It’s capitalism run amok led by corrupt corporate executives where the bottom line is all that matters. Evil companies are some of the most popular villains when the setting calls for omnipresent threats to the heroes, often with a sharp-dressed gentleman with an intimidating office leading them. Fiction always seems to imagine that the business sector attracts the greediest, most amoral, most dishonest types of people.
As over used as the trope may be, the Evil Company has featured some of the most insidious evil plans and some of the most celebrated, entertaining villains ever. Their usually legitimate fronts come with built-in drama as the heroes are forced to fight the villains in hostile territory, often alone and in secret.
In this list we’re counting down our favorite bad guys who took the form of business suits, towering offices, and sleek company logos. Here are the 17 Most Evil Fictional Companies Of All Time.
17 HOOLI – SILICON VALLEY
What happens when you get a pretentious, sheltered, insecure, egomaniac like Gavin Belson as the head of one of the major tech companies in the industry? You get the mess that is Hooli in HBO’s Silicon Valley. The company isn’t so bad in practice, but Gavin makes working there a nightmare. He expects perfecting the impossible from every employee. His underlings are so afraid of his disapproval that they lie about the status of his pet project Nucleus so that he might not fire them.
Speaking of Nucleus, Gavin Belson nearly ruins Hooli in his crusade to bury a small-time startup, Pied Piper. Losing the chance to buy Pied Pieper’s compression algorithm to his longtime rival Peter Gregory inspires him to all kinds of jerkass schemes. He illegally orders his employees to block any negative stories about Nucleus, he illegally monitors his employees’ email accounts for personal monetary gain, and he blows up at or outright fires Hooli employees for his own mistakes.
16 VERIDIAN DYNAMICS – BETTER OFF TED
“Veridian Dynamics: Right and Wrong. It means something. We just don't know what.”
Who the hell knows the full extent of what Veridian Dynamics gets up to? Ted Crisp certainly doesn’t, and he’s the head of their Research and Development team. The first time viewer of Better off Ted might be forgiven for thinking that Veridian Dynamics is a real company. Before the first commercial break of every episode of the first season, the viewer is treated to an in-universe commercial for some of Veridian Dynamic’s products or services. They could pass for a real world commercial, until they show you an image of 5 Tasmanian devils each trying to rip a carcass apart in a commercial that’s supposed to be about “teamwork”, or something else just a little off.
Without Ted’s conscience being guided by his 7 year old daughter, Veridian Dynamics might have taken over the world already. They’ve already got their penchant for exploding pumpkins, killer androids, solar powered panels that poison food, and macaroni and cheese that causes blindness. Food. Yum.
15 "EVIL" CORP - MR. ROBOT
Mr. Robot may only be in its second season, but the world spanning mega-conglomerate E-Corp has already proved plenty nefarious. The hacker vigilante Elliot Alderson has conditioned himself to automatically hear “Evil” Corp anytime the company is mentioned by name. Elliot may have his demons, but he’s not wrong about Evil Corp. He uncovers evidence that Evil Corp’s own corporate negligence was responsible for the death of his father, who died from Leukemia after a toxic chemical leak at a plant Evil Corp owned. The company knew the risks they were taking with their employees’ safety, and decided that “it would not be cost effective to retool the current systems if there are potential lawsuits.”
Evil Corp is so big that it owns about 70% of the entire world’s consumer credit debt. With that kind of leverage, and their massive consumer electronics subsidiaries, it’s no wonder fsociety wants to bring them down. All the executives we meet in the company are varying degrees of opportunistic and amoral, willing to break the law to ensure their success.
14 RUPTURE FARMS – ODDWORLD
Even on the bizarre planet of Oddworld, capitalism and exploitation can run amok. The Glukkon species and their Magog Cartel own the largest meat processing company on Oddworld. When the player begins the game as the lowly Mudokon slave janitor Abe happens to spy on an executive board meeting of the Glukkons, Abe overhears them discussing how their primary livestock is going instinct and that they need a way to increase the company’s profits again.
