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Top 10 Mad Scientists

Jamie Frater . . . Comments

Mad Scientists have been appearing in books and movies for generations. They generally follow the stereotype of the white coated, crooked toothed, white haired, white skinned maniac. This list contains the 10 most unusual or well known mad scientists.

1. Dr Benway


Dr Benway is probably the most immoral of the mad scientists. He was created by William Burroughs and first appeared in the book Naked Lunch. He sinced turned up in many other books by Burroughs. He was also featured in the film of Naked Lunch by David Cronenberg. In the photo above we see Burroughs dressed as Benway . I believe this is from a short film excerpt he made of a scene from one of his books. He was used by the author to parody the medical profession and, perhaps, the misuses of science in general. More of a maverick surgical artist than a doctor, Benway lacks a conscience and is more interested in his performance (and his next fix) than his patients’ well-being.

2. Dr Frankenstein


Frankenstein becomes obsessed with the idea of creating life in inanimate matter through artificial means, dropping out of school to pursue this goal for the next two years. Assembling a humanoid creature perhaps by stitching together pieces of human corpses, perhaps by the use of a chemical, apparatus or a combination of both (he avoids the question three times when asked, though the fact that he noted lightning striking down a tree in his childhood is a prominent clue), Frankenstein successfully brings it to life only to be repulsed and terrified by its monstrous ugliness.

3. Dr Jekyll

19593 0006

In the photo above we see Dr Jekyll as his alter-ego Mr Hyde. Originally from the book the “Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” by Robert Louis Stvenson, it is best known for its vivid portrayal of the psychopathology of a split personality; in mainstream culture the very phrase “Jekyll and Hyde” has come to signify wild or bipolar behavior. By taking a potion that he concocted, Dr Jekyll transforms himself in to Mr Hyde, a violent and murderous man.

4. Dr Moreau


After being rescued and brought to an island, a man discovers that it’s inhabitants are experimental animals being turned into strange looking humans, all of it the work of a visionary doctor – Doctor Moreau. The original story is a book by H G Wells, but it has been turned into a film at least three times (once in 1933, once in 1977, and once in 1996)

5. Dr Strangelove


Dr. Strangelove serves as President Muffley’s scientific advisor in the War Room, presumably making use of prior expertise as a Nazi physicist: upon becoming an American citizen, he translated his German surname “Merkwürdigliebe” to the English equivalent. Twice in the film, he accidentally addresses the President as “Mein Führer.” The character is an amalgamation of RAND Corporation strategist Herman Kahn, Nazi SS officer-turned-NASA rocket scientist Wernher von Braun and “father of the hydrogen bomb” Edward Teller. The character was also compared to U.S. Secretary of State and controversial Nobel Peace Prize laureate Henry Kissinger.

See Peter Sellers bring this mad scientist to life with pure comedic genius! Get Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb at!

6. Dr No


Dr. No is a brilliant scientist with an implied Napoleon complex, a self-described “unwanted child of a German missionary and a Chinese girl of a good family”. He later “became treasurer of the most powerful criminal society in China”, in this case, the Tongs. He then “escaped to America with $10,000,000” of Tong gold bullion. He specialized in atomic energy, which cost him both of his hands, which were replaced with crude bionic ones that were made out of either iron or steel.

7. Dr Frank N Furter


Dr Frank N Furter is the “Sweet transvestite from transsexual Transylvania” – the star of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. He uses his scientific prowess to create a handsome young man to improve his love life. The film itself is a hilarious musical with all manner of strange goings on and bed swapping.

8. Dr Evil

Dr Evil 1

Dr. Evil is a fictional supervillain played by Mike Myers in the Austin Powers film series. He is the chief villain of the movies, and Austin Powers’ nemesis. A parody of any number of James Bond villains, primarily Donald Pleasance’s Ernst Stavro Blofeld of SPECTRE, Dr. Evil routinely hatches schemes to terrorize and take over the world. He is typically accompanied by his cat Mr. Bigglesworth and his side-kick Mini-Me.

9. Doc Brown


Emmett Lathrop “Doc” Brown is a fictional character, one of the lead characters in the Back to the Future motion picture trilogy, played by actor Christopher Lloyd in the three films and the live action sequences of the animated series. He is voiced by Dan Castellaneta in the animated series. The character’s appearance and mannerisms are loosely inspired by Leopold Stokowski and Albert Einstein.

10. Dr Faustus

Mckellan Faustus

The origin of Faust’s name and persona remains unclear, though it is widely assumed to be based on the figure of German Dr. Johann Georg Faust (approximately 1480–1540), a dubious magician and alchemist probably from Knittlingen, Württemberg, who obtained a degree in divinity from Heidelberg University in 1509. Faust is the protagonist of a classic German legend in which a medieval scholar makes a pact with the Devil.

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Jamie Frater

Jamie is the owner and chief-editor of Listverse. He spends his time working on the site, doing research for new lists, and collecting oddities. He is fascinated with all things historic, creepy, and bizarre.

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  • RobS

    I didn’t know Dr. Moreau was in Devo!!!

