Over the years, we’ve been treated to some brilliantly evil villains on screen. These shady adversaries all have their own signature evil lair as their headquarters when they aren’t busy plotting to take over, enslave or annihilate the world. So what makes a good lair?
In the best criminal hideouts we look for sheer scale and ambition, legions of henchmen who seem to volunteer for such skullduggery, armies of button-pushing assistants in white coats, internal monorail systems, next-generation weaponry, hoards of gadgets, the occasional rocket or glamorous vehicle and control rooms full of people giving orders though the compound’s own PA system – and all this has to be in an unknown location that is often so obvious that it eludes detection. A good lair is indicative of the criminal mind hiding there. Here are 20 of the best!
Dr. Evil’s Secret Underground Lair, Las Vegas
Dr. Evil’s Secret Underground Lair: Dr. Evil has occupied many secret lairs during his career as an “evil doctor” who was always trying to take over the world. In Austin Powers International Man of Mystery, Dr. Evil occupies an underground lair near Las Vegas that was located in the Nevada desert. Here, Dr. Evil plans to “hijack some nuclear weapons and hold the world hostage”. His elaborate control center consisted of a gigantic nuclear warhead that was to be used to trigger massive volcanic eruptions around the world, part of a dastardly plan he called “Project Vulcan”. Dr. Evil’s populated his underground hideout with a choice selection of henchmen including his sidekick Number 2, Alotta Fagina, Frau Farbissina, Mustafa, and the eye-pleasing Fembots. Future Dr. Evil lairs included a hideout in the Seattle Space Needle, and a secret spot behind the famous Hollywood sign in Hollywood, California.
Lord Voldemort’s Headquarters, Lucius Malfoy’s House
Luciu Malfoy’s House: Lord Voldemort is Harry Potter’s greatest nemesis, and he took over Lucius Malfoy’s house after he broke into Azkaban and released all of the inmates. He called this place his headquarters, and it’s where he and the other Death Eaters devised their evil plans. Malfoy Manor was a very elaborate home with many odd features. One of the weirdest aspects of this home was the white peacocks that were the resident pets of this evil lair, which was a strong contrast to the overall evil feeling of the house. Overall, this was a very creepy place, but for Lord Voldemort it was a nice “upgrade” for him, and it suited him perfectly. He spent many years living in the forests of Albania, and he finally called Lucius Malfoy’s house his own after the death of Dumpledore.
Death Star, Star Wars
Death Star: The Death Star is the evil empire’s deadliest weapon in the series of Star Wars movies. Luke Skywalker was able to destroy the Death Star II, and Darth Vader, in Return of the Jedi by using the Force. The first Death Star was an immense planet-killing space station with an overall diameter estimated to be between 120 km and 160 km to accommodate a crew of 265,675. To protect the Death Star, it was equipped with 10,000 turbo-laser batteries, 2,600 ion canons, and over 700 tractor beam projectors. But those underpaid Empire engineers forgot about that pesky shaft to the core, maybe they outsourced some of the design?
The Green Goblin’s Mansion, New York
The Green Goblin’s Mansion: In the original Spiderman comic book the first Green Goblin, aka Dr. Norman Osborn, lived in a mansion in New York City with his son Harry. Norman was famous for his advancements in nanotechnology, which ultimately is what led up to his transformation into the Green Goblin due to a green serum which exploded in his face, giving him super-strength and super-intelligence but also driving him insane. Norman housed his Green Goblin gear at his mansion in a secret room behind a mirror. His gear consisted of a suit that produced a type of sleeping gas, and a flying “surfboard” that had a ton of built-in weapons used to fight his arch adversary – Spiderman. The Osborn mansion was destroyed in Spiderman 3.
1428 Elm Street, A Nightmare on Elm Street
1428 Elm Street: This house in a small suburban town in the state of Ohio was the home of the infamous Freddy Krueger. Freddy had secret rooms in the basement of this house where he stored all of his torture devices, newspaper clippings of his crimes, and of course his famous glove with razor-sharp blades attached to the fingers. The actual Freddy Krueger house went up for sale back in 2006 for approximately $1 million. I wouldn’t live in that house if you paid me to live there, but in a sub-prime world you’ve gotta do what you gotta do!
