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Oh, you're a villain alright. Just not a super
Titan: Oh yeah? What's the difference?
In many conflicts between good and evil, who is going to be doing the lion's share of Chewing the Scenery
? The villain(s), more likely than not. It's one way they are Obviously Evil
and Drunk on the Dark Side
As for why, it's not known for sure. Maybe it's a reflection of their narcissism
and total lack of inhibitions.
Maybe they've decided that since they've already punted a few puppies,
called down the lightning, and donned the Spikes of Villainy
, they may as well have fun with it. And maybe the moral depravity of their act is balanced by how much fun
they are to watch. Or this is used to indicate how Power
and Evil feel Good
. Whatever the reason, scenery is an important part of every villain's daily balanced breakfast.
That isn't to say the heroes never get to have such moments, but the villains will get the clear majority of them. Of course, when they both do, the awesomeness factor increases tenfold
. A Genre Savvy Villain Protagonist
will act hammy just because it's expected.
Also, when the villains are pretending to be good guys in some stories, they don't really act hammy, but when they show who they really are, they let loose, almost as if being a Large Ham
is their true nature.
Often overlaps with Ham and Cheese
. Contrast Softspoken Sadist
(the villain is the calmest one in the room).
If a hero is a Large Ham
, or there is a World of Ham
, it's not this trope
(unless the villain manages to still out-ham everyone
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Anime & Manga
- Profion in Dungeons & Dragons.
- M. Bison in Street Fighter, OF COURSE!!!. Raul Julia certainly gave himself a DELICIOUS send-off. (Sagat is also a ham; he just pales in comparison to Bison.)
- Palpatine in Star Wars Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith, once it's known he is a Sith Lord. When he had his good guy facade on, he acted normally. When his evil side showed up, he started acting hammier. When he finally dropped the act altogether, he went to town (as Return Of The Jedi, done many years before, shows).
- In Dark Empire, Palpatine actually says "I AM the Dark Side!"
- This is actually something of an occupational hazard for Sith, since they draw their power from raw passion and self restraint is, consequently, not exactly on the agenda. Notice that Palpatine is always at his hammiest when using or about to use The Dark Side.
- The Chronicles of Riddick: Colm Feore (The Lord Marshal), Karl Urban (Vaako), and Thandie Newton (Dame Vaako). Note that all three characters mentioned are Necromongers.
- Almost every villain in TRON: Legacy is a Large Ham (with the exception of Rinzler), but especially the Big Bad. Clu uses his hamminess to make our world open and available to all of his programs. Yes! TO ALL OF THEM!!! And that's before you get to his agent, Zuse, who chews the scenery with his Bowie-esque nature. A ying and yang of hams, if you think about it.
- Lex Luthor in Superman wasn't really hammy, just full of himself, but General Zod is a true ham. Kneel Before Zod's ham. Although his first instance was justified in that he was desperately pleading to avoid A Fate Worse Than Death.
Lois Lane: But millions of people will die!
Lex Luthor: BILLIONS! Once again, the press underestimates me.
- The Rocky Horror Picture Show: "I'm just a Sweet Transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvaniaaaaaaa..."
- Come to think of it, 90% of Tim Curry's roles fall under this. If he's playing a villain, there's a good chance it'll be an awesomely hammy performance. Tim Curry does not know any other way to act other than completely over the top, chewing every piece of scenery in sight. And we love him for it.
"Excuse me, sir
!! Do you have Prince Albert in a can?? YOU DO?? Well, ya better let the poor guy out!"
- "Wuh-HUH! Wuh-HUH! Wuh-HUH!"
- Tim Curry outshines every Muppet as a Genre Savvy Long John Silver in Muppet Treasure Island.
- Freddy Krueger in the later A Nightmare On Elm Street films.
- As said above, a requirement for any Batman movie villain. Possible aversions are from The Dark Knight Saga: Ra's al Ghul is suave and subdued, and Two-Face is dead serious, particularly compared to The Joker.
- Christopher Lee occasionally indulges in this. Although fully capable of being subtle and understated, he knows what's expected of him. His performance in The Return of Captain Invincible especially showcases this.
- Al Pacino as the devil in The Devil's Advocate. Hell, Pacino in any role that's even remotely villainous.
God... is an absentee landlord!''
- Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter films. The same goes for Lucius Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange (with the latter's scenery eating making her all the more scary).
- Just about every Malcolm McDowell villain role.
- Galaxy Quest: Oh, Sarris...
! You fail to realize that, with your armor gone, my ship will tear through yours like tissue papaer
"Prepare a tear-harness! For the Female."
