Ten Greatest Really Mad Scientists
He robbed graves, cut up corpses, sewed the pieces together and then brought the results to life. If he wasn’t mad, Victor (Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, Mary Shelley, 1818) was certainly in need of a long vacation.
Dr. Eldon Tyrell
Dr. Eldon Tyrell (Blade Runner, Ridley Scott, 1982) embodies many of the best mad scientist hooks: greedy businessman, man trying to be God, extreme hubris, lust for power – and we could go on. His crushing end at the hands of one of his own creations is sweet justice in one of the best sci-fi films ever made. In the end Tyrell personifies his own corporation’s motto “more human than human.”
The nicest of all the mad scientists on the list, Doc Brown, from Back to the Future, isn’t a killer. He doesn’t really hurt anyone, unless you count the pain caused by being hit on by your own mother.
Ernst Stavro Blofeld
Ernst Stavro Blofeld of the James Bond films may be more of “evil genius“, but in the actual Ian Fleming novels the character has a real background in science — as real as it can be with a specialization in “radionics“.
Brilliant and looney, Rotwang, (Metropolis, Fritz Lang, 1927), looks the part of the mad scientist. His lab, with its Tesla coils, pipework and switches up the wazoo, became the prototype of all mad scientist labs to come.
Dr. Henry Jekyll
If you’re worried that you may be a mad a scientist, ask yourself this question: do you do experiments in controlled environments? Or do you prefer to test your theories on yourself? If you answered yes to the second question, you may be a mad scientist — one like Dr. Jekyll (Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson, 1886). Please step away from the knife.
Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth
Not content to concentrate on one bad idea and really run that sucker into the ground, Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth (Futurama animated TV series) earns a spot on this list thanks to the sheer number of his dangerous, deadly and just plain useless ideas.
Unlike some of the scientists on the list, Dr. Moreau (Island of Doctor Moreau, H.G. Wells, 1896) did not want to just raise the dead. No, this doc wanted to create his own race. Holed up a remote island, Dr. Moreau was free to conduct all kinds of nasty experiments on wild creatures with no oversight. Moreau’s cruel experiments generated creatures that were part human and part leopard, ox or ape.
Dr. Herbert West
Dr. Herbert West (“Herbert West: Reanimator“, H. P. Lovecraft, 1921) was yet another of our finalists who wanted to cheat death – the only problem with his plan was the subject actually had to die first. Turns out that reanimating someone who was dead and buried has a severe impact on their social skills. None too pleased about being woken up from eternal slumber, West’s subjects acted out by killing and eating people.
Reportedly based on some real-life scientists, including John von Neumann (a brilliant mind who played tennis while wearing his business suit), German rocket scientist Wernher von Braun (space program father and ex-Nazi), and Edward Teller (known as the father of the hydrogen bomb; another scientist once said, “It would have been a better world without Teller”), Dr. Strangelove (Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, Stanley Kubrick, 1964) certainly has a distinguished pedigree.