Megacorporations! They sure do make terrific bad guys (and you should refer to them as bad guys, given that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled corporations are individuals).
And while some corporations in our favorite movies, comics, videogames, movies and TV shows simply don’t care who gets in the way of their moneymaking or will participate in a few shady dealings for a little more market share — maybe even a couple pf murders — other major companies are more interested in just doing the craziest, most evil stuff they can do, seemingly just for the sake of trying. Here, we salute these bastions of capitalism and their preposterously ill-thought business plans.
10) Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems
When Buckaroo Banzai and the Hong Kong Cavaliers successfully create an oscillation overthruster so that they can drive through solid matter, the evil villains of defense contractor Yoyodyne aim to steal it. Oh, also did I mention that the executives of the company are Red Lectoids, alien warlords who want it so they can return to their dimension and conquer a rival planet? That’s pretty important.
With an iron grip on the robot market (she has a monopoly), Futurama‘s Mom will do whatever it takes to corner new industries. Infecting dreams with ads, building robot slaves (until Robot Lincoln comes along), turning earth into a warship, causing catastrophic global warming, it doesn’t matter.
Under the banner of its ubiquitous slogan, “We own you,” Conglom-O basically controls the entirety of Rocko’s hometown of O-Town (they run city hall, and also everything else). The company makes every kind of product and employs nearly everyone (except Rocko, who works at a comic shop). In the musical episode “Zanzibar,” the company, through the spokesman of Mr. Bighead, dumps trash (radioactive trash!) in the bay and on birds and shoots it into space. They also close down the recycling center (before learning a lesson through song).
7) Multi-National United
It was bad enough that the South African government contracted MNU to put alien visitors into an internment camp in District 9. It was another thing altogether when they didn’t offer medical treatment to their clearly infected employee, instead using him to test weapons and eventually take his organs. They were also doing crazy experiments on all the aliens, who were basically benign creatures. As we’ll see, evil corporations just can’t help doing crazy experiments on everything.
Omni Consumer Products owns Detroit’s police department (whose pay they cut), but also employs criminals to fight it. They built their own version of Detroit — Delta City — to replace the old one. They created the ED-209, a giant, military-grade destruction machine. They’ve taken over hospitals, prisons, space travel. They rebuilt a man into a robotic police machine, hoping to control him. But they couldn’t. Then they tried to use criminals to build another Robocop. That didn’t work out so well, either. By the straight-to-video movies, the company was trying to wipe out humanity for no good reason.
You know, outside of its crazy profiteering and near-monopoly power over the city of Metropolis, LexCorp itself may not be any worse than any other company. But here’s the key thing: The guy who runs it wants to kill Superman. He has his company develop stuff so he can try to kill Superman. You don’t need to know any more than that, really.
4) Umbrella Corporation
Here’s the thing about Umbrella: Nothing it ever does makes anything close to a lick of sense. The pharmaceutical giant’s public face serves as a front for its seedy underbelly, a vast series of underground labs and facilities where unbalanced people develop bioweapons out of dead people. Employees are constantly infecting other employees with viruses that turn them into monsters, it’s got more rogue scientists on the payroll than you can count, and it has its own paramilitary unit, so it’s not clear who they’d even sell the bioweapons to. I guess they’d use them themselves to take over the planet? Who can say?
3) Soylent Corporation
They made food out of people. THEY MADE FOOD OUT OF PEOPLE! (Spoiler for a 40-year-old movie, there. Sorry.)
Well, let’s see. In Alien, the company programmed an android to essentially let the crew of the Nostromo be wiped out so that it could get its hands on an alien specimen. In Aliens, company representative Paul Reiser lies to Ripley and a bunch of marines, telling them the company isn’t interested in specimens, when, guess what! It is. A bunch of colonists died, too. In Alien 3, same deal. Lying to get the specimens. They want to make weapons out of them, you understand. Because corporations really like to make weapons out of uncontrollable murder machines, clearly (in Prometheus, the company just wants to talk to some space jockeys and is willing to let some people die for that to happen. No big).
Listen. There are a lot of evil corporations in the Marvel Universe. For instance, Oscorp, which is run by a dude who wants to kill Spider-Man and dresses up like a green monster. Or Beyond Corporation, which has a “floating terror factory.” But nothing can hold a candle to Roxxon Energy Corporation, an impossibly lengthy list of whose misdeeds can be found here. To name a few: Trying to flood and destroy the Savage Land, killing Iron Man’s parents and hiring Flag-Smasher to steal secrets from an oil-rich country. Recently, the company was overtaken by Alexander Lukin’s (at the time, the Red Skull) Kronas Corporation, somehow making it even more evil.