- Orlando Bloom as the Duke of Buckingham in The Three Musketeers (2011).
- This trope is seen in a nutshell in the famous "I am the law!" scene in Judge Dredd. The good guy spits out the ultra-hammy "You betrayed the law!", and just to show that evil goes one step further, the bad guy responds with "LAAAWW!!!!" taken Up to Eleven.
- Deliberately averted in the 2012 film Dredd, where Karl Urban's delivery of the famous line is much quieter.
- Magneto from the X-Men movies, played by Ian McKellen, has a few moments of this, but he's calm the rest of the time.
- Many James Bond villains, such as Jonathan Pryce's Corrupt Corporate Executive media mogul Elliot Carver, from Tomorrow Never Dies.
- Inglourious Basterds. Adolf Hitler.
- Whenever someone gets possessed in the Night of the Demons series, you can bet they'll start chewing scenery as well as faces.
- In the live-action adaptation of The Last Airbender, Commander Zhao, played by Aasif Mandvi. Averted with Fire Lord Ozai, who is somewhat of a Large Ham in the original cartoon, but is soft-spoken and contemplative in the film.
- Andy Robinson is decidedly... unsubtle as the Scorpio Killer in Dirty Harry.
- Blue Velvet is a movie where most of the characters are pretty low key, but the villain, Frank, yells nearly every line..
- Loki in Thor and The Avengers tends to alternate between being frighteningly intense and unsettlingly collected. Although that one "mewling quim" line does establish him pretty solidly as a Large Ham.
- In the 1980's film He-Man, Frank Langella made Skeletor a Shakespearean villain with relish. He ultimately made him a force to be feared of with his performance from that of a campy villain in the cartoons.
- The Mayflowers in Hudson Hawk, full stop.
Darwin Mayflower: If da Vinci were alive today, he'd be eating microwave sushi, naked, in the back of a Cadillac with the both of us! History! Tradition! Culture! Are not concepts! These are trophies I keep in my den as paperweights!
- Salma Hayek, Benecio del Toro and Demian Bichir play the villains in Savages and do it with devilish glee. Especially del Toro's Ham and Cheese performance.
- Salman Rushdie in the movie International Guerrilas definitely is this.
- The Wicked Witch of the West in Oz The Great And Powerful is supposed to be terrifying, but instead she is incredibly hammy, complete with Narm and Scenery Chewing.
- In Jack The Giant Slayer Stanley Tucci is in non-stop ham mode as Roderick. For the giants, being hammy is almost a requirement.
- Colin Farrell's scene chewing role as Bullseye in Daredevil takes this trope and just runs with it to its funnest extent.
- The Doctor from G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. Even before he becomes Cobra Commander, he had his hammy moments.
- Star Trek Into Darkness: Let's face it, Harrison is DEVOURING the scenery.
- From the previous film, we have Nero, who gave some choice quotes.
- Visser Three in Animorphs. While thought-speak can be directed at one, several, or even everyone in range, the Visser is CONSTANTLY BROADCASTING HIS PRESENCE to all, including his enemies. In fact, in the whole series (when in an Andalite body), he speaks to one person at a time a grand total of ONCE.
- Averted by Lily Weatherwax in Witches Abroad; she's actually somewhat menacingly toned down. What makes this instance notable, though, is the way her sister, Esmerelda "Granny" Weatherwax, reacts; the very fact that Lily isn't Chewing the Scenery enrages her as much as all the damage she's done to innocent lives over the years. Lily went off to be the bad sister, leaving Esme to be the good one, but Lily spent the whole time deluding herself that she was the good one, so even though there was no doubt which sister she was, she never took the opportunity to enjoy it. To Granny, this is almost as bad as denying Esme the choice in the first place.
- Venandakatra the Vile in the Belisarius Series. He is a devotee of every vice known to man, and some that haven't been discovered to this day. He loves hurting people, except when they fight back. He wages war by pitching an array of tents that are more ostentatious and less tasteful than the palaces of more Modest Royalty, and then makes guarding his comfort a primary objective of his campaigns. He has the most expensive feasts constantly dumped into his mouth and treats slave girls much like food, to be consumed and the husks discarded; and sex to him is no fun unless combined with torture. The book also makes a point of mentioning that he is called The Vile and not The Cruel because the latter might imply respect. In general, the chief pleasure a reader takes in his character is that it is almost impossible to imagine someone so extravagantly and flamboyantly evil - even if we know such people exist in Real Life.
- Kerrigor in Sabriel. "Blood for the breaking!" Apparently, he was a flamboyant guy who loved having every eye on him even while alive; after becoming undead, getting Drunk on the Dark Side, and becoming quite possibly the most powerful active being on the planet, this natural tendency got taken Up to Eleven.
