Crazy science is so embedded in movie-making that it’s been with us since the very conception of film with such classics as Frankenstein and Dr. Caligari.
While the best stuff was almost exclusively from the time of black and white – the 1980s and beyond have seen their formidable share of folks with PhDs in crazy.
See for yourself…a lot of mad doctorates have been handed out recently.
14. Doctor Finklestein in The Nightmare Before Christmas
In the living world, Finklestein could very well be the most insane doctor of them all – however in a town focused on Halloween, the only strange thing about the guy is his unwillingness to sing along like all the other demonic song and dance folk inhabiting his neighborhood. Who knew that the stuff of our nightmares could carry a tune so well?
13. The Inventor in Edward Scissorhands
Maybe it’s the tone, but a mad scientist always seems considerably less mad when placed in a Tim Burton film. In the case of the Inventor, he doesn’t actually seem that crazy at all. In fact, he’s actually quite pleasant aside from a) building a robot and b) giving that robot scissors for hands. Also, who builds a robot and finishes the hands last?
12. Dr. Howard Mierzwiak in Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind
At first glance, Howard doesn’t seem too crazy. Sure – his main expertise is erasing memories, but never against the will of the subject. And heck, he could be working for the CIA but chooses to help people instead.
The only problem arises when he goes ahead and bangs one of his employees and gets caught by his wife – and instead of separating himself from this clearly toxic situation he simply erases the girl’s memory of it and moves on. If he was going to be so unethical about it, he might as well have gone the whole nine yards and wiped his wife’s memory while he was at it.
11. Will Rodman in Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes
Maybe Will Rodman is more stupid than insane. When your goal is to end Alzheimer’s and you instead accidentally enslave the human race under rule of intelligent apes, that’s a pretty big derailment from your desired result.
The mad part comes when he brings his work home with him – experimenting on his own father and taking care of a secret ultra-intelligent ape, later failing to mention this to the ape prison and inadvertently causing the ape revolution.
While we’re at it though, literally everyone in this movie sucks at their job – from the ape-expert girlfriend who for five years can’t tell that the ape she is hanging out with is super smart, to the ape-prison warden who doesn’t find it weird when he sees all the apes congregating abnormally.
10. Nikola Tesla in The Prestige
The real Tesla was a bit of a mad scientist himself – so it’s not a huge stretch to imagine him being commissioned to make giant over-the-top lightening-powered cloning machines and then simply handing it over without a thought to the fact that he could solve world hunger and make millions. Also there should be a rule that if David Bowie plays a doctor or scientist, that doctor or scientist is automatically mad by default.
9. Henry Wu in Jurassic Park
There must have been a morning where Henry Wu woke up, looked in the mirror, and realized that he was making giant monsters for a living. It doesn’t matter how sane he seems in the film – he’s a mad scientist. He’s not only cloning dinosaurs, but also the giant and carnivorous dinosaurs no one wants to be around. The asshole dinosaurs – these are the ones that Henry Wu proudly makes.
8. Peter Weyland in the Alien Franchise
To be fair, he’s more like a manager of mad scientists than one himself. Weyland outsources his insanity to others – like Burke trying to get a chestburster into Ripley in Aliens or David infecting his fellow scientists with that black shit in Prometheus just to see what happens. He also appears to exist in every goddamned era – which leads me to believe that Weyland isn’t a person, but some kind of wizard.
Or better yet, Weyland is the devil – the aliens actually being demons. So there – I just explained every continuity problem in the series. You’re welcome.