WARNING: SPOILERS all up in the conference room.
Never trust an organized entity, especially if it has a 401K plan.
As this week's new thriller "The East" chronicles a former FBI agent's transition to a private job at a sinister intelligence agency, we thought we'd look back at the rich history of evil movie corporations and separate the maniacally, outrageously, inexcusably evil from the "Aw, that's cute, look at them trying to be evil" evil.
Our extensive audit resulted in the following cinematic analysis. Proceed with caution, employees and non-employees alike.
15. Initech ('Office Space')
Peter Gibbons' corporate hell, personified in the passive-aggressive overtime demands of Lumbergh and stapler-fetishizing mumblings of Milton, wasn’t bent on world domination or the complete destruction of humanity. The evil here was much more subtle, realistic and soul-crushing. Thankfully, Peter escaped with a swanky blue collar job cleaning up filth — a better fate than twenty more years spent in a cubicle.
Evil Rating: Stepping From a Hot Shower into a Cold Room Evil
14. InGen ('Jurassic Park')
It's hard to blame InGen for trying to realize every seven-year-old's dream of creating an island full of historically inaccurate dinosaurs and subsequently having the finished product pooh-poohed by a smug Jeff Goldblum. But, like most outrageous plans concocted by eccentric billionaires, this one was better in theory. Still, they might have gotten away with it if it wasn't for that meddling Newman.
Evil Rating: Scooby-Doo Villain Evil
13. Lunar Industries ('Moon')
Living in solitary confinement on the moon harvesting Helium-3 for Lunar Industries has its pros and cons. On the upside, you get help from a friendly robot that sounds suspiciously like a sad Kevin Spacey, and lots of time to build models and tighten up your ping-pong game. On the downside, it turns out you're just one in a series of clones created by the corporation, and all your precious memories are pre-planted lies. Also, some of your clones are jerks.
Evil Rating: 2003 Portland Trailblazers Evil
12. Global Crosspower Solutions ('Promised Land')
If you've been paying attention to the news, you know there's nothing more evil than hydrofracking. Or maybe you know it's the next great energy breakthrough. Either way, we can probably agree that manipulating kindly small town folk into selling their family farms for such a risky proposition is at least evil-lite.
Evil Rating: Evel Knievel Evil
11. U-North ('Michael Clayton')
U-North might not be the best-known corporation on this list, but the agricultural conglomerate still has quite a rap sheet. In just two hours of screen time, the company knowingly sells a carcinogen as a lawn product, attempts to kill professional handsome person/ national treasure George Clooney, successfully murders a mentally distraught Tom Wilkinson and causes Tilda Swinton to grossly pit out.
Evil Rating: Walter White Season 1 Evil
10. Multi-National United ('District 9')
The private military organization responsible for keeping the so-smart-they-can-traverse-the-universe but so-inept-they-can't-feed-themselves-on-the-voyage alien robo-lobster refugees of "District 9" in check is guilty of evil on three fronts: 1) They're ruthless — experimenting on interstellar guests with their own advanced, super-cool weaponry? For shame. 2) They perpetuate the military-industrial complex — it's like they've never heard a Dwight D. Eisenhower farewell address. 3) They're nepotistic — did they really think putting that bumbling, Inspector Clouseau of an Afrikaner in charge of inter-species relations was going to end on a high note?
Evil Rating: Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Evil
9. Tyrell Corporation ('Blade Runner')
When your corporate headquarters is 700 stories tall, based on pure probability alone there's a good chance there's some sinister business going on inside. But the Tyrell Corporation made it a sure thing by creating humanoid robots that are designed for dangerous (and sometimes sexy) work but occasionally escape into the Los Angeles streets where they wreck (sometimes sexy) mayhem. Additional evil notches in the Tyrell Corp belt for manufacturing a product that craps out every four years, thus making replicants the Xbox 360s of superhuman cyborgs.
Evil Rating: Marilyn Manson Played Backwards Evil
8. BiffCo ('Back to the Future Part II')
If your logo includes a picture of you smoking a cigar with a s**t-eating grin on your face, there's a good chance you're at least slightly evil. Although if your entire fortune is built on ethically shaky time-traveling practices and your company's specialties are casinos and something called "toxic waste reclamation," those are probably good indications, too.
Evil Rating: Betty Draper Evil
7. SPECTRE (James Bond)
According to Ronald Reagan and every American movie made between 1975 and 1985, it just doesn't get more evil than the Soviet Union. So seeing as Bond-universe conglomerate SPECTRE played both sides of the Cold War for profit, simple math tells us they must be at least half-evil. Thankfully, 007 was there to teach them freedom isn't for sale! ... and have sex with beautiful, provocatively-named women. SPECTRE — short for SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion — gets a bonus for having by far the most overtly evil name on this list.
Evil Rating: Curly Moustache Evil
6. RDA Corporation ('Avatar')
Oh, humanity. What won't we do in our never-ending quest for unobtainium? The RDA Corporation was willing to indiscriminately trample N̶a̶t̶i̶v̶e̶ ̶A̶m̶e̶r̶i̶c̶a̶n̶s̶ Na'vi in their quest to acquire the precious and possibly delicious mineral. RDA gets extra evil points for participating in one of the least subtle allegories in the history of cinema.
Evil Rating: Big Tobacco Evil
5. Weyland-Yutani Corporation ('Alien')
Shame on Weyland-Yutani for squandering a perfectly cool name with their continuous ineptitude and attempting to squander a perfectly sexy Sigourney Weaver in their ongoing mission to capture and weaponize xenomorphs. Weyland-Yutani is made all the more malevolent by employing Paul Reiser, undoubtedly the most evil observational comedian ever to grace NBC's Thursday night "Must See TV" lineup.
Evil Rating: Panda Poacher Evil
4. Omni Consumer Products ('RoboCop')
Having had its hands in everything from military weaponry and space exploration to food and healthcare, OCP has perhaps the most impressive evil resume on the list (so long as you’re willing to overlook that gap year it spent backpacking through Europe). They even developed a plan so outrageously evil — building and operating their own "utopian" city — that it would never happen in real life.
Evil Rating: Ty Cobb Evil
3. Umbrella Corporation ('Resident Evil')
Umbrella Corporation isn't the first conglomerate to develop a virus leading to a zombiepocalypse and they likely won't be the last, but they seem to be far and away the most reckless. Exhibit A: Attempting to cover their tracks by no less than nuking their own genetic research facility.
Evil Rating: Walter White Season 5 Evil
2. Soylent Corporation ('Soylent Green')
What could possibly cause a corporation that in the wake of rampant overpopulation and near-complete environmental degradation invented a low-cost wafer that's so nutritionally efficient it's able to feed the majority of the population to be classified as evil? Wait, what's that? People? That low-cost wafer is made of people? Ew. Gross.
Evil Rating: Enron Evil
1. Rekall/ Replacement Technologies/ ICS/ Cyberdyne Systems ('Total Recall'/ 'The 6th Day'/ 'The Running Man'/ 'The Terminator')
If you're an Arnold Schwarzenegger character, there's likely an evil corporation bent on your destruction. (There's also an outside shot you might be pregnant — in which case, congrats!) Whether you've had your mind manipulated by a shady memory implanting service, been cloned against your will, forced to compete in a violent futuristic game show or programmed to prevent the existence of a future human hero and sent back in time only to be reprogrammed and sent back in time again by that very same hero to protect a rapscallion-y ten-year-old version of himself who then teaches you the value of human life ... well, anyway, the point is these corporations are, like, super-evil.
Evil Rating: Kris Jenner Evil