- Baron Vladimir Harkonnen in Dune.
- Ian McNeice definitely shows it in his portrayal of the baron in the miniseries.
- Invoked in The Tamuli, when the normally restrained Sir Bevier goes undercover at the villain's camp as a mercenary. He attempts to appear "dangerously competent", but his stage training takes over and, as a result, he ends up looking like a homicidal maniac and leaves the entire camp terrified of him.
- Used differently with each of the three most powerful Forsaken in The Wheel of Time.
- Ishamael is a rather impressive ham in his persona as Ba'alzamon, giving some rather spectacular Card-Carrying Villain rants owing to being Drunk on the Dark Side. Subverted when he comes back later in the series as Moridin, and is much calmer and more restrained, coming across as almost resigned at times, and is much scarier for it.
- Lanfear is usually Affably Evil, especially around Rand. Just don't mash her Berserk Button, because we're not kidding about the "berserk" part. Lanfear is one of the most deadly channelers of all time, and in a screaming temper she's more than capable of blasting just about anyone in her way to ash.
- Demandred appears at first to be a complete aversion; the guy is stoic to the point of hardly ever showing genuine emotion except for the occasional glimpse of the seething core of epic rage at the heart of his personality. Then in the final book he finally lets all that hate out, in the process becoming the Large Ham he was born to be.
- Many of Harry Dresden's enemies are this to some degree. Drunk on the Dark Side is quite common throughout the series, and coupled with the Antiquated Linguistics of many supernatural creatures, this is a great recipe for some serious ham. The standout example is probably Lord Raith, who is explicitly compared to a movie villain in his extremely over-the-top and melodramatic dialogue, but many other characters also fit the bill.
- Any Pantomime villain worth his salt.
- The Wolf from The Trial of the Big Bad Wolf requires a Large Ham, to contrast with his lethargic attorney.
- Cora in Anyone Can Whistle is a first-class scene stealer.
- Pick the Big Bad of a Kingdom Hearts game. Any one of 'em. They're this trope. Ansem, Seeker of Darkness/Xehanort's Heartless gets an extra special mention here. Also, see the Disney Villains list below.
- Xemnas is an exceptional example. It's in his character to be as hammy as possible. Having no emotions, he makes up for it with exaggerated hand gestures and stretches out a lot of his lines to seem more emotional. His voice actor in the Japanese version certainly helps.
- Wesker in the Resident Evil series.
- The Dark Savant in Wizardry 8.
- In Dissidia: Final Fantasy, the entire Chaos faction exemplifies this trope with all of the hammiest villains of the series. The only exceptions are Golbez ( but he isn't really part of the Chaos faction...), Sephiroth and Ultimecia, who are fairly restrained. Odd because Ultimecia was quite hammy in her respective game. ("KURSE YOU SEEDS!")
- Kane in Command And Conquer becomes ever increasingly hammy as time goes on.
- Dawn of War, since it takes place in Warhammer 40000, everyone is evil, and hence everyone is hammy, even if they are a Magnificent Bastard.
"RAISE OUR STANDARD! LET IT STRIKE FFEEEAARR!"
- Arius from Devil May Cry. "OH! NO! I was going to be KING of this world!"
- Arkham and his devil trigger, Jester, is also a rich source of Ham. With the latter, it's intentional, as he tried to act like a fool in order to effectively play the sons of Sparda and Lady against each other. And it could also be a way of unleashing his inner goofball beneath that serious facade.
- Flemeth in Dragon Age: Origins is very hammy when she isn't pretending to simply be a batty old lady and gets much more so in Dragon Age II. Being voiced by Captain Janeway really helps.
- Loghain becomes much hammier after his Face Heel Turn.
- Though averted for the most part in the first game, since the Darkspawn can't, you know, talk. Until Awakening, when they can talk and get their full opportunity to be hammy.
- Special mention goes to the ham-tastic Mother.
- Knight-Commander Meredith in Dragon Age II is one of the best examples in the entire series.
- Not to mention Well-Intentioned Extremist teammate Anders; while he's only hammy in combat (actually, he's usually soft-spoken otherwise), his combat taunts (and screaming) are a bountiful platter of ham.
- Liquid Snake manages to do this every chance he gets in Metal Gear Solid.
- Xenosaga gives us Albedo Piazzolla, an incurable muncher, complete with rampant evil laughs at any given opportunity.
- Vice President RIICHAAARD!! Hawk in Metal Wolf Chaos opened his every appearance with an Evil Laugh and gleefully delivered lines such as...
