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Top 20 Most Over-The-Top Performances Ever

Top 20 Most Over-The-Top Performances Ever
Nothing singes the screen like an actor turned up to maximum volume: forget method acting, the only way to really make an impression is by bellowing your lines, growling at your co-stars and chomping on the scenery. This list is a compilation of those classic performances that just couldn't be reined in; the wildly excessive, over-the-top, turned-up-to-11 show-stoppers. That's drama only, mind: no comedy allowed! Sometimes it works (Jack Nicholson has built a career on overacting) and sometimes it doesn't (What did happen to that Van Helsing sequel we were promised?) but every one of these huge performances leaves an indelible mark on cinematic history. Enjoy the ham.

20. TERENCE STAMP as GENERAL ZOD in SUPERMAN II (1980)
How to portray one of the most powerful beings in the universe? Acting with a capital A, if you're Limey actor Terence Stamp. Coming up against Krypton's only son is an intimidating role but Stamp gives it all he's got; his eyebrow permanently raised, he barks insults at Superman and the human race in general, makes insanely camp 'flying' poses and insists that his slaves "Kneel before Zod!" in an act of uncomfortable sacrifice. Granted, he needed a role that was as flamboyant as his natty open-chested pyjama get-up (and let's face it, every supervillain worth his salt is a little theatrical) but there was really no need for him to act like a drooling mongoloid just because Kal-El shook his hand. Pfft, baby.




19. RICHARD ROXBURGH as COUNT DRACULA in VAN HELSING (2004)
Ah, Count Dracula - one of the most evil dudes in modern mythology and a role that seems to attract the hammiest of actors. Roxburgh's take on ol' Alucard is an interesting one; rather than dwell on his evil antics, he plays him gayer than a pink Christmas tree. The accent, the theatrics, the wanton desire to hit Transylvania's discos (as evidenced in the clip below); Roxburgh's Drac plays too close to parody to scare. One you've got Sesame Street's Count Von Count in your head, you won't be able to take him seriously. He has also the unenviable honour of being the worst thing in Van Helsing: a bit like being the shittiest Nazi in the Third Reich.




18. JOHN MALKOVICH as CYRUS 'THE VIRUS' GRISSOM in CON AIR (1997)
Just because you're starring opposite Nicolas Cage, doesn't mean you can let all standards fly out the window, Mr. Malkovich. An undoubtedly talented actor, he flits between serious period dramas (bo-oring) and scenery-munching turns like his role in Con Air (much more fun), where he lets loose and ramps up the crazy as the villain of the piece, Cyrus the Virus. While Cage works on his simpering anti-hero shtick that he trots out every movie ("Put the bunny back in the box." Oooh, scary Mr. Cage!), Malkatraz emotes the shit out of him in a maniacal turn that will no doubt have his posh thespian mates in a tizzy. Who'd have thought the Dangerous Liaisons guy was capable of such madness?
See also: Eragon, The Libertine, The Talented Mr Ripley




17. CRISPIN GLOVER as WILLARD in WILLARD (2003)
Crispin Glover has never been one to tone down the crazy - see his Clowny Clowny Clown video for proof - but his turn as rat-loving weirdo Willard must rank among the most overblown performances of all time. That's right: George McFly got angry. Shaking like a dog shitting razorblades, Willard frequently erupts in bursts of spastic energy, the outrage flowing through his veins as he rallies against a society that's shunned him. Don't give Glover all the credit - if his TV appearances are anything to go by then he may well have been given some chemical support.
See also: Back To The Future




16. MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY as VILMER in TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE NEXT GENERATION (1994)
You might not think that professional beach bum and shirt-free stoner Matthew McConaughey would make a good horror villain. You would be correct. But by the good Lord, he gives it everything. Turning his acting up to 'Warning: Overdrive!' level, McConaughey dribbles, screams and hits new mental heights as Vilmer, brother of Leatherface in this ill-advised Texas Chainsaw remake. Rom-com fans, prepare to see your sun-kissed idol slap around some sexy teens (including a then unknown Renée Zellweger), fellate a shotgun and throw his arms around like a Tusken Raider on PCP. Stick to hitting on Kate Hudson, Matthew - it suits you.


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