Honestly, I’m surprised no one’s tried to officially approve this character yet. Maybe many of the people who have seen the movie they come from have either naturally or deliberately forgotten about it because it was either unmemorable or disappointed them? Either way, any list of pure evil villains feels a little incomplete without this guy, and a proposal for him feels overdue, so after re-watching the extended cut of the film to refresh my memory, here I am to do something about that.
What’s the work?
Ghost Rider is an American superhero film from 2007 that’s based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name and stars Nicolas Cage in the main role. It’s… not seen by many as one of the more successful adaptations of a Marvel character, but that’s beside the point (besides, some people still find it enjoyable enough as a campy B movie, which honestly, I think it works well enough as). Anyway, the plot kicks off with a young man named Johnny Blaze, who performs motorcycle stunts with his dad at a carnival, discovering that his father is dying from cancer. Shortly afterwards, none other than the Devil himself, Mephistopheles, comes to him in the disguise of a normal elderly man and offers to cure his father in exchange for his soul. However, while he does indeed cure his cancer, he then kills him in a stunt accident right afterwards. Heartbroken and haunted by his decision, Johnny nonetheless goes on to become a famous motorcycle stunt driver, though he’s secretly haunted over whether he really still owns his soul. Surely enough, Mephisto eventually approaches him and forces him to become his new Ghost Rider, a supernatural being who turns into an immortal and burning skeletal figure at night and/or in the presence of evil, and tasks him with taking out his son Blackheart, who aspires to overthrow him by finding a special contract that Mephisto’s former Ghost Rider/bounty hunter stole away from him due to its power and what he could do with it.
Who is he and what does he do?
Blackheart is a demon who, as just mentioned, is none other than the son of the Devil himself. However, despite his own considerable power, he became jealous and envious of his father’s, as well as that he gave the power of Hellfire to a human instead of him, so he aspires to obtain the Contract of San Venganza, a contract which Mephisto previously enlisted his previous Ghost Rider, Carter Slade, to retrieve for him. It’s an extremely powerful contract that contains a thousand corrupt souls and which would allow him to create Hell on Earth, and realizing what he could do with it, Slade rode away with the contract to keep it from him and hide it somewhere safe. Therefore, Blackheart desires to obtain it for the same purpose and to subsequently devour as many human souls as he desires to overthrow his father.
In his introductory scene, he makes his way to a bar and kills a biker at the front entrance who denies him entry by putting a finger to his chest, which turns him into a grey, shriveled up husk. He then goes on to do the same thing to every other biker in the bar, and even deliberately waits for a terrified waitress to come out of hiding, reveling in her fear, before grabbing her by the throat and killing her too, all to use the bar as a meeting place with a trio of the Hidden, fallen angels who have been cast out of Heaven and are each associated with a particular element, earth, water and wind, respectively. He explains his plan to obtain the contract to them and promises to make the world “theirs, one city at a time” with its power, before being confronted by his father, who threatens to sic the Ghost Rider on him, which he responds to by promising “to bury him, just like I’ll bury you”.
Shortly after, he leads them to an impound where a cemetery was previously located, which he had heard was where the contract is hidden. He then comes across a random worker who he interrogates about the cemetery’s disappearance, which he responds to by saying he only knew it was moved a while ago and that only the local church knew more, after which he kills him too. Right after that, he comes across Johnny, who has just transformed into the Ghost Rider for the first time, and tries to have his cronies kill him. However, their attempts to do so, including hitting him with a truck, are unsuccessful, and Ghost Rider proceeds to attack and injure Gressil, the earth angel, at which point Blackheart, seeing he’s going to lose, doesn’t bother to help and unceremoniously abandons him with his other cronies before he’s finished off.
Next, he visits a church where he interrogates a priest about the contract, knowing that he had sworn to the secrecy of its location to protect it, and it’s strongly implied he kills him too after he can’t get any useful information out of him. Later, he finds the cemetery he was looking for, where he brutally beats the Caretaker that works there (who’s really the previous Ghost Rider, Carter Slade, keeping his identity a secret) to a pulp in an effort to force him to tell him where the contract is. However, after the Caretaker still refuses to talk, he realizes the Ghost Rider was there recently, and decides to go after Roxanne, Johnny’s former girlfriend, whom he still has feelings for. He then goes to Johnny’s apartment where she and Mack, a member of his team and his best friend, are, and kills Mack before using just enough of his power on Roxanne to leave her subdued and in pain. He then ambushes Johnny when he returns, who turns into Ghost Rider and fights back, using his Penance Stare ability. However, it doesn’t work on Blackheart since, as he gloats, he has no soul to burn, and easily defeats him. He then demands that Johnny bring the contract to him in San Venganza by the following morning, otherwise he’ll kill Roxanne. Johnny proceeds to visit the Caretaker again, who gets the contract for him out of a spade and, realizing he sold his soul for love instead of greed, which makes him more powerful than previous riders, puts faith in him to defeat Blackheart and entrusts it to him. He then reveals his real identity and goes on one last ride with him.