RICHARD: "This wild dog of war is on the move, Michael! It'll bite you if you don't move it! It's time for my afternoon tea. There's nothing like sipping some delicious Darjeeling tea...and watching you getting your clock cleaned!"
- BlazBlue: Hazama/Yuuki Terumi. Part of the reason he's so Laughably Evil is because his voice actors are clearly having a hell of a time.
- In Platinum's Gag Reel, when Litchi becomes the Evil Overlord 'Boob Queen', she becomes so overly hammy in nearly everything. In canon, however, Litchi is well-reserved and not that hammy (unless you count her suggestive moans of pains to be 'ham'), and even if she's Forced Into Evil and in the NOL group, she didn't even become hammy, still retaining her calm. Tsubaki, on the other hand, becomes even more vehement and probably 'hammy' in trying to force the NOL order after her Evil Costume Switch.
- Sir Richard Hawksmoor in Ghost Hunter. Sir Michael Gambon practically introduces himself with "I want FLESH." An incredible contrast with his role of Dumbledore in the movies.
- Nergal from the 2003 game Fire Emblem wasn't THAT hammy until we got to see his disfiguring scar by the end of the game. Then, he unleashed his inner ham and let it run wild.
- In Starcraft, the Zerg Overmind's first line is: "Awaken, my child, and embrace the glory that is your birthright." Every one of its subsequent lines is equally epic and pompous.
- "Know that I am the Overmind, the eternal will of the Swarm, and that you have been created to serve me..."
- DAN GREEN as Mephiles the Dark is one of the very few good points of Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) for precisely this reason.
- Eggman has always showed spades of this, but in more recent games (especially in Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations), he's been invoking this full-on, and he doesn't look like he's going back.
- In Portal, once you escape the fire pit, GLaDOS starts along this path. She really goes to town once you incinerate her morality core.
- In Portal 2, Wheatley gains several levels in ham when you yank GLaDOS out and plug him in. Apparently, a certain amount of hamminess is literally hardwired into the system.
- The Sengoku Basara versions of Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Ishida Mitsunari. The first is absolutely, baby-eatingly, skull-cup-usingly Obviously Evil, and even has ominous background music and Dramatic Thunder to back him up. And he's voiced by Norio Wakamoto. Hideyoshi is the type to surround three armies at war, and demand ALL of their surrenders at once in a loud voice and with an even louder fist. He then goes ahead and obliges some hotblooded heroes. He also parts the seas. Mitsunari really likes shouting about what he is going to do to his enemies, specifically those who side with Ieyasu. Mitsunari does not say "Ieyasu!" He says, "IEEEYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASU!!!!!!!!"
- The X-Men arcade game introduces us to MAGNETO, MASTER OF MAGNET! Who wants those X-CHICKEN to know that THEY ARE NOTHING and would like to welcome them TO DIE!!
- Assassins Creed Brotherhood: If Cesare wants to live, he lives. If he wants to take, he takes. If he wants you to die, you die. And if he wants to ham, he HAAAAAAAAAMS!
- The evilest of all Suikoden villains, Luca Blight, is also the hammiest, with lots of exclamation marks, a distinctive Evil Laugh of "HOO HOO HOO HA HA HA HA HA!!!", and, of course, his famous last words "It took hundreds to kill me, but I KILLED BY THOUSANDS! LOOK AT ME!!! I AM SUBLIME!!! I AM THE TRUE FACE OF EVIL!!!!! *Evil Laughs to death*"
- Jegran in Crystal Bearers, after he drops pretending to be good.
- Barlowe in Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia normally speaks with a very neutral and verbose tone. However, once his true colours are revealed, he goes nuts with wild abandon, laughing manically the whole time.
- And Dracula. In pretty much every game with voice acting.
- Death from Castlevania: Lords of Shadow simply never shuts up in his 5 minutes hammy speech even though he has been quite normal when he stayed as Zobek, your ally.
- Lord Ghirahim in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, aka Mr. Furious! OUTRAGED! SICK WITH ANGER!! Zant from The Legend Of Zelda Twilight Princess is similarly hammy, especially during his Villainous Breakdown. Ganon is also somewhat hammy (literally, in certain situations), but he's rather restrained compared to the other two.
- Geldoblame, of Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean, is far and away the hammiest character in the game and (unintentionally) probably the best-voiced character, just because it's so amusing.
- Bowser of Super Mario Bros gets hammier with every game.
- The Professor Layton series isn't exactly a World of Ham, often going with one hammed line per game, but it is ALWAYS said by a villain.
Don Paolo: Heeere I come.... READY OR NOT!
Clive: This isn't happening... It can't end this way... IT WON'T END THIS WAAAY!!
