'Avatar' Continues A Proud Hollywood Tradition Of Corporate Paranoia

With “Avatar” ruling the worldwide box-office, moviegoers are discovering a massive, conglomerate force even more fearful than our banks. It’s the RDA corporation, a mining concern looking to invade lush, beautiful Pandora and use its minerals for financial gain.

But you don’t need to look to 2154 to find morally bankrupt corporate executives destroying the hearts and minds of the common man. In fact, Hollywood has a long, proud tradition of corporate paranoia, dating all the way back to Charlie Chaplin’s “Modern Times,” which depicted the Silent Era star's boss as a Big Brother-like overlord. Forget the Wall Street Journal – for examples of corporate culture run amok, look no further than these evil corporations:

Cyberdyne Systems: Arguably the meanest of the mean, this corporation from “The Terminator” series brought about the end of the world and near-downfall of man. And you thought it was bad when your boss cut your lunchbreak in half!

Soylent Corporation: If you haven’t seen “Soylent Green” by now, it’s safe to assume that any right to demand a "spoiler alert" has gone out the window. So, when this Charlton Heston classic depicts a future in which overpopulated countries subsist on wafers rationed out by a massive Corporation, it’s no secret to scream out the film’s most memorable line. And you thought the “Capitalism: A Love Story” claims about Wal-Mart were bad?

Initech: Sure, they haven’t destroyed mankind or ground us up and fed us to our fellow man. But as far as evil movie corporations go, there aren’t many scarier than the “Office Space” employer, if only because it seems so real. We’ve all experienced the pointless reports, the faulty office machinery and “The Bobs” asking us to justify our existence. Just don’t burn your real-life office building down, or you might not have nearly as happy an ending as Milton.

Thorn Industries: Want the most evil corporation ever depicted on film? It’s hard to beat Thorn Industries from “Omen 3: The Final Conflict,” the largest company in the world… that just happens to be run by SATAN’S SON! With Damien all grown up and leading the company, he invades the United Nations and begins using his political powers to set things up for the arrival of the Devil himself. And you thought your boss was evil.

OCP: Hey, everybody likes the future. But in “RoboCop,” one company got hold of a city’s police force contract, and things didn’t turn out so well. Unfortunately, Detroit now seems like a better place in that film than in real life, so maybe OCP taking over wouldn’t be such a bad thing.

Multi-National United: This past year, “District 9” gave us the best recent example of corporate-government cooperation run astray. Mix in some unruly prawns, corporate tool Wikus van de Merwe and assurances that everything was under control, and we all knew that it wouldn’t be for long.

The Parallax Corporation: Arguably the greatest movie ever made about faceless, corporate/political paranoia, “The Parallax View” depicts a below-the-radar corporation using political assassination for its own game. All these years later, it still holds up.

BiffCo Enterprises: He’s big, he’s loud and he’s a jerk. So it seems like a no-brainer that Biff Tannen would become a corporate exec in “Back to the Future: Part II,” regardless of any futuristic outcome Marty and Doc could manipulate. I wonder if anybody on Wall Street has a sports almanac from the future hanging out of their back pocket?

What is your favorite evil movie corporation of all time?