- Sykes is generally agreed to be one of Disney's craziest, scariest, and nastiest villains, even by today's standards. Disney really didn't sugar-coat how loan sharks are in real life. More specifically, mobster loan sharks (there are independent ones who aren't quite as hands-on), which is what Sykes is heavily implied to be, even though he has no henchmen other than his dogs. You do NOT want to be in debt to a mob-sponsored loan shark. Robert Loggia's shady and raspy voice ain't no slouch either.
- Sykes in generally is a frighteningly realistic villain, and is notable in being the first Disney character to wield a handgun onscreen, in the presence of a child. He even visibly (and accurately) loads a magazine. Thankfully, he never actually fires it.
- The real kicker? This version of Sykes is different from the one from the novel, who wasn't a loan shark, but a London street thug but no less violent and cruel than this version.
- Sykes's dogs getting electrocuted on the subway. Onscreen. Intense.
- To elaborate, Roscoe grabs on to Dodger's bandanna and tries to drag him off the car. There is a moment of suspense as Dodger is pulled closer to the edge of the car, but he escapes by slipping his bandanna off at the last moment, throwing Roscoe onto the tracks. The poor dog limply flops around on the tracks as he yelps and whimpers, and sparks and bolts fly everywhere! Seconds later, DeSoto falls to a Sound-Only Death that is clearly more of the same. It's more than a little horrifying.
- Sykes catching the train. Especially since we get a close-up on his eyes as he comprehends what is about to happen just as the train kills him in a fiery blaze, sending the remains into the Hudson river. If you listen closely you can hear his horrified scream just before the end.
- A moment that stands out is his phone call that Fagin walks in on, which is Sykes telling someone how to go about properly murdering a person, and disposing of their body, using the "cement shoes" method. He even adds 'Don't kill him yet' - implying that it is a gang killing designed to set fear into the hearts of rivals.
- When Sykes is spelling out Jenny's ransom, you can tell he is on the phone with Winston, telling him to get in touch with Jenny's parents. The other side of the phone conversation can't be heard, but you can only imagine how Winston must be feeling at the moment, knowing that his employers' daughter who they trusted him with is in a life or death situation. Especially since the audience knows what Sykes doesn't - that Jenny's parents are out of the country, and this being the '80s, Winston can't easily get in touch with them.Sykes: That's funny, Mr. Winston, but I don't think you really appreciate the situation. Someone could get hurt. Just get the old man on the phone and tell 'im it's about his daughter... Jenny.
- Not to mention the threatening look he makes at Jenny when he notices her attempting to struggle free.
- Never mind how it ends, the entire penultimate fight between Dodger, and Roscoe and DeSoto is really vicious.
- Sykes' Establishing Character Moment as he rolls his window up Fagin's neck.Sykes: Now I lent you money, and I don't see it. You wanna know what happens when I don't see my money, Fagin? People get hurt. People like you get hurt. Do I make myself clear?Fagin: (wheezing) Clear! Pretty clear!
Sykes: You were given a lot of money and you try to act dumb. Do you know what happens to people who try to fool me, Fagin? I crush them like bugs. And you are an especially miserable bug. Do I make myself clear?
- The Polish version arguably makes it more terrifying:
- Everything with Sykes' vicious dobermans, specifically DeSoto, who seems more vicious and merciless than Roscoe. Proved when DeSoto finds Oliver despite Roscoe telling him to forget about it and informing him it would be better to heed their master:DeSoto: I like cats! I like to eat em!
- For a "good" character, Fagin sure is ugly. The fact that he is constantly drawn with wildly exaggerated expressions can result in some horrific faces.
- As terrifying as Sykes and his dogs can be, the stray dog pack that appears at the start of the movie is not much more pleasant. Not only do they look rabid, they menacingly chase Oliver around. And would probably have killed him right there had the poor kitten not been able to evade them by climbing a fence. Although they do not appear in any other part of the movie, nor are they mentioned, they apparently gave Oliver a slight trauma regarding dogs, as later in the movie, when he encounters another dog (Dodger), he is quick to demand that said dog keeps away from him.
Nightmare Fuel / Oliver & Company