Dr Moreau - The Island Of Doctor Moreau (1996)
Debate rages as to whether Brando plays the doctor or the island in this woeful HG Wells adaptation. But there’s no doubting that the doc is doolally, developing human/ animal crossbreeds while wearing pale-face slap and lippy.
Also played by Charles Laughton in the far better Island Of Lost Souls (1932).[page-break]
John Hammon - Jurassic Park (1993)
Considering that delusion is a type of madness (and ignoring the fact he’s an entrepreneur, not a scientist) Hammond makes the list due to the I-am-God folly of his dino-theme park.
Aiming to undo evolution by bringing back the beasts, he makes his family fodder and gives Stan Winston a chance to show off some great FX.[page-break]
Doctor Octopus - Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Dr Otto Octavius (aka Doc Ock) suffers horribly, like so many Marvel characters, from alliterative name syndrome ( J Jonah Jameson, Peter Parker, Curt Connors), but is sent over the edge when an experiment goes awry, killing his missus and leaving him with four metal arms seared to his body.
Eventually kills himself. Pass the popcorn![page-break]
Dr Herbert West - Re-Animator (1985)
Perhaps the grisliest of loopy screen docs, Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) ‘re-animates’ bodies with his life-giving serum, only to see them goon blood-thirsty kill sprees.
All quirk and tics, Combs is a terrifically diabolical scientist, chewing up the scenery just as Re-Animator’s decapitated heads try to chew up key characters.[page-break]
Dr Seth Brundle - The Fly (1986)
It’s hardly fair to classify Seth Brundle as a headcase given his DNA has been meshed with that of a sodding fly, but he must have been a couple of straws short of a bale to conduct a risky teleportation experiment on himself in the first place.
“Be afraid. Be very afraid,” Geena Davis rightly warns. The film has since been adapted as an opera, bizarrely.[page-break]
Dr Eldon Tyrell - Blade Runner (1982)
Teetering between genius and madman, Dr Tyrell ( Joe Turkel) created the replicants that Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) must hunt down in Ridley Scott’s sci-fi classic…
With his Dennis Taylor glasses and eerie manner, he at least looks like a nutjob, while his all-powerful corporation has a slogan that speaks of capitalism gone crazy: “More human than human.”[page-break]
Dr Strangelove - Dr Strangelove (1964)
The fact that Peter Sellers’ wheelchair-bound ex-Nazi isn’t necessarily the craziest character in Kubrick’s satire tells you everything you need to know.
He gives America’s nuclear power a shot in the arm, even as he wrestles with his own – a mechanised contraption that’s always either trying to strangle him or give a Nazi salute. “Mein Führer I can walk!”[page-break]
Dr Emmett Brown - Back To The Future (1985)
Doc Brown conforms to mad scientist cliché by having wild white hair and bulging eyes, but he breaks from tradition by actually being benign.
In whatever age, Doc helps Marty McFly and invents time travel… in a DeLorean. “The way I see it, if you’re gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?”[page-break]
Dr Jack Griffin - The Invisible Man (1933)
James Whale gives us a memorable wacko in the form of Dr Jack – the director following Frankenstein with an HG Wells adap where a decent-but-ambitious scientist goes loco after experimenting – will they never learn? – on himself. Claude Rains is memorable in his first Stateside role, given you can’t see him…[page-break]
Dr Frankenstein - Frankenstein (1931)
The quintessential bonkers boffin. Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation might have portrayed the doctor as decent, if misguided, but turn to James Whale’s brilliant 1931 film for the ultimate vision of insane science, as Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive) births a monster: “Look! It’s moving. It’s alive. IT’S ALIVE… Oh, in the name of God! Now I know what it feels like to be God!” Quite.
Liked This? Then see:
Sign up for our
free weekly newsletter
for the latest news, features and reviews delivered straight to your inbox.
Follow us on Twitter