- In The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim, you can summon a prime example of this by using a "Conjure Dremora Lord" spell.
*Impales helpless bandit*
- The Galactic Emperor from Gotcha Force is this trope, pure and simple. Let's look at his nice little pre-final battle speech...
Galactic Emperor: MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! PUNY HUMANS, JUDGMENT TIME HAS ARRIVED! I'LL FINISH YOU ALL HERE! FIRST THIS PLANET, THEN THE WHOLE GALAXY! YOU AND YOUR SILLY GOTCHA BORGS WILL BE EXTERMINATED!! MWAHAHAHAHA!!
- Dr. Nero Neurosis of Brain Dead 13 tends to shout whenever he gets irritated or scared.
- The Reapers in Mass Effect are very hammy. Especially Harbinger, who is ASSUMING DIRECT CONTROL!
- Every single Prime Evil in Diablo is this. Diablo, Baal and Mephisto really love to Chew the Scenery to dust. Just listen to them speak, and even Zoltun Kulle is also an offender.
- Poquelin from Icewind Dale, especially before your final fight with him.
"Over?, OVER?!!! On the contrary, my time has just begun!!!"
- Thorgar from Warhammer Mark Of Chaos. Seriously, he's probably the most hammy video game character ever. Just listen to the guy. Of course, the other warriors of Chaos are (almost) as hammy as him, and the Skaven are pretty fond of unleashing the hog as well:
BUUUUURRRNNN THEM ALLLLLLL!!!
- One of the Old Gods, Yogg-Saron, greatly delights in shouting pretty much everything in a booming voice, in direct contrast to the Creepy Monotone of fellow Old God C'thun.
MADNESS WILL CONSUME YOU!'
- In Umineko No Naku Koro Ni, after a relatively understated introduction (at least as far as the anime goes), Beatrice becomes the queen of this trope. Subverted. She's not the evil one. Bern is. And she's actually an Emotionless Girl. Although, after The Reveal, she does get a lot more very expressive faces.
- Dr. Insano from The Spoony Experiment and Atop The Fourth Wall, and also his Alternate Universe counterparts, including Linksano.
- Nella from The Nostalgia Chick is already the hammiest woman on That Guy With The Glasses, but turns it up a few notches when she becomes Dark Nella.
- Doctor Steel loves Chewing the Scenery.
- Agamemnon Tiberius Vacuum, the Inarguable Eternal Leader of the glorious and superior Planet 3. "THE VACUUM CONSORTIUM: SUBMIT WILLINGLY!"
- As if their film versions weren't hammy enough, Team StarKid's versions of Snape, Voldemort, Bellatrix, Lucius, and Umbridge take this trope Up to Eleven.
- Doctor Horribles Sing Along Blog: Doctor Horrible gets some rather hammy moments.
- The AI O'Malley from Red vs. Blue. Just one example, after he's been asked to examine one of the Blue Team:
We want something from you, but we're not going to tell you what it is, until we need it! Huhuhuhuahahahaha
Church: No way! I'm not agreeing to something without knowing what it is!
O'Malley: Huhuhuhuhuhuh Oh yes you will. You will or your little friend Tucker will die, die a most horrible death. And you know his blood will be on your hands. Years from now, you'll drive yourself mad wondering if there was anything you could have done to save him, so you will agree to what I want. You will agree even though what I want is something mysterious, what I want is something frightening, what I want is something PUUUUUUUUUURE EEEEEEEEEEVIL, AAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAA!
- Every villain in Stupid Mario Brothers is this especially The Darkness.
- Dark Chaos in Chaos Storm displays this on a regular basis. Being Stupid Evil, his hammy lines aren't taken too seriously.
: A nut by any other name is just as lame.
- Pathetic from the french Kingdom Hearts saga mp3 parody Kingdom Paf is basically the incarnation of this trope. She acts hammy even when washing her hands, preparing her lunch, or playing video games.
- Though several villains from Yu-Gi-Oh! are hammy already, Yu Gi Oh The Abridged Series like to take it to comical extremes:
- Marik is so hammy that he can hardly express himself like a regular person. And it goes Up to Eleven when Melvin takes over: he is hammy even when trying to open a door.
- While usually more posed and calm than Marik, Bakura has his moments too.
- Dartz combines it with a ridiculous accent that makes him almost impossible for his minions to understand.
- Movie villains Anubis ("NOW YOU WILL DIE, AND THEN YOU WILL BE DEAD, BECAUSE I WILL HAVE KILLED YOU ! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA") and Paradox ("PWOTAGONISTS !") take it to such extremes it becomes ridiculous even for the main characters.