Scaramanga’s Secret Hideout, Koh Tapu
Scaramanga’s Secret Hideout: For those who don’t know who Scaramanga is, he’s one of James Bond’s most infamous adversaries from the 1974 movie Man with the Golden Gun. In this James Bond flick, he hid his gigantic, deadly laser weapon inside a small island, which is today called James Bond Island and is located in the Phang Nga Bay National Park in Thailand. The true name of this island is Koh Tapu, which means Nail Island, and it has become a major tourist destination for James Bond enthusiasts.
Arkham Asylum, Gotham City
Arkham Asylum: The Arkham Asylum has housed some of the worst criminals that have ever roamed Gotham City. A short list of the inmates include The Riddler, The Penguin, Mad Hatter, Two-Face, and maybe the most famous – the Joker. The Arkham Asylum is built on top of a large underground cavern; it’s a very dark and gloomy place to say the least. The fact that this place houses so many famous villains from the DC Comic world definitely makes it one of the worst evil-filled lairs on our list.
The Grinch’s Home, Mt. Crumpit
The Grinch’s Home: The Grinch is the somewhat lovable villain from the movie How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Before the Grinch has a “change of heart” and turns good, he sits in his mountain-top lair plotting and planning ways to get revenge on the Whos down in Whoville. The Grinch fled to the top of Mount Crumpit after being seen as an outcast by the other Whos. In his cave atop Mt. Crumpit, the Grinch and his dog Max lived for years in solitude until one Christmas Eve night he decided to steal all of the Who’s bamboozles, blunders, and even their roast beast. You can guess what happens in the rest of the story.
Dracula’s Castle, Romania
: This castle is officially known as Bran Castle, and it was once one of the residences of Prince Vlad Tepes, aka Vlad the Impaler. Vlad the Impaler is best known for his cruel and unusual punishment techniques, as well as for being the inspirational figure for the 1897 Bram Stoker novel, Dracula. Today, some people refer to Vlad the Impaler as Dracula. The Bran Castle still stands today, in Romania, and features a host of underground secret passages and rooms that may have been used by Dracula for any one of his “blood-sucking” rituals – you never know.
Evil Monkey in the Closet, Family Guy
Evil Monkey in the Closet: The Evil Monkey from Family Guy is quite a mystery. We know that he lives in Chris Griffin’s closet, and he lives to terrorise him, but we don’t know much else. The Evil Monkey seems to live exclusively in Chris’s closet, and the only person that believes that the monkey exists, other than Chris, is Stewie. Peter has seen the monkey before, but he mistook it for Meg!
The Penguin’s Lair, Gotham City
The Penguin’s Lair: The Penguin was one of Batman’s greatest foes, and so he decided to stay close to his enemy by having his secret hideout right in the middle of Gotham City. On another note, imagine taking a weekend break in Gotham City, other than the occasional crazed bad guy the place is so dull and boring! The Penguin’s evil lair looks a lot like the Penguin exhibit at the zoo – Penguins and ice everywhere. On the set of Batman Returns, 30 real penguins were used on the set and up to 50 mechanical penguins were used at any one time for added effect.
The Riddler’s Base, Claw Island
The Riddler’s Base: Many people may remember The Riddler from the 1995 movie Batman Returns, but he was on the scene long before then as one of Batman’s arch enemies. The Riddler is famous, of course, for the signature riddles that he uses throughout the Batman films. His base on Claw Island in many ways was reminiscent of a disco, at least by some people’s accounts, because of all the crazy lighting effects. Claw Island would be the spot where The Riddler’s reign of terror over Gotham would end when Batman finally solved his riddle and sent him to Arkham Asylum for the criminally insane.
Shipwreck Cove, Pirates of the Caribbean
Shipwreck Cove: Shipwreck Island, and more specifically Shipwreck Cove, were the meeting places of the Brethren Court (governing body of the pirates) in the Pirates of the Caribbean films. Shipwreck Cove is said to be an “impregnable fortress, well-supplied, and able to withstand nearly any siege.” It is said that this fictitious island’s land mass is composed entirely of shipwrecks. Shipwreck Cove was ruled by the Pirate King, leader of the Brethren Court, played by Keith Richards in Pirates of the Caribbean III.