Molluck, the administrator of Rupture Farms, comes up with a brilliant solution. They will feed their Mudokon slaves to the meat processors and use them as their new livestock. When Abe goes on a quest to become the liberator messiah of his fellow Mudokons, the Glukkons try to smear him with propaganda, in addition to dispatching guards to kill him. Rupture Farms isn’t above murdering their own employees for incompetence and then court marshalling them either. They even threaten to throw their guards into the beer brewing vats if they fail to catch Abe.
13 ABSTERGO INDUSTRIES – ASSASSIN’S CREED
Every clandestine organization with aspirations of world domination needs a somewhat legitimate front to mollify the general public into submission. Enter Abstergo Industries. Among the innumerable consumer products and infrastructure Abstergo controls, they’ve pioneered that Animus machine that lets the characters in Assassin’s Creed go treasure hunting through their ancestor’s memories. This lets the modern day Templars like Warren Vidic find the lost clues they need to acquire the all-powerful Pieces of Eden. They’ll stop at nothing short of all of humanity marching to their tune.
Vidic and Abstergo in general have no qualms about sacrificing the well-being and lives of others if they believe it serves their end goal of maintaining order in humanity. They’re so omnipresent that they can influence the highest levels of government and track and capture private civilians without having to go through law enforcement. The player even experiences the mental torture that Abstergo puts their Animus drivers through first hand.
12 WOLFRAM AND HART – ANGEL
They may conduct their business in the form of a law firm in the present day, but their “Senior Partners”, the demons Wolf, Ram and Hart, have been out for world domination since prehistory. Wolfram and Hart, Attorneys at Law is just the legitimate front to their international, inter-dimensional campaign to spread evil throughout the universe.
Angel spends nearly the entire arc of the series trying to break Wolfram and Hart’s influence on Earth and plenty of the episodic arcs fighting their schemes and agents. Even Buffy and her gang have to content with Wolfram and Hart. They’re so callous and duplicitous that the patent holder of cancer (yes, cancer) is one of their clients. Since they are demons, they enslave and torment their subordinates with fates worse than death. They force them to eat their own livers as punishment for poor performance, and secretly have their employees sign “perpetuity clauses”, forcing them to work for the firm even after death.
11 OSCORP INDUSTRIES – MARVEL
Norman Osborn was born to be the shady, obsessed, power-hungry CEO of a multibillion dollar tech corporation. His father bankrupted the wealthy Osborn family, though he instilled a maniacal drive to attain wealth and power in his son from a young age. Norman was mentally unstable, a neglectful father and an abusive boss to his employees at Oscorp all before was exposed to the Green Goblin Serum.
Throughout the various arcs in Marvel Comics, Norman Osborn uses his wealth and resources from Oscorp to further develop his signature weapons and disguises as the Green Goblin. Peter Parker, his loved ones, and New York City suffered greatly from his machinations. Not to mention the fact that Osborn sacrificed some of his own employees to the Goblin’s sadistic urges. In The Amazing Spider-Man movies, Oscorp is totally corrupt and directly responsible for the framing and murder of Peter's parents. They also torture the inmates at Ravencroft Institute and developed the technology that powers every supervillain in the series.
10 GLOBEX – THE SIMPSONS
When Globex President Hank Scorpio makes you an offer to relocate your family and join his company, you’d better just accept. You don’t want to be in his way when his schemes for world domination involve your home town. Sure, Hank hates being called the boss and considers the health of his employees, like Homer Simpson, his second biggest concern, but he also doesn’t hide his evil plans for his company.
When the United States Army launched an assault on the Globex Headquarters, Hank had his superlaser primed and ready to destroy a bridge in New York City. The U.S. and the U.N. were appropriately cowed. By the end of the episode, Hank has fully established his dictatorship over the East Coast, even if it may be benevolent. The “nice guy” Bond Villain even gets his own James Bond surrogate, except Hank Scorpio is not only nicer but smarter than most Bond villains. When the secret agent escapes Scorpio’s elaborate death trap, he just has his armed guards shoot and kill him.
