It seems that there is something particularly villainous about the miniaturized affect of a goatee or beard sans cheeks, because there are a disproportionate amount of villains across the far reaches of cinema that are clad with this specific beard style. Now, to say that they are a disproportionate grouping of the whole of movie villains is not entirely accurate, as, in reality, the vast majority of movie villains are actually clean-shaven. Coincidence? We think not. The matter of fact is that those villains with any facial hair at all – which are, as we’ve stated, in the minority of the total number of villains – are, at least largely, found to be wearing this neither-hear-nor-there chin and moustache arrangement. Let us just take a walk through the annals of cinematic mischievousness and see what looks like what…
Alonzo Harris – Training Day
The always-astonishing Denzel Washington put on his meanest, scariest and certainly most ruthless face when he suited up to play the crooked detective Alonzo Harris in the 2001 film Training Day. And evidently that face had a goatee on it. For anyone who has seen that movie, there’s at least one scene that haunts your dreams, and that corrupt goatee is like the epicenter of the terror, surrounding the mouth from which so much horror emerges.
Jacobim Mugatu – Zoolander
Not quite as fearsome as a murderous, gangster cop, Will Ferrell’s portrayal of notorious fashion mogul slash political saboteur Jacobim Mugatu, in the (oddly also) 2001 film Zoolander, is both hilarious and menacing in its own way. A character that may only have been made possible by the grace of Ferrell’s comic genius, there is no escaping the obvious and quite foreboding white chin beard upon Mugatu’s face.
Hugo Drax – Moonraker
With fewer facial scars and more jet black hair than other Bond villains (namely Ernst Stavro Blofeld), fans of James Bond films were introduced, in the 1979 film Moonraker, to Michael Lonsdale’s rendering of Hugo Drax, evil industrialist bent on annihilating humanity only to repopulate the earth from a private space station. Drax was certainly more terrifying than any villain suffering from alopecia.
Jafar – Aladdin
Despite his being a mere animation, Jafar, Grand Vizier of Agraba in Disney’s 1992 film Aladdin, was one deviant character. And his being animated made him no less frightening to the median age group of spectators of this particular classic. In hindsight, it might seem a little curious just how much he looked like the musician Prince, and why his face was so small in comparison to the rest of his body (perhaps his underlying cause for such melodrama), but boy are we glad that Robin Williams was there.
Ra’s al Ghul – Batman Begins
Finally, we have the always exciting, and suddenly rather treacherous Liam Neeson as the mentor-turned-menace Ra’s al Ghul in the 2005 film Batman Begins. The deception of his role is that he creates a batman out of an otherwise existentially adrift Bruce Wayne, only to combat him in a battle of might and wit. It was a great film, but we prefer when Liam is the good guy.
So, even though this is but a small sampling of the vast pool of movie villains throughout history, we can see that there is some odd link between the choice of a villain to grow facial hair and the subsequent choice to manicure it into a goatee or the like. Whatever the underlying rhyme or reason is for this peculiar trend, it’s better that you know about it before cutting down your beard into a goatee, only to find out afterwards that you look like a notorious Bond villain or corrupt cop. We’re just looking out for you!