While most physicians seem more interested in making money that upholding the Hippocratic Oath, the bad movie doctors on this list put their real-life colleagues to shame. Sure, your family physician might rush you out of the office like you’re just a number, but at least he or she isn’t trying to eat you, scalp you, or harvest your organs for the black market. And I’m betting these guys don’t even accept all major insurance plans.
Name: Dr. George Harris
Played by: Richard Widmark
Appeared in: Coma (1978)
Why He’s Bad: The chief of surgery at Boston Memorial Hospital, Dr. Harris has select patients wheeled into Operating Room 8, where he promptly provides them with a large dose of carbon monoxide instead of oxygen. Once they’ve been declared brain dead, they’re moved to a special facility to await the time when wealthy old coots need their organs. And never accept a Scotch on the rocks from this guy (like one character does), or you just may find yourself suspended from the ceiling by wires.
Name: Dr. Hannibal Lecter
Played by: Anthony Hopkins and Brian Cox
Appeared in: Manhunter (1986), The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Hannibal (2001), Red Dragon (2002), Hannibal Rising (2007)
Why He’s Bad: The king of bad movie doctors, Lecter encourages one patient to eat his own face, stuffs the severed head of another in a storage unit, devours a nosy census taker, and kills off another man simply for being a bad musician. But he’s charismatic as hell, and his talents range from art to classical literature. Born into the aristocracy of Lithuania, he witnessed his own sister being murdered and eaten by Nazis during World War II. This sparked a lifelong fascination with the subject, earning him the nickname “Hannibal the Cannibal.” Unless you’re an FBI trainee with cheap shoes, be very careful around this madman.
Name: Dr. Evan Rendell, Jr. aka Dr. Giggles
Played by: Larry Drake
Appeared in: Dr. Giggles (1992)
Specialty: Never attended medical school
Why He’s Bad: As a boy, young Evan (nicknamed “Dr. Giggles” for his high-pitched laugh) enthusiastically helped his doctor dad cut out people’s hearts in an attempt to bring back his dear, deceased mother. When his father was killed off by the locals, Evan disappeared. But history has a way of repeating itself, and Evan escapes from an asylum 35 years later and comes looking for payback. Using mundane instruments like tongue depressors as lethal weapons, Dr. Giggles is also skilled at removing bullets from himself and stalking teenage girls wearing heart monitors. And, yes, he still retains that annoying laugh after all these years.
Name: Dr. Julius No
Played by: Joseph Wiseman
Appeared in: Dr. No (1962)
Specialty: Unknown if he finished medical school
Why He’s Bad: While many of the bad movie doctors on this list are interested in wreaking death and destruction on lone individuals, Dr. Julius No is a man who thinks big. Safe in his underground lair on the island of Crab Key, he plans to sabotage an American space launch using a special radio beam weapon. Having lost both his hands due to experiments with radiation, No wields two powerful metal pincers that are quite adept at crushing statues and pesky British spies. He’s even got a trio of assassins known as the “Three Blind Mice,” plus a tractor with a mounted flamethrower that the superstitious locals believe to be a dragon. Of course, not that any of this does him a damn bit of good against 007.
Name: Dr. Nick Cavanaugh
Played by: Julian Sands
Appeared in: Boxing Helena (1993)
Why He’s Bad: It must be really lonely in Atlanta, because this brooding surgeon spends most of his free time obsessing over the lovely-yet-bitchy Helena (Sherilyn Fenn). When she gets run over by a car in front of his house, he wastes no time in dragging her inside and performing the operation himself. Of course, those lovely legs have to go, and later on her arms are also removed to prevent escape. From that point on, he’s got a sexy little stump to fawn over, although Helena verbally kicks him in the nuts every chance she gets. He also works alongside Art Garfunkel at the hospital, so that earns him a few bonus points for weirdness.
Name: Dr. Heiter
Played by: Dieter Laser
Appeared in: The Human Centipede (First Sequence) (2009)
Specialty: Separating conjoined twins
Why He’s Bad: First of all, he’s German. As everyone knows, any German character in a film is either a Nazi or completely insane. I don’t know about the first part, but Dr. Heiter is certainly the latter. Shooting tourists with his tranquilizer gun, he moves them to his underground operating room and prepares to create a human centipede by attaching them ass-to-mouth. He also did the same with his dogs, even fondly keeping a picture of the grotesque creation on his nightstand.
Name: Dr. Beverly Mantle & Dr. Elliot Mantle
Played by: Jeremy Irons
Appeared in: Dead Ringers (1988)
Why He’s Bad: If you’re a doctor in a David Cronenberg film, you’re already halfway to the nuthouse before the opening credits finish. If you’re a pair of identical twin gynecologists, then you’re really in trouble. Beverly is especially nutty, his paranoia over his lover’s perceived infidelity causing him to hallucinate about mutant women with bizarre genitalia. Wielding custom-made surgical instruments for these mutant hussies, Bev sinks deeper and deeper into madness. It finally gets to Elliot, too, and the twins resolve to separate themselves in an ill-advised procedure featuring lots and lots of red.
Name: Dr. Josef Mengele
Played by: Gregory Peck
Appeared in: The Boys from Brazil (1978)
Why He’s Bad: The real-life Josef Mengele was a twisted Nazi madman who killed thousands during his concentration camp experiments. The movie version isn’t much better, as he creates 94 clones of Adolph Hitler in Canada, Europe, and the United States. As the boys begin to grow up, Mengele plans to jump-start their development into the next Fuhrer by killing their fathers and otherwise recreating events from Hitler’s life. While you’d certainly expect an aging Nazi hunter (Laurence Olivier) to disapprove, even Mengele’s superiors are horrified by his experiments. When you manage to creep out a bunch of Nazis, you can be certain of your complete and absolute craziness.
Name: Dr. Philip Channard
Played by: Kenneth Cranham
Appeared in: Hellbound: Hellraiser II
Why He’s Bad: Between trying to open a portal to Hell and having sex with a woman without skin, Dr. Channard is one mad bastard. He also sacrifices his own patients to further his experiments, eventually being transformed into a monstrous Cenobite for his troubles. Wielding crazy tentacles that open like flowers and produce blades, he’s moved around by a giant stalk connected to his head. While he does manage to get the better of Pinhead and his cohorts, Channard eventually meets the kind of fate we’d expect from a villain in a Clive Barker story.
Name: Dr. Robert Elliott
Played by: Michael Caine
Appeared in: Dressed to Kill (1980)
Why He’s Bad: Spoiler alert! The plot of Dressed to Kill revolves around a tall, blonde woman who’s cutting people up with a straight razor. Dr. Robert Elliott is a psychiatrist who lost one of his patients (Angie Dickinson) to the killer, but he also turns out to be the culprit. He’s a mad transvestite, driven to kill whenever he becomes sexually aroused by women. In addition to slicing up hot women from the early ‘80s, Dr. Elliott aka “Bobbi” enjoys leaving himself threatening phone messages in a woman’s voice and even scheduling appointment with himself. All kinds of crazy, Bobbi predictably received a cool response from gay and transsexual viewers.
The next time you’re sitting in the doctor’s office for what seems like an eternity, just think back to this list and be grateful. After all, someone could be eating your liver with some fava beans and a nice chiante.