Today or tomorrow, most of us are journeying back to our ancestral lands, to confront an ancient evil: our families. But it could be much worse. As dreadful as your relatives are, you could be a member of the Harkonnen family. Or the Duras family. Or the Family of Blood.
Science fiction is chock full of families that are more evil than yours, and here are some of the worst. We asked on our Facebook page what your favorite evil families were, and used some of your suggestions in the list below.
Note: We're not including fantasy here, since fantasy is chock full of evil families, and we would be here all day.
The Smiths from Powerpuff Girls
The next-door neighbors from hell, the Smiths are so pissed at the Powerpuff Girls and the Professor over a ruined dinner and some basic neighborly jealousy, they become a team of inept supervillains, with some amazing homemade costumes. Thanks to Leo for the image!
The Kravens from Amazing Spider-Man
Kraven the Hunter started out as just a fanatical big game hunter whose goal in life is to hunt down Spider-Man to prove he can take on the Most Dangerous Game. But eventually he spawns a whole dysfunctional Kraven family, including two sons and one daughter, who all take turns wearing the mantle of Kraven. Plus there's his alien adopted baby and his mutant sorta-spawn, which... whatever. They're a messed up brood, basically.
The Ikaris from Neon Genesis Evangelion
This is arguably more of a dysfunctional family than an evil family — Gendo Ikari is cold and distant towards his son, Shinji, forcing him to fly inside an EVA, Unit 01, that retains a portion of the immortal soul of his mother, Yui. Gendo seemingly doesn't care what happens to his son, as long as he achieves Instrumentality and becomes a kind of god, bringing his dead wife back in the process.
The Hutt Clan from Star Wars
Jabba the Hutt is a pretty ruthless character, who's not above tossing hot Twi'lek dancers into a monster pit for a moment's amusement. But in some of the recent stories, including the Clone Wars, we've discovered just how ruthless and horrible a lot of the Hutts are, including the baby-stealing, blackmailing, conniving Ziro the Hutt. The only constant with the Hutts is their backstabbing and their lust for profit.
The Tomoes from Sailor Moon S
Professor Tomoe was originally a good father, until a laboratory explosion hit him and his daughter, causing him to become the servant of the evil Germatoid. Tomoe's daughter Hotaru became the host for Mistress 9, and ordered her father to go seeking Pure Hearts to destroy the world.
The Shaws, from The X-Men
Sebastian Shaw is a ruthless bastard who took over the Hellfire Club by having his White Queen, Emma Frost, force the previous White King and White Queen to kill themselves. He schemed to take over the world and helped turn Phoenix into Dark Phoenix. But also, his son Shinobi Shaw is just as much of a bastard, trying to kill his father and take his place in the Hellfire Club.
Ra's family, from Stargate
Ra, the villain of the original Stargate movie, and his family pops up a lot in the TV series. His wife Hathor is imprisoned in a sarcophagus for centuries, only to break free and try to seize power once again. His son Heru-ur is also a total nasty piece of work (pictured at left.) And let's not even get into his brother Apophis.
The al Ghuls, from Batman
Ra's al Ghul has tried to destroy most of the human race on several occasions, coming up with more and more outlandish doomsday schemes to try and rescue the environment from humanity. His daughter Talia has sometimes seemed more conflicted about her dad's agenda, but has tried to support his work. And of course Talia got together with Bruce Wayne to have a little monster of their own, Damian Wayne.
The Peacock Family, from The X-Files, "Home"
The ultimate in-bred mutant family, they're the family that slays together, and generally does everything together. These boys will do anything for Mama.
The Luthors, from Smallville
Lex Luthor has always been a messed-up guy, but Smallville innovated by giving him more of a dysfunctional family, including his evil father Lionel Luthor and his half-sister, Tess Mercer. They're a mean, ambitious bunch — Lionel killed his own parents, and shut down a Smallville plant when Lex refused to leave his job there — but they're even worse in the alternate universe where Clark became part of the family.
The Whitney family, from Society
One of our absolute favorite gross-out horror movies, Society is about a young man who discovers that he was adopted. The rest of his family are monsters who feed off humans and merge their flesh together into a monstrous blob of oedipal wrongness, known as the Shunt. Truly has to be seen to be believed.
