When given the key to the kingdom, as well as the dungeon, a king can find that the dark side is just too enticing to not spend at least a few decades messing around in. There’s not enough bleach in the world to get rid of all the blood on the crown, put there by six of the most vicious movie kings of all time.

Prince John, “Robin Hood”.

This usurper, replacement king is the worst kind of vicious movie king; self-centered. It’s Prince John’s fleeting attention span to his subjects’ pains and afflictions that makes him that special kind of nasty because if he cared a little then at least there’d be a reason for his cruelty. Watch as he blames his advisor, Sir Hiss, for allowing his person to be robbed even though he had tied Hiss in a knot and put him in a basket, making him a truly mean movie king.

Charles VII, “The Messenger”.

At first Charles the seventh is curious, then adoring and then he viciously turns against Joan of Arc; the one woman responsible for his rise to greater power. His cruelty lies in his inability to return the loyalty and sacrifice of Joan as his weakness and vanity allow her murder to proceed. See his glee at the fall of Orlean by Joan of Arc’s hands and know that soon he will allow her death at the stake.

The Horned King, “The Black Cauldron”.

The Horned King isn’t about showboating or acting the fool; rather he goes about his plan to obtain the cauldron with a cool composure that is eerie in its lack of emotion. This king’s viciousness doesn’t come from a mean look or stealing a sock from your dryer, it comes from his focus on attaining godhood and destroying all life from the realm. Although quite short, The Horned King’s threat to the oracle pig’s life is a simple, direct and brutal scene in “The Black Cauldron”.

King Sargon, “Scorpion King 2”.

Sargon started out as an instructor to recruits for the Black Scorpions and not the Pretty Pastel Blue Scorpions, so you have to expect that he wasn’t cut out to be a touchy feely type of king. However there is a difference between a tough king and a ”fueled by evil powers with the ability to turn into a giant invisible scorpion” king. Sargon takes the crown, excels at being a general evil bastard to everyone in his view but does manage to let an orphan with a sword beat him at the end in a scene that features the goofiest spinning sword effect.

King John, “Ironclad”.

Mean, vile and rage filled, King John lives for the kill or rather ordering people to do his killing. Breaking his word with relish and rage, King John goes after the leaders who forced him into a position of weakness that made possible his signing of the Magna Carta. Check out his viciousness when he uses bodies for catapult ammunition instead of the numerous rocks laying around during his assault of the interior of the castle.

Macbeth, “Macbeth”.

The environment is updated in this version of “Macbeth” but the king has lost none of his duplicity or viciousness as he murders to attain and then retain his status as king. Patrick Stewart is commanding and the three witches, now nurses, are as powerfully sinister and startling as ever in this rendition. Macbeth is not a king content to jump at shadows but rather to stab them into nothingness as he holds on to his blood soaked crown. Macbeth’s denial of Banquo’s ghost at the banquet teems with the truth that comes from believing every lie until this vicious king no longer knows reality from dream, thus making a powerful scene to take in.