When he arrives at the site, Blackheart senses him and sends his only remaining comrade, the water angel Wallow, to slow him down so that he won’t arrive until closer to sunrise, at which point he’ll lose his powers. Despite almost being drowned, Johnny defeats him without much trouble when he transforms, and confronts Blackheart. He then orders him to let Roxanne go, which he does, though by roughly throwing her aside, at which point he tries to take the contract, and Johnny seemingly obliges, but then tries to fight him right as it seems he’s handing it over. However, he is quickly rendered powerless when the sun comes up, while Blackheart retrieves the contract and absorbs the thousand souls, becoming Legion. He then tries to kill the powerless Johnny before Roxanne distracts him by shooting him with Johnny’s shotgun. She then tosses it to Johnny who, empowering it with his power by standing in the shade, manages to temporarily blast him apart. When he reforms, he transforms into Ghost Rider again by staying in the shadows, and uses his Penance Stare on him again, which this time, affects Blackheart severely due to him having all the corrupt souls within him, which leaves him dead, or at the very least, permanently catatonic.
None at all; Blackheart’s just a power-hungry psychopath who essentially grew tired of playing second fiddle to his father and sought to overthrow him. Being the Devil’s spawn, he also knows full well that he’s evil and practically relishes it at certain points. Sure, he was partially motivated by his father not giving him the power he felt was rightfully his, but that’s no real excuse; that just establishes him as feeling a sense of entitlement to more power than he already has, and it certainly doesn’t excuse killing all the people that he does along the way, as well as planning to devour the souls of an infinite number of others afterwards. He also clearly cares about no one but himself, which includes the trio of Hidden/fallen angels he allies with; he promises that the world would be theirs as well to convince them to join his cause, but beyond that, he just treats them as expendable muscle against Ghost Rider. This is most apparent when he abandons Gressil to be killed by him as soon as it becomes clear he’s outmatched, and when he sends the other two after him at different points and they’re killed, he wastes no words or thoughts on them afterwards, so he was clearly just using them to help him achieve his goal. Finally, yes, while he may have the kind of name that wouldn’t be unfitting for a Care Bears villain and the movie is known for being very unintentionally silly and cheesy, he’s taken completely seriously by the narrative and is never played for laughs himself.
I’d say he’s easily heinous enough. His comrades don’t do anything but fight Ghost Rider on his behalf and generally follow him around looking creepy, not to mention they have little-to-no personality. Therefore, his only real competition is Mephisto himself, who also desires the Contract of San Venganza to create a literal Hell on Earth, but Blackheart is the far more active of the two, and he not only desired to use the contract for that, but to then be able to devour as many people’s souls as he wished to become powerful enough to defeat him. Other than wanting the contract to do that, the only other thing Mephisto did was trick Johnny into becoming his personal bounty hunter and use a loophole to kill his father right after he cured his cancer. Blackheart, meanwhile, kills nearly every person he comes across either because it’s convenient to do so, or simply because he can, including an entire bar of bikers just so he could use the bar as a meeting spot, as well as Johnny’s best friend Mack because he happened to be with Roxanne when he went to kidnap her. The only people he doesn’t kill are the Caretaker and Roxanne, but that’s only because they each served a use for him, not out of mercy; he knew the Caretaker was hiding the contract, so he kept him alive so that Johnny could get it from him later after threatening his girlfriend’s life; otherwise, Johnny would have to look for it on his own and wouldn’t have known where to find it either. And of course, he only kept Roxanne alive to use her as a bargaining chip for the contract. So yeah, between senselessly killing nearly every person he comes across by way of turning them into shriveled out husks and the horrific things he planned to do with the contract’s power, he’s easily both the film’s most heinous character and more than heinous enough to qualify in my opinion.
I’d say he’s an easy qualifier, but if you have any opinions to the contrary, let me know. Thanks for reading!