The Evils, from Austin Powers
Doctor Evil is sort of the ultimate archetypal supervillain, except that his family life is pretty complicated — he hooks up with his villainous associate Frau Farbissina during a trip to 1969, and the result is Scott Evil, a son who has ambivalent feelings about his father. Over time, though, Scott Evil starts to turn into more of a replica of Dad, eventually taking over his father's criminal empire after Dr. Evil turns sorta-good.
The Wilsons, from Deathstroke: The Terminator
Slade Wilson is everybody's favorite one-eyed assassin bastard — not to be confused with Wade Wilson — but Slade's family life is more confusing than that of the other assassins named Wilson. His kids include Grant Wilson, who became the Ravager, Joseph — who became the hero Jericho before eventually going bad — and Rose, who carved out her own eye to be more like Dad. Slade put a Kryptonite weapon in Rose's eye socket, just to show he loved her.
The Pride, from The Runaways
What if your parents were evil — and all your friends' parents were evil too? The Pride consists of six pairs of parents, each of them evil and powerful in different ways. Together, this supervillain team controlled the Los Angeles area in the Marvel Universe, until their kids discovered the truth about their folks.
The Sivana family, from Shazam
Dr. Thaddeus Bodog Sivana is an evil, vicious supervillain and mad scientist, who lives to destroy Captain Marvel. He never hatches a monstrous plot without his children at his side, Thaddeus Jr. and Georgia.
The Angel Gang, from Judge Dredd
The nicest folks you could ever hope to meet in the Cursed Earth, the Angels are a family as well as a gang. They prey on anyone who comes near, and their strongest threat is "Mean Machine" Angel, a super-strong bald guy with a dial on his head that controls his levels of aggression.
The House of Duras, from Star Trek
Duras, son of Ja'rod schemed to take control over the Klingon Empire, suppressing the truth that his father Ja'rod had worked with the Romulans. And after Duras died, his sisters Lursa and B'Etor kept scheming to gain power, trying to seat Duras' son Toral on the Imperial throne. They even teamed up with the Romulans once again. Later, on Enterprise, we learned that an ancestor of the Duras family was also a total scumdog.
The Family of Blood, from Doctor Who
Seeking the powers of a Time Lord, the Family of Blood pursued the Doctor across the universe, killing and destroying anyone and anything who got in the way. But at least these green gaseous blobs were big on family values, habitually addressing each other by titles like "Mother of Mine" or "Daughter of Mine." Oh, and they enlisted creepy scarecrows to do their bidding, just to add to the nastiness.
The Slitheen Family, from Doctor Who
The Slitheens are the most notorious crime family on Raxacoricofallapatorius, known for their terrible schemes — including taking control over the British government and launching a fake war, in order to destroy the planet and reap the resulting radioactive waste. There seems to be a nearly endless supply of evil family members, judging from the Sarah Jane Adventures.
House Harkonnen, from Dune
Baron Vladimir Harkonnen is willing to do anything to consolidate his power and destroy House Atreides, and he's helped by his vicious nephews, Glossu Rabban and Feyd-Rautha. The House of Harkonnen comes close to destroying the Atreides line, killing Duke Leto, until their gambit to strand the Duke's wife and son on Arrakis backfires on them.
Further Reading: What's the worst that can happen when you visit your parents?
Thanks to everybody who responded on our Facebook page, including Daniel Geoffrey Hodgkins, Colin Vale Pigeau, Nicki White, Gordon Deruuloo, Harold Saxon, Jason Wayne Lloren, Emilie Déclaron, Shane Murphy, Aaron Garcia, Mark Jobson, Alexander Webb, Aengus Fallon, Ben Stava, Bill Rogers, Grizz Gom Jabbar Robinson, Devin O'Bryan, Nate Pearlstein, Erik Wise, David Voderberg, Brus McKee, Martin Kierstein, Guillaume Lacrampe, Callie Ray, Tomb Svalborg, Lou J. Yoskowitz, Rich Walker, Leo Salvia, Joshua Goins, Elizabeth Rogers, Mike Sweeney, Laurel Dunn, Bernie C. Blankenship, Joe Meils, Michael de Boer, JP Foster, Ruth Both, Anthony James Larrea, Lisa Hathaway, Andy Pemberton, Kenn Hensley, Annie Pyrchalla, Tim Stellar, Luke Ellis, Adam Warr and Diogo Branco.