    “Dr. Moreau?”
    “Ah… why are you wearing a flower pot on your head?”
    “Because I am mad, silly boy.”
    “Ah… right. Well… as long as we’ve cleared that up… Um… look. Since you insist on self-medication, you might want to consider cutting the pills in half. OK, Sparky?”

    So, we went from best science fiction movies to worst science fiction movies to mad doctors. Now, that’s what I call a logical progression!

  • Fe

    Just to be squirrely, Frankenstein is based on a book, also. I noticed you included the origens of several of them, but neglected poor Victor. I’ve read that book way too many times and can’t ever decide if I love it or loathe it.

    Since you did ‘fictional’ mad scientists, how ’bout a list of real-life mad scientists? Mengele and Oppenheimer spring to mind.

  • Fe – you are right – I did neglect to mention that – and it should be mentioned because it is probably the first science fiction novel. It is, of course, by Mary Shelley, wife of Percy Bysshe Shelley.

  • Kyouki

    haha i knew Dr.evil was gonna show up

  • Kyouki: he had to really – I think he is the most famous Mad Scientist in the last 10 years!

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  • Dr Frank N Furter, Yes!!!!!!!!!! I’m proud of my years as one of “those kids”. Fridays nights, paying 5 bucks for a movie just to make fun of it. Running around in my underwear and yelling something stupid. Rice, Water Guns, and Card for Sorrow. If you haven’t done the Time Warp, then you haven’t experienced fun and humiliation at the same time.

  • Crimanon: haha – I haven’t done it myself but I am sure that I will eventually get the chance. I couldn’t do a list like this and leave of Frank :)

  • Obviously NOT making this list simply means that I have to try harder!!! World conquest, here I come…

  • Dr Pinkerton: I wish you all the luck in the world on that goal :)

  • Thank you. In return for your felicitations, I shall now instruct my giant robots to spare your domicile when they are unleashed!

  • The omission of Rotwang is simply inexcusable. Rotwang is the progenitor of the great cinema mad scientists. An image of Rotwang is here.

  • What about Lex Luthor?

  • Dr Pinkerton: I am extremely pleased to hear that :)

    Paul Anderson: Indeed a worthy addition – thanks for that.

    Bort: I considered him but felt the others fit the stereotype more.

  • slipstick

    Honestly, I think that there should be someone from real-life on this list; Dr. Mengele. That sick puppy should be one of the top mad scientists if not the top.

  • Sean the pyro

    Don’t know if you could call him a scientist but Corbin Bernson’s character in “The Dentist” was certainly one mad doctor.

  • aplspud

    Dr. Bunsen Honeydew! The crazy things he did to poor Beaker…

  • Yes, Rotwang is awesome!

  • Rob

    wot about Dr. Satan from house of 1000 corpses?

    • jeni

      thats what i was thinking! i thought he’d be number one!

  • FraterPA

    And Dr. Hannibal Lecter…?

  • smac

    This might be a nitpick, but Frankenstein is not a doctor. It’s a common misconception. He actually drops out of medical school.

  • aniket rastogi

    ya they are really mad.

  • shifty farker

    dr. Steinman from bioshock should definately be here. i guess people never really consider video games to be “works of art” like movies and books can be but that game was at least close.

  • shifty farker
  • Polly Odyssey

    Awesome, Doc Brown and Dr.Evil made the list! You Rock.

  • avi

    I know he is real, but what about Dr. Mengele

  • avi

    Fe: Why Oppenheimer?.

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  • GuesssWho

    You forgot Dr. Lecter. He’ll be very annoyed by that, I’m sure.

  • BLAH

    I agree with shifty farker about Dr. Steinman,and I also think Dr. Suchong would be a good choice too,because of his ignorance of morality

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  • Emma

    Dr. Frankenstein from Young Frankenstein?? Not here?

    “It’s ‘FRON-KEN-SHTEEN’!”

  • Parker

    Doc Brown has to be my favorit.
    And did doctor evil ever make anything(or test anything he made) … or did he just have plans of distruction?

  • gabi319

    most mad scientists are actually mad engineers

    Just a little science geek humor…

  • DAC

    Dr Phibes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • I4gotmyMANTRA

    its aliveeeee

  • Norman

    Very good list and deserve more comments. Dr No is one of the reasons the first Bond (of the same name) was so successful. You should have added Professor Frink from The Simpsons, as a bonus, though

  • Bella

    :O What about C. A. Rotwang from Fritz Lang’s ‘Metropolis’? THE original mad scientist – observe:

    For anyone not familiar with the story, he created that robot behind him to try and replicate his dead love, who abandoned him and married his best friend, only to die in childbirth. Wicked.

  • Ryan

    What about Tesla? He was real.

  • Steve

    You put Faust on here with no mention of Christopher Marlowe. This website is interesting but fails at the same time.

  • Seth McAvoy

    Disapointed. Clicked this expecting real people.

  • dustin

    Herbert west the re-animator

  • The best mad scientist is Dr. Moreau (Charles Laughton) in ISLAND OF LOST SOULS.

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