Let’s face it: nobody quite does evil like veteran character actor Tim Curry. The man simply has a way of arching a perfectly-shaped brow, flashing a deliciously devious smile, and even showing a little demonic titty now and then. That’s why we return again and again to the classics that show Curry in his finest, most fantastically queer-coded light. We’ve all got our favorite Tim Curry performances, but for my money the man is at his best when he’s bringing literal demons from hell to the big (or small, or direct-to-video) screen. So let’s get into it, shall we?
“I hope this book is able to give visibility to things that are imperfect, because queer people are themselves imperfect.”
Evil Manta, “The Little Mermaid”
Starting off with a slippery bang, we have Curry’s delectable performance in the three-season “The Little Mermaid” TV show as Evil Manta, a manta ray imprisoned in sea jail until Ariel mistakenly frees him. This man is bright purple (gay) loves a musical number (gay) adores showing off his gigantic chest and nips (gay!) and happens to be the single father of a child he names, quite simply, “little evil.” He’s also got amazingly long lashes, because of course he does. It’s giving iconic. This role allows Curry to do what Curry does best: slither around, be gay, and laugh maniacally. Is he a match for Pat Carroll’s Ursula? Clearly not—who could be?—but he’s still iconic and every little thing he does is magic. Had this show come out at a different time, I am personally convinced that Evil Manta would have introduced themselves with they/them pronouns, because everything about this lewk is giving nonbinary excellence.
Forte, “Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas”
For those in the mood for a truly chilling example of early CGI, Curry’s performance as the evil organ Maestro Forte in the “Beauty and the Beast” franchise’s direct-to-video threequel will absolutely hit the spot. This church organ is mean, bitchy, fabulous, has green glowing eyes, and like so many of the best Disney villians, he travels with his own twink. He tosses off casual one-liners like “it’s merely an opera!” and is generally giving mua-ha-ha “Phantom of the Opera” camp throughout this whole weird, depressing movie. You wouldn’t be blamed for skipping through to just the Forte sections, as any good gay probably should.
Hexxus, FernGully: The Last Rainforest
Did Tim Curry have it written into his contract that every single cartoon villain he played in the 90s had to show titty? If so, we can’t blame him. There is perhaps no sexier cartoon villain than the Curry-voiced, smog-and-oil covered metaphor for global pollution Hexxus, who absolutely outdoes everyone else in this weird movie (including a rapping, pre-Aladdin Robin Williams.) Hexxus has no clear shape (hot) and sort of floats around and sings about being evil and destroying the planet, but when he does start to materialize it’s as a hot butch babe with, once again, a phenomenal set of pecs. And that chin? Move over, Bruce Campbell, there’s a new bitch in town.
Now I know what you’re thinking: calling Curry’s performance as the killer clown who terrorized all of us as kids “sexy” might be a bridge too far. And yet, is it? What’s sexier than fear? And people, it’s Tim Curry we’re talking about. He could play the goddamn Michelin Man and make it sexy. In fact…where’s that movie? Basically, Tim Curry puts his whole bussy into this role (as the kids say) and there’s just nothing sexier than that. Sorry!
Lord of Darkness, Legend
No Tim Curry sexy demon list could possibly be complete without a nod to the Lord of Darkness himself, as visualized in Ridley Scott’s beautiful 1985 fantasy epic. Not only does this movie feature what is possibly Tom Cruise’s first and last sexy performance as well as a star turn from Mia Sara (of Ferris Bueller fame,) it gives Curry one of his meatiest roles in a career filled with cholesterol-threatening amounts of pork, beef, and sausage. As the Lord of Darkness simply itching to kill the last-ever unicorn and drink its blood, Curry’s demon is seductive, sleazy, titty-forward (always) and delightful to watch, even if the prosthetics did almost drive him to insanity.
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