9 MOM CO. – FUTURAMA
Mom Co. from Futurama might just be the most abusive family business in what’s supposed to be a funny cartoon you’ll ever see. Mom Co. is owned by “Mom”, the richest woman on Earth. She does a fine job of keeping up the sweet pretense of a matronly overseer when it suits her, but if you get in her way or foil her plans, she’ll have nothing but bile for you.
Not even her own sons and foremost henchmen are safe from her abuse. When her two oldest sons Larry and Walt were just toddlers, Mom used them as human shields when Farnsworth’s demonstration of Dark Matter for the company resulted in an explosion. She still takes any excuse to slap them repeatedly. The Company itself has tight monopolies on everything from robotics to interstellar fuel to the mail. The Planet Express Crew are constantly harassed by the “friendly” robots Mom dispatches to conquer the world for her.
8 OMNI CONSUMER PRODUCTS – ROBOCOP
The Cyberpunk genre loves picking on Detroit, for some reason. At the start of RoboCop, the megacorporation Omni Consumer Products has already begun the process of bulldozing the crime-ridden city of Detroit and building the corporate state of Delta City in its place. Part of their scheme is to privatize the police force, with their executives calling the shots. How convenient for them that rookie cop Officer Murphy was pumped full of lead by gangster Clarence Boddicker and his thugs, right?
OCP takes the opportunity to test their new RoboCop program, rebuilding Murphy into an unfeeling cyborg tank. And of course, they secretly program him with a classified directive that Murphy can’t arrest any OCP executives. It’s convenient for them when they’re illegally working with Boddicker to speed up Detroit’s descent into anarchy and make their law enforcement products seem even more attractive. Like the ED-209! OCP is so eager to privatize and militarize the police that their prototype urban security biped slaughters an executive instead of harmlessly demonstrating its arrest protocols.
7 THE PATRIOTS – METAL GEAR SOLID
“La li lu le lo.”
These are the architects of most of the events in the main Metal Gear Solid games. They may not have an office or corporate headquarters on prime real-estate, but their influence reaches to every strata of American society. The Patriots rose out of the political tension and intrigue from the Cold War into the late 20th Century. By controlling the media, the government, and all the major military and technology innovations, they hoped to steward the world to a more stable order.
But plans like these hit plenty of snags. Ideological splits among the patriots grew into decades of proxy wars that thousands of clueless civilians and soldiers died in. Their own Les Enfants Terribles program produced Solid Snake, but also Liquid and Solidus Snake, who hatched their own rogue schemes. Each amassed such great military power that the Patriots spend decades trying to bring them down by pulling strings, starting proxy wars and developing the infamous nuclear bipeds called the metal gears.
6 PAGE INDUSTRIES - DEUS EX
In the cyberpunk dystopia of 2052, a virulent plague called the Gray Death is ravaging the middle and lower class populations of the world, while corporations and governments are unwilling or ill-equipped to address it. Bob Page, the apparently personable and philanthropic CEO of Page industries, seems to be one of the only forces in the world capable of saving the world from the social turmoil and plague.
But this is Deus Ex after all. Surprise, surprise, Page Industries’ pharmaceutical subsidiary VersaLife actually engineered the Gray Death themselves, as well as the stopgap “vaccine” Ambrosia, to control the masses and blackmail the world’s governments. Also, Page is personally implementing the Aquinas Internet program to radically improve telecommunication, but in truth it will let him spy on anyone on the planet. All this is in service to his own personally led branch of the Illuminati called the Majestic-12. When you decide that even the clandestine, world-dominating Illuminati are just not ruthless enough for you, you know you’re the bad guy. But please, call me Bob.
5 HYPERION CORPORATION – BORDERLANDS
In the first Borderlands, Hyperion was one of the main megacorporations and weapons manufacturers the player could arm themselves from. In the sequel, Hyperion has grown into a terraforming, monopolizing multi-trillion dollar company that wants to tame and civilize the anarchy or Pandora. Handsome Jack is the company’s CEO and he has become legendary for his ruthless tyranny and his killer good looks. Jack even integrates his own daughter into the Angel Telecommunication network to spy on goings on across the planet.
