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Everybody has a story, even villains like 'Cruella'. We're all more than meets the eye, so let’s see some of the best movies giving bad guys a backstory!

Disney’s ‘Cruella’: All the best movies giving iconic villains a backstory

Everybody has a story, a life as vivid & complex as your own, including all the bystanders you see in the street. There’s a word for that – it’s called “sonder”. And everybody, whether they’re good or bad, from Cruella to Batman, from real life to the movies – we’re all more than meets the eye!

When it comes to the heroes, however, we’re definitely going to hear their stories. They’ll only make us love our heroes even more, but what about the villains? As we said, we all have our stories, and the bad guys are no different. Hearing the antagonist’s story will usually send one or two thoughts our way – nature vs. nurture and sympathy for some of the worst people on the planet. 

Are villains born bad or are they turned that way? What turns a happy child into a villain? Sometimes, all we need is an origin story to change the way we see villains. Even the most iconic bad guys weren’t always villainous. After Disney’s Cruella, we’re all thinking about our favorite villains and where they come from. Do they deserve our sympathy? Let’s see with some of the best movies giving villains a backstory!

Maleficent (2014)

Cruella’s villain origin story was paved long before she made her latest on-screen appearance this year. In 2014, Disney gave us a story about a loveable evil queen. Unlike most of its kind, we’re not presented with some sugar-coated traumatizing childhood, but instead somebody who was simply stabbed in the back. 

In Maleficent, our villain protagonist’s beautiful wings are taken from her, and it seems like all she wants is revenge. Her desire to get even is heavily relatable, having us connect with her like she was real. Her complexity blooms when we’re shown her compassion for the princess that she herself cursed. 

There are plenty of villain stories, but Maleficent feels like one of a kind. 

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Washing the sugar away, let’s immerse ourselves in the deeply morbid content with the Dream Master himself, Freddy Kruger. We’re talking about a series that lasted nearly a decade. How could there not be more to Freddy?

Like Maleficent (though not a serial killer), Freddy’s motive is clear like clean water, but there’s nothing loveable about him. He’s conceived by a crowd of dangerously insane criminals having their way with his mother – and is tormented for it by the other kids at school! He seemed to have the makings of a serial killer, shown when he kills the class pet.

Later, when he grows up, he becomes the “Springwood Slasher,” killing the children of the people who tormented him. To stop him, the parents of Elm Street all gather together one night and set him on fire. 

And there’s still more to this guy’s story – nine movies worth!

The Incredibles (2004)

It really didn’t take that much to put the young Buddy Pine over the edge, but that only makes his story more intriguing. In the beginning of The Incredibles, Buddy is a kid who idolizes the Disney/Pixar hero Mr. Incredible. Ignored by his idol, Buddy vows for his retribution on all the superheroes he once admired.

Granted, Buddy’s story isn’t as intricate as the others on this list, but it’s still interesting to watch how such a small action can lead to great consequences. 

Mr. Incredible’s seemingly meaningless choice is what put Buddy on the path to become Syndrome, Mr. Incredible’s most horrific nemesis, showing how you never know how you could change somebody’s life!

Friday the 13th (1980)

Noticing any trends yet? It seems like the bad guys are always after revenge. So the moral of the story is, kids: be nice!

Though Jason Voorhees only appears at the end of the movie, the rest of the series gradually shows us his story. Born with deformities, poor Jason is teased relentlessly by the other children of Camp Crystal Lake. One day, they chase him all the way to the lake, causing him to fall in and drown.

Instead of doing their job and stopping the torment (before Jason falls in the lake), the camp counselors ignore the kids, too busy fornicating and allow the boy to drown. And then, the camp counselors made the mistake of killing the boy’s mother. No wonder he hacks every teenager who spends a night at Camp Crystal Lake

What’s your favorite villain story? Are you itching to watch Disney’s Cruella? Let us know in the comments! 

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