld – James Bond series (1963-present)
As obligatory James Bond references go, this one’s a goody. Blofeld is the quintessential nemesis to every wannabe Secret Agent. The head of the global criminal organisation, SPECTRE, Blofeld is the mastermind behind each and every bad thing to happen across the globe – certainly as far as he is concerned, anyway. But surely, I hear you cry, such a legacy of evil would be something to aspire to as an entry level evil minion? Wouldn’t you want to join his side?
Nope! As Blofeld himself makes it clear, “this organisation does not tolerate failure.” You have less than one chance in SPECTRE. If you’re lucky, you’ll be shot. If not, you’ll end up feeding the piranhas, appeasing the sharks or otherwise horribly killed. Seriously, if you thought certain evil empires in deep space were bad, you haven’t met this chrome dome psychopath.
Avoid. Avoid. Avoid. If you’re unlucky enough to already work for him, try not to mention, you know, that thing. That thing around the eye. Don’t mention that. Don’t even look at that. Oh, boy.