Hyperion’s hired guns indiscriminately massacre bandits and settlements across Pandora and treat their own human and drone workforce like chattel. Hyperion even has a monopoly on death on Pandora. Any Borderlands 2 player would tell you about times they wanted to scream at the saccharine female voice chiming from the Hyperion New-U station after respawning; “Hyperion recommends swearing vengeance on the thing that killed you, unless it was an inanimate object such as a cliff.”
4 CZERKA CORP – STAR WARS: KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC
Only a company like the Czerka Corporation would see the gleefully coldblooded, automated killer HK-47 and decide, “Yeah, we want to make an upgraded version of that and make an entire army of them!” It didn’t help matters when they lost the entire army over Belsavis under mysterious circumstances.
But that’s a few centuries on from them at their most despicable. Even during the events of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, the Czerka Corporation has several unscrupulous operations that the player can encounter. Allying themselves with the Sith Empire, they secure themselves exclusive arms-trading rights on numerous conquered planets. They’re big time participants in the Wookie slave trade on Kashyyyk. They derail the Telos IV reconstruction project with petty money grubbing. They also unearth a buried Rakata mind capsule left over from the Infinite Empire on Tatooine, but they were reckless, and when the ancient Rakata broke free, it drove Czerka’s employees mad and enslaved them.
“Building Better Worlds”.
The Xenomorphs are obviously the titular, scarier Big Bads of their franchise, but the company known as Weyland-Yutani is arguably just as responsible for all the misfortune in the series (if not more so). They’re an interstellar megacorporation that oversees the colonization and development of numerous worlds all while controlling the central governments and authorities of humanity.
As early as the first Alien movie, Wey-Yu deliberately sent the ill-equipped crew of the Nostromo after a signal indicating the presence of the Xenomorphs on Acheron. The company android Ash was the only crewmember aware of their true mission the entire time; “Bring back life form. Priority One. All other priorities rescinded.” Throughout the films, comics, and games in the franchise, Wey-Yu has repeatedly endangered or outright sacrificed hundreds of human lives all for the chance to acquire and study the deadly Xenomorphs. This includes using low-level employees or colonists as unwilling Xenomorph hosts and prey in controlled experiments.
2 UMBRELLA CORP – RESIDENT EVIL
You can always count on the irredeemable efforts of the Umbrella Corporation to provide video gamers with zombie apocalypses. Umbrella was founded by (figuratively) evil-mustache twirling British aristocrats after they discovered a virulent virus. Right from the get-go, their directors and scientists were meddling with the virus and turning on each other, each with a riskier, bolder vision for their experiments than the one before. Several children of Umbrella’s founders eventually became guinea pigs for their virus strains.
By the events of Resident Evil and Resident Evil 2, the infighting in the company was having even deadlier consequences. Even though researcher James Marcus was disposed of, his inherited consciousness in the Queen Leech released the T-virus in the Arklay mountain facility. Two months later Albert Wesker, the contested protégé of several Umbrella research leaders, released the G-virus in Raccoon City. The horrors and death these viruses caused spread to outbreaks all over the world and the agents of S.T.A.R.S. had to contend with them.
1 LEXCORP – DC
Lex Luthor has evolved and gone through several incarnations of physicality and motivation. But one part of his character has always remained the same. He despises Superman. To him, the Man of Steel is an intolerable variable and a threat, either an obstacle to human progress or a ticking time bomb for planet Earth -- or both. He always builds his corporate empire LexCorp himself with his prestigious intellect, and whenever Superman shows up in the story, Lex dedicates all his efforts and resources to ruining him.
LexCorp has virtually every aspect of life in Metropolis under their thumb. Lex has used the resources and funds from the company to invent several terrifying weapons, including the famous exoskeleton that lets him go toe to toe with Superman. He establishes the Injustice League through LexCorp to fight all of DC’s heroes. He exploits legal loopholes and media bias to maintain good publicity even after one his schemes nearly wiped out Metropolis, and he even ascends to the office of the President of the United States at one point.
As THE classic supervillain with his own corporation, there’s no depths Lex won’t sink to for the purpose of taking over the world and ending Superman.
Are there any other evil deeds you remember these companies for, or other companies with penchants for evil schemes? Let us know in the comments.