Lex Luthor’s Many Hideouts
Lex Luthor: Superman’s number one nemesis has had a plethora of hideouts throughout the years. Here’s a list of Lex Luthor’s known lairs straight from the Superman Encyclopedia: “a complex of buildings held aloft by a giant dirigible high above the stratosphere, a glass-enclosed city of ancient, weird design, an abandoned factory, a gigantic man-made meteor floating in outer space, an abandoned barn, a secret underground lab, a giant spaceship, a secret mountaintop laboratory, an electronics firm, a hidden laboratory on the outskirts of Metropolis, a laboratory hideout that has been lined with lead to conceal it from Superman’s X-ray vision, a massive fortress-like citadel on a lonely mountaintop north of Metropolis, a lonely farmhouse in the mountains north of Metropolis, a secret lead-lined subterranean hideout built into the side of a grassy hill, and the elaborately equipped Luthor’s Lair, Luthor’s Lair II, and Luthor’s Lair No. 5.” Whew! Luthor’s most ambitious lair appeared in Superman Returns when he blasted a Kryptonian crystal encased in Kryptonite into the seabed off the eastern seaboard. The ensuing continent that would be created would destroy every other continent on earth killing billions of people in the process and making the planet inhabitable for Superman. Ingeniously crazed indeed.
Syndrome’s Volcanic Hideout, Nomanisan Island
Syndrome’s Volcanic Hideout: Syndrome aka Buddy Pine aka Incredi-Boy was the evil super-villain in the 2004 movie The Incredibles. His evil pad was located on a volcanic island in the Pacific Ocean with it’s own rocket launch-pad and was full of hi-tech equipment and all manner of advanced gadgetry. Some of the cooler gadgets that Syndrome had included a pair of rocket boots, water bombs, flame-throwing assault rifles and the zero-point energy shooter that could suspend people in mid air. The lava-flow in the dining room, which opens up to reveal a walkway to his control center, is in our opinion the best feature of the lair by far. Syndrome’s pad was of course trashed by the Incredibles.
Tortuga: Throughout the 17th Century, the Island of Tortuga was a hotspot for pirates who would use the island as a hideout. By 1640 the pirates of Tortuga called themselves the Brethren of the Coast and had established the island as a place to stash their loot. The piracy problem got so bad on this small Caribbean island that the French governor imported 1,650 prostitutes to Tortuga in an effort to “regularise” these out-of-control pirates. The chaotic reign of the Brethren over Tortuga Island came to an end at the end of the 17th Century when treaties were signed with other nations to help prevent another “pirate infestation” like the one throughout the 1600′s.
The White Witch of Narnia’s Snowy Lair of Jadis, Narnia
Lair of Jadis: The White Witch of Narnia was the Queen of this fictitious kingdom in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. She put a curse on the kingdom that made it winter for eternity. Her elaborate castle was a sort of winter wonderland constructed of nothing but snow and ice, like one of those ice hotels on steroids. The White Witch was a 7ft tall, beautiful woman who had the power to wave her wand and magically turn someone into stone-cold statue. The White Witch displayed the petrified remains of her victims inside of her castle for all to see, which is just a little creepy.
Burns Manor, Springfield
: While Mr. Burns isn’t necessarily as evil as other villains in this list, he’s still a pain in the neck for Homer Simpson and the rest of Springfield. His crankiness probably stems from the fact the this rich nuclear power plant owner was reportedly born in 1881! The Burn’s Manor features electrified fencing surrounding the mansion and posted signs that say “Keep Out” and “Trespassers Will Be Shot”. Of course one would be remiss to forget the famed on-call hounds who chase visitors out of his mansion on a regular basis.
Dr. No’s Hideout on Crab Key Island, Jamaica
Dr. No’s Hideout: Dr. Julius No was one of the many adversaries of James Bond. His lair was located on Crab Key Island and protected by what many thought was a dragon, but it was actually an armoured buggy equipped with a flame-thrower. The Russians supplied Dr. No with millions of dollars worth of equipment to help sabotage American missile tests that were being conducted nearby. The aerial photo shows Dr. No’s facility at Crab Key Island, and the round dome structure is where the transmitter used to defeat American missiles was housed.
The Oval Office, White House
The Oval Office: We’ve all heard about the “evil” stuff that has gone-on inside the closed doors of the Oval Office during Bill Clinton’s reign as President of the United States. The Monica Lewinsky scandal really turned this wing of the White House into a scandalous place. Some may argue that Bill Clinton is not evil at all, but his wife Hillary may have argued that point at least at the time of the scandal. It’s funny how she is now running for President, and may some day sit in that same chair. Possible revenge?